Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
With Oakland having already locked up the series victory, the Astros took the field on Sunday looking to end their road trip with a win to break their four-game losing streak and trim a game off the A's growing division lead. Here is a quick rundown of the series finale:
Final Score: A's 7, Astros 2.
Record: 6-9, third in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Jesus Luzardo (1-0, 2.60 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Cristian Javier (1-1, 4.02 ERA).
Oakland knocks Javier out early
The A's were able to get to Cristian Javier early on Sunday and knock him out of the game early. After a scoreless first frame, Javier allowed a solo home run in the second, but the real damage came in the third. In the bottom of the third, he issued two walks to set up a two-out three-run home run, followed by a solo shot as Oakland would get back-to-back homers to take a 5-0 lead.
Javier would get the third out, but would not return for the fourth inning. It would take him 63 pitches to get through his three innings, with all of his hits allowed being home runs, which paired with the walks resulted in the lopsided score. His final line: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 HR.
Benches clear in the seventh
Houston tried to start a rally in the top of the next inning, getting a two-out double by Michael Brantley followed by a two-run homer by Yuli Gurriel to cut Oakland's lead to three runs at 5-2. Brandon Bailey would take over for Javier in the bottom of the fourth and worked around a lead-off walk for a scoreless inning.
Bailey stayed on the mound for the bottom of the fifth but ran into trouble by allowing a single and hitting a batter to put two on base, with one eventually coming in to score later in the inning against Andre Scrubb, who was the next reliever out. Scrubb would record a 1-2-3 sixth before Humberto Castellanos took over in the bottom of the seventh in the 6-2 game.
After one out, a pitch would get away from Castellanos and hit Ramon Laureano. After bickering occurred back and forth between Laureano and the Astros bench, Laureano would charge the dugout and prompt a full benches-clearing brawl. Once things settled down, Castellanos would finish the inning but not before the A's pushed the lead back to five runs at 7-2.
Oakland completes the sweep, Houston's losing streak extends to five
Carlos Sanabria made his second appearance of 2020 by pitching in the bottom of the eighth. He would allow a leadoff double and two-out walk but was able to strand both runners in a scoreless inning. Houston would come up empty in the top of the ninth, giving Oakland the series sweep, extending the Astros' losing streak to five games, and pushing them down to third in the division standings.
Up Next: The Astros will travel back to Houston to start an eight-game homestand on Monday at 8:10 PM against the Giants, who sit at 7-10 on the year. Houston will send out Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 9.22 ERA) in the opener of the three-game set, looking to turn the page on the extremely disappointing start in Arizona, while San Francisco is expected to send out Logan Webb (1-0, 2.13 ERA).
The Houston Astros were in need of some serious help in the bullpen with Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Ryne Stanek likely leaving this year in free agency.
The Houston Astros have acquired RHP Dylan Coleman from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for RHP Carlos Mateo. pic.twitter.com/hDYuBLn2Kv
— Houston Astros (@astros) December 6, 2023
While some fans were getting concerned about the quiet offseason, the club has made two moves this week to get the ball rolling.
First the team signed Victor Caratini to be the backup catcher, and now they have added some relief pitching.
The Astros traded pitching prospect Carlos Mateo to the Royals for RHP pitcher Dylan Coleman.
Coleman appeared in 96 games in the past three seasons for KC, including 68 games in 2022 and 23 games last season. He has a career 3.88 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He’s fastball (95 mph), slider (81) and cutter (90) and walked 57 batters and struck out 99 in 92 2/3 innings.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 6, 2023
Coleman is under club control for the next several years, and made just over $700,000 in 2022. With the Astros right up against the tax threshold, this is a good way to add to the bullpen without having to hand out a large contract.
The Royals had a tough roster decision to make with Coleman, and the Astros made the decision easy for them by making the trade.
Something to note
There's a reason Kansas City wasn't determined to protect Coleman from the Rule 5 Draft. Despite his decent numbers over the last three seasons, 2023 was a rough year for him, posting an 8.84 ERA over 23 games.
In fact, Coleman pitched more innings (30.2) for the Royals AAA team than he did for the big league club (18.1) in 2023.
Hopefully, the Astros can get him back on track this season with some help from their highly touted player development program.
You can watch some of his 2022 highlights above.