Houston's magic number stays at 1 after loss to the Angels

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 8-4 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With their sixth straight win to start the series on Friday night to lower their magic number to one, the Astros had the power in their hands to clinch the AL West division with another victory on Saturday night at home against the Angels. Here is a recap of the middle game of the weekend series:

Final Score: Angels 8, Astros 4.

Record: 101-54, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Luke Bard (3-2, 4.50 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Wade Miley (14-6, 3.91 ERA).

1) Miley may have sealed his fate in another disappointing start

When it looked like Wade Miley had finally turned the corner from two horrible starts by going six innings and allowing just two runs in his last start, that one step forward was erased with two steps back. He could not piece together good enough pitches to keep the Angles off the bases, allowing a solo home run to lead off the game en route to an inning with three runs on three hits and a walk.

After hitting the leadoff batter in the top of the second then putting runners on first and third with no outs on a single, Miley would have the ball taken from him as A.J. Hinch would end his night and move on to let his bullpen try to keep them in the game. Miley's disappointing final line: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR.

2) Houston's offense fights back as bullpen takes over

Jose Urquidy was the first reliever to come out of the bullpen, and he would finish the second inning for Wade Miley despite allowing an RBI-single to extend the lead to 4-0. Houston's bats went to work in the bottom half of that inning, starting with a leadoff solo home run by Yordan Alvarez before RBIs by Kyle Tucker and Martin Maldonado cut the lead to one run at 4-3.

Urquidy remained on the mound for a scoreless third inning and came back for the fourth inning as well, though would allow a two-out RBI-double to extend Los Angeles' lead to 5-3. Bryan Abreu was next to try and eat up some innings, throwing a perfect 1-2-3 fifth by striking out the side. In the sixth, Abreu would create trouble for himself by allowing a leadoff walk that would score on an RBI-single later in the inning, making it a 6-3 Angels lead.

3) Unable to clinch on the field

Chris Devenski was on the mound for the top of the seventh, and it was a quick one as he would retire the side on just twelve pitches. In the bottom of the inning, Kyle Tucker led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, then score on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitting Abraham Toro to cut the lead to two runs.

Joe Smith pitched the eighth, a seven-pitch 1-2-3 frame to keep it a two-run game. Hector Rondon would come in for the ninth but would watch a two-run home run by Los Angeles sail into the stands to extend the Angels' lead to 8-4 and get just two outs before Joe Biagini would get the final out of the inning. Houston would not overcome that deficit in the bottom of the night, keeping their magic number at 1.

Up Next: Houston and Los Angeles will conclude this series with the final regular-season game at Minute Maid Park this season on Sunday at 1:10 PM. The Angels are expected to start with a relief pitcher in Jose Rodriguez (0-0, 1.84 ERA) while the Astros will have Justin Verlander (19-6, 2.50 ERA) making his next-to-last regular-season start looking for win number 20 on the season.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Alvarez is the third in franchise history to get the award

Astros' Yordan Alvarez wins AL Rookie of the Year

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

As expected, the MLB announced on Monday that the winner of the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year Award is Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros. It comes as no surprise, considering Alvarez's performance since being called up on June 9th of this season was powerful, to say the least. He beats out the two other finalists: John Means of the Baltimore Orioles and Brandon Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rays.

After dominating at the AAA level for the Round Rock Express where he led the minors in home runs (23) and RBIs (71) while hitting for a .343 average and 1.184 OPS over his 56 games before being promoted to the major leagues, he brought the same power to Houston's lineup. He wasted no time showing what he was capable of, notching his first career home run in his second at-bat at Minute Maid Park in his debut game.

He followed that by hitting home runs in four of his first five games and going on to slash .317 / .406 / .733 for a 1.139 OPS from his debut through the end of June, tenth best in all of the majors over that span. Though he finished the month with seven homers in just 60 at-bats, he also maintained his ability to drive in runs, notching 21 RBIs in his first sixteen games. He slowed down slightly in July, banging just five homers in 75 ABs to go along with 15 RBIs, though increasing his average to .333.

He picked the power back up in August and September, though, finishing the final two months of the regular season with a combined 15 home runs and 42 RBIs over 178 at-bats. That ended his regular season with 27 homers, 78 RBIs, a 1.067 OPS, and .313 average, a line that would have been decent for a full season, much less one that started in early June. One of the shining moments of his debut year came in the matchup with the Orioles on August 10th, a night when the Astros put up a franchise-record 23 runs, seven of which came off the bat of Alvarez on a three-homer night including a grand slam.

Although not factored into the voting, Alvarez did contribute in the postseason for Houston, though not at the same level as his regular-season numbers. He had just one home run in the playoffs, a two-run blast in World Series Game 5 against the Nationals in D.C. to help Houston take that game 7-1. He had just one other RBI in October, in ALDS Game 1 against the Rays, giving him just three total along with the one homer to leave his postseason stat line as something to improve on.

Nonetheless, Alvarez's power is something that Houston will gladly put in their DH spot as long as he can continue to drive in runs and be a difference-maker in a game with one swing of his hefty bat. Yordan is the third player in franchise history to win the Rookie of the Year award, joining Jeff Bagwell, who took home the honor for the National League in 1991 and Carlos Correa, who also won in the American League in 2015. The future is bright for this left-handed slugger and the Houston Astros as a result.

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