Results tagged ‘ game recap ’
The result: The Astros dropped the finale of a four-game series against the Angels, losing 9-1 on Monday afternoon at beautifully sunny Minute Maid Park. Jarred Cosart walked four batters and gave up a career-high five runs, including three in the first inning, and the Astros simply were shut down by C.J. Wilson (story and boxscore).
The analysis: This one was ugly. We’ll begin with Cosart, who got himself in trouble early with walks. If you remember, Cosart walked 38 batters in 60 innings last year and came into 2014 looking to cut down on free passes. He didn’t walk any batters in his first outing Wednesday but walked the first batter he faced Monday and three more.
Cosart righted the ship after the three-run first and managed to work six innings and allow five earned runs and three hits.
“It’s not just the walks,” manager Bo Porter said. “When you start to look at the number of pitches per at-bat and the ability to command the strike zone, I feel like we also aided in that with some poor decisions with the baseball that allowed their big innings to kind of open up.”
When Cosart left the game, Porter met him at the dugout steps and had a little talk with the young right-hander.
“I told him I was proud of him,” he said. “After what happened in the first inning and him being a highly talented young pitcher, there’s going to be some growing pains at the Major League level, and I challenged him after that first inning to go out and put up zeroes. I was proud of the job he was able to do to get us through six innings.
“I told him, ‘You want to be a front-of-the-rotation guy in the Major Leagues, you’re not going to have your A stuff all the time. It’s not going to go right all the time. The reason you’re in the front of the rotation is you’re going toc hew up innings, even when you don’t have your good stuff.'”
Now let’s get to the mistakes. The Astros made three mental errors that won’t show up in the boxscore, but sure had an impact on the game.
- In the first inning, Angels leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun was at first base with one out when Albert Pujols hit a grounder to shortstop Jonathan Villar, who unsuccessfully tried to beat Calhoun to the bag at second instead of trying to throw out Pujols. As a result, Pujols reached first.
“Now, you have two guys on base and it opens up an opportunity for a big inning,” Porter said. “Again, that’s understanding the speed of the ball, the speed of the runners, the men on base, the batter, runner. We had way too man mental mistakes from a standpoint of execution.”
- In the seventh inning, with Calhoun on second and Mike Trout on first, Pujols hit a fly ball to center fielder Robbie Grossman, who went back and still tried to throw out Calhoun at second, which allowed Trout to take second. He eventually scored.
“He threw the ball to the wrong base,” Porter said. “It doesn’t go into the column of an error. Obviously, you have Mike Trout, who’s arguably one of the fastest guys in the league, and you go back on the baseball and it’s first and second and you have no chance of throwing out the guy third base. Throw the ball to second and he stops. He continued on because the ball went to third base and we had to try to redirect the ball.”
- In the eighth inning, outfielder L.J. Hoes was on first base when Villar hit a grounder to Angels shortstop Eric, Aybar. He faked a throw to first, and then caught Hoes off second base for an easy out. The Astros were down 8-1 at the time.
“Not smart,” Porter said. “It’s basically fundamental baseball. The scoreboard is the most important object on the baseball field. Your run doesn’t mean anything as it relates to the number of batters we need to get to the plate. Like I explained to L.J., even if he throws the ball to first base you still should have tried to go to third base. The ball is on the field and that’s not when you take a chance or you risk an out when you’re down by seven runs. It’s just not smart.”
Player of the game: C Carlos Corporan kept the Astros from being shutout with an eighth-inning homer off C.J. Wilson.
Stat of the game: The Astros have 41 hits this year, and 10 have been home runs. This is the first time since 2006 the Astros have double-digit homers through seven games.
Quote of the day: “At the end of the day, we go 3-4. That’s not the goal. The goal is to win every series. I feel like we played with a lot of energy. We came out the gate and have played good baseball for the most part, but at the same time this one here hurts because I don’t feel like we played good baseball today,” Astros manager Bo Porter on team’s 9-1 loss to Angels.
Other stuff: Wilson, who started for the Angels, is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA in 11 career games (five starts) at Minute Maid Park. … Corporan’s homer was only his second of 12 in his career off a lefty. … Some Astros hitters are in slumps: Robbie Grossman (0-for-19), Marc Krauss (0-for-13) and Jose Altuve (0-for-9).
Tweets of the day:
The result: The Astros won on Opening Day for the second year in a row, riding early homers by Jesus Guzman and L.J. Hoes and a strong performance from starting pitcher Scott Feldman to beat the Yankees, 6-2, on Tuesday (story and boxscore).
The analysis: Talk about your smashing debuts. Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Astros, who got clutch hitting early in the game, ran the bases with aggression, played airtight defense and got strong performances on the mound from Feldman and the bullpen. In short, everything went right.
Whether the Astros can play with this kind if aggression and intensity every night remains to be seen, but this was the tone manager Bo Porter wanted to set in Spring Training. Before we get too excited, let’s the remember the Astros beat the Rangers on Opening Day a year ago and were nearly the victim of a perfect game the following night en route to 111 losses.
