For the fifth consecutive game, the Astros pitching staff has held an opponent to two runs or less. Coincidentally, Houston won all five games. That has to be a sign about how good pitching leads to wins or something. Sure, those shutdown performances have occurred against the Giants (98 wRC+), Mariners (84 wRC+), and the road Rockies (86 wRC+), but it is a step in the right direction with, at last count, seven rookies on the staff. Following that rather dreadful stretch of baseball in early August, I’ll gladly take a turn for the better.
A key reason why the Astros have been fun to watch in the last couple of weeks is due to the pitching performances from that lovable assortment of rookies. Andre Scrubb, for example, has been fun. Same goes for Cristian Jaiver and Enoli Paredes. I’m sure that I am forgetting someone or three, but you get the point. Some of those games were rough, though, especially as those despicable extra inning affairs took a heavy toll. But one silver lining with the current injury predicament to — waves hands wildly — nearly every pitcher on the roster is to find a couple of hidden gems. Brandon Bielak could very be one those valuable finds, especially if he continues to pitch like this.
Brandon Bielak, Filthy 87 Changeup. pic.twitter.com/VkNeVXYt4S— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 18, 2020
Since his move to the rotation, Bielak has only stepped up. Counting his performance tonight against the Rockies, who he held to just one run in six innings, the 24-year old now has a 1.69 ERA across three starts in August. The one regret of his night was a solo home run by Trevor Story in the third inning, which was also the only hit that Colorado mustered off of the rookie. That said, Bielak’s control was a bit out of order as he did issue four walks compared to four strikeouts, but I am deciding not to nitpick everything tonight.
The Astros lineup was relatively quiet all game long as Rockies starter Kyle Freeland held the home team to two runs across seven hits. Only Carlos Correa was able to make Freeland, or any Colorado pitcher, pay with his two-run double in the first inning. Sometimes you take what you get from this lineup when everything isn’t clicking.
While Houston would threaten the Rockies off and on all game long, they could never add to their small lead. Thankfully for them, the pitching staff led by Bielak, Brooks Raley, Josh James, and Blake Taylor did a tremendously fine job on Monday. In fact, Taylor picked up his first major league save on his 25th birthday. Good night for him, no doubt.
By the way, Jose Altuve continues to look tremendously off at the plate. Something has to give sooner or later, right? But enough negativity for the night. Now, if you’d excuse me, I am debating whether or not to purchase this jersey tonight.
And here is the game chart for your enjoyment.