Astros lose in extras to the Angels

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After finishing the season series with the Mariners with a two-game mini sweep to finish 18-1 against Seattle and get a franchise-best 104th win, the Astros traveled to Anaheim for the final series of the regular season. Here is a quick look at the first of four games this weekend against the Angels:

Final Score: Angels 4, Astros 3.

Record: 104-55, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Trevor Cahill (4-9, 6.04 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Joe Biagini (3-2, 4.59 ERA)

1) Less than impressive start for Miley

Wade Miley's security in the playoff rotation was certainly in question going into Thursday night. He did not help his case in the first inning, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk to give the Angels an early 2-0 lead. He followed that up with a one-run second after giving up a leadoff double that would later score on a sacrifice fly to extend Houston's deficit to 3-0.

To his credit, he would settle in and throw two scoreless innings after that, but four innings while allowing three runs did not instill the kind of confidence needed to secure his place alongside Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Grienke in Houston's rotation for the 2019 postseason. His final line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR.

2) Houston ties it up

The three runs allowed by Miley would luckily not net him a loss; thanks to some big hits from his young teammates. First, Kyle Tucker hit a one-out solo home run in the top of the fourth, his second in as many nights, to cut the lead to two at 3-1. In the next inning, a leadoff walk set up Jack Mayfield for a game-tying two-run home run to put the teams at three apiece.

The game remained knotted up at 3-3 for a while, with Brad Peacock taking over for Miley in the fifth inning and starting the sixth before being lifted for Bryan Abreu who finished that inning. Joe Smith was next out of Houston's bullpen and threw a 1-2-3 scoreless bottom of the seventh.

3) Angels win in extras

Houston had a chance in the top of the eighth, getting runners on first and third with one out. They brought in Yordan Alvarez as a pinch-hitter who took a four-pitch walk to load the bases. George Springer pinch-hit next but would ground into an inning-ending double play to keep the game tied. Josh James was on the mound in the bottom of the eighth and worked around a two-out single for a scoreless inning. With the Astros coming up empty in the top of the ninth, Hector Rondon tried to send the game to extra innings with a scoreless bottom of the inning and did so.

In extras, Houston had chances in the first two innings, including loading the bases with one out in the eleventh but coming up empty. Chris Devenski, meanwhile, was able to provide two scoreless innings on the mound to keep the game locked at 3-3. Josh Reddick led off the top of the twelfth with his fifth hit of the game, a double to get a runner in scoring position at a pivotal part of the game. The Astros would go on to load the bases with two outs, but once again strand all three runners. Joe Biagini pitched the bottom of the inning, allowing a leadoff walk that would ultimately come around to score in a walk-off win for the Angels.

Up Next: Game two of this series will be Friday at 9:07 PM. Jose Urquidy (1-1, 4.63 ERA) will get another chance to try and impress as he is given a start on the mound for the Astros going opposite of Patrick Sandoval (0-3, 5.25 ERA) for the Angels.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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