Once again this season, the Astros were betrayed by both their offense and defense.
Lucas Harrell has had an up and down season, but there was nothing bad to say about his outing this afternoon. The Angels defeated the Astros 3-1 to complete a weekend sweep in Houston.
The first problem with today’s game, was the fact that the Astros had more errors than runs scored.
There has been a lot of recent support for the idea of Jose Cisnero taking over the eighth inning duties for the Astros. Today was not the game to use as an example while making the case for Cisnero.
Howard Kendrick led off the inning with a single and then scored on a Josh Hamilton one out double. And this is where things got a little hairy once again for the Astros. Instead of Hamilton just staying at second base, he ended up scoring on what you would call a “little league home run”.
Elmore tried to send his relay throw home, but instead sailed it way up the first base line. This allowed Hamilton to score, and that was the extent of the runs scored this afternoon.
Harrell got back in his groove and pitched seven innings while only giving up one run. The right hander lowered his ERA to 4.59 and struck out seven Angels. Aside from a Mark Trumbo fourth inning home run, Harrell had a pretty stress free outing as he allowed only six hits and two walks.
In the sixth inning Kendrick led off the inning by hitting a line drive back up the middle right off of Harrell’s shin. It did not seem to slow the Astros’ starter down as he got through the next two innings unscathed.
For as bad and frustrating as Harrell has seemed at times this season, he actually has had a decent amount of success this season. Granted his ERA does sit at 4.59 after today’s start which is nothing to brag about, but this was the 10th start of the season in which he allowed one earned run or less.
Brandon Barnes led off the sixth inning by singling for the second time in the game. The outfielder then continued making things happen as he stole second base. Jake Elmore then bunted in an effort to move Barnes to third base, but was actually able to beat out the throw to put runners on the corners.
Jose Altuve then came up in a clear RBI situation and lined out to third base. Alberto Callaspo tried to double Elmore off at first base, but instead threw the ball away allowing Barnes to score and tie the game. And that was all she wrote for the Houston offense today.
Ronny Cedeno walked in the seventh inning and the Astros did not provide too much of a threat in the eighth or ninth innings either.
Houston put two guys on in the eighth inning as Chris Carter followed up an Elmore single with a two out walk and both were stranded by a Carlos Corporan strikeout. J.D. Martinez led off the ninth inning with a single, and was stranded at first base.
Perhaps they will have better luck as Tampa Bay comes to town.