Astros crush the Rangers to complete the four-game sweep

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 15-5 win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 15-5 win
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After taking the first three of this four-game series with the Rangers, the Astros looked to make it a clean sweep with a win on Mother's Day Sunday. It was also the MLB debut of right-handed starter Corbin Martin. Here is a quick look at the game and three takeaways:

Final Score: Astros 15, Rangers 5

Record: 26-15, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Corbin Martin (1-0, 3.38 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Adrian Sampson (0-3, 5.25 ERA)

1) Springer and Bregman lead another big offensive game

George Springer started the game in a big way for the Astros, launching his 14th home run of the season to give Houston the immediate 1-0 lead and keeping him on top of the AL home run leaderboard. Springer struck again in the next inning, extending the lead to 2-0 on an RBI single before Alex Bregman made it 4-0 with a two-run home run in the next at-bat.

After a two-RBI single from Carlos Correa in the fourth to make it a 6-1 game, the Astros had a big fifth inning with an RBI-single from Tony Kemp followed by a single by Springer to set up a three-run homer for Alex Bregman, his second of the day, which put Houston at double digits at 10-1.

They, of course, didn't stop there, putting up a five-run sixth inning on an RBI-double by Yuli Gurriel, a two-RBI double by Aledmys Diaz, then a two-run dinger for Springer, his second of the day and putting him at 5-for-5 on the day to that point. That made it a 15-3 game, and they'd take that twelve-run lead to the end.

2) Terrific debut for Martin

Even though Corbin Martin was expected to be on a limited pitch count in his major-league debut, he crushed expectations by throwing a great game. Martin would get all the way into the sixth inning before hitting the 80 pitch mark which caused A.J. Hinch to come out and make the call to the bullpen. Martin had a debut he can look back on as a great memory, finishing five and one-third innings during which he allowed just two runs (one he gave up directly, then the other came when McHugh couldn't erase the inherited runner) on three hits and one walk while striking out nine.

3) McHugh struggles out of the bullpen, Valdez and Devenski close it out

Collin McHugh made his first appearance out of the bullpen this season, taking over for Corbin Martin with one out in the sixth inning. As mentioned, McHugh would allow Martin's runner to score, then allowed one of his own as the Rangers put together a two-run inning to trim the big lead. McHugh had trouble again in the seventh, loading the bases with no outs. To his credit, he would get out of that situation without allowing a run, but it was still overall a shaky relief appearance.

Framber Valdez took over in the eighth inning and threw a scoreless frame to move the game on to the ninth. In the ninth, Chris Devenski took over and would allow a two-run home run before closing out the very lopsided game.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Detroit tonight to kick off a week of games on the road tomorrow night. The first of three games against Detroit will start at 6:10 PM and will feature Brad Peacock (3-2, 4.30 ERA) for Houston going up against Matthew Boyd (4-2, 2.86 ERA) for the Tigers.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Astros on the hunt. Composite Getty Image.

With the Astros' surge from 10 games out of first place to within two games of Seattle, catching and going past the Mariners has naturally become the top objective. It's no given to happen but it's right there. In the final series ahead of the All-Star break, while the Mariners are in the midst of four games with the lowly Angels, the last two World Series champions renew (un)pleasantries at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros enter the weekend five games ahead of the Rangers. They lead the season series with the reigning champs four wins to three. While the Astros can't quite finish off the Arlingtonians by sweeping them in this three game set, shoving them eight games back (even further back of Seattle and the current Wild Card teams) and clinching the tiebreaker would seem close to a death blow. Taking two out of three would be fine for the Astros. If the Rangers win the series, they are clearly still in the American League West and Wild Card races coming out of the All-Star break.

Last year the Rangers had the best offense in the AL. So far in 2024 they rank a mediocre eighth in runs per game. Nathaniel Lowe is the lone Ranger (get it?!?) regular playing as well as he did last season. Corey Seager has been fine but not at the MVP runner-up level of last year. Marcus Semien is notably down, as is 2023 ALCS Astros-obliterater Adolis Garcia. Stud 2023 rookie Josh Jung has been out with a broken wrist since ex-Astro Phil Maton hit him with a pitch in the fourth game of this season, though fill-in third baseman Josh Smith has been the Rangers' best player. 21-year-old late season phenom Evan Carter largely stunk the first two months this season and has been out since late May with a back injury. Repeating is hard, never harder than it is now. Hence no Major League Baseball has done it since the Yankees won three straight World Series 1998-2000.

Chasing down the Division at a crazy clip

From the abyss of their 7-19 start, the Astros sweep over the Marlins clinched a winning record at the break with them at 49-44. Heading into the Texas matchup the Astros have won at a .627 clip since they were 7-19. A full season of .627 ball wins 101 games. If the Astros win at a .627 rate the rest of the way they'll finish with 92 wins, almost certainly enough to secure a postseason slot and likely enough to win the West. Expecting .627 the rest of the way is ambitious.

With it fairly clear that Lance McCullers is highly unlikely to contribute anything after his latest recovery setback, and Luis Garcia a major question mark, what Justin Verlander has left in 2024 grows more important. With the way the Astros often dissemble or poorly forecast when discussing injuries, for all we know Verlander could be cooked. Inside three weeks to the trade deadline, General Manager Dana Brown can't be thinking a back end of the rotation comprised of Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss should be good enough. The Astros have 66 games to play after the All-Star break, including separate stretches with games on 18 and 16 consecutive days.

All-Star MIAs

Viewership for Tuesday's All-Star game at Globe Life Field in Arlington will be pretty, pretty, pretty low in Houston. One, All-Star Game ratings are pitiful every year compared to where they used to be. Two, the Astros could be down to zero representatives at Tuesday's showcase. Kyle Tucker was rightfully named a reserve but had no shot at playing as he continues the loooong recovery from a bone bruise (or worse) suffered June 3. Being named an All-Star for a ninth time was enough for Jose Altuve. He opts out of spending unnecessary time in Texas Rangers territory citing a sore wrist. This despite Altuve playing four games in a row since sitting out the day after he was plunked and highly likely to play in all three games versus the Rangers this weekend. Yordan Alvarez exiting Wednesday's rout of the Marlins with hip discomfort and then missing Thursday's game seem clear reasons for him to skip, though he has indicated thus far he intends to take part. Yordan is the most essential lineup component to the Astros' hopes of making an eighth straight playoff appearance.

Ronel Blanco should have made the American League squad on performance, but pretty obviously his 10 game illegal substance use suspension was held against him. As it works out, Blanco will pitch Sunday in the last game before the break which would render him unavailable for the All-Star Game anyway. Blanco is eligible to pitch, but given the career high-shattering innings workload Blanco is headed for, no way the Astros want him on the mound Tuesday. Just last year the Astros kept Framber Valdez from pitching in the game.

While waiting, and waiting, and waiting on Tucker's return, the Astros have also been waiting on Chas McCormick to get back to something even faintly resembling the hitter he was last year. McCormick routinely looks lost at the plate. He has four hits (all singles) in his last 32 at bats with his season OPS pitiful at .572. During the break the Astros should seriously weigh sending McCormick to AAA Sugar Land and giving Pedro Leon a try in a job share with Joey Loperfido.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome