As the Houston Astros entered Monday’s game on a winner’s high of 4-0, the Los Angeles Angels hand the best team in the American League their first loss. After a wild game, the Astros fell up short 6-7, but from Yuli Gurriel hitting second to Martin Maldonado’s controversial slide and to trash cans thrown on the field, nine pitches from Joe Smith changed the tide for this ball game.
With Michael Brantley possibly returning to the lineup on Tuesday, Aledmys Diaz started the day in left field but had some issues tracking down catches, which led to Chas McCormick being a defensive replacement late into the game. As the bats quieted were quiet late, right-handers Ryne Stanek and Bryan Abreu stepped up once again to hold runners, but Smith’s short outing ended the win streak.
As the bats got out to an early lead, Smith’s relief ends the win streak.
It is only game five of the season, but this losing feeling isn’t fun to go to sleep on. While their is no need to fret, it only took nine pitches for the Angels to jump right back into the game and run away with it. While Kyle Tucker tried starting a short rally with a home run in the top of the ninth, the left-hander now has an RBI in every single Astros’ game this season.
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As Smith entered with a 5-3 lead in the eighth, the sidewinder surrendered three base runners and was eventually yanked for Blake Taylor. Although having three earned runs tacked onto his name, you can’t win every game. This one slipped away, but a good outlook to see is that the Astros have scored 41 runs over 45 innings this season.
As the relief pitcher with the most active outings, the right-hander faced Albert Pujols, who leads an abundance of active batting categories. This was a neat factoid from Monday’s loss, but for someone like Smith who opted out of baseball in 2020, he could still be easing back into major league baseball, while being the oldest reliever on staff.
The bats are cooling off a little bit, but when fully healthy, this is the best lineup in baseball. The bullpen depth and rotation arms are coming around, and some struggles are anticipated early in the season.
The Astros are back on the field tomorrow at 3:07 p.m. against the Angels once again as they close out this short series. While Zack Greinke is going up against Dylan Bundy, Dusty Baker announced that Andre Scrubb does not have a return date just yet but is progressing well. As the season is starting up, Gary Pettis attended Monday night’s game but is not ready to send runners home just yet.