Wow! I mean it hasn’t been an easy season this year to say the least, but tonight was a tough game to watch. That might be an understatement, and we are just talking about the third inning.
Jake Elmore (Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports)
There really isn’t much to talk about here about tonight’s game. I’m not going to bore you with the details, because quite frankly they do not matter as much as the result does. The Astros lost 16-5 to the Rangers in a game that was not even that close.
Even after the Rangers put up two runs on Lucas Harrell in the first inning, it still looked like we would have a competitive game. Well at least until the bottom of the third inning came around. Doubles by Jason Castro and Chris Carter cut Texas’ lead in half in the top of the second inning, but then Harrell made Bo Porter regret using Jordan Lyles in relief yesterday.
Lyles was actually coming off of a successful start against the A’s but Porter’s six man rotation caught up to him and he was forced to use the right hander in relief Sunday. Harrell was also coming off of 3.1 innings of scoreless relief and had a few days of rest, but Porter opted to use Lyles out of the bullpen and have Harrell start tonight. That move only looked good yesterday after Kevin Chapman got a game ending double play and for the first two innings of tonight’s game.
Then the third inning came. Fifteen batters and 11 runs later, Harrell was out of the game, and it was a blowout. Every Ranger scored a run in that inning which ultimately ended Harrell’s night. His final line was 2.1 innings, nine runs (seven earned), nine hits and three walks.
Wade LeBlanc wasted no time reminding Astros fans why he was originally designated for assignment by giving up another five runs on five hits. In his defense, only one of those runs showed up as earned in the box score, but he still did not pitch well.
Philip Humber then added another two runs in his two innings of work for the Astros. Granted the defense didn’t do the pitching any favors, but it was an ugly night for the pitching staff. The two errors and defensive lapses did not help though as they played a huge role in the third inning meltdown. Going forward that is one of the areas of concern for the Astros.
The Houston bats did show a little bit of life in the seventh inning as they scored four runs. L.J. Hoes and Robbie Grossman continued their hot hitting with an RBI single and a two-run double respectively. Brett Wallace doubled in Grossman to complete the scoring for the Astros.
Porter has used the DH spot this season as a way to get Carlos Corporan‘s bat into the lineup and also to help rest Jason Castro while keeping his bat in the lineup. Tonight it backfired as Corporan was hit in the head with a foul ball and forced to leave the game. That forced Jake Elmore into duty as the emergency catcher borrowed Castro’s gear and got behind the plate for a few innings.
But that was not the best part of the game, or even Elmore’s best moment. The utility player took the mound for the eighth inning and retired the Rangers in order.
Tomorrow Jarred Cosart takes the hill for the Astros as they look to even the series up at one apiece.