Results tagged ‘ recap ’

Game 13: Struggling bats can’t support Oberholtzer

The result: Rangers starter Martin Perez threw eight scoreless innings to send the Astros to their second 1-0 loss in a span of three games against Texas on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park (story and boxscore).

The analysis: The Astros’ offensive struggles were on full display Sunday afternoon. They managed just five singles and didn’t have a runner reach second base, partly because they hit into four double plays. The only starting position players who aren’t struggling are Jose Altuve and L.J. Hoes, but pretty much everyone else is in a slump.

Porter was asked if perhaps some players would be called up from Triple-A to add some life, but he said the players who are here are the ones that have to get it done.

“The players that we have here, those are players that are going to play, and it’s going to be up to them to get it done because they’re here,” he said.

It’s particularly frustrating because the team’s starting pitching has been so good lately. Dallas Keuchel, Scott Feldman, Jarred Cosart and Brett Oberholtzer have combined to post a 1.61 ERA in the team’s last four games, with each going seven innings.

“Offensively, you have to put some runs on the board to put pressure on the other team,” Porter said.

Player of the game: Easy. Oberholtzer was terrific, allowing five hits and one run while striking out a career-high seven batters in seven innings.

Stat of the game: Oberholtzer has allowed four earned runs or less in all 13 of his Major League starts, the third-longest streak in club history.

Quote of the day: “We’re not looking for moral victories,” Porter on his team losing two of three games to the Rangers by 1-0 scores.

Other stuff: The Astros were 8-for-8 on stolen base tries before getting a pair of runners thrown out Sunday, including Matt Dominguez on a botched hit-and-run. … Oberholtzer has received two runs or less of support in all three of his starts this season. … Porter successfully challenged a call at first base in the first inning. Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo was originally called safe after a throw that pulled Jesus Guzman off first base, but the call was overturned.

Links:

Astros looking forward to wearing No. 42

Astros showing efficiency on bases

Porter not panicking over offensive struggles

Tweet of the day:

 

Game 12: Astros rally to win in extra innings

The result: The Astros turned disappointment into triumph in a matter of a few minutes Saturday night, shaking off a ninth-inning blown save to win the game, 6-5, in the 10th inning when Jose Altuve drove home pinch-runner Marwin Gonzalez from third base on a sacrifice fly at Globe Life Park (story and boxscore).

The analysis: This was probably a game the Astros don’t win a year ago. After suffering their first blown save of the season when lefty Kevin Chapman gave up a homer to Michael Choice in the ninth inning, they got a one-out triple from Jason Castro and a sacrifice fly by Jose Altuve to take the lead. And then Anthony Bass strands the go-ahead run at third base for a tough save.

You want heroes? They were everywhere. How about Jarred Cosart going seven innings and striking out a career-high eight batters? Robbie Grossman, who entered the game in a 1-for-27 funk, cranked a three-run homer to cap a five-run fourth inning and give the Astros a 5-2 lead. And shortstop Jonathan Villar made a spectacular diving stop and throw in the 10th to rob Alex Rios of a hit and keep Bass out of a bigger mess.

Player of the game: Grossman. Tough one, considering the work Cosart did and how Bass closed it out. But considering his struggles and the impact his three-run homer had on the game, Grossman is the player of the game.

Stat of the game: The five runs the Astros scored in the fourth are their most in an inning since a six-run fifth on Sept. 13, 2013 against the Angels and most on the road since a five-run fourth on July 31, 2013 at Baltimore.

Quote of the day: “I was looking for one pitch that I can drive. I wasn’t thinking about, ‘Hit it in the air.’ I was thinking about, ‘Hit it hard.’ The infield was in and it’s really hard to catch the ball when it’s hit hard. That was my mindset. He left a pitch a little bit high, maybe it was a ball, but that’s a pitch I can drive so I took advantage of that,” — Astros 2B Jose Altuve on his 10th inning sacrifice fly.

