Sad Joe Espada ejection has Astros fans down bad after getting swept by Cubs

You're ... outta here?
Houston Astros v Chicago Cubs
Houston Astros v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Houston Astros have lost 12 of their last 15 games and five in a row. The only team with a worse record in the American League is the Chicago White Sox. It hasn't looked this bleak in H-Town since the tanking days.

On Thursday afternoon, it appeared as if the Astros were going to turn it around. The offense scored a run in the top of the first and Justin Verlander escaped a jam in the bottom half to eventually rebound and toss 4 1/3 scoreless frames.

But manager Joe Espada called on the wrong reliever again. Fans are wondering who's at fault for these persistent meltdowns. Is it the pitching staff? Is it Espada's decision making? Is it a cosmic effect that blends both?

Either way, Rafael Montero wasn't "the guy" and neither was Bryan Abreu, who came in right after him in what was a disastrous bottom of the sixth inning. Montero allowed the first two runners to reach and then allowed one to cross the plate on a fielder's chose. Abreu was called upon to stop the bleeding, but he surrendered a home run to Pete Crow-Armstrong -- the first hit of the youngster's MLB career -- in what eventually led to the 3-1 loss.

Low energy all over the place. But it perhaps didn't get more discouraging than Espada's ejection in the top of the ninth inning.

Sad Joe Espada ejection has Astros fans down bad after getting swept by Cubs

Another Astros fan Twitter account wasn't so kind, though, and the comments absolutely ripped Espada for his lack of leadership and assertion in moments when the team needs an injection of life.

Even Espada's postgame commentary was ... lame. He went on a long rant about how the team is trying to play back to their capabilities but it's "just not happening." As for what he had to say about his ejection? Meh.

You and us both, Joe. You and the rest of the league, in fact! Umpiring has felt like it's reached an all-time low at the onset of the 2024 season, but you don't wait until the ninth inning to get in blue's ear. If the strike zone that big of an issue and your team was in need of spark, then go all in, get your money's worth, make the umpiring crew uncomfortable, and hit the showers. Don't get ejected having a conversation over tea.

The Astros head into the Mexico City Series this weekend as flat as can be, while the Colorado Rockies (who have the same record!) are hot after notching a six-run comeback against the Padres on Thursday afternoon. Somebody in that Astros locker room better do something influential before Saturday or this could stay ugly on foreign soil.