The Houston Astros escaped one of their best games of the season off a wild pitch that scored Myles Straw. As the Texas Rangers kept the matchup tied at three runs until the 11th inning, the Astros weren’t capitalizing on their 11 hits and load of base runners.
With Yuli Gurriel out of the lineup, the first baseman was fighting a small illness that seems to be nothing, as he was celebrating with the team and taking ground balls pre-game. Manager Dusty Baker is planning on having Gurriel in the lineup on Friday unless something new comes up.
With Cristian Javier bouncing back late on Thursday, the right-hander will benefit with Jake Odorizzi and Framber Valdez returning.
The Astros announced that Framber Valdez was close to beginning his rehab assignment, after he throws one last bullpen session on Friday at Minute Maid Park. With Jake Odorizzi already paddling this boat, these two starting pitchers are expected to both be back on the roster come early June.
Cristian Javier hit the bump on Thursday, and with a rising pitch count, the right-hander pulled out seven innings in a quality start. While not having his usual run support, Javier got a no-decision. The win was handed to Brooks Raley, though, who hadn’t recorded a win since 2012.
While home runs have been an issue, Javier only allowed three runs on four hits with two walks and six punch outs. If it wasn’t for the extra innings, the Astros wouldn’t have needed to burn so many bullpen arms even after Javier matured through his start.
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It took moxie to get through that start after a bumpy first three innings, but as the rotation looks to be filled up soon, where does Javier land? The right-hander has been up and down in his starts over the past two seasons and seems to benefit in the first half or the second half of his appearances, and there hasn’t been a reoccurring middle ground.
As Jose Urquidy is still being evaluated, Javier would most likely take Urquidy’s seat, if he were to move to the injured list. With a full, healthy rotation, Javier is left out as the sixth man. The Astros haven’t been known to run this type of rotation in the regime of Baker, but as Javier has profited from the bullpen before, he could well enough, do it again.
Javier looks to struggle getting over the hump of the early game or late game, and while being able to piggy back Urquidy or anyone else in the rotation, the Astros will save bullpen arms in this process. As we see arms returning to the staff, the team should start balancing out and consistently win by larger margins once again.
The Astros are back on the field on Friday at 7:10 p.m. as the Lone Star Series continues. The two ball clubs split the series last season, but Houston has always dominated Texas. Here are the rest of the pitching matchups for the series: