As the Houston Astros take game three and the series from the Toronto Blue Jays, general manager James Click broke the news to Robert Ford of Sports Talk 790 that the team will be reaching 85% vaccinated on Monday. With the Astros reaching this threshold, restrictions will loosen up including players and staff not needing to wear masks in the dugout or bullpen plus the ability to leave the hotel on road trips and less strict contact tracing.
In the 7-4 victory, Zack Greinke made up for some recent struggles with a dominant performance over four innings of work, then the wheels fell off. The right-hander gave up five hard hit baseballs to open the top of the fifth and was replaced by Bryan Abreu, who now leads all Houston’s relief pitchers in innings (18). This was Greinke’s third consecutive start being pulled after fourth.
The Astros are taking shots and hitting moon shots.
With the news of reaching the vaccinated threshold of players and staff being an important part of the headline, the Astros’ bats continue to add to their high run differential. As Kyle Tucker was breaking his long slump with his first triple of the season and a monstrous home run, the left-hander brought in four runs and scored three times as well. A Jose Altuve shot also graced the screens of mothers across the country:
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As Yuli Gurriel stays hot, Carlos Correa was out of the lineup. The shortstop is 1-for-12 in his last few games, and a day off was granted after 13 straight starts, but it could help end his slump as well. Robel Garcia got the start, as the switch hitter went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. This move, over using Aledmys Diaz, is showing how deep the utility core can be.
The amount of arms used in Sunday’s game was something expected after Greinke struggled in the fifth. As Abreu, Kent Emanuel, Ryne Stanek, Andre Scrubb and Ryan Pressly took their own innings, these five pitchers combined for only two hits across five innings. Pressly is now tied for 11th in saves with six.
The Astros (18-16) are now back into second place in the division, after jumping the Seattle Mariners with a win on Sunday.
In farm system news, the organization has signed SS Yadiel Rivera to a minor league contract, who has six years of major league experience. The Astros take games one and two from the Blue Jays with a sandwiched series. As the ball club stays in town to open a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels at 7:10 p.m. on Monday, here are the expected matchups: