The Astros couldn’t have started their three-game stand in Milwaukee any better. Coming in riding a seven-game win streak, Houston looked to continue to close the gap on the Rangers in the division.
On Monday evening, they erupted for 12 runs on five team home runs, four off of Brewers’ ace Corbin Burnes. Cristian Javier and the Astros bullpen slammed the door shut, giving Houston a 12-1 win. The Rangers lost Monday, meaning Houston trailed in the AL West by only one game?
How did they follow up arguably their best team outing of the season? By laying an absolute goose egg.
The Astros were shut out by the Brewers over the next two games, leaving them again three games back in the AL West.
Houston only mustered up nine hits over those two games, with only two going for extra bases (Jeremy Peña doubled on Tuesday while Alex Bregman did on Wednesday). This level of offensive ineptitude simply can’t continue any longer.
JP France threw more than well enough to keep Houston in the game on Tuesday, completing 5.2 innings of one run ball. He conceded five hits and one walk, while striking out eight in a career high. Even with Rafael Montero’s eighth inning imploding (another story for another time), France was in line for the loss as Houston couldn’t manage to muster up even one run.
Brandon Bielak was better yesterday than his final line suggests. He allowed four runs in a new career-high 6.2 innings. The Brewers tagged him for three home runs, two in the seventh inning when the Astros greedily tried to sneak him through the lineup a third time.
But like France before him, he was doomed with zero run support.
The Astros arms are plenty good enough to win a lot of baseball games. But they’re going to need at least one run to keep them in games. It’s time for Houston’s bats to wake up.