Other stuff: Grossman’s homer was his sixth of his career, and his first of three or more runs. His first five career homers were each two-run shots. … Grossman has five hits this year — two homers, a double, a triple and a single. … Altuve’s go-ahead RBI was his second in extra innings in his career. The other was a walk-off fielder’s choice in the 10th inning on Aug. 1, 2011.

Links:

Clemens joins club as Feldman goes on bereavement list

Porter cool with Altuve playing in 162 games if he’s healthy

Carter still waiting on that first home run

Tweets of the day:

Game 11: Astros can’t outlast Rangers

The result: Robinson Chirinos smacked a two-out single into center field to score Kevin Kouzamanoff from second base with the winning run to send the Rangers to a 1-0 walk-off win in 12 innings over the Astros on Friday night at Globe Life Park (story and boxscore).

The analysis: It was a tough night offensively for the Astros, who managed just two hits — both by Matt Dominguez — in 12 innings against the Rangers. Yu Darvish did what he usually does against the Astros — dominate. He retired the first 15 batters he faced for the third time in his career and had it all working, allowing one hit in eight innings.

“You never have much margin for error going against a guy like that,” Astros starter Scott Feldman said. “Really no matter who you’re facing, try to go out there and limit the damage and get as deep into the game as I could. Obviously, he’s one of the best doing it right now. Pretty typical game for him. He does this all the time.”

Feldman certainly didn’t need to hang his head. He held the Rangers to two hits in seven scoreless innings and lowered his ERA to 0.44 in three starts as an Astros. And extra kudos for him for taking the mound two days after the death of his father. That took some serious guts, focus and heart.

Player of the game: RHP Scott Feldman. You can’t say enough about his effort.

Stat of the game: Feldman has gone at least seven innings scoreless innings with two hits allowed in two of his three career starts against the Rangers. In eight seasons with the Rangers, he never had a start of at least seven scoreless innings and two or fewer hits.

Quote of the day: “I knew that he would want me to. He was a big baseball fan,” Feldman on his father’s desire for him to pitch Friday. His father died Wednesday.

Other stuff: The Astros are  hitting .188 as a team through 11 games. … The Rangers have won 12 games in a row against the Astros. … The top six  hitters in the Astros’ lineup were 0-for-25.

Links:

New dad Albers rejoins team

Luhnow knew Abreu would make an impact

Astros’ bullpen reliable holding leads

Tweets of the day:

 

 

 

Game 6: Feldman benefits from five-homer outburst

The result: The Astros got five home runs from five different players — two-runs shots by Jason Castro and Jonathan Villar and solo blasts by Matt Dominguez, Jesus Guzman and Alex Presley — and rode seven strong innings from Scott Feldman to snap a three-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Angels on Sunday (game story and boxscore).

The analysis: You certainly wouldn’t expect the Astros to beat other teams via the long ball very often, especially when slugger Chris Carter isn’t in the lineup. They only managed seven hits against the Angels, but when five of them leave the yard, it makes life easier on everyone.

“Home runs always help,” manager Bo Porter said. “The biggest one was Villar’s home run there late in the game that gave us that extra cushion (in the seventh, which made it 7-1), and as you can see, we definitely needed it.”

Things got hairy in the ninth when the Angels scored three against Anthony Bass, but Chad Qualls came in and closed it out. He struck out Kole Calhoun to end the game and strand Mike Trout on deck. The Astros’ bullpen is 2-for-2 in save situations so far this year, which is a huge plus after last year’s struggles.

And how good was Feldman? More on him below.

Player of the game: RHP Scott Feldman. The big right-hander, making his second start for the Astros, threw seven innings and allowed three hits and one run to improve to 2-0. He did a great job keeping Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and David Freese off base, holding them to 1-for-14.

“You’re kind of lucky at some point,” he said. “Trout, this guy is not even a human being up there sometimes. Just thankful I made some pretty good pitches with him and I was able to keep him off the bases. That’s huge.”

