ASTROS LOSE THE FINALE

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 9-8 loss

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 9-8 loss
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros secured another series win after beating the Rays on Wednesday night. Houston was looking for a sweep on Thursday afternoon with Zack Greinke taking the hill. Here is a recap of the finale of the three-game series.

Final Score: Rays 9, Astros 8.

Record: 87-48, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jose De Leon (1-0, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chris Devenski (2-3, 5.28 ERA).

Not a great start for Greinke

Despite Zack Greinke not having his best performance on Thursday, the Astros still had a chance to win the game. Houston had a 6-5 lead going into the seventh inning when Chris Devenski gave up three earned runs giving the Rays an 8-6 lead.

Astros fight back

​The Astros added a run in the bottom of the seventh, making it a one-run game. That didn't last long when the Rays took that run right back in the top of the eighth making the score 9-7.

Toro homers in the ninth inning

Abraham Toro put the Astros within one run when he homered in the bottom of the ninth off Emilio Pagan, but that wasn't enough as the Astros lost the final game of the series.

Up Next: The Astros head to Toronto for a three-game series against the Blue Jays that starts on Friday at 6:07PM. Wade Miley (13-4, 3.13 ERA) takes the mound for Houston and will face RHP Trent Thornton (4-8, 5.34 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
How significant Astros spring training revelation highlights even more reasons for optimism

The Houston Astros had a very successful season in 2023 which led them back to the ALCS for the seventh-straight season, but despite another deep playoff run, their pitching did regress from the prior year.

While many would point to their historic bullpen in 2022 and say they had nowhere to go but down, that doesn't paint the full picture. It was the starting rotation that really fell off in 2023. Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Hunter Brown, and Jose Urquidy all saw a spike in their ERAs from the previous season.

According to a recent report from The Athletic's Chandler Rome, we might have an explanation for Jose Urquidy's down year.

The Astros and Urquidy believe he was tipping his pitches. Which would explain why the slugging percentage against his fastball jumped from .482 in 2022 to .632 in 2023.

When hitters know a pitcher is tipping, they often start hunting fastballs. Also, his strikeout percentage went down last year and his walks went way up. He had 2 more walks per nine innings in 2023 than he had in 2021.

Part of that could be him aiming for corners and refusing to give in to hitters because his fastball wasn't performing up to expectations.

His WHIP in 2023 really jumped off the page as well. He finished with a WHIP over 1.4. While his career WHIP is 1.143. That's a huge difference.

Back to the big picture

Until last season, Urquidy never finished with an ERA over 3.95. He recorded a 5.29 ERA last year. So when we factor in his shoulder injury that cost him three months of the season, and the fact he was tipping pitches, we believe he's in store for a bounce-back season.

And the Astros are going to need him, especially with Justin Verlander and JP France possibly not being available for the start of the season.

What will the rotation look like early on?

The Astros haven't ruled Verlander out yet, so he could be ready to go. But if not, and we base this off what we saw last season. The rotation will likely include Valdez, Javier, Brown, Urquidy, Ronel Blanco, and Brandon Bielak.

Don't miss the video above for the full discussion!

Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) with Charlie Pallilo, Brandon Strange, and Josh Jordan every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.

We'll continue to drop videos throughout the week!


SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome