So close, but no cigar for the Astros last night.
Unfortunately, the Astros fell 3-2 in stressful fashion to the Kansas City Royals. But it wasn’t due to bad pitching this time. The offense was the primary culprit in this defeat that drops the Astros to 3-5 on the young season.
Starter Mike Fiers pitched six quality innings while allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. Not a great start, but definitely good enough to win. Don’t forget that he gave up all three runs in the first inning. The bullpen of Will Harris and Luke Gregerson then kept the team within striking distance late in the game by pitching three scoreless innings.
However, the Astros offense fell short after scoring the team’s only runs in the first inning, just like the Royals. Colby Rasmus and Tyler White drove in both of those runs, but unfortunately the lineup couldn’t step up against Kansas City’s pitching staff after that. But it wasn’t like the Astros didn’t have their chances. The offense as a whole left fifteen men on base. Stranding two baserunners in the bottom of the ninth with Jose Altuve and George Springer batting leaves a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth. And witnessing Evan Gattis‘ return end up being a o-for-4 night with three strikeouts just adds to that feeling.
This was also the first game that the Astros did not hit a home run, and just the second time that the team has failed to score four or more runs in a game this season. So it was definitely not Crush City’s best night. But this is only Game 8 and their record is just 3-5. Don’t forget that the 2015 Astros started the year 3-5 before getting on a tear and winning fifteen of the next seventeen games.
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Good news is that Carlos Gomez drew a walk and hit a double, so maybe he is slowly digging himself out an early season slump. And AL Player of the Week, Tyler White, is still hitting an incredible .520 AVG/1.567 OPS over his first eight games. Once Altuve and Springer start to warm up then the Astros offense should continue to improve as the season progresses. The progress of these players will continue to determine how the team goes about its business this April.
All that said, now we get to see the Astros try to regain the series momentum later tonight as Scott Feldman takes the mound opposite of Yordano Ventura. Will Preston Tucker get another start at designated hitter? And how will Gattis be used going forward while shaking off the metaphorical rust?
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**Statistics provided by Baseball-Reference and MLB.com**