I learned a thing today.
Trevor Bauer can apparently throw the baseball nearly five hundred feet. Before every start, he long tosses across the field. From foul pole to foul pole. And this pre-game ritual goes back at least to his college days.
Seriously, check it out:
I had plenty of time to watch all the videos (Bauer even has his own YouTube channel, according to the Astros broadcast) and check this info out on line, since the Astros managed just three hits and three walks against yet another high-ERA starter who appears to just kill the Astros in Trevor Bauer.
Chris Devenski lost to move to 0-2 in his brief major league career. The Astros have now lost all nine games in which he's appeared, and have scored a grand total of two runs in support of him over his three Major League starts going back to April 30th. He's been the most consistent pitcher on the entire Astros staff all season, and it seems a shame that his almost-certain reward after three very good starts will be to return to the bullpen when Lance McCullers returns soon.
Both runs against Devenski came during a second inning in which he struggled a bit. Mike Napoli flipped a soft single on a good pitch to center field to lead off the inning, Devenski walked Carlos Santana (one of two walks issued by The Dragon, the second of which was more fatigue-related according to A.J. Hinch in the post game press conference) and Jose Ramirez advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Juan Uribe hit a ball back to the mound that popped out of Devo's glove and Mike Napoli still managed to beat the ball home after Devenski picked up the rock and fired it to the plate. Lonnie Chisenhall then drove a solid double to right field to plate the second run, but the man they call the Dragon struck out Chris Gimenez and induced an inning-ending ground out from Rajai Davis.
Devenski limited the damage in that second inning - an inning which could have been much worse - and then looked very, very strong the remainder of the game. He made adjustments and kept attacking the opposing hitters, ending his night with a solid six innings pitched with 104 pitches (72 strikes) - a number which would have been much lower if not for a fifteen pitch at bat in the first inning by Francisco Lindor.
The only extra base hit of the night for the Astros came off the bat of Luis Valbuena - which probably is all any Astros fan needs to hear to know how barren the offensive landscape in this game was - who is showing signs of life in the box after a month of futility. Jose Altuve had another of the three hits surrendered by Bauer - of course Altuve would be one of the three players with hits - and Colby Rasmus had a nice single to left center as well. Tyler White had a walk and George Springer had a pair of walks. Marwin Gonzalez had a pinch hit single in the bottom of the eighth inning, and Preston Tucker managed a walk in the bottom of the ninth before Tyler White grounded into a double play to end the game.
That was it. That was the entirety of the Astros offense tonight.
Josh Fields came in, threw cement mixer breaking balls once again, and was hit pretty hard, getting touched for the other two runs the Indians scored.
Michael Feliz deserves to have the positive finish section of this piece dedicated to him, because he was flat. out. electric. in the top of the ninth inning. Since giving up ten runs (nine earned) in his first two appearances this year, Feliz has now thrown five scoreless innings over his last three appearances, and frankly he looks like an entirely different pitcher. Tonight his velocity peaked at 97 miles per hour, but more than the velocity, the explosiveness of the pitch was noticeable. He struck out all three men he faced tonight, and none of them looked remotely close to solid contact against him. Truly an overpowering appearance that deserves credit. It's a shame that Feliz seems to be the one likely to be demoted back to Triple-A Fresno upon Lance McCullers' activation after pitching so well since his last recall to the Major Leagues.
At the end of the day, Trevor Bauer stymied an offense that's scored five or more runs in five of their last seven games a day after that offense torched 2014 Cy Young Winner Corey Kluber. A hat tip is in order. On to tomorrow!