What are the Astros without All Star shortstop Carlos Correa, MVP Jose Altuve, All Star utility man Aledmys Diaz, and World Series MVP George Springer?
Well, so far, they’ve won five out of six games!
And it’s the replacement players, namely Myles Straw and Derek Fisher, leading the way.
Today Myles Straw wins bilbos Most Valuable Player Award, going three for four with a walk, scoring three runs and stealing three bases. One of the hits was a grounder to short that should have been a routine out but for Straw’s shockingly fast speed. If there’s a faster runner in baseball I haven’t seen him, yeah, I mean you Byron Buxton. If Straw gets a single or a walk it’s pretty much a double. And after stealing second, when a hitter hits a sharp single to left field, when other base runners stop at third, Straw just drops his head and flashes home, no contest at the plate.
Here’s Myles Straw scoring the fourth Astros run in the seventh. He singled to lead off the inning and stole second to get in this position to score on the Fisher single.
Here’s Straw scoring the game winning run in the 12th. He led off the inning with a single and stole second to get in position to score on this Brantley single.
In the fifth inning, again after stealing second, Straw scored from second on this throwing error by shortstop Marcus Semien. Few runners score this run in my humble opinion.
And then there’s Derek Fisher. In 2017 he was the shining new thing, the Kyle Tucker/ Yordan Alvarez sure thing, can’t miss prospect. But he kind of fell flat when he came up in 2017. And again in 2018. And he’s been overshadowed by the latest shining new things in the hearts and minds of Astros prospect watchers ever since.
But here is his slash line since re-joining the club: .292/370/.542/ 145 wRC+. His home run Friday was the game winner in a one run victory. Today he led off with a very similar hit to center that didn’t quite launch enough to go out, but he scored just the same on a Yuli Gurriel double to open the scoring. In the seventh inning Fisher singled Straw home, who had stolen second, for the Astros fourth run.
Yuli Gurriel was 3 for 5 today, with two RBI, including an RBI single in the twelfth for the Astros’ sixth, and final run.
The A’s scoring is a simple matter to describe. In the second inning Robbie Grossman and Jurickson Profar hit homers off Astros starter Gerrit Cole to give them a 2-1 lead. The Astros scored two in the fifth on the Bregman hit and Semien error, and another in the seventh on the Fisher RBI of Straw to take a 4-2 lead, but then Ramon Laureano hit a solo home run off, wait for this, Will Harris, the first home run he has allowed all year.
Laureano remains an Astro killer. Prior to today’s game he was hitting .375 against the Astros. Today he added a home run to his attack against the team that traded him for Brandon Bailey.
In the eighth, the scorching hot Matt Chapman tied the score with the A’s’ fourth solo home run, this one off of the supposedly untouchable Ryan Pressly. It is the second dinger and only the second earned run surrendered by Pressly this year.
The Astros bullpen solidified in the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth innings with scoreless frames by Hector Rondon, Roberto Osuna, and two perfect innings by winning pitcher Josh James, who evoked TV announcer Geoff Blum’s exclamation, “hundo,” numerous times, while striking out three A’s.
In a tight game, every play matters, including this defensive gem by our newest catcher, Garrett Stubbs.
Tomorrow the Astros travel to Seattle to take on the struggling Mariners. It’s great to get out of Oakland, with the drums, and the circling seagulls, like a scene from the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie. Corbin Martin, (1-1 5.51 ERA) takes on Wade LeBlanc, (2-2, 6.99 ERA)
Game time 9:10 CDT.
Box score and videos here