Astros drop series opener to Reds

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With a disappointing loss on Father's Day to end their recent homestand, the Astros took to the road this week starting with a three-game series with the Reds in Cincinnati. Here is a quick look at game one of the inter-league matchup:

Final Score: Reds 3, Astros 2.

Record: 48-25, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Luis Castillo (7-1, 2.26 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Wade Miley (6-4, 3.30 ERA).

1) Miley falls off after rain delay

Wade Miley was out to a good start through the early goings in the game, allowing just one hit and a hit batter over the first seven outs before a rain delay tabled the game for nearly an hour. Miley returned to the mound after the delay and was able to pick up where he left off to complete the third inning with a couple of strikeouts to work around a walk.

He stayed effective in the fourth, getting a 1-2-3 inning, but would falter in the fifth by giving up a single and walk to start the inning then three runs and two walks with one out, ending his night on a rough note. Miley's final line: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6K.

2) Astros finally score in the seventh, but not enough

In what seemed like the first time in forever (16 innings, to be exact), Houston was finally able to get back on the scoreboard in the seventh inning Monday night by getting a run on an error then later another on an RBI-double by Michael Brantley to trim Cincinnati's lead to 3-2.

Those two runs would be all they'd come away with, though, despite getting plenty of runners on base via nine walks on the night. Houston would strand ten runners in the loss.

3) Bullpen keeps Houston close 

With Miley leaving the game with the bases still loaded and one out in the fifth, it put Hector Rondon in a high-leverage spot to come in and try and limit the damage. Rondon did great, though, getting a double play to end the fifth before going on to throw a scoreless sixth.

Will Harris picked things up in the bottom of the seventh, a scoreless inning to keep the game at one run. Ryan Pressly was out next to pitch the eighth and looked well rested in a scoreless inning.

Up Next: The Astros will continue this series with the Reds with another 6:10 PM start time tomorrow. Houston will have Justin Verlander (9-2, 2.41 ERA) on the mound looking for his tenth win on the year and also seeking to move another spot ahead on the all-time strikeout leaders list. Cincinnati will hand the ball to Anthony DeSclafani (3-3, 4.43 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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After a short turnaround, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to their Mecca at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the famed Coca-Cola 600. Of all the races in NASCAR, after Daytona this race may be the most important race on the schedule. The tradition started back in 1959 when former driver and hall of famer Curtis Turner teamed up with Burton Smith to build the track and upon its completion, they decided to make the first race at the new track on the same day as the Indy 500. In an effort to draw fans, they made the race 100 miles longer and from there the rest was history. This year's rendition will be somber though as no fans will be permitted to enter due to Covid-19, but even in this time of unrest it will be a relief to continue to see our heroes take on NASCAR's longest race.

For the first time, NASCAR pulled off it's first midweek race and it was a doozy. For most of the race there was a wide range of characters who were up front. Clint Bowyer set the tone early as he went on to win the first two stages but after getting caught in traffic he fell back. To make matters worse, Bowyer was involved in an accident that ended any chance of victory. While it wasn't the outcome he would have hoped for, to see how well he ran is a sign of good things to come for the Kansas native. I look forward to seeing how he rebounds.

With Bowyer out of it, the attention shifted to Chase Elliott. All night it seemed like he had the second best car and looked to be on his way to another victory but after the caution for Bowyer, Elliott lost a ton of track position after a bad pit-stop. This left the sports most popular driver stuck in traffic, but he was able to make his way back to second. In the final laps, he was easily the best car and appeared to be on his way past Denny Hamlin to take the victory but Kyle Busch had other ideas. The defending champion made a sudden right hand turn and veered into Elliott sending him head on into the wall.

It was safe to say that Elliott was not pleased as he gave Busch the one finger salute as he drove by under caution. The race was not able to resume as Mother Nature intervened giving Hamlin his second win of the season. Many fans and experts alike were critical of Busch's stunt, Jeff Gordon was quoted as saying "Not sure what that was all about." When the race was over, Busch was confronted by Elliott's Crew Chief Alan Gufston. When it was said and done security had to be called to separate the two. While it might not have been intentional, Busch has opened up a can of worms in the future for retaliation. It will be fun to watch what happens next.

Overall, the response to NASCAR's midweek race was overwhelmingly positive as it was the third highest watched event on television. As NASCAR continues to be fluid, more and more people are becoming interested. NASCAR journalist and reporter Adam Stern tweeted that more than thirty percent of the viewers of Sunday's race were new viewers. Even though we may not always agree with the way NASCAR does things, I have to say they have done an outstanding job at putting this schedule together. I hope that in the future, NASCAR continues this new tradition.

Moving on to Charlotte, The driver I have winning this weekend is Chase Elliott. In every race this season, Chase has been a force to be reckoned but has simply run into circumstances he can't control. At Vegas before the shutdown, he seemed to have the race in hand until a flat tire ended any chances of victory. Two weeks later at Phoenix, he led ninety-three laps until fading to a seventh place finish and with a new-found fire lit under him after Darlington, Elliott will be like a bull in the china shop come Sunday. While he has been great at every track he has run at, he has been especially fast at Charlotte. He currently has a 10.60 average finish there and has consistently led laps. This week, I think Elliott will get redemption and claim his sixth career victory in one of NASCAR's crown jewels. Look for him to take his #9 Napa Camaro to victory lane.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats)

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