Framber Valdez’s odd decision cost Astros dearly after he got shelled vs Angels

What was he thinking?
Houston Astros pitcher Framber Valdez
Houston Astros pitcher Framber Valdez / Logan Riely/GettyImages

Apparently allowing just one run on four hits wasn't enough motivation for Houston Astros starter Framber Valdez to maintain the game plan during Monday's contest against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Astros starter was cruising through the first four innings, and outside of a hiccup in the first inning, had kept the lowly Angels at bay. But once the fifth inning came around, the left-hander decided to go off script. It resulted in a seven-run inning for the Halos and a deficit that Houston's bats couldn't overcome.

After the game, Valdez spoke to reporters and took all the blame for the fifth-inning collapse. "Yainer (Diaz) did a really good job calling pitches," Valdez said, "I was the one that decided to try and change the game plan. I had to deal with the consequences."

Framber Valdez’s odd decision cost Astros dearly vs LA Angels

It's somewhat admirable that Valdez took the blame for the Astros' loss. But with manager Joe Espada and his battery mate both confirming that Valdez went away from the game plan, it's not as if the southpaw had anywhere to hide.

Furthermore, the proof is in the pudding. Through the first four innings, Valdez got seven of his 12 outs via the the ground ball. All three Angels' batters in the top of the third inning grounded out and the final out of the fourth inning came on a double play groundout.

But shift forward to the fifth inning, and you can see that Valdez was tattooed by the Angels' bats. By the way, Mike Trout is on the injured list, Shohei Ohtani is with the other team in LA, and the Angels' best hitter is Taylor Ward. This isn't the 1927 New York Yankees.

Astros manager Joe Espada has a bigger problem if players aren't adhering to the game plan

With Houston leading 6-1 in the top of the fifth and Astros cruising, Valdez allowed the first two batters to reach. Then a strikeout was followed by a three-run homer. With the lead cut to two, Valdez induced a groundout from Luis Rengifo.

But then a barrage of base hits, all of which came off the bat at over 100 mph, eventually saw the Angels take an 8-6 lead. Houston never recovered and lost by a final of 9-6 with Valdez's final line looking like something out of a horror movie. Valdez allowed eight runs on 10 hits through just five innings. The lefty saw three balls leave the yard.

Maybe Valdez should, I don't know, follow the game plan next time he's on the mound instead of ad-libbing and putting his team behind the eight ball. Last night's effort from Valdez will weigh heavy on the mind of his manager and his teammates, as the trust in the starter's ability to execute surely took a hit following Monday's exploits.

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