Another day in September, another disappointing game for the Astros. Such is life this month. At least Houston already had a postseason berth under wraps, thanks to an assist from the Dodgers on Friday night.
For Saturday, it was more same issues that have been plaguing the Astros all month long. The lineup, for example, remains anemic. Against Kyle Gibson, who had a 5.87 ERA this season, Houston looked lifeless against the right-hander for a second time in ten days.
Kyle Gibson’s season:— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) September 27, 2020
vs. every team but Astros: 40 ER in 52 1/3 innings (6.88 ERA)
vs. Astros: 0 ER in 15 IP (0.00 ERA)
Only Kyle Tucker had more than one hit against the Rangers. Myles Straw and his .512 OPS inexplicably batted leadoff again. Jack Mayfield drove in the only run of the game for the Astros. It was a long night.
On the pitching side, the game actually started off promising. To some confusion, though, manager Dusty Baker decided to use Lance McCullers Jr. as his starter even with a postseason berth guaranteed. That said, McCullers Jr. looked sharp as he limited the Rangers to just two hits and two walks while striking out nine across four innings.
Lance McCullers, Filthy 86mph Knuckle Curve.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 27, 2020
9th K thru 4. pic.twitter.com/XhR7G7k2oo
But trouble arose in thereafter as Brandon Bielak would surrender four runs in two innings, with the bulk of the damage coming in the seventh. More than likely, Bielak has pitched himself out of the postseason. Andre Scrubb would subsequently give up two runs of his own that same inning to hand Texas a 6-1 advantage.
At this point, the Astros are locked into the sixth seed in the AL. Saturday and Sunday mean nothing other than pride. But if they hope to avoid a losing record heading into the postseason, a win on Sunday is absolutely required. Let’s see how tomorrow’s bullpen game unfolds.