The Astros had one run on three hits tonight. If Justin Verlander could have pitched nine scoreless innings, instead of just five, maybe something else about this game would have mattered. But if your staff doesn’t pitch a shutout, and all your offense can do is score one run, then in the immortal words of the great heavy metal band Metallica, nothing else matters.
Ok, so after Verlander gave up a two run homer to Nolan Arenado in the sixth inning, Collin McHugh gave up a run in the seventh. And then Brad Peacock gave up a run in the eighth, and then Brad Harris gave up a run in the ninth. That’s not too good.
But after the homer against Verlander neutralized the only run the Astros scored thanks to a Josh Reddick single in the fifth, nothing else mattered. The Astros might as well have had Nori Aoki pitch tonight after Verlander left. Hell, why not bring Aoki back as a DH?
During this five game losing streak the Astros have a .197 batting average. In the last four games they have scored a total of 8 runs. They have only one homer. This is the production of key players on this homestand. Tony Kemp: 4-18, Max Stassi: 1-6, Martin Maldonado: 1-10, Carlos Correa: 1-15, Yuli Gurriel: 3-18, Kyle Tucker: 0-5, Evan Gattis: 0-16. When Tyler White is the hitter carrying your team, and he was on the bench tonight, you have a problem.
Oh I forgot. It was really exciting when Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker almost hit home runs.
Jose Altuve and George Springer can’t get back soon enough, but let’s hope when they do they find their timing faster than Carlos Correa has. Last September, after returning from a prolonged visit to the DL, Carlos was slow to return to form then as well. After his first week back his average was only .182 for that week. His second week back his average was up to .214 for the two week period. By the end of September, about 4 weeks back, his average for the month was .299, with a 129 wRC+. If that holds true again, give Correa about two weeks to get it going again.
If this whole team doesn’t start hitting better before then, the Astros may end up digging themselves into a deep hole in their quest to win the AL West division.
Here’s one Astro highlight. Yuli Gurriel hit a triple.
Yuli showing off the WHEELS! ♂️ pic.twitter.com/Z1YZWtMWNG— Houston Astros (@astros) August 15, 2018
In this homestand the Astros have lost two games started by Justin Verlander, and one each by Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel.
As I write the Oakland A’s are leading the Seattle Mariners, and if that lead holds the Astros will lead the A’s by only one game in the AL West.
Tomorrow Gerrit Cole takes his turn to try to be the stopper. Hopefully he doesn’t need a shutout. He goes against John Anderson of the Rockies. Game time 7:10 PM CDT.
Box score and videos here.
Editors note. The Mariners lost to the A’s by one run.