Zack Greinke led the Astros to victory to cap off a rough road trip, while Aledmys Diaz was placed on the IL.
When the Astros needed him most, Zack Greinke stepped up and showed exactly why Jeff Luhnow gave up a haul of prospects to get him. He led the Astros to a win in the series finale in Oakland on Sunday after the team placed infielder Aledmys Diaz on the IL.
Greinke earned career win No. 200 in the effort, joining Justin Verlander as one of three active pitchers with that many victories. He went a much-needed seven innings in the win, scattering four runs and three walks while allowing just one run. He’s now 3-0 in three starts with the Astros.
Greinke’s lengthy outing couldn’t have come at a better time for the Astros. The bullpen was worn out on this road trip, especially considering Gerrit Cole was scratched at the last minute before the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader in Chicago.
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Rogelio Armenteros was only able to complete four innings on Saturday, meaning the beleaguered bullpen had to pick up the rest. Greinke’s outing meant only Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna had to throw an inning apiece, and they did so with no damage.
Alex Bregman carried the big stick on offense, going 4-for-4 with a walk. His three-run homer in the fifth inning was the big blow that put Greinke in line for the win. Michael Brantley had another multi-hit game, pushing his season average to .335.
Bregman’s homer was his 30th of the season, making him the first Astros player since Lance Berkman to have consecutive 30-homer seasons. Both Bregman and Yuli Gurriel could end up with more than 100 RBIs before the season is through.
Diaz was placed on the IL after a hospital visit due to experiencing some dizziness. The versatile infielder is hitting .267/.320/.474 with seven homers in 45 games for the Astros this season. The team recalled pitcher Cy Sneed for Sunday’s game to provide another arm in case the bullpen needed it. Thanks to Greinke, that was not the case.
With the team returning home for Monday’s series opener against the lowly Tigers, another move could come Monday morning. With both Sneed and Brad Peacock joining the team on Sunday, manager A.J. Hinch had a nine-man bullpen but no backup infielder. With the rotation likely set with Cole returning on Thursday, the team will probably need another position player.
Sneed would be the most likely candidate to get sent down, with Myles Straw or possibly Jack Mayfield coming up. Both have been hitting well at Triple-A Round Rock, and Mayfield has plenty of experience at second base, third base and shortstop. Straw is mainly limited to shortstop and the outfield, but he’s had more success at the big league level.
Either way, the Astros are probably thrilled to be headed back to Minute Maid Park after this awful road trip. With any luck, they can put these woes behind them and get back to that winning formula.