Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
The Astros started Saturday on top of MLB's overall standings after a win in the series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday night. They looked to keep pace with the Yankees and Dodgers with another victory in the middle game to secure the series. Here is a quick rundown of Saturday's game from Toronto:
Final Score: Blue Jays 6, Astros 4.
Record: 88-49, first in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Clay Buchholz (1-3, 5.45 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-7, 5.55 ERA).
1) Valdez digs a big hole
Houston's offense had an efficient start to the game, getting back-to-back hits to start the game with runners on first and third. Alex Bregman scored the first run of the afternoon on a sacrifice fly, putting Houston ahead 1-0.
After winning the battle against the Blue Jays in the first two innings, Framber Valdez would struggle in the third inning, allowing two one-out walks followed by an RBI-single and a two-run home run to put Toronto ahead 3-1. In the fourth, a two-out single would turn into a two-run home run, extending the lead to 5-1.
Valdez would continue on the mound trying to keep Toronto from adding to their lead, and did so through two outs in the sixth inning when a single would end his day as he was over 100 pitches. Joe Smith was brought in from the bullpen to try and finish the sixth but instead would allow Valdez's sixth run of the day. Valdez's final line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.
2) Astros score some, but not enough
Houston was able to get a couple of runs back in the top of the sixth, getting two two-out walks to set up a two-RBI doubly by Yuli Gurriel, which made it 5-3 at the time.
After Toronto tacked on one more run to push the lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Houston was able to load the bases in the top of the seventh with one out. After a groundout kept the bases loaded with two outs, Alex Bregman was able to work a walk to score a run to make it 6-4. Toronto's bullpen would win the battle though, striking out Yordan Alvarez to end the threat.
Joe Smith, who completed the sixth for Valdez, remained on the mound for the bottom of the seventh and worked around a two-out walk to keep the game 6-4 going to the eighth. Houston had another chance in the top of the ninth with the tying runs on base but again came away empty. Cy Sneed was next out of Houston's bullpen and threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, but Houston would come up empty yet again in the top of the ninth, dropping the middle game and falling behind the Yankees in the standings.
Up Next: The series finale between Houston and Toronto will start on Sunday at 12:07 PM. The pitching matchup will be Cy Young leader Justin Verlander (16-5, 2.69 ERA) on the mound for the Astros opposite of Wilmer Font (2-1, 3.86 ERA) for the Blue Jays.
The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.
One of the big factors that led to the Texans' loss to the Jaguars on Sunday was the secondary. Multiple flags for pass interference gave Jacksonville more opportunities to pick up first downs and score points.
Can confirm #Texans backup CB Shaq Griffin was cut.
Griffin started 6 games this year when Derek Stingley was out with a hamstring.
— DJ Bien-Aime (@Djbienaime) November 29, 2023
So it's no surprise that DeMeco Ryans is making some changes to his defense this week. According to several reports, Texans corner Shaq Griffin has been cut.
Nickel corner Tavierre Thomas was flagged for PI more than once on Sunday, and was burned badly by Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley for a touchdown.
DeMeco was asked after the game if he considered replacing Thomas with Desmond King or Shaq Griffin. Ryans didn't give a definitive answer, but it looks like we got one today.
One has to wonder if Desmond Kings' experience playing nickel was the reason for his promotion to the active roster and why Griffin was released. If Thomas continues to struggle, King looks like the next man up to replace him.
#Texans activate Denzel Perryman, promote Desmond King to active roster, release Shaq Griffin, sign Matt Ammendola and Garret Wallow to practice squad, released Gerrid Doaks from practice squad and placed Tytus Howard (knee-patellar tendon surgery pending) on injured reserve https://t.co/knyyoqo7yC
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 29, 2023
The Texans also made some other adjustments to their roster on Wednesday, per Aaron Wilson. Linebacker Denzel Perryman returns from suspension, kicker Matt Ammendola and linebacker Garret Wallow join the practice squad. They also released Gerrid Doaks from the practice squad.
The other big piece of news involves left guard Tytus Howard. He heads to injured reserve, ending his season after hurting his knee against Jacksonville.