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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It should come as no surprise that after a slow start to the season, fans and media are starting to voice concerns about the organization's leadership and direction. The latest evidence of this involved Astros adviser Reggie Jackson and the comments he made on Jon Heyman's podcast, The Show.

Jackson discussed the Astros reported interest in starting pitcher Blake Snell. He said that ultimately, Snell was looking for a deal the Astros weren't comfortable with in terms of money and structure of the contract.

Which is interesting considering the Astros were okay with paying 5-years, $95 million for closer Josh Hader, but not willing to pay Snell 2-years, $62 million. We believe the opt-outs in Snell's contract were a dealbreaker for Houston. And of course the money played a role.

However, the Astros passing on Snell is not the intriguing part of the story. It was Jackson talking about the club's power structure in the front office and how they go about making decisions.

“Being fiscally responsible is what kicked us out of the Snell deal… That's too much for him… Between the 4 or 5 people who make decisions with the Astros, we don't play that game,” said Jackson.

Based on Jackson's comments in the interview, the decision makers are Jim Crane, Dana Brown, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Reggie. But not necessarily in that order. He also mentioned that they had conversations with manager Joe Espada and his staff, plus some input from the analytics department.

These comments add to the concerns we've had about the front office since Crane moved on from GM James Click and operated without a general manager for several months. Which led to the disastrous signing of Jose Abreu and to a lesser extent Rafael Montero.

Which begs the question, are the Astros in a better spot now with their front office? Many blame Dana Brown for the state of the starting rotation. While there were some red flags this spring, anticipating injuries to Jose Urquidy, Justin Verlander, and Framber Valdez is asking a lot.

But only bringing in Hader to replace all the innings left behind by Hector Neris, Phil Maton, Kendall Graveman, and Ryne Stanek always felt risky.

Finally, what can the Astros due in the short-term to weather the storm while Framber and JV rehab from injury?

And is Hunter Brown the biggest liability in the rotation?

Be sure to watch the video above for the full in-depth discussion.

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