Things started off pretty good for the Astros tonight. Thanks to Robbie Grossman and Ryan Lavarnway, Houston jumped out to quick 5-0 lead after the second inning. But after that, things went downhill pretty quickly for Jordan Lyles and the Astros.
Jordan Lyles (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Tasked with protecting a five run cushion, Lyles failed miserably. In fact though, given how Lyles has been pitching as of late, his performance tonight really should not have come as much of a surprise. And you could also make the argument that Bo Porter, as he has done so often this season left Lyles in too long.
After his July 4th start against the Tampa Bay Rays, Lyles ERA sat at a pretty good 3.87. Since then, he has seen his ERA rise significantly over the last month and after the eight earned runs he gave up tonight, it now sits at 5.40.
In the beginning, it was just a bad start or two for Lyles and maybe a little regression, but at this point it has become something to worry about. He is still young, but his slide has just continued to snowball and it needs to be stopped. Tonight the 23-year old lasted 4.2 innings giving up those eight runs on nine hits and three walks. As a one bright spot, Lyles did strike out six Red Sox.
Dallas Keuchel then replaced Lyles and failed to provide much relief. Between the last two starts for Brett Oberholtzer and the recent success for Brad Peacock, it appears that Keuchel’s rotation spot is certainly in jeopardy. He allowed another four runs increasing his ERA to 4.96.
To say that Lavarnway had trouble with Steven Wright‘s knuckleball in the first inning would be an understatement. The catcher had four passed balls to go along with a wild pitch from Wright. They led to Houston’s first two runs as Robbie Grossman and Brandon Barnes both scored on passed balls. A Brett Wallace RBI groundball then concluded the scoring for the inning and closed the book on Wright.
Grossman continued his recent string of success as he then hit a two run home run in the second inning and raised his average for the season to a respectable .259. The outfielder then added another RBI with a sixth inning single driving in L.J. Hoes.
After Lyles and Keuchel conspired to turn the game into an offensive showcase for the Red Sox, the Astros bats did show some life. Wallace added an RBI single in the third inning and Jonathan Villar drove in Hoes in the fourth inning with a single as well. Hoes continued to have success since coming to Houston as he went 2-4 tonight with the two runs scored.
Villar had to leave the game in the sixth inning as he appeared to hurt himself fielding a groundball. His replacement Jake Elmore added a solo home run in the eighth inning to end the scoring for the evening.
For most of the season Jose Cisnero was Houston’s most reliable reliever. Recently though, that has not been the case. Tonight Cisnero saw his ERA rise to 4.12 as he gave up three runs in his one inning of work including home runs by Jonny Gomes (a pinch hit three run shot) and Jacoby Ellsbury.
There were a lot of hitting stars for Boston tonight. Gomes drove in four runs, Ellsbury had two home runs and 3 RBI’s, David Ortiz went 4-4 while driving in two runs and Shane Victorino scored four runs going 3-5.
One bright spot for the Astros, is that Josh Zeid and Chia-Jen Lo continued their success after being called up the major leagues. Zeid struck out three batters in 1.2 scoreless innings while Lo had one strikeout in his scoreless inning. Neither has allowed a run since being called up to the show..
Tomorrow Jarred Cosart takes the hill for Houston in the rubber game as they look to take the series from Boston.