In the words of the late, great, Whitney Houston, “Let the children play.”
Tonight manager A.J. Hinch let key veterans sit out this opening game of a two game inter-league series, and filled the back of his line up with rookies.
J.D Davis, just back from AAA Fresno and playing left field, walked three times and scored 3 runs. Max Stassi, rookie catcher, went 2 for 3 with a walk, a run, and 2 RBI.
But no doubt player of the game, Mr. Kool, playin in the big-leagues like he invented baseball, in just his 5th game with the Astros this season, Tony mini-cannon Kemp. He finished the game 2 for 2, with 5 RBI, showin off some old- school with a sacrifice bunt, and planting a sacrifice fly. Tony Kemp plays the game the right way. And maybe his little spark at the end of the batting order is just what this team needs to get all its bats exploding again on all cylinders.
Indeed, it was a balanced attack tonight, with every player getting on base, and all but one either scoring at least one run or driving at least one run in.
Led by Kemp it was party time at clutch city tonight, the Stros hitting 7 for 19 with runners in scoring position. They scored almost twice as many runs as they left runners on base (6).
Six hitters had 2 hits each, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, who now has his OPS above .800 for the first time this year, Yuli Gurriel, Evan Gattis, and the aforementioned Stassi and Kemp.
Both of Stassi’s hits were scorched at 106 MPH, and he is now 15 for 28 against left handed pitching. He and Kemp (in only 14 at bats) lead the team in OPS.
Another ho hum, merely superb pitching performance by Gerrit Cole made this game a laugher early on, as he completed 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, 3 walks, while striking out 8 Gentle Giants. His only mistake was a 2 run home run to his brother-in-law, Brandon Crawford.
Cole struck out his 101st batter tonight as an Astro, more than any other Astro pitcher in history in his first nine games as a Stro. Yes, more than the Big Unit himself.
Cole finishes the game 5-1, with a 1.86 ERA. The losing pitcher was Andrew Suarez, 1-4.
Box Score and videos here.
The Astros complete the short two game series in Minute Maid Park tomorrow afternoon, 1:10 CDT time. The struggling Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 6.30 ERA) faces the league’s ERA leader, the phenomenal Justin Verlander (5-2, 1.05 ERA).
See ya at the thread.