Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Houston faced the Rangers on Wednesday night with the winner taking the series win. Here's how it went:
Final Score: Rangers 4, Astros 0
Record: 2-5, fourth in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Mike Minor (1-1).
Losing pitcher: Gerrit Cole (0-2).
Star of the game: There wasn't a true star in this game for the Astros considering the bad night, but Jose Altuve did get his second multi-hit game of the year, going two for four with a couple of singles.
Notes: It was the Rangers who struck first in the game, getting a couple of hits off of Gerrit Cole in the bottom of the first to grab an early 1-0 lead. A few egregious pitch calls that went against the Astros stirred some arguments in the second inning, resulting in A.J. Hinch being ejected from the game. After rebounding well from the early run in the next couple of innings, Cole would give up a few more hits in the fourth, expanding the Rangers' lead to 3-0 before his night ended at six innings, with the three runs allowed to go with nine strikeouts. Josh James would come in from the bullpen, looking great overall but allowed a solo homer to add on to the Rangers lead at 4-0. After continued poor calls at the plate, Houston would be unable to get anything going offensively, getting shutout the first time this year, dropping the series 2-1.
Up next: The Astros get their first day off in the early season on Thursday, a chance to regroup and turn things around in front of their home crowd in their home opener. First pitch in Friday night's series opener with the A's will be at 7:10 PM and will pit starter Collin McHugh for Houston against Frankie Montas for Oakland.
With a new season on the horizon, the Astros have high hopes for 2024 after coming just one game shy of being in the World Series for three consecutive seasons.
If Houston wants to get back to the Fall Classic in 2024, they're going to have to rely on their pitching. Owner Jim Crane believes the club has 8 starting pitchers when Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. return mid-season.
Which allows several of the starters to move to the bullpen and provide even more depth. Add those guys to Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader and you have a recipe for success.
Check out the video above as ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham goes through the entire staff and makes his case for the Astros having the best pitching staff in baseball.
You can listen to The Killer B's with Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank every weekday on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 from 3 pm - 6 pm!