We can make excuses for a lot of things. When you watch a team that's playing as bad as the Astros, it's easy to get lost in the little differences. Sure, J.A. Happ's bad, but Brett Myers isn't as bad as Happ, right? Sure, Myers is having a bad season, but he's been doing better lately, right?
Myers has been getting better and better each month. If you believe the xFIP splits, he just finished up a month of July where he was as good as he was last season. However, last season he did not have many games like this. Myers can lull you into a false sense of confidence in him, because he is consistent. He goes out, pitches six innings, will give up hits but has seen his strikeout rate bounce back. It's all very encouraging.
Then, he has games like this one. He did well enough and kept Houston in it. At the end of the day, though, Myers gave up six runs in six innings of work. The Astros are not going to win many games with performances like that.
They did get the requisite gritty performances from J.D. Martinez, who homered for the second time as an Astro, Jose Altuve, who went 1 for 3 with a walk, and J.B. Shuck, who was 1 for 1 with a walk after entering as a defensive replacement. Shuck also made a pretty poor decision in the ninth inning, trying to stretch that single into a triple after the ball ricocheted off John Axford's leg and the closer then threw the ball down the right field line, letting Shuck move to second and hope for third. A perfect throw by Nyjer Morgan nailed him there for the inning's third out.
Was it the right call to try for third? Probably not. Was it an aggressive move by a prospect in his second big-league game? Yep, which is why I'm sort of okay with it. Where was the risk with a move like this? The Astros were probably losing this game anyway and Shuck tried to make a play to help them get the win. It didn't work out, but all that happened was Houston moved a step closer to the first overall pick. It's not like it knocked them out of the pennant race.
With a team like this, you have to look at shades of gray. Myers' performance and Shuck's ninth inning both fall in that gray spectrum, but the bottom line is Houston got beat - again - by the Brewers.