I’m a former umpire. I’m not one to complain about umpires. I know how hard it is. And anyway, bad calls are just part of the game, like bad hops and fan interference.
But CB Buckner put the Astros in a hole right away that, in their current state of batting ineptitude, they had no chance of leaving. Pitch after pitch by Astros starter Luis Garcia that were clearly strikes on the corner, or even entirely in the zone, were called balls.
Garcia walked the first two batters, and was forced to groove fastballs down the middle the rest of the inning, resulting in four Oriole runs. That was all they would need against an Astro squad that could only manage two runs against one of the worst pitchers in the league, Matt Harvey, and one of the worst staffs.
The Astros managed their only two runs in the fourth inning on RBI singles by Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker.
The Astros got only five hits, all singles.
After the first inning, Luis Garcia settled down, going four total innings allowing no more runs after the first. Brandon Bielak and Cristian Javier continued the scoreless streak through seven innings.
It was a memorable day for one young man named Ryan Hartman, who made his MLB debut for the Astros in the seventh inning. He completed 2.1 innings, allowing a homer in the eighth, but otherwise acquitting himself better than the average Astros relief pitcher of late.
Congratulations young man. Looks like you got some nasty stuff.
Back to Buckner. He threw out Brent Strom. Mild-mannered Brent Strom! It was the worst excuse for calling balls and strikes I’ve seen since Ron Kulpa in ...was it 2019? You know what I’m talking about.
Somebody post the Baseball Savant strike zone. It’s late. I’m too tired and grumpy.