Astros win seventh straight game

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros were riding a six-game winning streak into a three-game series with the Orioles in Baltimore on Friday night. Here is a quick recap of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 3, Orioles 2.

Record: 76-40, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Wade Miley (11-4, 2.99 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Dylan Bundy (5-12, 5.04 ERA).

1) Another win for Miley

Wade Miley did his job against the Orioles on Friday night, throwing another low-score solid start. He only allowed a few hits in the early goings of the game but allowed a costly hit in the bottom of the fifth when he allowed a solo home run to get the Orioles within a run at 2-1.

He quickly moved past the homer, finishing the fifth then getting two outs into the sixth before his pitch count caught up with him and Houston made the call to their bullpen. Miley's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. The one-run start not only kept Miley in line for his eleventh win of the season, but it also moved his ERA below 3.00 at 2.99

2) Offense not as strong as expected, but strong enough

It looked like Houston's bats were going to feast on Baltimore's pitching after their successful first inning. It started with a one-out single by Jose Altuve, who would come around to score the first run of the game on a two-out RBI-double by Alex Bregman. Yordan Alvarez was up next and continued his fantastic introduction to the league with an RBI of his own, a single to score Bregman and extend the lead to 2-0.

They would go surprisingly quiet after that, getting only a handful of hits through the middle innings. After the Orioles cut the lead in half in the fifth, Houston was able to push it back to two runs in the top of the seventh. Robinson Chirinos led the inning off with a single, then scored on an RBI-triple by Jose Altuve.

3) Make it seven straight wins

After Will Harris finished the sixth for Wade Miley, it was Joe Smith who took over on the mound for the seventh. He would complete the inning, but not without allowing Baltimore's second solo home run of the night to make it a 3-2 Houston lead.

Ryan Pressly made his return from the injured list in the bottom of the eighth inning and was able to keep Baltimore scoreless by working around a one-out walk and single, stranding both with back-to-back strikeouts to send things to the ninth. Roberto Osuna took over for another save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth and converted it to finish off Houston's seventh win in a row

Up Next: This series continues with game two on Saturday at 6:05 PM Central from Baltimore. The expected pitching matchup is Aaron Brooks (2-5, 5.45 ERA) for the Orioles going against newly acquired Aaron Sanchez (4-14, 5.76 ERA) who will be looking to repeat the success of his hitless six-inning debut with the Astros last weekend.

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


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