Houston is in last place

Offensive and bullpen woes continue as Astros fall to Rockies

Astros Martin Maldonado
Houston's struggles continued Tuesday in Denver. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Houston's struggles continued Tuesday in Denver.

After dropping two of three in Seattle to start this road trip, the Astros moved on to frigid Coors Field in Colorado to try and turn things around against the 4-12 Rockies. Although they'd have to scratch their original starter, Lance McCullers Jr., and instead go with Luis Garcia on the mound, they did receive a morale boost by getting four players back off the COVID IL: Alex Bregman, Martin Maldonado, Yordan Alvarez, and Robel Garcia.

The fresh bats wouldn't be enough to spark the offense, though, as the Astros would have yet another disappointing night at the plate, and out of the bullpen, in a loss to the Rockies:

Final Score: Rockies 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-9, fifth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jon Gray (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1)

Rare low-scoring battle early before Houston strikes first

Something you don't see all that frequently: a low-scoring pitching battle in the thin air of Coors Field. It happened Tuesday night between Luis Garcia of the Astros and Jon Gray of the Rockies, though, with both offenses struggling to put together hits. Houston would get the scoring started in the top of the sixth, with Michael Brantley getting a one-out single then scoring on an RBI-double by Carlos Correa, making it a 1-0 lead.



Garcia fills in well, still gets dinged with runs

Meanwhile, Garcia, whose last appearance was an impressive 4.1 scoreless innings in relief out of the bullpen, was having a great start. After erasing a few baserunners through the first five scoreless, he would make it into the sixth, getting two outs in before allowing a single and hitting a batter, prompting a call to the bullpen. Bryan Abreu would enter and, before getting the third out, allowed a go-ahead two-RBI double, both runs charged to Garcia, making his final line 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 82 P.

Losing ways continue for the Astros

After the Astros stranded a runner in the top half of the inning, Ryne Stanek took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh. He would allow a one-out solo home run while getting two outs before Dusty Baker brought in Brooks Raley to get the third. Raley remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth but would put two on base while getting one out before Houston moved on to Joe Smith.

Smith would watch C.J. Cron blow the game open, blasting a three-run homer to make it 6-1 and put it out of reach for the Astros. Houston would get a late run on an RBI by Aledmys Diaz in the top of the ninth but still falls to 7-9 on the year with the loss, falling deeper into a hole in the division.

Up Next: The second and final game of this short series between the Astros and Rockies will be an afternoon start Wednesday at 2:10 PM Central. Jose Urquidy (0-1, 4.50 ERA) for Houston and Austin Gomber (0-2, 3.52 ERA) for Colorado will each make their fourth start of the season.

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Justin Verlander is heading to the injured list. Composite Getty Image.

Astros ace Justin Verlander missed his start over the weekend due to neck discomfort, which had many fans concerned. The last Houston pitcher (Cristian Javier) to miss time with the same injury would end up out for the season and having to undergo Tommy John surgery.

Fortunately, it doesn't look like that will be the case for JV, and the team didn't anticipate having to put Verlander on IR. They hoped he would be able to start Thursday's game in Chicago.

But manager Joe Espada told the Astros flagship station on Tuesday that his progress “is slower than we expected.”

Fast-forward a few hours and JV is headed to the IL, with Nick Hernandez joining the club from Sugar Land.

Hopefully, this is just a short stint on the injured list for Verlander. Quite frankly, the Astros are running out of big league caliber starting pitching options.

One has to wonder, how many more injuries the team can sustain in 2024? The injury bug is biting hard, and the club is currently nine games behind Seattle in the AL West.

Up next

Framber Valdez takes the mound for Houston against the White Sox on Tuesday night.

The Athletic's Chandler Rome shares some possibilities the Astros might explore to replace Verlander in the post below.

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