Houston Astros reliever Josh James had a terrific outing last night against the Boston Red Sox and it appears he’s back on track to his old self. What’s up?
The Houston Astros have won 10 games in a row and that includes taking 13 of their last 14 games. It’s remarkable that this team is in this position considering the tweaks that have made to the roster this season.
The team lost Marwin Gonzalez to free agency and the chances continue to diminish that they’ll be able to re-sign Dallas Keuchel and yet they sit atop the AL West-leading the division by a season-high 8.5 games with a 31-15 record.
Resilience and depth remain true for this team and you have to credit general manager Jeff Luhnow and his staff for being able to field yet another championship-caliber team to try to take the crown back from the Boston Red Sox.
Speaking of the Red Sox, that’s who they’re taking on this weekend in a three-game set at Fenway Park. In what was supposed to be a rematch of the ALCS last season, this series has been all Houston Astros so far.
The Red Sox obviously are still hungover from their World Series win from last season and they’re slowly climbing their way back into the AL race once again and will likely be there at the end when the dust settles. They’re still five games behind the AL East leader, the Tampa Bay Rays but I expect them to get hot soon enough with the talent that they have on deck.
But let’s talk about the greatness of reliever Josh James so far. After struggling mightily early in the season, plus dealing with a shoulder injury during Spring Training, it’s apparent that he’s on track to get himself back into the groove.
James, a late 2014 draft pick by the Houston Astros, finally hit his stride well enough up at Triple-A Fresno last season, was a huge factor in the postseason and has gotten an opportunity to continue what he has started on this 2019 roster.
So what did James do last night? He stood up to a championship-caliber lineup was able to wring out three scoreless innings, especially when he got into a jam after him being substituted for rookie starter Corbin Martin.
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third with Mookie Bets already on first base. Betts then stole 2nd base and James eventually walked Mitch Moreland.
All James needed was two more outs to get out of the jam and he certainly did so. After he struck out Xander Bogaerts, he generated a ground out from Rafael Devers to close out to what was a rough bottom of the fifth inning that possibly could have had the Red Sox tying the game, 6-6. Luckily that didn’t happen.
So here’s how the rest of his two innings went — fly out, ground out, pop out…fly out, strikeout and ground out. It was as easy as 1-2-3 for James in his final two and it was a gem to watch last night. He was also credited as the winning pitcher to which he earned every bit of it.
He overpowered his batters with his blazing four-seam fastball that usually sits at about 97 miles per hour. I couldn’t be prouder of what I saw last night and this is definitely an experience for him to build upon in the future. I still could see him being a starter in the future but I know there are some consistency issues that he has work on before he gets that promotion.
For now, I’ll just enjoy when he’s called up in relief! Keep up the good work Josh!
James, 26, has a 1-0 record, a 4.56 ERA while tossing 34 strikeouts off 12 earned runs with a 1.19 WHIP through 23.2 innings pitched this season.