Cristian Javier was wonderful on the mound once again, this time to defeat the Guardians 2-1 on Wednesday night. The 25-year-old Dominican fired 5 2/3 scoreless innings and the Astros won the three-game series against Cleveland. Offensively, two sacrifice flies made it for Houston.
The now full-time starter Javier got his third win of the campaign (3-2) in fashion, allowing only three hits, giving up one walk, and punching out nine hitters. Javier struck out the side in order in the second inning: Josh Naylor, Andrés Giménez, and Ernie Clement. He threw 96 pitches, 63 of them being strikes.
Cristian Javier, Unfair Sliders. pic.twitter.com/OdRpRn6Oak— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 26, 2022
Speaking of how good Javier was on Wednesday, he got 20 whiffs out of 51 swings (39%), the second-highest mark of his career – his personal best so far is 21, going back to April 4, 2021.
Cristian Javier's 11 swings & misses induced thru 2 innings are the most by any pitcher thru the 1st 2 innings of a game vs CLE this year— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) May 26, 2022
Guardians entered today with the lowest whiff rate in MLB
In his last two starts (vs Rangers and Guardians), Javier has thrown 11 2/3 innings of six hits, one earned run, two walks, and 18 strikeouts. The righty is certainly earning the right to remain a starter in the long run for Houston.
From @MLBNetwork research:— Robert Flores (@RoFlo) May 26, 2022
Cristian Javier is the first #Astros pitcher to strike out nine and walk one or fewer in two straight starts since Gerrit Cole in September 2019.#levelup
In terms of offense, there wasn’t much going on for the ‘Stros. In the fifth, José Sirí kicked off the inning with his fourth double and José Altuve followed with a single. Then, Michael Brantley brought in Sirí with a sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, the Astros began the inning on base after Yordan Álvarez drew a walk. Immediately, Yuli Gurriel knocked a single and Aledmys Díaz hit a groundout to advance the runners. Jason Castro came right away with a sac fly of his own to make it 2-0.
After Blake Taylor surrendered the Guardians’ lone run, Héctor Neris, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly combined to shut the door with 2 1/3 no-hit innings. Pressly got his seventh save of the campaign and is carrying a streak of six scoreless appearances (5.2 IP, 4 H, 6 SO).
The Astros will take the day off on Thursday before heading back to Minute Maid Park for a three-game series against the Mariners. Justin Verlander is expected to start against righty Chris Flexen.