The Astros’ offensive resurgence was on full display Sunday as the club went for their first series sweep of the season.
For only the second time this season, the Astros‘ pitching staff surrendered more than four runs in a single game. The first time it occurred was last Tuesday against the Rangers, when they allowed six runs. That affair ended with a Houston defeat. On Sunday, though, the result would be different with a dramatic 9-8 victory over the A’s.
The game itself wasn’t exactly a normal experience. The storm system advancing through Houston Sunday afternoon placed an ominous feel in the atmosphere, which was viewed as a potential omen to this blogger. Let’s just say that the roof issue with batted balls didn’t help ease my nerves. Thankfully, the Sunday weather improved and so did my outlook about the game towards the later innings.
We owe Aledmys Diaz an apology
Small samples are a tricky business, especially early in the season. After all, a lot of impressions are made about a club and its players in a season’s first games. While some players can struggle out of the gate and receive the benefit of the doubt for a while, it didn’t really seem like some fans extended the same courtesy to Diaz.
As you may recall, Diaz was acquired by Houston during this recent offseason and automatically portrayed as Marwin Gonzalez‘s, who is still a fan favorite, replacement. Thanks to a slow start, Diaz didn’t collect his first hit as an Astro until Sunday with this three-run homer in the first inning.
Small sample still applies, but I do believe some owe Diaz an apology for some unbecoming comments that I’ve seen online since the start of the season.
I want to give Tony Kemp a hug
With the Astros facing an 8-6 deficit in the eighth inning, it started to feel like it wasn’t their day. Remember that ominous feeling I mentioned earlier in the post? Well, yeah, it did resurface for a time. Like Diaz, though, Kemp picked an excellent time to hit the first home run of his 2019 season.
By the way, Kemp raised his wRC+ from 16 all the way up to 107 in one afternoon. The power of small sample in full effect.
Walking off towards a win
Although the Astros would score six runs in the first two innings, Oakland would eventually retake the lead in the sixth inning. This would set the stage for some dramatics in the later innings as Houston eventually tied the game at eight runs apiece. By the bottom of the ninth inning, the Astros were facing against A’s closer Blake Trenien, one of the game’s best. However, the right-hander was a bit wild with his pitch control, which we saw manifest itself in four walks. The last one to Jose Altuve, in particular, determined the game.
Outside of the obvious walk of the game, the Astros received contributions from up-and-down the lineup. Alex Bregman finished with three hits along with Altuve. Michael Brantley had two hits while George Springer and Carlos Correa also came through at various points. Sure, the pitching staff didn’t have its best outing, but the hitters picked up the slack for a change.