Astros complete the sweep of the Mariners

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 3-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After the four-pitcher combined no-hitter the day before secured them the series win, Houston sent Justin Verlander to the mound to complete the clean sweep. Here is a rundown of the series finale with the Mariners:

Final Score: Astros 3, Mariners 1.

Record: 73-40, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (15-4, 2.68 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Tommy Milone (1-6, 4.33 ERA).

1) Just another day at the office for Verlander

While he didn't throw a no-hitter like his four teammates did the day before, it was another typically terrific day for Justin Verlander. He did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, which was Seattle's first hit since Friday night's game. He also allowed a two-out triple in the top of the fifth but would strand that runner as well.

Along the way, Verlander recorded yet another double-digit strikeout game, surpassing 200 on the season to join his teammate Gerrit Cole as the only pitchers in the league to accomplish that so far in 2019. Seattle did tag him with a run, a solo shot to lead off the seventh.

That would do it for him in this start, as he was sitting with 98 pitches after that home run. Verlander's final line: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 1 HR.

2) Finishing the sweep

Along the way, Houston's offense had gotten two runs of support for Verlander. The first came in the bottom of the fourth after Alex Bregman led the inning off with a single, moved to third on a Jose Altuve double, then scored on an RBI-single by Carlos Correa. Bregman would come around to score again in the sixth; he hit a one-out double before moving to third on a wild pitch then scoring on a sacrifice fly by Yordan Alvarez to extend the lead to 2-0.

With Verlander's day over after the solo home run to start the seventh to cut the lead to 2-1, Joe Smith came in from the bullpen and worked around a one-out single to maintain the one-run advantage. Houston pushed it back to two runs in the bottom half of the inning, getting a one-out single by Jake Marisnick who stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick, making it 3-1.

Will Harris was next out of the bullpen to take over in the eighth, and he recorded a 1-2-3 inning. Roberto Osuna came in to close things out in the ninth and did so with a scoreless inning. The win completed the sweep, gave Houston five straight series wins, and made them winners in fourteen of their last seventeen games.

Up Next: Houston will get a day off tomorrow at home before starting a two-game series with the Rockies at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night. The first of the two games will begin at 7:10 PM and will be the debut of Zack Greinke (10-4, 2.90 ERA) for the Astros. The Rockies are expected to counter with German Marquez (10-5, 4.68 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Houston Astros/Facebook

The Astros had a bad 4-6 road trip and looked forward to getting home to Minute Maid Park where they have been dominant this season. The pitiful Detroit Tigers arrived in Houston with a record since the All Star Break of nine wins and 27 losses. They literally do not have one non-pitcher who would make a healthy Astros' roster. That includes the way over the hill sure fire Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. Splitting four games at home with the Tigers would have been a fail. The Astros did not fail, though "only" taking three out of four seems a little disappointing. The S.S. Astros Good Ship Lollipop has sprung a couple of leaks. Neither that can't be plugged with good health, but the Astros have two notable health issues.

Carlos Correa's next endorsement deal should be for peanut brittle, emphasis not on the peanut. Some guys just have a propensity toward getting injured. Unfortunately the Correa resume grows that he is one of those guys. That back problems have resurfaced is troubling, to no one more so than Correa himself. It's clear the guy loves the game and is spectacularly talented, but durability is one component of greatness and to this point Correa simply has not demonstrated durability. If he can't produce a fully healthy bigtime season or two in the next year or two, any visions of a Manny Machado-like 10 year 300 million dollar contract will be up in smoke. Still, Correa turns only 25 years old next month so there's time to prove sturdiness, but more sand has seeped through the hourglass. For the 2019 Astros the dropdown is huge from Correa at shortstop to either Miles Straw or Aledmys Diaz being in the lineup. As for 2020, please tell anyone saying the Astros should trade Correa to be quiet.

The loss of Ryan Pressly for most if not all of the rest of the regular season is a big blow to the bullpen. Of even bigger concern is whether he can get back and get sharp to start the postseason.

This doesn't mean the ship is sinking. The Astros enter the weekend just one game behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League, and the Astros own the tiebreaker (having won the season series 4-3). They are three back of the Dodgers for best in MLB, the Astros have a three game lead in the tiebreaker with LA (intradivision record). The Yankees play at the Dodgers this weekend so if you're a glass half full person: a Dodger or Yankee loss is guaranteed three days in a row! If you're glass half empty: a Dodger or Yankee win is guaranteed three days in a row!

NFL on the horizon

A little over 2 weeks until the Texans begin their 18th season of play in the National Football League. We've all heard the saying, the 18th time is the charm. So is this the season the Texans are finally a legitimate Super Bowl contender? Probably not. The Texans do not look like a notably improved football team. On paper their schedule is clearly more difficult than last season's. Within the AFC the Chiefs clearly have more overall talent and are better coached. The Patriots still exist. One of these years Tom Brady really will slip. Maybe at age 42 this is the season.

If Jadeveon Clowney opts to sit out, or is traded, anyone thinking he won't be missed, is wrong. Clowney is not a superstar but he's really good. The Texans will be easier to run on without him. And while not an elite pass rusher, Clowney has to be accounted for. Anyone thinking, ah, he's hurt all the time anyway…wrong again. Clowney missed one game last season, and the season before that he played in every game.

If you want a couple of reasons for plausible optimism, here you go. Coming off of last season Deshaun Watson does not rate as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. He could well vault into that echelon this season. The Texans' offensive line remains something between a question mark and a glaring weakness, but really, can it be worse than it was the last couple of seasons? DeAndre Hopkins is about as good as it gets today at wide receiver, the same for J.J. Watt at defensive end though the clock is ticking down on his prime.

The Texans probably begin their season by losing at New Orleans. On the other hand the Buccaneers started their 5-11 2018 season by beating the 13-3 to be Saints in New Orleans.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Connor McGregor pitches some "number 12" brand of whisky. As a human being he seems much more a piece of number two. 2. Two peas in a pitching pod: Justin Verlander 15-5, 2.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts. Gerrit Cole 15-5, 2.75 ERA, 238 strikeouts. 3. Worst tasting vegetables: Bronze-kale Silver-peas Gold-lima beans


SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome