So much for the Astros’ lineup disappearing the day after an 11-run explosion, right? I mean, could you even imagine? Thankfully, it’ll remain a harmless thought.
For the second consecutive game, the Astros beat the Angels 11-3 on the baseball field. The team was clicking on all cylinders — in a season when that isn’t common — with the lineup leading the charge behind a strong pitching performance from J.P. France, Hèctor Neris, and Bryan Abreu. However, the first three innings were relatively quiet, with both clubs combining for two hits — a single each — and a lone Los Angeles walk representing the only threats on the basepaths.
Then the bottom of the fourth inning happened. First, Yordan Alvarez drove in Jose Altuve as the game’s first run with an RBI single. With two runners on base, Kyle Tucker then did what he does best.
On a side note: Jim Crane, if you’re reading this blog, extend Kyle Tucker. Please and thank you.
While the Angels would claim a run of their own in the top half of the fifth, the Astros didn’t let up, with Tucker and Yainer Díaz driving in a combined three runs to increase the lead to 7-1. Jake Meyers, Altuve, and Alex Bregman would ultimately increase the lead to 11-1 in the bottom of the eighth with RBI singles of their own. In a game that broke up with a home run, it was the singles that padded the lead. Of course, the Angels would gain a run in the top of the ninth, but it didn’t matter.
On the pitching side, France continues to look fantastic with seven innings of two-run ball, allowing only four hits and a walk while striking out five. He also generated eleven whiffs, with six coming from his cutter.
The rookie right-hander has thrown at least six innings in all but one of his starts dating back to May 29 against the Twins. In a season where pitching depth has been tested for the Astros, France’s performance has been a much-needed boost. While his FIP (4.02) and xFIP (4.51) are noticeably higher than his 2.74 ERA, France’s contributions can’t be overstated. At this rate, I think France has positioned himself for an expanded role in the postseason if the club ultimately qualifies.
Abreu and Neris finished the game out with two innings of one-run ball. The only blemish came when Andrew Velazquez hit a solo home run off of Neris in the top half of the ninth. Overall, however, there is little to complain about in this game. The Astros took care of their business; however, it would be nice if the Rangers lost a game at some point shortly. Like, really soon.