Every pitcher has a night when he just doesn’t have his full command.
If you’re say, Justin Verlander, and you don’t have your command, you power your way with your 96 MPH heater and maybe “get by” with allowing three runs in six innings.
If you’re Zack Greinke throwing 88 MPH “heat,” you’d better hit your spot with almost every pitch. And don’t walk anyone. Because if you walk anyone, and then throw a mistake, there could be dire consequences.
Greinke didn’t have it tonight. Coming into the game with a 1.35 ERA, and having only allowed one walk in thirteen innings, tonight Greinke allowed ten hits and three walks in only 4.2 innings. Three of those hits were home runs, homers to Grayson Greiner for two runs in the second inning, and back to back solo shots to Renato Nunez and surprising rookie phenom Akil Badoo with two outs in the third.
Believe it or not, it could have been worse for Zack. He stranded the bases loaded in the first, a harbinger of things to come. On the other hand, he did throw an Eephus for a strike.
Badoo, who was 2-3 for the night, got another RBI in the fifth inning on a sac fly, and the Tigers got their sixth and final run on a single by Greiner that chased Greinke.
Astros hitting remained in its mini-slump that began last weekend, getting only seven hits and two runs on the strength of Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa solo home runs. As a team the Astros were 0-11 with runners in scoring position.
Besides the homers, Yuli Gurriel and Kyle Tucker provided some offensive spark, Gurriel with three hits and Tucker with two. Old-man Gurriel is above the Williams line, hitting .400 for the season.
But the best news to come out of this losing game was what may turn out to be a breakout performance by 24 year-old Luis Garcia in relief of Greinke. The same lineup that pounded the presumptive Hall-of Famer Greinke barely touched Garcia. In 4.1 innings Garcia allowed no runs, only two hits, one walk, with seven, yes, seven strikeouts!
On the Tigers side, their #1 overall draft pick, Casey Mize, got his first career win, speaking of breakouts.
Oh well. Baseball.
Tomorrow the two teams do it again. Same bat stadium. Same bat channel.
Jake Odorizzi gets his first start as an Astro.
Box score and videos HERE.