The Astros had an offensive explosion Friday night, beating the Athletics 9-4.
With those nights, you wish that the Astros saved some runs for the next night. Much has been made about the potent offense, but even great hitters get shut down by the right pitcher. There has been a recent trend of one-run games when the Astros lose, becoming true again last night with Jose Altuve‘s eighth inning homer.
Joe Musgrove went through a rough stretch of games, including his previous start where he gave up four runs in the first inning. Instead of caving in, Musgrove stayed in and pitched six innings in that game. It was like a light kicked on in his head after the first inning of the game on April 23. He didn’t allow another hit until the sixth inning of that game. Last night, Musgrove looked locked in the first three innings.
He was pitching so well. He did not allow a hit in the first three innings. Jaff Decker lead off the fourth inning with a strikeout, but Jed Lowrie was out to punish his former team. He sent a Musgrove pitch deep into right field for a homer, the first hit of the game. Musgrove pitched 6 1/3 innings last night with six strikeouts.
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Manager A.J. Hinch saw an opportunity to bring in Tony Sipp to face left-handed hitter Stephen Vogt. Musgrove had only thrown 86 pitches, why not leave him in for a few more hitters? Hinch could have wanted Musgrove to leave on a high note after striking out Trevor Plouffe. The move backfired as Sipp allowed the hit and was instantly removed to face the right-handers.
Technically Will Harris gave up the winning run after allowing a Kris Davis home run, but Musgrove is saddled with the loss. Only allowing one earned run brought his ERA down to 4.88, his effort was impressive. Unfortunately, the Astros struggled to get the big hit off 28-year-old Andrew Triggs. Runners got on base, as the Astros had eight hits last night. However, these runners were stranded far too often.
Typically in the MLB, allowing one run would lead to a win. Unfortunately, Triggs was too much for the Stros. The Astros still lead in the AL West, with one more game versus the A’s and the Rangers coming to town. Listen to Talking Stros today after the Stros postgame show on Sports Talk 790.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***