Houston continues to lose in heartbreaking fashion

Astros swept by Angels after several blown leads in high-scoring doubleheader

Astros Jose Urquidy
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

Astros Jose Urquidy

After the deflating loss in extra innings to start the series, the Astros had a chance at two wins on Saturday, playing a doubleheader against the Angels in Los Angeles. Here are how both games unfolded:

Game 1

Final Score (7 innings): Angels 10, Astros 9.

Record: 21-17, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Felix Pena (3-0, 3.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Enoli Paredes (1-2, 3.60 ERA).

Both teams trade blows early

After the same duo brought in the walk-off run the night prior, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani worked together to score the doubleheader's first run on an RBI-single by Ohtani, giving Los Angeles a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Astros responded quickly, getting a solo home run by Kyle Tucker in the top of the second to even the game 1-1.

The expanded upon that by putting up three runs with two outs in the top of the third, two on a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel, then an RBI-infield single by Kyle Tucker, giving Houston a 4-1 lead. Trout would strike again in the bottom of the same inning, hitting a two-run home run to make it a one-run game at 4-3, then Jo Adell started the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to tie the game. Brandon Bielak, Houston's starter, would record two more outs before Dusty Baker would dip into his bullpen to try and slow the recent surge by the Angels. His final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 77 P.

The back and forth continues

Chris Devenski would make his return to the mound off the injured list for Houston, appearing in his first game since July 26th, finishing the fourth for Bielak. George Springer led off the fifth with a triple, then scored on a go-ahead RBI-single by Myles Straw. Straw would later come around to score on another RBI by Kyle Tucker, a single to make it 6-4.

Devenski continued in the fifth and would complete the inning, but not before a double by Mike Trout would turn into a two-run game-tying home run by Justin Upton, making it 6-6 with two innings left. The Angels would go back in front in the bottom of the sixth against Cy Sneed, getting a one-out walk then RBI-double to make it 7-6, and nearly made it 8-6 if not for a great throw to get a runner out at home.

Astros go up two in the seventh, Angels do one better to take game 2

Down to their last three outs to try and tie or go-ahead, the Astros would break through. Myles Straw led off the frame with a double, then scored in the next at-bat with an RBI-single by Michael Brantley to tie the game. Later in the inning, Carlos Correa would come through with a big two-out double to keep the inning alive, setting up the go-ahead two-RBI single by Martin Maldonado, putting Houston back out front at 9-7.

Blake Taylor, who finished the sixth for Cy Sneed, would try to wrap things up in the bottom of the seventh to help Houston avoid dipping further into their depleted bullpen. Instead, he issued back-to-back walks, prompting a change to bring in Enoli Parades. Paredes would not be unable to get it done, though, allowing an RBI-double before a walk-off two-RBI single to hand the Angels the win in Game 1.

Game 2

Final Score (7 innings): Angels 7, Astros 6.

Record: 21-18, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Noe Ramirez (1-0, 4.20 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Humberto Castellanos (0-1, 8.31 ERA).

Astros keep the scoring going in Game 2

With the second game being a makeup of a game meant to be at Minute Maid Park, the Astros would play as the home team with the Angels batting first. That meant Jose Urquidy, making his 2020 debut after missing time due to a positive COVID test and resulting quarantine period, would be on the mound first. He was able to erase a two-out walk of Mike Trout for a scoreless first inning.

George Springer would give the Astros the first run of game two, leading off the bottom of the first with a dinger to make it a 1-0 Houston lead. They extended the early lead in the bottom of the second, getting two on base to start the inning to set up a three-run home run by Josh Reddick, making it 4-0.

Urquidy allows a couple of runs in his return

The Angels would get their first run against Urquidy in the top of the fourth, as Mike Trout would once again reach base with a double before later scoring on an RBI-single by Albert Pujols. He would go on to load the bases with one out, and the Astros would cede one run for an out on an RBI-groundout, making it 4-2 and leaving runners on second and third.