Stat of the game: Feldman is just one of four Astros pitchers to pitch at least 6 2/3 innings and allow one run or less in his first two starts in an Astros uniform. The others are Roger Clemens (2004), Robin Roberts (1965) and Dean Stone (1962).

Quote of the day: “It’s almost like when you play poker and a person folds their hand. I’m not going to show you my cards,” — Astros manager Bo Porter when asked how they would have approached Mike Trout had he batted in the ninth.

Other stuff: The save by Qualls was the 52nd of his career and first since June 9, 2010. It was his first for the Astros since Sept. 26, 2007. … 3B Matt Dominguez already has two home runs after not hitting his second homer of last season until May 11. He finished with 21. Both of his hits have been homers. The last Astros player with two homers for his first two hits was Rick Ankiel last year. … The Astros have scored first-inning runs in five of their six games this year.

Links:

Fowler still not available, but resting at home

Porter thinks Corporan blocked plate properly

Castro returns to lineup, homers in first AB

Williams gives teammates scouting report on Angels

Crain set to leave for Florida, continue rehab

Tweet of the day:

Game 3: Lack of execution costs Astros sweep

The result: Coming off a pair of rousing victories over the Yankees to begin the season, the Astros squandered early scoring chances, grounding into four double plays in the first five innings, and flubbed in the field to drop a 4-2 decision in the series finale at Minute Maid Park (story and boxscore).

The analysis: The Astros nearly walked out of Minute Maid Park with a sweep of the Yankees, though winning two of three games isn’t bad. Their biggest problem in the series finale was executing in the clutch. They grounded into four double plays in the first five innings, and then the Yankees bullpen absolutely shut them down.

“We had our chances, especially early,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “We had base runners everywhere. We were probably one big hit away from kind of getting some separation early in the game, but give the New York Yankees credit. They fought and found a way to get out of here with a win.”

The Astros, who have yet to commit an error this season, had a huge flub defensively in the seventh when a two-out pop up between home plate and the pitcher’s mound dropped, allowing Ichiro Suzuki to score from second to make it 4-2. Catcher Carlos Corporan was under the ball before looking towards pitcher Brad Peacock and third baseman Matt Dominguez to his left as the ball fell.

“I went after it because I didn’t want that thing to fall on the ground,” Corporan said. “I saw the pitcher and saw Matty and I kind of was in the middle of everybody. I should have caught it and took charge of the ball. Things happen.”

Starting pitcher Brett Oberholtzer didn’t pitch poorly, coming within an out of a quality start. He’s still working on a curveball, which he threw with confidence. Also, reliever Brad Peacock did a nice job picking up the final 3 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and one run on the dropped pop up.

Player of the game: CF Dexter Fowler once again. He went 2-for-4 for the third consecutive game, this time with two singles a run scored and an RBI. he’s the first Astros player with at least two hits in his first three games in an Astros uniform since Ken Caminiti from July 16-18, 1987 as a rookie.

Stat of the game: Oberholtzer has pitched at least five innings in each of his 11 Major League career starts. That streak ranks second in franchise history behind Mark Lemongello, who went at least five innings in each of his first 14 career starts with the Astros (Sept. 14, 1976-May 29, 1977).

Quote of the day: “We could have communicated better. To give them a free out like that later in the game, it was tough. Like I said, you just learn from it and move forward and chalk it up to a learning experience,” Astros first baseman Marc Krauss on the two-out pop up that dropped to the ground in the seventh inning, costing the Astros a run.

Other stuff: Astros starter have posted a 1.56 ERA through the season’s first three games.

Links:

Jason Castro is day to day with a bruised foot

Replay used to check count in Astros-Yanks

Crain heading to Florida to continue rehab work

Porter happy with Astros approach at the plate

Astros have top pool for international signings

Tweets of the day:

 

Game 20: Harrell makes his case for rotation spot

The fact: Right fielder Bobby Abreu went 3-for-4, including a tiebreaking double in the sixth inning, to lead the split-squad Phillies to a 6-3 win over the Astros on Thursday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: Don’t count out RHP Lucas Harrell for a spot in the starting rotation. Harrell, who coughed up 12 hits and nine earned runs in his previous start on Saturday, pitched well Thursday by allowing six hits and one earned run in 4 1/3 innings. He wasn’t efficient, though, needing 91 pitches.