Defensively, SS Jonathan Villar made a great diving play to rob Carlos Beltran in the first, 2B Jose Altuve made an over-the-shoulder catch of a Brett Gardner ball in the second and 3B Matt Dominguez started a 5-4-3 double play in the eighth to squash a Yankees rally.
“I felt like we were really on our toes. Even the double play there that [Chad] Qualls was able to get in that inning when they started to mount a little bit of a comeback, it was good to see a ground-ball pitcher in Qualls in that situation get the ground ball and turn that 5-4-3 double play,” Porter said. “It was outstanding defense all the way around the board. I felt our staff did a tremendous job of positioning and I felt we were in the right place all night, which allowed our players to make those plays.”
Player of the game: How can you not go with Feldman, who worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed two hits and two walks in his Astros debut?
“He does what he does every time he goes out there,” Porter said. “He’s a strike-thrower, pitches to both side sof the plate, can throw three pitches in any count. He’s a veteran and a guy that understands exactly what he’s trying to do with each and every hitter that steps in the box. When you pitch at that kind of pace, it keeps the defense on their toes and they know the ball is going to be put in play and they make plays.”
Stat of the game: Dexter Fowler doubled and scored in each of his first two plate appearances, joining Vinny Castilla (May 15, 2001) and Jack Hiatt (April 8, 1971) as the only players in team history with two doubles and two runs scored in their Astros debut.
Quote of the day: “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my career,” Guzman on his first-inning homer.
Other stuff: Feldman’s last four starts against the Yankees have been quality starts (2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings). … Guzman became the first Astros player to homer in his first plate appearance with the team since Rick Ankiel’s pinch-hit homer last Opening Day against Texas. … Astros have sold out 11 consecutive Opening Day games.
Richard Justice column: High-energy Astros offer glimpse to future
Tweets of the day:
What happened: Brandon Laird’s grand slam to right-center field in the sixth inning keyed a six-run outburst and propelled the Astros to a 7-6 win over the split-squad Yankees on Thursday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).
Here’s the video clip of Laird’s grand slam:
What we learned: RHP Lucas Harrell has his sinker working. Harrell attacked the strike zone and coasted through three innings against a Yankees team that didn’t have any of its marquee players. Still, Harrell was sharp and threw 32 pitches and then went to the bullpen and threw 20 more to get his work in.
“I was hoping I could go another inning,” he said. “I was hoping to get up to 50 pitches. I told [pitching coach Doug Brocail] before the game my goal is to try to throw around 50 pitches. You try to be efficient but sometimes at Spring Training it works the other way. You want to go ahead and throw the 50 pitches, but you also want to get those pitches in against live batters.”
What we learned II: OF Rick Ankiel is a little locked in right now. Ankiel, who’s having a terrific spring at the plate, led off the fifth inning with a solo homer — his first with the Astros. He is 6-for-9 this spring with 12 total bases.
“I just take it day by day on what pitches we’re seeing,” he said. “I feel like it’s early and [opposing pitchers] are working on their heaters, but later on in camp you’ll start seeing more breaking stuff, cutters, and that type of stuff. It might be more important to get at-bats later on as it is now.”
What else: A hustling double by OF Brandon Barnes drew praise from manager Bo Porter, who said: “He made the guy make a play to get him out. It was a great, aggressive play.” … The Astros had a pair of runners thrown out trying to steal, and Porter later said they missed a couple of signs. … The Astros turned three double plays, with SS Jonathan Villar and 2B Jose Altuve playing well up the middle.
What went wrong: RHP Ross Seaton made a throwing error in the sixth that was costly. He fielded a come-backer to the mound with one out, turned to fire to second and threw the ball away. It was a potential inning-ending double play ball, and the Yankees went on to score five runs in the inning.
“A 1-6-3 double play and the inning’s over,” Porter said. “We don’t execute it, and 32 pitches later the score is 5-1. … It’s the perfect example of how big innings happen and something we still continue to stress to our guys that you have to play the game fundamentally sound.”
What they said: “Everybody wants to be up in a situation like that. He was a guy that couldn’t find the zone and I was looking for a pitch that I could handle, and he left one over the plate and I put a good swing on it.” — IF Brandon Laird on his sixth-inning grand slam.
What’s next: RHP Bud Norris makes his second start of the spring when the Astros play host to the Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. CT at Osceola County Stadium on Friday. Norris, who could be the club’s Opening Day starter, threw two innings in his first outing of the season on Sunday and is scheduled to pitch three innings against St. Louis. The game will be broadcast on CSN Houston.
Who’s injured: C Max Stassi underwent surgery Thursday morning in Philadelphia to repair a sports hernia. He’s out four-to-six weeks. … RHP Hector Ambriz (sprained ankle) threw off the mound Thursday and is near game action.
Links of the day: Had RHP John Ely not been traded to the Astros, he’d be playing in Korea. The Astros notebook has Dave Clark’s thoughts on Chris Carter’s progress in LF, C Jason Castro discussing plate collisions, OF Jimmy Paredes talking about working out with the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, and much more.
Tweet of the day:
The day in photos: