The Astros started this series fighting for their playoff lives. After this game I am ready to call them dead. This is my personal "tombstone" moment. It worked so well back in the day, and I am willing to try anything. This team really, really, really needed to win this series (if not sweep it). So instead of coming out and taking care of business, the Rangers took care of them easily. Very little timely hitting, bad pitching, injuries, mental lapses...it all added up to another Astros loss and dropped them to 4.5 games back of first place. So Magic Tombstone, we fans are at your mercy.
Just to show I am not all negative I will start with the good parts first. The Astros bullpen did a good job. Yep, even Joe Thatcher and Oliver Perez! Evan Gattis picked up his tenth triple of the year, and rode home on a Luis Valbuena no-doubt homer (number 23). There you go ladies and gentlemen, the good parts.
You want to know the bad parts? I'll start from the top. First, trade deadline acquisition Scott Kazmir had another bad outing. Coming into this start Kazmir had an ERA approaching five in September, and his BABIP was only .284, so it doesn't look like he is unlucky from that standpoint. He didn't do any better tonight, only lasting 3.2 innings for the second start in a row giving up six earned runs. That hurts when the team in a close race like this. It hurts even more in hindsight when you thought this guy was going to shore up the Astros starting rotation for the stretch drive. Besides his first couple of starts he has ranged from meh to awful. Bring on Dan Straily in that rotation slot for the remainder.
How about the bats? The only hit with RISP was the Valbuena homer. The team had runners in scoring position in each of the first six innings. This includes a leadoff double by Jose Altuve in the first that was for nothing. It also includes Jonathan Villar going from second to third on a ground ball right at the shortstop for the second out of an inning to take a runner out of scoring position.
And then the icing on the cake. In the top of the seventh inning the Rangers batter hit a bloop right behind second base. Altuve and Carlos Correa both went for the ball. Altuve made the catch, but then dropped it after Correa collided with him and knocked him down. The trainers came out and helped Jose off the field and he looked like he had his bell rung. Post-game the report was no concussion, just soreness from getting smacked around a little. It looked scary.
So there you go. Tonight they couldn't keep the Rangers from scoring a bunch early, couldn't score any for themselves, tried to publicly murder one of the best hitters, and generally looked like a team from 2012 and not one in first place most of the year. They will be scrambling to hang on to a playoff spot again tomorrow as Collin McHugh takes the hill against Derek Holland at 1 pm.
This was the first game in Correa's short career where he had three strikeouts.
Gattis hit his tenth triple of the season. Still no stolen bases...
Prince Fielder didn't hit a home run...weird...
Tweets of the Night
When one of your best players NOT having a concussion is considered "Something went our way" then things are not going your way...
Altuve has no sign of concussion. "We feel like we dodged a little bit of a bullet there," Hinch said. "Maybe something went our way."— Brian McTaggart ⚾️ (@brianmctaggart) September 26, 2015
I agree with the boss...
I've really resisted being fatalistic, but I'm wearing down on account of the relentless, persuasive argument made by the on-field play.— Jim "Da Owner" Crane (@CranesBrain) September 26, 2015
What does this even mean?
Cameras panned to Bobby Dynamite on the train in his conductor overalls and Sutcliffe says, "Where I'm from, we call that the blue suit."— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) September 26, 2015