Where do we start here? Man this offense is in a little bit of slump. Going back to June 12th, which was the start of the Astros-Giants series, the Astros have scored more than three runs in a game just twice. Coincidentally those are also the only two games that they won during that time span. Mills in an effort to get shortstop Jed Lowrie rolling again dropped him to sixth in the batting order due to Lowrie’s struggles batting right-handed so far this year. Lowrie who was in a 2-28 slump responded by going 1-3 with an RBI single. That run has unfortunately been the only one the Astros could muster up against the Royals over the last eighteen innings.
On the bright side Jordan Lyles was great today, and needed to have a game like this even if his offense wasn't able to get him that W. His final line was three hits, two earned runs, no walks, and four strikeouts in seven innings pitched. Lyles achillies hill this season has been the inability to avoid the big inning. In several of his starts he's been cruising along fine until the bottom falls out of the sky and a crooked number pops up on the scoreboard. As mentioned in the game thread it seems like the fifth inning is Lyles make or break inning. Today's make or break inning started out on the wrong foot with a Mike Moustakas double to center. Fortunately Lyles was able to limit the damage and record two consecutive groundouts that were enough to score Moustakas, but also helped Lyles avoid the big inning and he recorded the last out on a pop fly to left.
With one out in the sixth Alex Gordon tripled to center, and scored on a Jed Lowrie error a batter later. Lyles escaped any further trouble that inning by getting Billy Butler to ground into a double play to end the inning. Lyles came out again for the seventh and had a 1-2-3 inning to end his day with 85 pitches thrown. It was an encouraging start for Lyles and something that hopefully the youngster can build on.
As for the bullpen Wesley Wright and Fernando Rodriguez were able to keep the Royals off the board for the final two innings. Wright pitched his inning in 1-2-3 fashion with a flyout, a strikeout, and a groundout. Rodriguez allowed an infield single, but also recorded two strikouts and a lineout to center to end the top of the ninth.
The Offense was able to get eight hits on the afternoon, but only two of them went for extra bases. The clutch hit evaded the Astros for the second straight game as they went a combined 1-12 with runners in scoring position and left a total of eleven teammates on base. These strikeout totals are really starting to pile up, and you can add another fourteen to the total after today's game. Chris Johnson (3), Chris Snyder (2), Brian Bixler (2), and Jordan Lyles (2) all had multiple strikeouts while Altuve, Maxwell, Schafer, Lowrie, and Bogusevic also added a strikeout to the game. J.D. Martinez was the only Astros to have more than one hit today. Justin Maxwell was the latest Astro bit by the injury bug and left today's game after the fifth inning with an ankle sprain.
After the off day tomorrow, the Astros take on Ubaldo Jimenez and the Cleveland Indians on Friday. Jimenez will be opposed by ground ball specialist Lucas Harrell. Game time 7:05 PM.