For six and two thirds innings the Indians’ hurler, Carlos Carrasco, was dang near invincible. This is what he made Astros hitters look at all night.
Carlos Carrasco, 82mph Slider (sword) and 88mph Changeup (looking), Overlay/Tails. pic.twitter.com/q2ZCmvMciZ— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 28, 2019
For the one third of that inning that remained he became the losing pitcher. Going into the seventh inning Carrasco had allowed no runs, one hit with eight strikeouts. Astros hitters looked hopeless. And then with two outs in the seventh he allowed all of the four runs that were all the Astros needed to win the game.
The trouble started with one out when another newest Astro, Michael Brantley, singled to right field. Yuli Gurriel, who for his last six games has a .083 BA, plated the first Astros run with a double off the wall in front of the Crawford Boxes to tie the score 1-1. I’m sure with hindsight, Manager Francona of the Indians would have lifted his pitcher at this point, but he decided to walk the red-hot Josh Reddick in order to bring up the lowly catcher Robinson Chirinos. Easy out, right? Smart baseball, right?
Chirinos barreled one 426 feet, above the Crawford Boxes, scoring Gurriel and Reddick, and providing all the runs and then some that the Astros would need to tie the four game series and send the team on a high note to Minnesota.
Don’t look now, but guess who has the highest OPS on the Astros. It’s the lowly catcher, Robinson Chirinos.
But four runs won’t win a game without some good pitching. Starter Wade Miley, the poor man’s Dallas Keuchel, allowed only one run, on a solo home run by Carlos Santana in the fourth inning. He scattered six hits and two walks, and lowered his ERA to 3.24 for the season, the second best on the team among starters.
Miley managed to escape a bases loaded situation in the fifth inning after allowing singles to Roberto Perez, Jake Bauers, and Jose Ramirez. With one out and men on first and second he got Leonys Martin to strike out, and with two out and bases loaded he got the home run hitter, Santana, to meekly ground out to end the threat.
Amidst the excitement another positive development with possible greater long-term significance was the two innings of relief of Framber Valdez, who allowed only one hit, no walks, and no runs. Valdez’ greatest shortcoming in his young career has been his control. Tonight he threw 19 strikes out of 23 pitches. He got two strikeouts. If this is a trend in his development, then the Astros have a new killer weapon in the bullpen.
Ryan Pressly got to be the closer tonight, and although he did allow a double, he extended his string of scoreless appearances to 32. His two strikeouts, including one of Francisco Lindor swinging helplessly to end the game, extends his string of strikeouts without a walk this season to 13.
Tomorrow Justin Verlander faces Jake Odorizzi at 6:40 CDT in Minnesota
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