The Astros had one heck of a performance last night by Justin Verlander.
Justin Verlander pitched eight innings of shutout baseball while striking out 14 Yankees hitters. Verlander was absolutely dominating the Yankees but was over the 100 pitch mark with 105 pitches after his final pitch. After the Astros game, Verlander said that A.J. Hinch told him he was taking him out, but gave him the option to stay in. Verlander believed that it was the right call, especially with how Ken Giles pitched the night before.
Monday night, Giles pitched with the fire we have not seen from him in a while. He came into the ninth inning with a 2-1 lead versus the heart of the order and struck out the side. With the same passion he demonstrated on the mound, he was pumped after closing out the win. Local Houston media, including myself, was convinced that Giles has recovered his form and sang his praises.
One talk show host even went so far to apologize for all the doubt he had in Giles. The sucky thing about baseball is that momentum can switch from day to day. Coming off his most dominating appearance of the season, Giles demeanor on the mound was the exact opposite of the night before.
Aaron Judge started off the inning with a line drive to right field. Giles struck him out the night before. Then Didi Gregorius doubles to left field, nearly getting thrown out at second base. He had struck out the night before. Now runners were at second and third with no outs with Giancarlo Stanton at the plate. Luckily, he repeated the strikeout again, but Sanchez came up with the opportunity to drive in some runs.
Next thing we know, we see George Springer in a full run trying to catch a ball that cleared the wall in centerfield. The damage was done, and Hinch removed Giles from the game in favor of Will Harris. As Giles walked off the mound, there were some boos heard from fans at the stadium. The frustrated Giles slapped his chest with his glove and did something unexpected. Giles punched himself in the face and then proceeded to slam a bat down in the dugout.
While all this is happening, no one in the dugout moved a muscle. You know the Yankees twitter celebrated the moment and made it into a Gif. Giles punching himself in the face. This is not something that Astros fans want to see. This game was a good summary of the ups and downs of the offense this year. While Giles gave up the big blow, you have to look at the lack of offense when the opposing starter only throws one inning before leaving.
Hinch was noticeably upset after the game, dropping a Jeff Bagwell s-bomb on the TV broadcast. To Giles’ credit, he stayed after the game and took questions from the reporters. He was pissed off at himself for wasting Verlander’s great start. You can watch the full video above, but it sounded like a reporter was trying to encourage Giles by saying he’s been pitching well. Giles took all the blame and said he would learn from his mistakes.
You are not going to win all the games, but this one took a toll on the team. As Giles said after the game, crap happens, but you need to move on. Unfortunately, that punch in the face Gif will not go away anytime soon. The Astros will face the Yankees again twice before traveling to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks this weekend. If the Astros win the next three games, then this game will mean very little. For now, as the kids say, it’s rough!
***Stats from the MLB At-Bat App***