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.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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