In the spirit of 1997 legends night, the Astros got six double plays in the 3-0 shutout.
The Houston Astros are four wins away from 80 wins with a 76-47 record on the season. Because they did not make a high impact move at the deadline, they will rely on what they got. This includes Collin McHugh, who got the win last night.
Two days before the 2017 trade deadline, McHugh made only his second start of the season. He pitched six innings only allowing one run and striking out seven hitters. Dallas Keuchel had not made one start before the deadline, so it was risky not adding a starter.
The Astros decided not to add a starting pitcher at the deadline. Will they have a new one by August 31st? The rumors keep swirling around Justin Verlander, but the odds are against it. He would make so much sense for the Astros.
Is McHugh a playoff pitcher?
However, they probably will go to battle with the players they got. During the recent team slump, McHugh and Keuchel struggled, and fans worried about the rotation. McHugh is aware of what is in store for the team down the road. He knows the team will be counting on him to pitch well in the playoffs.
McHugh was not on his game last night, but he lasted six innings, throwing 92 pitches. He gave up six hits and one walk without allowing a run. This lowered his ERA to 4.00 on the season. With all the traffic on base, how did he get out of jams?
He was the beneficiary of three double plays in the innings he allowed base runners except for the second inning. McHugh also had two 1-2-3 innings, so it was a great effort for the guy making his sixth start of the season.
The bullpen continues what a McHugh started.
The bullpen completed the shutout in the final three innings. They were also beneficiaries of three double plays on their own. Francisco Liriano allowed a walk but wiped it out with a double play. Musgrove did the same in the eighth inning. But the biggest double play was in the ninth inning.
The Astros fourth consecutive inning with a double play was the most impressive. Why? Because the runner was originally called safe. Following Jose Altuve‘s error with one out in the ninth, Tyler Clippard had a little bit of good luck. Alex Bregman fields the ball, throws quickly to Altuve who throws to first base. The umpire called him safe at first.
A.J. Hinch had already used his challenge earlier in the game on a play at the plate. He could only ask the umpires to consider replaying it. Don’t forget that Hinch had some harsh words for umpires recently after being frustrated with the strike zone.
Even the cannon was set off prematurely after the play. The umpires did review the close play at first base. It’s hard to remember if there was ever a game ending double play from an overturned call.
There were six double plays in the game, one short of the record seven in franchise history. When pitchers are getting double plays regularly, that could be rally killers later in the year. McHugh is ready to continue his success in his next start.
Don’t forget to listen to Talking Stros on SportsTalk 790 after the 10th inning show today.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***