It’s the top of the ninth. Astros down 3-1 with two outs. But George Springer is on third, 5x silver slugger, 3x batting champ, and 2017 MVP Jose Altuve is at the plate. Behind him are sluggers Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. Hit a gapper Jose! Let Mr. Clutch hit you in from second and maybe then Carlos Correa could even get the lead. Why not?
I remember when the Astros used to do things like that.
But nothing shows the lack of confidence of the Astros right now than what transpired next. Jose bunted. He thought he had a better chance getting on base bunting than swinging. He bunted. A line drive right to the third baseman and the Astros go down with a whimper for the third straight game, 3-1.
The Astros had three hits in this game, two by Jake Marisnick, including his solo home run in the third, and only one runner in scoring position all game. That was Springer in the ninth, who walked with two outs before being stranded by Altuve. The Rays gave him second and third base. THE ASTROS DID NOT GET A RUNNER TO SECOND UNTIL THE NINTH INNING!
But it’s understandable. The Rays trotted out illustrious stoppers like today’s Yonny Chirinos, or yesterday’s Tyler Glasnow, and fearsome closers like Kolarek, Roe, Beeks, Castillo. Oh, you’ve never heard of them. Neither have I.
For the series the Astros only got 21 runners in scoring position in four games, about five per game. In the losses, games 2-4, they only had 11 RISP. But I don’t know which is worse, having so few runners in scoring position in the first place or only getting hits twice while they were there. That’s right, 2 for 21 with RISP for the series.
Except for a two-run double by Michael Brantley in Game 2, the only RBI the Astros got in this four game series came off five home runs; three in the game one victory, and solo shots by Alex Bregman yesterday and today by Marisnick. In the entire four game series the Astros never got more than two hits in a single inning.
Wade Miley made his pitching debut with the Astros today with mixed marks. He managed that dubious achievement known as the quality start, allowing three earned runs in six innings pitched, a 4.50 ERA. But he pitched around eight hits, and had a runner thrown out at home by Alex Bregman in the sixth.
He allowed a run in the first on three singles, culminating in an RBI by Austin Meadows. And in the the third, the pesky Meadows, who led off game one with a homer, hit another one, a two run shot to finish the game’s scoring.
Carlos Correa got his first start today, going 0-3. Other 0-fers in the lineup thus far in the short 2019 season are Aledmys Diaz, Max Stassi, and Tony Kemp, but to be fair, Kemp has had some very good contact. Alex Bregman has continued his career trend of slow starts with a 1-15 so far this year with 4 K’s, a high percentage for him. His only hit, a home run, accounted for all the Astros’ scoring on Saturday.
One bright silver lining. Another excellent bullpen performance, this time by Josh James, who pitched two perfect innings with four strikeouts. Yeah.
You know you are in Bizarro World when your top hitter is Jake Marisnick, OPS 1.357!
OK, I’ve vented enough. This is all a tiny sample. I know that even the best teams have slumps, and sometimes they just happen to come at the beginning of the season. Losing a series on the road to a good team wouldn’t be so devastating in August, but in March it’s easy to over-react. So please TCBer’s do as I say and don’t do as I do. Don’t over-react.
The Astros start a three game series in Arlington tomorrow. The Astros beating the Rangers is the reason God made South Oklahoma.
Here’s Jake’s home run.
Box score and videos HERE