Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Astros hang with a team for 6 or 7 innings and then the bullpen comes in and makes a mockery of everyone who has ever stepped foot on a mound before. The Astros had a chance, but end up losing late. Again.
Jarred Cosart pitched his way to an ugly 1 run in 6 innings. After loading the bases with no outs in the first, Cosart managed to escape with only a RBI single by Paul Konerko. Cosart struggled with his command all night, walking 5 and fanning 4 while allowing 7 hits, but again, the results were there in the end. Cosart continues to keep his K:BB ratio at an absolutely miserable 1:1, but somehow, he is keeping the Astros in ball games. You can’t call it luck if it keeps happening.
Chris Sale, on the other hand, was absolutely magnificent. He kept Astros hitters guessing all night. He left after walking L.J. Hoes to start the ninth, but not before he tallied 12 strikeouts. Sale struck out the first 4 batters he faced, including Matt Dominguez batting clean-up who was celebrating his 24th birthday.
Chris Carter had a good game, going 2 for 3 with a double off the left field wall as well as a Home Run to left on what looked like a pretty weak swing. Carter went 6 for 11 in Chicago and hit 3 Homers which puts him at a team-high 26 for the season.
So, despite all odds, the Astros entered the Bottom of the 7th tied at 1 with the White Sox. Cosart had been shaky, Sale had been amazing, and Carter had provided the only offense. But still, the Astros were in it. Then comes Lucas Harrell.
Harrell strutted to the mound and promptly walked the first batter he faced. No big deal. He gets tons of ground balls when batters have a chance to swing at the one strike he throws every 6 pitches. Nope. Luery Garcia breaks for second and then advances to third on an error by feel-good story of the year, Cody Clark. Clark threw out a would-be base stealer earlier in the game, which made him 3 for 3 on such plays, but even heroes have their flaws. And even if he didn’t, Harrell had more than enough for the both of them.
Former Astro, Jeff Keppinger, hit a sacrifice fly to Brandon Barnes. 2-1. Not ideal against someone like Sale with only 6 outs to go, but not impossible. Unfortunately, Harrell was not Dunn. Sorry, done. He walked Dunn next. I’ve been banging my head on my computer for the past hour, so you’ll have to excuse me.
Pitching coach Doug Brocail came out to offer advice to the struggling pitcher, who must have instead misheard, “Keep doing what you’re doing, kid!” because Harrell then walked the next batter. Fortunately, Harrell finally found the strike zone. Unfortunately, so did Avisail Garcia‘s bat. Garcia drove a 2-2 sinker over the center field fence, something only made worse by the White Sox announcer wailing, “Stretch! Stretch! And you can pudditondabooowwwrd!” No really, watch this and realize how thankful you are for Ashby, Brownie, and Blum.
Harrell gave up another run in the 8th, but it might as well have been 100 with the way Sale was throwing. The Astros lose 6-1, with Lucas Harrell giving up 5 runs in 2 innings.
Some positives of the game:
- Cosart threw another “good” game. It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll take 1 run in 6 innings any day.
- Chris Carter kept his hot streak going. He’s on his way to a 30 HR season.
- Cody Clark got to play again. I love him, and so should you.
- The Astros bullpen is cursed. I mean it. 1999 Pedro Martinez would be sporting an ERA above 6 if he was coming out of that dungeon.
- Altuve continues to struggle at the plate. His average dipped below .270.
This one stings, but fear not, Astros fans. All four full season minor league affiliates have clinched playoff spots. George Springer is making history. And most importantly, there are only 31 games until next year.