Harrell, who’s among four battling for the final two spots in the Houston rotation, has allowed one earned run in four of his five starts this spring.

“Some of the good things I’ve been taking out of my outings are weak contact,” he said. “I felt like I got some weak contact today, some balls on the ground, and that’s mainly what I’m looking for.”

Player of the game: CF Dexter Fowler went 2-for-2 with a walk, a double and a run scored at the top of the lineup to raise his spring average to .250.

What went wrong: LHP Kevin Chapman, who took the loss, came into a jam in the fifth and got a pair of strikeouts before allowing a pair of runs (one earned) in the sixth. … LHP Darin Downs gave up five hits and three earned runs in two innings of work, raising his spring ERA to 6.75. … Marwin Gonzalez played a few innings in CF as promised and sailed a throw to the plate in the sixth inning well over the catcher’s head.

“I think it’s a matter of getting to know the position and getting his arm stretched out,” manager Bo Porter said. “Obviously, that’s a different throw than any of the throws he’s had to make from short, second or third. Again, we’re going to put him out there. He gives us flexibility. I thought he made a really good play on a ball doing to left-center. He’s going to add some versatility to our ballclub.”

Read more about how Gonzalez could shape the Astros roster here.

Notable: Harrell picked off Reid Brignac at second base in the third inning. … C Carlos Corporan was charged with a passed ball in the fifth inning. … RHP Josh Fields is having a strong spring. He struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning. … SS Jonathan Villar went 2-for-4, and C Jason Castro was 2-for-3.

Quotable: “It takes three pitches to strike somebody out and one pitch to have them hit a ground ball,” — Astros manager Bo Porter when asked about Harrell not having any strikeouts.

Up next: RHP Scott Feldman, who will start for the Astros on Opening Day against the Yankees on April 1, will make his second-to-last start of the spring when the Astros face the Marlins at 12:05 p.m. CT Friday at Osceola County Stadium. He’s scheduled to throw 90 pitches across six or seven innings

Injuries: RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat strain), RHP Jesse Crain (biceps tendon surgery recovery).

Links of the day:

Full story and video: Astros cut six prized prospects from camp.

Oberholtzer and Cosart to follow Feldman in rotation

X-rays show no fracture for Correa

Tweets of the day:

Game 17: Relievers on display in rain-shortened loss

The fact: Dan Uggla hit his third home run of the spring in the second inning Monday afternoon and added a two-run triple an inning later to lead the Braves to a 4-0 short-shortened win over the Astros in five innings at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: LHP Brett Oberholtzer and RHP Jerome Williams are progressing nicely as they battle for a spot in the rotation. Oberholtzer is pretty much a lock to get a rotation spot at this point it appears, and Williams should have a spot on the club as either a starter or a reliever.

Both pitchers started a Minor League intrasquad game between the team’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates at 9 a.m. ET Monday. Oberholtzer threw 75 pitches in five innings, and Williams threw 75 pitches in six innings.

“The last thing you want in Spring Training is to get your starters backed up and you’re trying to find innings as you go along and you can’t get an opportunity to get them built up,” manager Bo Porter said. “It’s been great to have these camps games and allow these guys to stay on turn and get their work in and get built up.”

More on Oberholtzer and Williams can be found here.

Player of the game: LHP Darin Downs. Starting the game in place of Oberholtzer, Downs worked two innings and gave up a solo homer to Dan Uggla. Regardless, it was a strong outing for the veteran in his quest to win a rotation spot.

What went wrong: LHP Kevin Chapman, who hadn’t allowed a run in his first four spring starts, was hit for three earned runs and five hits in one inning. … The Astros were 2-for-18 with six strikeouts against Braves starter Alex Wood.

