You can’t win if you don’t score. And that’s what happened to the Astros today in Arlington. Again.
For the second time in the last three days the Astros wasted an outstanding pitching performance in a 1-0 loss to the Texas Rangers. This time around it was Brett Oberholtzer that was victimized by a lack of offensive support. Oberholtzer needed only 89 pitches to complete seven innings of 1-run baseball. Showing outstanding command of all of his pitches, the lefty fanned a career high seven without walking a batter.
Unfortunately for Brett, a sixth inning sacrifice fly off the bat of Donnie Murphy was all the offense the Rangers needed to secure the win. Oberholtzer falls to 0-3 on the season despite some outstanding peripheral numbers.
The Astros offense entered the game ranked last in the league in several categories including batting average (.189), OBP (.261), strikeout rate (25.6%), and wRC+ (77). With only five hits and three walks on the afternoon, the Astros didn’t do much to improve upon those dismal statistics. Striking out only twice over the course of the game would seem like quite an accomplishment if it weren’t for the four double-play grounders.
Is there a silver lining? Maybe. That depends on how much you believe in BABIP. Houston also ranks last in the league with a .219 batting average on balls in play. Personally, I don’t trust that particular stat that was created to try measuring the luck factor of a team or player.
The Astros get their first off day of the season tomorrow before opening up a quick 3-game homestand against the Royals on Tuesday. Lucas Harrell is the scheduled starter for Houston. Kansas City will send rookie sensation Yordano Ventura to the mound. The 22-year old who has been known to reach triple digit speeds with his fastball held Tampa Bay to only two hits in six innings of work in his first and only start this season. This sounds like another serious challenge for the slumping Astros offense.