Astros lock up the series win against the Rangers

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After taking the opener on Friday night, the Astros had their sights on locking up the series with a win over the Rangers on Saturday. Here is a recap of the middle game of the three-game set:

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 1.

Record: 63-37, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jose Urquidy (1-0, 5.54 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Ariel Jurado (5-6, 4.92 ERA).

1) Gurriel cannot be stopped

It was Houston once again starting the scoring for the night, this time in the bottom of the third. Myles Straw led the inning off with a double, then came around to score on another double by George Springer. Springer would then also score no a one-out double by Michael Brantley, putting the Astros up 2-0.

The Astros quickly extended their lead in the fifth. It started with back-to-back two-out singles by Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez, bringing Yuli Gurriel to the plate. Gurriel continued his recent red-hot streak, drilling a home run to make it a 5-1 lead for Houston. The home run was Gurriel's thirteenth in his last twenty-one games, and the three runs from it brought his total in that same span of games to twenty-eight.

2) Brilliant start for Urquidy

Jose Urquidy received another chance to start on Saturday night while the Astros continue to try to figure out the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation. He took complete advantage of the opportunity, giving his team exactly what they needed with an extended outing.

Urquidy did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, though it would be a costly one in a solo home run which trimmed Houston's lead to 2-1 at the time. He quickly put that behind him, settling right back in and only allowing one other hit over the rest of his seven innings of work.

Along the way he also racked up nine strikeouts while issuing zero walks, further solidifying it as his best start so far in the big leagues. Urquidy's final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR.

3) Holding on to take the series

With Urquidy giving Houston seven innings, that meant only two innings of work for the bullpen. Chris Devenski took over for the top of the eighth and struck out the side on fourteen pitches. Hector Rondon was given the ninth with the five-run lead, looking to put his most recent outing behind him. He did so, getting a 1-2-3 inning to finish off the victory.

The win not only secured a win in this series but a win in the season series with the Astros taking their tenth of the nineteen-game series.

Up Next: The Astros and Rangers will conclude this series with the first pitch of the finale scheduled for 1:10 PM Sunday. Texas will have the best starter of their rotation on the mound in Lance Lynn (12-5, 3.87 ERA) while Houston will hope to get a solid start out of Rogelio Armenteros (0-0, 2.00 ERA) to get a weekend sweep.

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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