clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Astros Rebound With 9-2 Win Over Tigers

MLB: Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

For a while, Hunter Brown appeared to be a contender for AL Rookie of the Year. Through June 13, the dynamic right-hander posted a 3.35 ERA and 3.29 FIP in 75 13 innings. While his 27.1% strikeout rate caught plenty of attention then, his 8.5% walk rate was just as encouraging. Yes, a walk rate that is the equivalent of the league average this season was progress for Brown, who had some notorious control issues in the minor leagues. Plenty of indicators were flashing positive for Brown and the only pressing question for a while was how would the Astros manage his workload in the summer.

However, it is sometimes easy to forget that progress isn’t linear. There are peaks and valleys for players, especially rookies. Sure enough, Brown has traversed a long valley this summer with a 6.15 ERA and 4.98 FIP in his last 52 23 innings entering Saturday’s start against his hometown Tigers. If it wasn’t for a slew of injuries to the rotation earlier in the season, Brown’s struggles would’ve been somewhat minimized. But the circumstances changed and his performance was more under the magnifying glass as his role became more prominent in the rotation. That said, Brown’s peripherals still offered some encouragement, with a strikeout near 26% in addition to a walk rate that actually decreased to 6.4%.

But results matter and Brown has become ineffective as of late. His last start against the Mariners at Minute Maid Park — 2 23 innings, 6 earned runs — was particularly disastrous. Fresh off a bitter loss on Friday, the Astros desperately needed a decent start from Brown to at least take some burden off of the bullpen once again. In turn, the rookie had arguably one of his better starts of the season, limiting the Tigers to two earned runs across five innings of work, striking out nine while walking only two. Brown also led the game with 10 whiffs, with six from his four-seam (22 swings) and four from his curveball (10 swings).

Brown held up his end of the bargain on Saturday. Would the lineup hold up their end, unlike Friday when Jose Altuve’s RBI infield single was responsible for the only hit, and run, of the game? I think so with 14 hits and nine runs.

While the game was relatively quiet for the first four innings with a 1-1 tie, Houston’s bats would come to life in the top of the fifth against Eduardo Rodriguez, and would tack on eight more runs against him and the Detroit bullpen from that point on. Alex Bregman, in particular, had a strong game with all three of his hits going for extra bases (two doubles and a home run).

Jose Altuve was the usual catalyst atop of the lineup, with Bregman driving him in three times. Yordan Alvarez might be starting to emerge from his slump with Kyle Tucker, Chas McCormick, and José Abreu each having their moment. Kendall Graveman, Ryne Stanek, and Ronel Blanco would finish the game out over the last four innings, with six strikeouts and allowing four hits. While it wasn’t airtight, I’d gladly take that turnaround after yesterday’s unfortunate ending.

Alas, both the Rangers and Mariners won their respective games, so the AL West standings hold steady for one more day at least. The Astros trail both division rivals by two games in the loss column — one game overall — leading into Sunday’s finale against the Tigers. There is still plenty of baseball left, but Houston will need more performances like Saturday to make it worthwhile.