The Astros remain one game away from their inevitable clinching of the AL West after tonight’s loss to the Angels. However, a larger question emerges from this game.
Will Wade Miley start a Game 4 in the playoffs? And if not, will he even be on the roster?
Tonight Miley completed only one inning officially. In the first inning he surrendered three runs, and in the second inning he allowed runners on the corners with no outs before being replaced by Jose Urquidy. Urquidy allowed a single before retiring the next three Angels, but the run was charged to Miley.
In his last four starts, Miley has allowed 18 earned runs in 7.1 innings.
The Angels jumped on Miley immediately, with lead-off hitter David Fletcher starting the game with a home run. Fletcher was a thorn in the side of the Astros tonight, going 3 for 5 with some nifty fielding as well.
September 22, 2019
The Angels had a 4 to 0 lead when Yordan Alvarez led off the second for the Stros. He hit a monster shot past the Crawford Boxes, just fair, for his 27th home run of the season. It was the kind of oppo taco homer we had heard so much about before he came to the majors but which we haven’t seen too much of since.
Taking a trip the other way! #TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/XBJ6uLTlgh— Houston Astros (@astros) September 21, 2019
Following Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel was hit by a pitch, and Carlos Correa walked. Gurriel scored on a Kyle Tucker double, which should have scored Correa as well, but fan interference limited the advances to two bases. Correa would score on a Martin Maldonado ground out to first.
At four to three that is as close as the Astros would come.
After MIley, the Astros got strong 2.2 innings out of Jose Urquidy, but with two outs he allowed two singles and an RBI double to Albert Pujols before getting the last out.
Overall, Urquidy looked sharp, allowing in his three innings just the one run on four hits, with no walks and four strikeouts.
Urquidy was followed by another rookie whom few expected to be on the Astros roster this year, Bryan Abreu. Abreu struck out the side in the fifth inning, but ran into control problems in the sixth, and allowed a run on a Andrelton Simmons RBI single, the only hit Abreu allowed. He had four strikeouts in his two innings pitched.
The Astros would add their fourth run in the seventh on an Abraham Toro sacrifice fly that scored Kyle Tucker, who had doubled earlier.
Double or nothin'#TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/8uNTczteNF— Houston Astros (@astros) September 22, 2019
Tucker finished two for four, with two opposite field doubles and an RBI. In 48 at bats he has a .313 BA.
The Angels added two insurance runs in the ninth on a two-run Cole Calhoun home run off Hector Rondon.
The Astros managed only six hits, and were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position. The top three in tonight’s lineup, George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman, were only 1 for 11.
Tomorrow the Astros try again to clinch the AL West, this time with Justin Verlander on the mound going for his twentieth win. With a Yankees win today, the Astros lead the AL by only one game.
Game time 1:10 CDT
Box score and videos HERE.