Dusty Baker, who likely was reaching Urquidy's pitch limit for the night, used the opportunity to move to another returning pitcher, Brad Peacock. Peacock would get the final out of the inning, making Urquidy's line final: 3.2 IP, 4H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, 63 P.

Springer homers again, but another blown lead hands Angels the doubleheader sweep

Peacock would face traffic in the top of the fifth, putting the first two runners on base with a single and a hit-by-pitch. Both would advance on a long out by Trout before scoring on a two-RBI single by none other than Albert Pujols, knotting the game up 4-4. George Springer would put the Astros back in front in the bottom of the inning, hitting his second home run of the game, this a two-run go-ahead dinger off of Jo Adell's glove to make it 6-4.

With Peacock also reaching his pitch limit, the Astros turned to one of their last fresh arms, Humberto Castellanos, who struck out the side in the top of the sixth. He returned to try and complete a two-inning save in the top of the seventh, but after putting two on base on a single and walk would allow a three-run go-ahead bomb to Anthony Rendon, giving the Angels a 7-6 lead. Los Angeles would hold Houston scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, sweeping the doubleheader.

Up Next: The final game of this four-game set will start at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. The expecting pitching matchup is Framber Valdez (3-2, 2.58 ERA) for the Astros and Jaime Barria (0-0, 2.63 ERA) for the Angels.

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These uniforms have to go. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Major League Baseball will consider going back to having players wear their team uniforms for the All-Star Game.

Club uniforms were used by the American League from 1933-2019 and by the National League from 1934-2019. When the game resumed in 2021 following the pandemic-related cancellation in 2020, MLB had started a uniform contract with Nike and Fanatics, and All-Stars were outfitted in specially designed league uniforms that drew criticism from traditionalists.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

This year's AL uniforms had a sandy base with red sleeves and lettering and the NL had a navy base with light blue sleeves and lettering.

“I’m aware of the sentiment on this issue,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday. "I think where my head is on it, it’s something we’re going to have a conversation about coming out of the All-Star Game. We've got a lot of uniform things going on. And, obviously, the conversations have to involve the players first and foremost but Nike, some of our partners. But I am aware of the sentiment, and I do know why people kind of like that tradition."

MLB and Nike were criticized for club uniforms this year and said in May that 2025 club outfits will have larger lettering on the back of jerseys and individual pant customization. Players complained this year that white pants worn by some teams are see-through enough to show tucked-in jersey tops.

Regional sports networks

Manfred said a national steaming package of local television broadcasts is a future possibility.

“I could see a situation where we grow into a 30-club model. It might start on the digital side, where you have 14 or 15 clubs, and, you start with a digital product there as your first alternative,” he said.

“I was in Sun Valley last week and I did the whole speed-dating thing with everybody who’s ever streamed anything. When you talk to people in the streaming business, they’re not really interested in buying the state of Wisconsin and two counties in Michigan," Manfred added. "They want to be able to stream quite frankly, all over the U.S. and Canada but more broadly internationally. So I think those conversations are a product of owners saying, holy cow, the RSN business is really deteriorating. We know the future’s going to be streaming. What we’re hearing from the streamers is they want a more national product, and we need to be responsive to what people want to buy.”

MLB took over production of Arizona and San Diego local television broadcasts last year following the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports’ Bally networks and said MLB will be available as an option for teams looking for new deals. He said Padres game are approaching 40,000 subscribers, which he called a good figure.

“Having said that, from a revenue perspective it is not generating what the RSNs did," Manfred said. "The RSNs were a great business. Lots of people paid for programing they didn’t necessarily want. And it’s hard to replicate that kind of revenue absent that kind of bundling concept.”

Offense

While offense is near half-century lows, it has picked up from early in the season.

“The decline in offense is something that we’re paying a lot of attention to and we’ll continue to monitor to make a decision as to whether we think we need to do something. You do hear a lot of chatter about the dominance of pitching in the game. That’s absolutely true.”

Birmingham

After the success of the June 20 game between San Francisco and St. Louis at Rickwood Field, Manfred said MLB will return to the ballpark in Birmingham, Alabama, but the “exact form” had not been determined.

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