White Sox shutout Astros to split the series

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 4-0 loss

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 4-0 loss
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss the night before, the Astros were back in action for game four of this series with the White Sox on Thursday night looking to take the series 3-1 with a win. Here's how the game panned out:

Final Score: White Sox 4, Astros 0

Record: 33-18, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Lucas Giolito (6-1, 2.77 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Corbin Martin (1-1, 4.97 ERA).

1) Martin with another rough start

Since his great debut on Mother's Day, Corbin Martin has not been able to repeat that success against the two teams he has faced since. After going four innings against the Red Sox last week where he allowed three runs and four walks, he struggled again on Thursday night in his start against the White Sox.

It centered around the third inning, where he allowed three runs on a couple of hits and a self-inflicted error which gave Chicago a 3-0 lead. Then, in the fourth he allowed a solo home run to make it 4-0. A.J. Hinch would go ahead and make the call to the bullpen after Martin allowed a one-out single, ending his night early in a disappointing outing.

The bullpen, however, would have a strong outing with Framber Valdez taking over for Martin in the fourth and finishing that and two other scoreless innings. Josh James rebounded from his rough outing the night before with two scoreless innings including five strikeouts, then Chris Devenski came in for a scoreless ninth.

2) Giolito dominates

Houston's offense could not crack Lucas Giolito, getting just four hits and one walk against him as Giolito would go on to throw a complete game shutout, the best start of his season. The win for Chicago made it a 2-2 series split, and the shutout also ended Houston's streak of consecutive games with a home run.

Up Next: The Astros will move on to the next series in this ten-game homestand with the first of a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday night at 7:10 PM. It will be a rematch of Sunday afternoon's game with Wade Miley (4-2, 3.51 ERA) looking to help Houston reverse the outcome against Chris Sale (1-5, 4.31 ERA) as Boston took that game 4-3.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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With both Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers making their way back from surgeries that sideline that Astros pitchers last season, and given the team's thin depth in their starting rotation, Houston fans and media have waited on bated breath for scraps of information to leak out of the notoriously secretive organization regarding their progress.

In a week full of mostly Hurricane Beryl-related bad news, the Astros organization had some discouraging news of their own when manager Joe Espada told the media that Lance McCullers has been shut down from pitching after his arm did not respond well to his latest bullpen session. The team says they are "formulating a plan for what's next."

Another Astros starter making his way back from injury is HOF-bound Justin Verlander. Verlander has been on the IL since June 16th with neck discomfort and, while there was initial hope that JV would only miss a start, his status has become increasingly murky as he is still apparently not close to returning.

Shifting from the health questions of the starters to the performance questions of the bullpen, some Houston fans have voiced concern via social media that Astros big-ticket 9th inning pitcher Josh Hader is not looking like a "shut-down" closer. Hader gave up more home runs in the first week of July (3) as he did the entire month of June (2).

In this week's episode of Stone Cold Stros, Charlie Pallilo and Brandon Strange discuss how the fluid dynamics of Astros pitching is impacting the competitive landscape of the division race. To watch the conversation, just click the video YouTube embedded in this article. To listen to the entire episode on podcast, search "Stone Cold Stros" in your favorite podcast app or click one of the following links.

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