Notable: RHP Ross Seaton, who was in Major League camp with the Astros last year, pitched an inning in relief and looked sharp. … IF Jio Mier, the club’s former first-round Draft pick, had a double a single against Williams in the morning intrasquad Minor League game. … CF Dexter Fowler went 1-for-2 with a bunt hit and a strikeout and had a nice diving catch to end the first inning.. … LF Robbie Grossman had the Astros’ only other hit.

Quotable: “Once we talked to the grounds crew and the umpire and myself and Fredi [Gonzalez], we walked out there and it was standing water at third and they had no plans to cover the field. At that juncture, you don’t want to put our players or their players in jeopardy of somebody suffering an injury with the grounds just not being safe,” — Astros manager Bo Porter on decision to call the game after five rain-soaked innings.

Up next: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who hasn’t allowed a run in three spring outings covering nine innings, tries to fortify his spot in the rotation when he starts against the Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., at 12:05 p.m. Tuesday. Keuchel is scheduled to throw about five innings.

Injuries: RHP Mark Appel (recovering from appendectomy), RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat strain), RHP Jesse Crain (biceps tendon surgery recovery).

Links of the day:

Story and video: Feldman named Opening Day starter

Video: Carlos Correa giving his Quad Cities teammates an impromptu speech Sunday

Bass ready for closer role if asked

Chapman bullish on Gators in NCAA Tourney

Tweets of the day:

Picture of the day:

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Jio Mier hitting a single against Jerome Williams

 

Game 6: Scherzer, Tigers shut down Astros

What happened: RHP Max Scherzer and five Tigers relievers combined to beat the Astros, 3-0, on a three-hit shutout in Kissimmee (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Lucas Harrell‘s sinker is coming along nicely. As we all know, Harrell’s sinker, which betrayed him so often last year, is the key to his success. He threw three innings and recorded six ground-ball outs.

“That was a huge thing for me today,” Harrell said. “I didn’t have one ball hit into the air. The defense behind me played great. [Third baseman Matt] Dominguez made a couple of nice plays, and [shortstop Carlos] Correa made a nice play and almost got up and threw a guy out in the first inning, so it was really nice to see those guys laying it out and getting dirty for the ball.”

What we learned II: Overall, manager Bo Porter is happy with the kind of baseball the Astros are playing at this point in the spring. Sure, they were held to three hits Wednesday, but he lauded the at-bats and deep counts.

“I think that these guys are really honing into the strike zone and understanding who they are,” he said. “I think that the pitches in which we are attacking are the right pitches. Sometimes you’re going to have days in which you attack the right pitch and you don’t square the ball up or you don’t get a hit. I feel like I all facets of the game, we’re playing good baseball.”

What else: 2B Jose Altuve had the only hit against Scherzer, and LF J.D. Martinez added a single later in the game. LF Robbie Grossman had the only other hit, a double. … RHPs Chad Qualls and Jose Ciserno each threw a scoreless inning, and RHP Mike Foltynewicz threw two scoreless innings while facing seven batters. … RHP Anthony Bass gave up two runs (one earned) and three hits in two innings.

What went wrong: 2B Marwin Gonzalez made an error, and RF George Springer had an error when he let a ball get past him in the outfield. … The Astros didn’t muster much offensively. It started with the Tigers’ Scherzer, who went three strong innings and allowed only an Altuve single.

“It all starts on the mound, and obviously he’s the reigning Cy Young Award winner,” Porter said. “He has great stuff, but I felt like our pitchers did a tremendous job today.

What they said: “His ability to strike people out, it’s unbelievable. You saw it last year on display. He’s got an electric fastball and a great slider. Maybe I could just take it all.” –Astros RHP Lucas Harrell on facing Scherzer. The two played with and against each other growing up in Missouri.

What’s next: RHP Brad Peacock makes his second appearance of the spring when the Astros face the Mets at 12:05 p.m. CT Thursday at Osceola County Stadium. Peacock, who’s competing for a spot in the rotation, was rocked for five runs and four hits in one inning of work Friday at Detroit and struggled with fastball command.

