The Credit for This Loss Goes to the Bullpen


Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, things were looking pretty good for the Astros. Now it was not an ideal game for Bo Porter‘s club, but lately anytime the Astros are winning, it is a positive.

Marc Krauss (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Jordan Lyles got the start tonight against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey who took the hill for the Blue Jays.

Lyles continued his recent rough stretch which has to be troubling for Porter and pitching coach Doug Brocail. Tonight the Astros’ starter saw his ERA climb to 4.92 as he gave up four runs, nine hits and three walks while striking out only one. Lyles needed 98 pitches to get through five innings and he pitched to one batter in the sixth inning before giving way to Travis Blackley.

When Blackley came out of the bullpen to record his 13th hold of the season yes, I know I’m reaching here to find something good to say about the bullpen, the Astros were ahead 5-4.

Houston jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on Dickey in the second inning on Marc Krauss‘ second home run of the season that plated J.D. Martinez. After Toronto tied the game in third inning on a Jose Reyes home run and Jose Bautista sacrifice fly, Kruass struck again in next half inning.

The left fielder doubled into right field scoring Martinez again and Brett Wallace. Lyles then quickly gave one of those runs back on a Brett Lawrie home run. Toronto tied the game the next inning on a Colby Rasmus double again off Lyles.

Prior to game Astros radio broadcaster and former pitcher Steve Sparks took the field to throw batting practice. Whoever came up with that idea deserves a lot of credit, as it clearly worked. Well, at a minimum it worked for Krauss. Even when he made outs, runs still scored as Houston plated their fifth run of the game when Krauss hit into a sixth inning double play.

That closed the book on Dickey as he pitched six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and two walks.

A Jason Castro RBI single in the seventh inning should have served as an insurance run for the Astros much maligned bullpen. But, things did not exactly go according to plan tonight for Paul Clemens.

Clemens saw his ERA rise to 6.36 tonight perhaps signaling maybe he needs a trip down to AAA to find his groove again. The Blue Jays batted around in the 7th inning scoring eight runs, and doing the majority of their damage off of Clemens who allowed six runs.

All told, the Blue Jays had three home runs in the inning. Things started off with back to back home runs from Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion to tie the game at six. And from then, things just went downhill. Wesley Wright came into the game to relieve Clemens as did Hector Ambriz. But it was just too late.

Ambriz then just, as he does so well, put the game out of reach for Houston as he gave up a grand slam to Encarnacion for his second long ball of the inning.

At least the Astros still have two games left in Toronto to perhaps leave Canada with one win.