Astros pitcher Collin McHugh started his first game since 2017. Although he struck out nine batters, he still took the loss.
Collin McHugh started the game with a bang. He faced the minimum three batters in the inning while striking out two. Then the Astros struck first after a solo shot down the left field line. Prior to Alex Bregman hitting his 1st HR of the 2019 season, Jose Altuve was caught stealing after walking. The Astros at this point are only 1 for 4 in stolen base attempts. Despite five hits in the first three innings, the Astros only got one run. Josh Reddick though made the most of his 1st two AB.s by hitting the ball to right field avoiding the shift. He is showing good discipline at the plate and if Reddick can get going the Astros have yet another weapon on offense at their disposal.
So Collin McHugh struck out 5 batters on 34 pitches, the Astros lead 1-0
McHugh walked Austin Meadows and struck out Tommy Pham, a wild throw by Robinson Chirinos allowed Meadows to advance to third. This was followed by striking out Brandon Lowe who lost his bat nearly striking McHugh, showing that his offseason ninja training paid off. The 4th inning ended with all three outs coming by way of strikeouts. Going into the 5th inning he had already amassed 7 Ks. In the 5th, Springer hit the 2nd of his two infield singles, unfortunately, Altuve popped out to end the inning. The Astros failed to get a runner beyond 1st in the 5th. The bottom of the 5th started with the Rays’ Yandy Diaz first hit, a double down the left field line, breaking up McHugh’s no-hit bid in the 5th.
Collin McHugh would come back striking out the next 2 batters before Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez both got hits, giving the Rays the lead 2-1. McHugh eventually got out of the inning to bring his total to 9 Ks for the game. The Astros failed to get a run across the plate and Will Harris came in relief for Collin McHugh. His line:
5 IP, 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 9K, 1 BB, 81 pitches. 53 of his 81 pitches were sliders or curveballs.
Astros stranded one after a two-out Tyler White walk. A. J. Hinch put in Chris Devenski to take care of the Rays in the 7th inning striking out 2 batters. With the top of the lineup, the Astros managed to get a couple of base runners with a bunt by Jose Altuve and an opposite-field single by Michael Brantley. Yuli Gurriel, who set a club record hitting .403 w/RISP in 2018, came up and drew a walk. Josh Reddick then stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and narrowly missed a game-tying single lining out to right field.
In the 8th and 9th innings, the Houston Astros couldn’t muster enough offense to get back into the game. Chris Devenski pitched two innings, striking out three, and giving up another run on three hits.
The starting pitching has been there these first three games, collecting 28 Ks while only giving up four runs in three games. The Astros newest FA signing Michael Brantley is batting .417 collecting two more hits.
The struggles at Tropicana Field continue for the Astros and not getting hits w/RISP surely hurt.
Regardless of your outlook on the early season, this roster is built to strikeout batters, hit for avg. and power, those things will come in due time. The Astros will try to leave Tampa with a split series and then head to face the Texas Rangers in their first meeting with their in-state rival. The probable starters for Monday – Wednesday are Brad Peacock, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.