Who’s injured: RHP Mark Appel (recovering from appendectomy), RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat strain), RHP Jesse Crain (biceps tendon surgery recovery), OF Adron Chambers (hamstring strain), RHP Jorge De Leon (quad strain), LHP Raul Valdes (left knee surgery recovery).

Links of the day:

Feature: Young relievers who debuted last year eager to contribute

Astros get glimpse of future with prospect-laden lineup

Fowler scratched from lineup with neck stiffness

Chambers ready to get on the field

Pipeline perspective: Springer too good not to star

Tweets of the day:

https://twitter.com/Folty25/status/441324903544156160

https://twitter.com/MAppel26/status/441190319527587840

https://twitter.com/MRLJHOES2U/status/441185084968669184

The day in photos:

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Jose Altuve and Enos Cabell

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Bo Porter and Craig Biggio

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Astros work on base running

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Craig Biggio plays catch with Jose Altuve

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Craig Biggio hits grounders during BP

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Jon Singleton and Robbie Grossman

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Future middle infield? Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve

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Former teammates Biggio, Ausmus and Blum in different roles

 

Game 26: Norris looks sharp in win over Cards

What happened: Right-hander Bud Norris threw six scoreless innings in his final Grapefruit League start of 2013, and Rick Ankiel pushed home the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning against his former team to lead the Astros to a 3-2 win over the Cardinals on Friday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Bud Norris is ready for Opening Day. Norris fired 84 pitches against the Cardinals and made a few mechanical adjustments as he went along, but his next major test will come when he faces the Rangers on March 31. Norris will throw a few innings in a Minor League game on Tuesday — his last appearance before the start of the season.

“Bud was outstanding,” manager Bo Porter said. “I mentioned it the last start that his secondary stuff really started to look sharp and his slider started to have some really good depth to it. He had some great changeups today. He fell behind in the count and was able to get back in the count with his changeup. Just a tremendous job of attacking the zone, working fast. The pace was great.”

What we learned II: RHP Chia-Jen Lo may have pitched his way onto the club. The Taiwanese reliever worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save to continue his strong showing this spring. Lo has appeared in nine games and allowed seven hits and two runs and struck out eight batters in 8 2/3 innings (2.08 ERA).

“Lo’s done a great job,” Porter said. “It’s an explosive fastball. He has command of three pitches he can throw any time in the count and a fastball that will get back on you.”

What else: 2B Jose Altuve went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored to up his spring average to .370. … Chris Carter saw time at DH and went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. … RHP Jose Veras and LHP Xavier Cedeno both made their returns from the World Baseball Classic. Veras allowed one hit and two runs in two-thirds of an inning, and Cedeno recorded one out. … RHP Jose Valdez threw a scoreless inning to lower his spring ERA to 1.93. … The Astros didn’t commit an error for the second game in a row. … LHP Erik Bedard threw 70 pitches in four innings in a Minor League game against Atlanta.

What went wrong: Veras was rusty in his first Grapefruit League action since March 1, but that’s no cause for alarm. CF Justin Maxwell (0-for-4), 1B Brandon Laird (0-for-4) and 3B Matt Dominguez (0-for-3) combined to go 0-for-11 as the Astros’ red-hot offense was cooled off by the Cardinals.

What they said: “You always think you do, but that’s their decision. I’ll just wait until they tell me and go from there.” — LHP Erik Bedard when asked if he thought he’d done enough to make the team.

What’s next: RHP Philip Humber, who earlier this week learned he had secured a spot as the No. 3 starter in the Astros rotation, will start for the Astros when they make their first trip to Disney to face the Braves at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday. Humber will make his Astros regular-season debut April 3 against the Rangers at Minute Maid Park.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (back) is day-to-day. … RHP Edgar Gonzalez (leg contusion) is day-to-day.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day:

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