Last year, Rafael Montero was a brilliant man out of the Astros bullpen. He finished the regular season with a 2.37 ERA and 14 saves over 69 1/3 innings and 73 strikeouts. This season hasn’t been the same for him, though. On Saturday night, the righty was hard hit to get his third loss of the campaign and see Houston go down 3-1 against the White Sox.
To start the game, Brandon Bielak did everything you could have hoped for. Despite surrendering eight hits, including a solo shot from Luis Robert Jr., the Astros right-hander went five innings of one run, no walks, and four strikeouts.
He took the no-decision but lowered his ERA to 3.29.
Phil Maton followed him with a scoreless inning and then Ryne Stanek did the same with a blank inning of his own.
Offensively, the Astros enjoyed a game-tying single by Mauricio Dubón in the seventh inning to make it 1-1.
But Rafael Montero came out of the ‘pen in the eighth and struggled again. Yoán Moncada led off with a double and, only seconds later, Robert Jr. delivered a go-ahead single. Eventually, Robert Jr. scored thanks to a Seby Zavala single that made it 3-1.
In his four appearances in May, Montero has allowed eight hits and nine earned runs over 3 2/3 innings, with two free passes and one homer. That’s an awful month after a solid 13-appearance March/April span in which he logged a 2.25 ERA.
On Sunday, the Astros will try to take the series in what will be a nice pitching matchup between Hunter Brown and Lucas Giolito. Game starts at 1:10 pm CT.