The term "bats going silent" is a bit misleading. Bats do make sound even when they don't produce runs, whether it's the dissonant crack of weak groundball contact or the whoosh of swinging third strike. There were a lot of those sounds from both sides tonight.
First the ugly: Astros hitters ran into a buzz-saw in Corey Kluber. The 2014 Cy Young winner put in a great outing, shutting down the Astros in 6.2 innings, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks and striking out 7. The Cleveland bullpen came in during 7th, worked out of a runners-on-the-corners jam and gave up only 1 hit the rest of the game. After feasting on Cleveland pitching last night with 9 runs on 16 hits, the Astros all-or-nothing offense came up with more of the latter. Both Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve went 0'fer, ending Altuve's 13 game hit streak. The Astros did notch 6 hits, however, they were all singles.
However it wasn't all futility for the Astros. Preston Tucker continues to rake in this series. He went 2-4 and made a perfectly-timed leap to rob former Astro Michael Bourn of an extra base hit. Bourn would return the favor in the 6th, reeling in a long fly in center that would've been for extra bases for Tucker. He is now 6-9 with a home run in 2 games as a 25 year old.
What the Astros lacked in offense, they tried to make up in defense. Aside from the aforementioned grab by Tucker, Altuve showed that the starting All Star 2nd baseman is not all bat, ranging for a couple of pretty snags up the middle. Rasmus made a spectacular sprinting catch in left in the 5th and Marwin made a Brooks Robinson-esque grab on the hot corner for the first out of the 7th inning.
Vincent Velasquez had another solid outing. He went 6.1 innings, striking out 5, giving up 2 walks, and scattering 8 hits for 2 earned runs, He pitched an objectively better game than Dallas Keuchel did last night (3 ER, 9 H, 6.0 IP) but in a cruel twist of baseball fate was tagged with a loss, proving once again that the W/L stat is (to borrow a Yiddish term) complete bupkis. Luckily Velasquez will get one more chance to get his first Major League win before the All Star bre-
Velasquez optioned. Innings saving measure.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) July 8, 2015
Well crap. I guess we'll have to wait after the break.