Well, after starting out up 2-0 on the Boston Red Sox in this four-game series, the last two games did not go quite as well for the Houston Astros. The losses, however, were very different in nature. Justin Verlander pitched very well on Saturday night, as usual, but the bullpen blew the lead and the offense could not recover. Tonight, Charlie Morton was not his usual self as the veteran right-hander allowed six earned runs on nine hits in less than six innings of work.
It was pretty clear from the beginning that Morton did not have his best stuff out there tonight, as his velocity on his fastball was sharp but he was not locating it as well as he usually does and his breaking pitches were hung out over the plate far too often. Against a team like the Boston Red Sox, you just have to be sharp from the beginning or they will make you pay.
Although the pitching surely was rough tonight, I’m pretty confident that Morton will turn things around and be better over his next few starts. Personally, I thought the most frustrating part of tonight’s game was the offensive performance. Things were looking up after George Springer’s leadoff home run, but after that the offense just could not deliver any big hits against Rick Porcello.
Sure, Porcello is a former American League Cy Young winner, but he is not the same pitcher as he was that year and his stuff is very hittable. Each of the Astros first five hitters (Springer through Gurriel) recorded one hit each but no one was able to have a big night at the plate.
Overall, the Astros left far too many runners on base in critical situations and points in the game where they could have rallied back to either tie the game or take the lead. Alex Bregman probably delivered the best offensive performance of the night, as the Astros’ young third baseman finished 1-4 with a hit, two runs batted in, and a walk.
Tomorrow, the Astros will get a much needed day off after facing a gauntlet that included road trips to Cleveland and New York before facing the Red Sox in Houston. Starting Tuesday night, the Astros will host the first place Mariners (sigh) for a two-game series.
While the Astros are off tomorrow, be sure to follow the MLB Draft for coverage of who Houston will select with their first round pick.