Astros lose in extras to the Angels

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

Astros Daily Report
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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Will the Astros ever give Joey Loperfido a chance to fix the black hole at first base? Composite Getty Image.

So how long do you suppose the Astros will cling to the ludicrous notion that Jose Abreu will return to being a sustainably decent hitter (much less a good hitter)? The All-Star break? The trade deadline July 30? The day the Astros are eliminated from the playoff race? End of the season? End of his contract at the end of next season? Maybe they sign him to a two-year extension?

Since rejoining the team Abreu has played in 13 games, starting 12 of them. He has seven hits in 42 at bats for a .167 batting average. That’s only not horrible in comparison to the sub-pathetic .099 mark Abreu had when hiatus time arrived. Since returning, Abreu has walked once. If you remember or are familiar with Susan Powter you know what comes next. STOP THE INSANITY!

Kyle Tucker’s absence obviously punches a big hole in the Astros’ lineup. Still, that regularly running out Jeremy Pena in the cleanup or fifth spot in the lineup doesn’t seem completely ridiculous, is ridiculous! Pena has been abysmal for the last month. May 11 he put up his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. In 29 games since, Pena has added one more homer with an anemic on-base percentage of .238. Not batting average, OBP. Yuck. All teams solicit All-Star votes for non-worthy guys. Pena plays in the same league as Gunnar Henderson, Bobby Witt Jr., Corey Seager, and Anthony Volpe. Hyping Pena for the All-Star game is plain ol’ silly.

Jon Singleton ever slotting in the lineup fourth or fifth, sigh. He of one homer and 28 strikeouts in his last 79 at bats. It’s just a sad state of affairs that no one below Pena or Singleton in the lineup should obviously be higher in the lineup. Mauricio Dubon, Victor Caratini, Trey Cabbage are all bottom third of the lineup if in the lineup type guys. Chas McCormick seemingly losing almost all of his hitting ability has hurt. Yainer Diaz stinking for much more of the season to date than he’s been good has hurt.

The refusal to try Joey Loperfido at first base is somewhere from perplexing to stupid. Look, Loperfido is not an elite prospect. His poor contact skills may doom him from becoming a quality regular. But find out! He struck out a bunch in his first taste but also hit .333. The low upside of the Abreu-Singleton combo is obvious. Evidently to just about all but Astros’ decision makers. Going with Trey Cabbage over Loperfido in the outfield also underwhelms.

Chasing down the Mariners?

It could all still turn for the better, but the Astros are at increasing risk of fading to oblivion behind Seattle in the American League West race. They deserve to be 31-38. They have a losing record at home, they have a losing record on the road. They have a losing record in day games, they have a losing record in night games. They are 7-14 in games against left-handed starting pitchers, they are 24-24 (hey, .500, yippee!) vs. right-handed starters. It would take a serious collapse to fall entirely out of the Wild Card race before the trade deadline, but the Astros are flirting with danger there too. They have to leapfrog several teams to get to the third Wild Card position, currently held by the Minnesota Twins. This doesn’t seem to be a good weekend to gain ground on them. Not that A.J. Hinch’s Detroit Tigers visiting Minute Maid Park this weekend are anything special, though in Friday night’s series opener the Astros face the arguably best starting pitcher in the big leagues this season (Tarik Skubal). But the Twins have four games at home against the lowly Oakland A’s.

If Minnesota is not to overtake Kansas City and Cleveland to win the AL Central, you know Carlos Correa would love to make the playoffs at his ex-team’s expense. Wednesday Correa banged out the first five-hit game of his career. It’s pretty amazing that Jose Altuve has never had a five-hit game given how great a hitter he’s been and the relatively few walks he’s drawn. Sunday in Anaheim, Altuve racked up his 39th four-hit game. Remember, last September, Altuve hit five home runs over seven innings that overlapped two games against the Texas Rangers.

George Springer is the lone Astro ever to rack up six hits in a game, doing so at Oakland in 2018. So far this month, Springer is six for 40. Springer has two seasons left after this one on the six-year 150 million dollar contract he signed with Toronto. At 34 years old he is playing as if washed up. 2023 was the worst season of Springer’s career and he has fallen off a cliff from there thus far in 2024. Springer is batting .198 with his OPS at a sickly .582.

There is only one player in the modern era (1900 forward) of Major League Baseball to amass seven hits in a nine-inning game. In 1975 Rennie Stennett went seven for seven at Wrigley Field in a Pittsburgh Pirates 22-0 obliteration of the Chicago Cubs. The “Bleacher Bums” must have had fun that day.

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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