This series looks like a serious mismatch. But so did the last one. After all, the Astros are playing.
In the Tigers lineup tonight there were six batters with batting averages less than .215. Three were below the Mendoza line. The fWAR (wins above replacement) for the entire team is 0.5. 0.5! I do declare that the boys in Round Rock are a way bit better than just a half win better than major league level replacement players. By the way, the Astros lead baseball in WAR with 11.3. That’s before tonight’s tidy spanking of the toothless Tigers.
I’ll start with the worst part of tonight’s game.
Brad Peacock got the win tonight, going five innings and allowing only one run. One has to believe that if he faced a lineup of real major leaguers, fate would not have been so kind. Maybe it was the late Spring chill off Lake Erie that did it, but he had trouble with command and control. He walked four batters, was behind in many a count, and barely threw fifty percent of his pitches for strikes. Out of 88 pitches there were only 7 whiffs.
Still, he was able to scatter three hits and four walks, allowing only one run in the fourth on a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly. He was able to strand a runner on third in the second with only one out.
He got some defensive help too. Like this great play by the other right fielder, MVP George Springer.
But even if the Tigers had gotten to Peacock, they wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the prolific Astros bats. The bottom of the order came through again tonight, this time starting with Aledmys Diaz in the second, who bashed one 424 feet to left field. This was followed by a Tyler White walk, and then another Robinson Chirinos homer, his fifth, an impressive 394 foot oppo taco.
In the seventh inning it was number nine in the order’s turn. Jake Marisnick hit one of his classic moon launches to left center (remember his two off the awful sculpture in Miami in 2017) that scored Chirinos in front of him. With a low launch angle of only 21 degrees, it still traveled 421 feet thanks to an exit velocity of 111 MPH. Marisnick is batting .297 with an OPS of .911. He plays pretty good defense too.
In the ninth the Stros piled on. George Springer got his league leading 38th RBI with a single, scoring Jake Marisnick. His BA is up to .323. And then Alex Bregman finished the scoring with a just barely over the fence, past the glove, home run, his 13th, which should put him in second for the league lead behind Springer.
Following Peacock’s departure after the fifth inning, the bullpen held the Tigers scoreless, with Hector Rondon, Will Harris, Ryan Pressly and Josh James together holding the Tigers to only two more hits. Pressly threw his 36th consecutive inning without allowing a run, and had two strikeouts.
The Astros have scored 34 runs in their last three games, that without their 2017 MVP, Jose Altuve. They’re scary. And tonight the Astros beat the Tigers ace, who came into the game with a sub 3.00 ERA.
Tomorrow they face a non-ace, Ryan Carpenter, with a career ERA of 7.90 in 27.1 IP. Wade Miley faces him for the Stros.
Box score and videos HERE