This 2017 Astros team is just plain fun to watch. They do everything well, from leading the American League in Earned Run Average to scoring tons and tons of runs to making scintillating defensive plays in the outfield, like Jake Marisnick made to end the first game of this series against the Yankees...or like the diving catch George Springer made tonight in the bottom of the eighth inning tonight to rob Brett Gardner of a flared base hit off of Luke Gregerson:
It’s been that kind of start to the season. Sure, it’s just thirty six games, but my goodness it’s been fun.
Brian McCann deserves credit for a lot of how this game went on both sides of the ball. His game calling and pitch framing helped guide Lance McCullers to his second straight outstanding start, limiting the deadly Yankees offense to no runs on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in six innings pitched. McCullers’ ERA has now dropped below the three mark, and all three of his pitches appeared well in-hand tonight. He punched out Yankees on the following pitches:
- Gary Sanchez, swinging, 86 mph curve ball away in the first
- Chase Headley, swinging, 86 mph back foot curve ball in the second
- Matt Holliday, swinging, 86 mph curve ball in the dirt in the fourth
- Didi Gregorius, swinging, 89 mph change up fading down and away in the fifth
- Chase Headley, looking, 96 mph fastball slightly inside but framed beautifully in the fifth
- Aaron Hicks, swinging, 89 mph change up that bounced to end the fifth
- Gary Sanchez, swinging, 84 mph curve ball in the sixth
In case you missed the aforementioned filthiness to Aaron Hicks that ended the fifth...check it out.
The fifth inning was particularly impressive, as Aaron Judge bum rushed a 1-1 curve ball off the wall in left center field to lead off the inning with a double before McCullers struck out each of the next three men he saw to strand Judge at second.
Brian McCann provided all the offense the Astros would need on the night, taking his former team’s talented young left handed starter Jordan Montgomery (who was quite impressive overall on the night, truth be told) deep into the second deck with two men aboard in the top of the fourth.
After the game, Brian McCann spoke with Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart along with the rest of the media and had some good info on some of the work he put in over the offseason to get back to being a more complete hitter, as well as some glowing praise to heap upon his battery mate for the night, Lance McCullers:
McCann on McCullers: "He's a top-of-the-rotation starter for any team." pic.twitter.com/Ybgl5cEaNz— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) May 13, 2017
Other happenings of note in this game: Josh Reddick drove in an RBI single off of Aroldis Chapman, one of the filthiest left-handed pitchers alive, while James Hoyt did allow a run on three hits in an inning of work, but struck out the side. Hoyt now has a whopping sixteen strikeouts in just six and two thirds innings pitched this year...a hilarious K/9 number that almost assuredly won’t last, but is still impressive nonetheless when you consider that K/9 is one of the more quickly-stabilizing statistics out there.
Carlos Correa added a pair of singles on the night and remains hot - his batting average, for those fans who still use the stat, has now climbed to .287 for the season.
In a weird event, the Yankees’ Chase Headley was tossed in the seventh inning after appearing to sustain a finger injury on a foul bunt and later exchanging words with the umpire after the umpire appeared to take exception to the amount of time Headley took to get back into the box. No word as of this typing on further specifics, but it was a slightly jarring note in an otherwise extremely enjoyable baseball game.
Last but not least in this Twittergasm of a recap, let’s take a look at tonight’s #Wooston belt-winning pitcher of the game: