George Springer made his heralded return last night and the team responded with a 5-1 win in the first game of the series with the Pirates. Springer singled, Altuve doubled, Bregman had three hits, a single, a double and a home run, and the Yordan Factor hit a two-run double to the right-center field wall that was an infield grounder. Pow!
Gerrit Cole was not his usual, dominant self, getting only three K’s, but he allowed no homers either, and managed six innings with only one run allowed.
Tonight Framber Valdez takes the mound for the Astros, sporting a 3-3, 3.61 ERA record in 2019. He seeks redemption for his last start in New York, where he allowed 5 earned runs in 3.1 innings of work. Some say pitching in a rainstorm might have caused his meltdown in the fourth inning of that game.
Since joining the rotation on June 6th however, Valdez has posted respectable numbers; a 3.54 ERA and a 3.25 xFIP. He seems to have the command issues of last season at least somewhat under control, posting a reasonable 3.10 walks per nine innings, while striking out 9.30 per nine during this time as a starter.
Let us hope his tumultuous fourth inning in New York was a detour on his path to becoming a reliable back of rotation starter on a championship team.
Opposing Valdez is rookie Dario Agrazal from Panama, 0-0, 4.50 ERA. It is only his second game in the Big Leagues.
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