For the tenth time this season the Astros were shutout. And the outcome of the game was never really in doubt. In fact the Astros are lucky that they did not get no-hit. Mark Buerhle’s stuff was that good tonight.
Erik Bedard started for the Astros in his first appearance since removing himself from his no-hitter Saturday against the Mariners. For the second straight start Bedard pitched pretty good. But the problem, yet again, was his pitch count.
Bedard allowed one run, walked a batter, and gave up three hits while striking out six Blue Jays. The lefty walked Jose Bautista with two outs in the fourth inning and then Edwin Encarnacion doubled Bautista home. Houston was able to get out of any further trouble as Justin Maxwell quickly got to the ball and Jose Altuve made a nice cut off throw to nab Encarnacion at third.
The problem though, is that Bedard needed 95 pitches to get through only five innings. He then gave way to Lucas Harrell who has still not been able to right the ship after being moved to the bullpen.
Harrell pitched the last three innings for the Astros allowing three runs in the seventh inning. Adam Lind doubled in one run and then Maicer Izturis singled in two more runs as Harrell’s ERA rose to 5.17 on the season.
Houston’s bats had no such luck tonight. Buerhle needed only 107 pitches to get through the game unscathed. He allowed two walks and only gave up a double to J.D. Martinez and a single to Maxwell. The Astros struck out nine times, which for them actually isn’t that bad. Well, aside from the fact that Buerhle is not exactly a strikeout pitcher.
Since the Astros brought Brett Wallace back up, I have been advocating that he should be playing against left handed pitching. Tonight, Wallace showed that maybe he should not be in the lineup against southpaws as he struck out in all three at-bats.
While Jonathan Villar did not get a hit tonight, he at least did manage to work a walk and get on base. Villar also struck out once, and was a little overzealous on the base paths as Buerhle picked him off. In time, he will learn, but growing pains are to be expected.