Astros with another poor pitching performance

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 7-2 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston, having lost disappointingly in the series opener, were looking to rebound from the tough night prior with a good outing on Tuesday in the second game of four against the Angels. Here is the result of the game:

Final Score: Angels 7, Astros 2.

Record: 59-37, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Noe Ramirez (4-1, 3.21 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Hector Rondon (3-2, 4.79 ERA).

1) The opener closes out Houston's chances

Houston elected to have Hector Rondon serve as an "opener" to primary pitcher Rogelio Armenteros on Tuesday night, a decision that would, unfortunately, backfire and diminish their chances of winning the game. Rondon met the same night as Framber Valdez the night prior, throwing a complete disaster of an outing.

He would only be able to record two outs during which he allowed six demoralizing runs on five hits and one walk. That put the Astros in an insurmountable 6-0 hole and prompted an all-too-early call to the bullpen to bring in Chris Devenski to try and get out of the inning.

Devenski was able to get the last out of the first inning and returned to pitch the second inning as well. He would record twice as many outs as Rondon, without allowing a run and giving up just one hit.

2) Armenteros with a decent outing, offense unable to overcome the deficit

Once Armenteros was able to get into the game, he served his role well, eating up innings three through six. Over that stretch, he allowed just one unearned run after a passed ball in the bottom of the sixth. He would pitch four total innings, getting up to 71 pitches and allowing only two hits while striking out three.

Will Harris was next out of Houston's bullpen to take over in the bottom of the seventh, and he provided a scoreless inning to keep it at a 7-2 game at the time. Josh James closed out the pitching night for Houston with a scoreless bottom of the eighth.

The offense had their chances, getting plenty of runners on base throughout the game. Tyler White helped get them on the board with an RBI-single in the fourth, cutting the lead to 6-1. They would put the first two runners on in the top of the fifth, leading to White's second RBI-single in as many innings and making it a four-run game. That's as close as they would get, going on to strand 14 runners in the game.

3) Benches clear in the sixth after Marisnick is hit by pitch

With Marisnick not in the lineup on Monday, the Angels had their first chance of retaliation in Tuesday night's game and threw an attempted plunk at him in the top of the sixth. Whether intentional or a missed spot, the ball ended up shoulder high, hitting Marisnick nearly between the shoulder blades, prompting some contention in Houston's dugout.

Marisnick handled the situation well, not even looking back at the pitcher and going straight to first base. Even after Albert Pujols took offense with the statements coming out of the Astros' dugout, resulting in the benches clearing, Marisnick was trying to keep his teammates under control and avoid conflict. It ended up being a lot of show for nothing, as both teams would receive warnings and the game would resume without further incident.

Up Next: Houston will finally get one of their regular rotation pitchers back on the mound Wednesday night. The game will be another 9:07 PM start, and while the Angels do not yet have their starter picked, the Astros will send Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.23 ERA) to the mound to try and distance Astros fans from the memory of the last two nights.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

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Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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