The battle for Texas supremacy continues between the Astros and the Rangers.
Thanks to a lengthy rain delay in Arlington, the Astros game against the Rangers last night started around 9:10 PM (CT). I had a slight amount of concern going into the first pitch that the rain delay may hurt the Astros chances of winning last night. After all, a rain delay isn’t exactly a common occurrence in Houston due to the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park. And like all starting pitchers, Dallas Keuchel probably has a routine he sticks to before each of his starts. Between this and the ominous weather that was still in the area, you had to wonder whether this wasn’t the Astros night.
Baseball, though, is a sport that can turn preconceived concerns into a funny afterthought. Let’s just say that last night’s game worked out in Houston’s favor.
Anyway, here are three numbers that stood out, to me, in the Astros 7-1 win over their interstate rivals.
Keuchel was simply the best pitcher on the field last night. His performance last night was one of the key reasons that kept Houston in the game until the offense broke out.
Pitching line from 6/2/17: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 SO
Thanks to this performance, Keuchel posted the largest WPA (Win Probability Added) from both teams at .338. And the bearded southpaw did something that we are familiar with from him: Keep the ball down in the strike zone.
While the bats would eventually earn the Astros the win, it was Keuchel’s performance from the start through the sixth inning that set the tone.
48.9% Win Expectancy
Ever wonder the effect of a Carlos Correa home run during a tied, intense game? Well, here you go.
Thanks to Correa’s fifth inning home run, the Astros star shortstop contributed to the first, and only, lead change of the game. Before his three-run shot, Houston’s win expectancy was at 48.9%. Not bad, but it is clear that the game could go either way if the offense didn’t pick up. After the home run? The win expectancy jumped to 80.5% for the Astros. That’s what you expect from the AL Player of the Month for May.
I am sure everyone remembers George Springer and his torrid start to the season. Unfortunately, those kind of hot starts are difficult to maintain for any player. Opposing teams, though, should not forget about Springer as he can burst out at any time. Last night was a good reminder.
While the game last night seem to be in the Astros favor with a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning, you never want to rest on the Rangers. They have had the Astros number in years past. Well, Springer’s own three-run home run in the eighth inning essentially clinched the game for the Astros.
The Rangers already low win expectancy, 4.2%, dropped even further to 0.5% following Springer’s 444 ft. blast. But the play that should be remembered for one fan’s incredible effort to come away with a souvenir.
Overall, a win is a win no matter where or your opponent. But there was an extra sense of satisfaction that came with this win in Arlington against your top rival today.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs**