Which is more impressive, Gerrit Cole’s one-hitter, or the Astros getting 22 hits?
Which is more impressive, Gerrit Cole striking out 15 without a walk, or the Astros getting a team record 11 doubles?
Which is more impressive, Gerrit Cole’s stratospheric game score rating of 91, or the 39 total bases accumulated by Astros hitters.
If all I had to write about today was the pitching performance, it would be an amazing story. If all I had to write about today was the hitting performance, it would be an amazing story.
Let’s start with Gerrit Cole.
Gerrit Cole, twenty-nine today, pitched eight innings today and got 15 strikeouts, his third game in a row with 14 or more. It is the 17th time this year and fifth game in a row in which he has had more than 10 Ks in a game. He has a league leading 281 strikeouts for the year.
His only mistake was a home run to Shed Long in the fourth inning, as fluky a homer as the Crawford Boxes have ever produced. According to Statcast, it was a 338 footer that traveled 95 MPH with only a 25% chance of being a base hit normally. Although Cole was taken out of the game in the eighth inning, I think it is fair to say that this fly ball, an easy out in almost every other stadium in baseball, is all that stood between him and a perfect game today.
As his game score rating indicated, Cole simply dominated. He threw 96 pitches, 68 for strikes. The Mariners swung and missed at 24 Cole’s pitches, a 25% whiff rate.
Here are 15 Ks in 33 seconds.
Gerrit Cole, 15Ks in 33 Seconds.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 8, 2019
The most dominant starter on the planet. Pay the man. pic.twitter.com/VfhW8FWVqE
We can debate the over/under on whether the Texans match in points the Astros’ 21 runs today. Before there were any outs in the third inning the Astros had scored eleven against Mariners starter Felix Hernandez, and by the end of the third the score was 13-0.
Hernandez did escape the first inning without a run, and almost escaped the second. However, with two outs and runners on second and third, shortstop Dee Gordon bobbled a Martin Maldonado grounder, allowing the two base runners to score. The next hitter, Jake Marisnick, then blasted a 432 foot bomb high above the Crawford Boxes, to give the Astros a four-run lead. All four of these runs were scored as unearned.
There was nothing unearned about the nine runs the Astros scored in the 3rd inning, coming off two Yordan Alvarez doubles, doubles by Aledmys Diaz, Kyle Tucker, Martin Maldonado, and a three run homer by George Springer, his 31st.
The Astros added two more runs in the fifth on a Kyle Tucker double, and one more in the sixth on a Yordan Alvarez double, his third of the game.
The Astros exploded again in the seventh inning with five more runs on four singles, a walk, and a double by Abraham Toro to start the damage. The big hit was a two-run single by, yes him again, Yordan Alvarez.
Just when we thought the league had figured out Yordan, today he was 4 for 6 with 6 RBI. He now has 70 RBI in 70 games. Kyle Tucker was 2 for 5 with 3 RBI, and in his short time back with the big club, is atoning for his disappointing call-up last year. He is slashing .316/.350/.632 (.982 OPS) and doing a better job avoiding the grounders into the shift that afflicted him last year. He also has several hits to the opposite field.
After pinch-running for Alex Bregman, Myles Straw was 3 for 3, with three runs scored. Jake Marisnick also had three hits.
All eleven Astros in the box score scored at least one run, and they all had at least one hit.
Even the bench-sitters were amazing today.
The Astros open another home series against the Oakland A’s tomorrow at 7:10 CDT. The A’s send former Astro Mike Fiers ( 14-3, 3.51) to face Zack Greinke (14-4, 3.05).
The A’s are ten games behind the Astros in the AL West and have almost no chance of catching the Stros. They are very much in the thick of the Wild Card race, currently qualifying for the second Wild Card position, one game behind Tampa Bay, and one-and-a-half games ahead of Cleveland.
Currently the Astros sit 1⁄2 game ahead of the Yankees for first place in the AL and are a game ahead of the Dodgers in the MLB standings. The Yankees play tonight and with a win will be tied with the Stros.
Box score and videos HERE
Will the Texans manage to equal or better the Astros’ point production in tomorrow’s home opener?
This poll is closed