Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
The series finale between the Astros and Orioles on Sunday afternoon had a much bigger storyline behind it other than being the rubber game of the three-game series. It was the debut of phenom Yordan Alvarez, power slugger in the Astros' farm system, who received his highly-anticipated call up on Sunday morning. Here is how the first game with him in the lineup went:
Final Score: Astros 4, Orioles 0.
Record: 45-22, first in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Wade Miley (6-3, 3.14 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Dylan Bundy (3-7, 4.50 ERA).
1) Welcome to the Alvarez era
Yordan Alvarez made his presence felt in a big way in the bottom of the fourth. After popping out in his first at-bat, the Astros would go hitless through the first three innings. Yuli Gurriel changed that with a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, bringing Alvarez up to the plate for his second ever plate appearance.
He gave fans a display of his power, hammering an opposite-field ball for the two-run home run to put the Astros up 2-0. Alvarez would finish 1-for-3 on the day with a walk and the 2 RBIs off of his two-run home run.
2) Miley keeps the O's at 0
Wade Miley had a great day on the mound, keeping the Orioles off the board while he was on the mound. Miley allowed just four hits and one walk through the first six innings, keeping him on pace to go deep into the game. In the seventh, though, he'd struggle with the middle of Baltimore's order allowing a couple of singles and a walk to load the bases and end his day. His final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.
3) Astros tack on two more runs, bullpen closes it out
Still 2-0 in the sixth inning, the Astros were able to extend their lead on an RBI-single from Josh Reddick to make it 3-0. In the top of the seventh, after Miley's day came to a close after loading the bases with no outs, Ryan Pressly was called in to try and limit the damage. Pressly, with some good defense behind him, was able to manage the situation perfectly, keeping Baltimore off the board and ending the threat.
Hector Rondon was next out of the bullpen and pitched the top of the eighth before Yuli Gurriel added one more insurance run with a sac fly in the bottom of the inning to extend the lead to 4-0. Josh James came in for the ninth, but after back-to-back two-out walks was pulled in favor of Roberto Osuna who would record the final out to close out the shutout and give Houston the series win.
Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off on Monday before continuing this homestand with a short two-game series with Milwaukee on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday's game will start at 7:10 PM and the expected pitching matchup is Brad Peacock (5-3, 3.20 ERA) for the Astros and Jimmy Nelson (0-1, 12.00 ERA) for the Brewers.
The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.
With a new season on the horizon, the Astros have high hopes for 2024 after coming just one game shy of being in the World Series for three consecutive seasons.
If Houston wants to get back to the Fall Classic in 2024, they're going to have to rely on their pitching. Owner Jim Crane believes the club has 8 starting pitchers when Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. return mid-season.
Which allows several of the starters to move to the bullpen and provide even more depth. Add those guys to Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader and you have a recipe for success.
Check out the video above as ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham goes through the entire staff and makes his case for the Astros having the best pitching staff in baseball.
You can listen to The Killer B's with Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank every weekday on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 from 3 pm - 6 pm!