Normally in any game in which your team scores 15 runs on 18 hits, the lede would be about the mighty, bashing bats. We’ll get to that. But with the uncertainty surrounding the back end of the Astros starting rotation, today an unexpected glimmer of hope emerged from oblivion.
Corbin Martin, a back-end, Top 100 Prospect in most, but not all, prospect rating services, made his rather surprising major league debut against the Rangers today. The initial returns are most encouraging. In 5.1 innings, he allowed only three hits, one walk, and two runs, while striking out nine Rangers. One of the runs charged to Martin was the inherited runner on first he gave to Collin McHugh with one out, who eventually scored.
He only made one mistake in 81 pitches, a barreled ball to Isiah Kiner-Felefa that was launched 385 feet into the Crawford Boxes. He showed excellent command of his three pitches, distributing his fastball, curve and change all over the strike zone. He threw about 60 % fastballs, with an average velocity of 96.1 MPH. Out of his 81 pitches, he got 11 whiffs, about 10% whiff rate on the four seam, 19% on the curve, and 23% on the change, which appeared to be his most effective pitch. Indeed, the linear weighted outcome of the fastball, change and curve were 0.07, -0.76, and -0.39 respectively. (negative being good for the pitcher).
Here’s the curve.
Corbin Martin, Filthy 86mph Knuckle Curve (and whatever that is by Hunter Pence). pic.twitter.com/pRn9hmPD0A— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 12, 2019
If there was one minor issue it was with the strike percentage, especially with the fastball, which got strikes only 59% of the time. Nonetheless he only walked one batter and was never in serious trouble besides the solo home run.
One game does not a Cy Young make, but the first impression on Corbin Martin is very positive. (For more data on Corbin Martin’s first game go here.)
Especially considering what followed him. Collin McHugh continued to show the distress that got him bumped from the rotation, allowing three hits, two walks and a run in 1.2 innings. He did manage to pitch out of a bases loaded, no out jam in his second inning pitched with two clutch strikeouts on killer sliders.
Framber Valdez continued to Framberize, getting a scoreless inning but stranding two base runners. And for the second game in a row, Chris Devenski allowed a home run, a meaningless two run job in the ninth, lifting his season ERA to 5.94. Is it too soon to wonder if Devenski’s issues from last summer are still not behind him?
OK, for the fun part. They don’t pay me overtime here at Vox media so I don’t do play by play recaps of games over ten runs. So just a few highlights.
George Springer started the game with another home run, his fifth lead-off homer of the season, 29th of his career. He added a second in the sixth inning, a 420 footer, his league leading 15th of the year. George is hitting .321, with a 1.060 OPS. He was five for five today with 4 RBI. He has 37 for the year, which should put him in the AL lead for the time being.
Here’s George’s second dinger.
Mama said knock you out. #TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/dIB4ouHPLq— Houston Astros (@astros) May 12, 2019
Then there’s Alex Bregman, who was only 3-5 with two homers but 5 RBI. That should put him in sixth place in the AL for now. Carlos Correa was only 3-3, with a double, a run scored and a walk. Fellow Cubans Yuli Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz each added two hits and three RBI between them, and Tony Kemp was 3-5 with a triple, three runs scored and an RBI.
Here’s one of Bregs’ Mother’s Day valentines to left field.
Dearest Mother,— Houston Astros (@astros) May 12, 2019
To show my love, today, I will crush baseballs. #TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/3C4yai1gAW
Only the two Astros batting average leaders, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick, plus Max Stassi, were hitless among starters today. The Astros scored in every inning except the third, seventh and eighth. Eleven of the fifteen runs were scored with two outs. It was an absolute slugfest, the most runs and the most hits by this incredibly potent Astros offense all year. And Altuve sits with an injury.
I don’t know if Detroit is ready for these boys, but here they come. Brad Peacock, coming off an impressive 12 strikeout performance, faces the Detroit ace, Mathew Boyd. He will have his hands full. Game time is 6:10 CDT.
Box score and videos HERE.