If there’s a word to describe what the 2023 season has been for the Astros, it should be inconsistence. On Sunday night, they failed to produce against the Rangers’ pitching and took the loss 9-1. Defensive miscues also played a part in the fall.
The game didn’t have its first runs until the final third of the game. Prior to that, it was a beautiful pitching duel between lefties Framber Valdez and Andrew Heaney.
Framber was on top of this game until the seventh inning and his curveball was rocking – he induced 11 swings with that pitch and eight of them were missed. In fact, six of his seven strikeouts on the night came thanks to his great breaking delivery.
But the seventh turned into a nightmare for Houston. Nathaniel Lowe doubled to lead off the inning and Adolis García reached on an error by Jeremy Peña. Immediately, Josh Jung singled to leave bases loaded and Jonah Heim brought in a run after a walk. Again with bases loaded, Robbie Grossman delivered an RBI single to make it 2-0.
Héctor Neris was brought from the ‘pen and retired Leody Taveras and Travis Jankowski. When we thought the worst had already happened for the Astros, Marcus Semien hit a line-drive grand slam to bury the Astros’ hopes and leave the scoreboard 6-0. Even though the Rangers added three more runs in the eighth, it was all.
The Astros didn’t back up Framber this time. None of their hitters grabbed more than one hit and three of them struck out twice. Alex Bregman remains off, José Abreu can’t get out of his slump, Jeremy Peña keeps struggling, and David Hensley, Jake Meyers, and Martín Maldonado are almost outs by rule.
After 16 games, the Astros have won two games in a row just twice – and that also happens to be their longest winning streak as they’re yet to win three straight games. They have a 7-9 record and rank fourth in the AL West, only above the Oakland A’s, whose record is 3-13 and literally you can’t look much worse than that.
Now, they head to Toronto to visit Rogers Centre for a three-game series against the Blue Jays. Cristian Javier will try to open the series with a win and will be facing Kevin Gausman. Game starts at 7:10 pm CT.