In a game that could have gone either way believe it or not, the best bullpen prevailed in the end. On Friday night, the Astros dropped their fifth contest in their last six, falling on a 10-3 score against the San Diego Padres in 11 innings to start the series in Minute Maid Park.
For the Astros, this game was a must-watch one due to Framber Valdez’s comeback to the mound after being sidelined since Spring Training. In his 2021 debut, the lefty held the Friars to two hits, one earned run, and two walks over four episodes of four strikeouts. His lone run came on a Tommy Pham four-bagger.
In the fifth, Cristian Javier followed with a copy of Valdez’s outing. He was the man in charge for the next four innings and only surrendered a Fernando Tatís Jr. moonshot that tied the game to two runs apiece in the top of the eighth.
With a tied score, Ryan Pressly didn’t have a problem throwing the ninth, though things changed in the 10th, when Ryne Stanek got the ball and allowed the extra-inning second-base runner to score. Stanek’s struggles were part of his performance once again, as he walked two hitters before finally getting through the inning.
In the bottom 10th, Chas McCormick drove in the tying run with a sac fly. McCormick produced every run scored by the Astros on Friday, also taking into account his two-run, go-ahead home run in the fourth frame against starter Dinelson Lamet. Later in that inning, Houston wasted a beautiful chance with José Altuve hitting with bases loaded against Mark Melancon, but the latter came out with the best part.
And then the biggest weakness of the Astros this season came to everyone’s eyes: the bullpen!
Brooks Raley —who took his third loss of the campaign— and Brandon Bielak weren’t able to keep the tie and they were absolutely crushed by a Padres’ lineup that recorded 11 hits. Both pitchers combined for six hits and seven runs (three earned).
If you only see the huge gap on the board, you won’t think it was a beautiful, remarkable game for the Astros (at least on the pitching side) until we got to extra innings, where San Diego scored eight runs in total.
Before saying good night to everyone and letting you with tomorrow’s game information, I’ll say just one more thing: THE ASTROS NEED BULLPEN HELP RIGHT NOW.
Both teams will collide again with each other this Sunday (4:10 pm ET). The Astros will enjoy the return of Jake Odorizzi to the mound, but he will face a tough matchup with Yu Darvish, who carries a 1.75 ERA and was the NL Cy Young runner up in 2020 with the Cubs.
P.S: It’s tough to look back and think the Astros could have won it had Chas McCormick hit this ball just a bit farther.