Houston loses big to the Rangers

Greinke shelled in return from IL as Rangers even series

Zack Greinke's return from the IL did not go well against the Rangers on Tuesday night. Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

After demolishing the Rangers in Monday's opener, the Astros looked to continue their dominance against Texas on Tuesday in Arlington. Instead, they'd be on the receiving end of an offensive barrage, with Zack Greinke making a disappointing start in his return from the IL.

Final Score: Rangers 8, Astros 1

Astros' Record: 84-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jordan Lyles (9-11)

Losing Pitcher: Zack Greinke (11-6)

Rough return for Greinke

In his first start since August 29th after landing on the COVID IL, things did not go as planned for Zack Greinke. The Rangers jumped on him in the bottom of the first, getting a two-out two-run homer to take a 2-0 lead. Another two-run blast came in the bottom of the third after an error put a man on to set things up and extend Texas' lead to 4-0.

After rebounding well with 1-2-3 frames in the fourth and fifth, things fell apart in the sixth as a leadoff double and a walk turned into an RBI single and three-run homer, making it an 8-0 deficit and ending Greinke's night before he could get an out in the inning. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 3 HR, 75 P.

Astros fall as Rangers even the series

After Greinke, Houston's bullpen took over and did well, but the damage had already been done. Yimi Garcia finished the sixth for Greinke, working around a walk, then Blake Taylor tossed a scoreless seventh by erasing a double and a walk. Brooks Raley was Houston's last reliever, coming in and providing a scoreless bottom of the eighth. Houston's only run of the night came in the top of the ninth, too little too late, as Carlos Correa would get an RBI single to avoid the shutout.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 7:05 PM Central start on Wednesday. Kohei Arihara (2-3, 5.89 ERA) is slated to start the game for the Rangers, while Jose Urquidy (6-3, 3.51 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros.

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With so much on the line for the Astros this past weekend, they couldn't possibly get swept by the Royals, could they?

That's exactly what they did thanks to some poor pitching, and an inability to get timely hits with runners in scoring position.

The Astros are currently clinging to the last wild card position as they head to Seattle to face the Mariners, with Justin Verlander on the mound for the 'Stros.

Starting pitching has been the biggest issue for the club as of late, with Hunter Brown looking unusable moving forward. Brown has given up, wait for this, 6 earned runs or more in 3 of his last 4 starts. His ERA for the season is now over 5.

So how will the rotation look over the final stretch of games? We know for the Mariners series the team is rolling out Verlander, Cristian Javier, and Framber Valdez.

The club is off on Thursday, and they head to Arizona for a 3-game series with the Diamondbacks that starts Friday. We predict JP France will pitch Friday, with Justin Verlander likely taking the ball Saturday.

Then all bets are off for Sunday. It could be Framber on 3-days rest, or all hands on deck for a bullpen game.

Of course, with the division race being so close, things could change on a daily basis. There's even a scenario where Arizona secures their wild card, and the final two games of the season don't matter for them.

The other big factor will be the outcome of the 4-game Rangers-Mariners series that finishes off the season.

Be sure to watch the video above as we examine all the scenarios leading up to the end of the regular season for Houston, and much more!

Watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Thursday on SportsMap Houston's YouTube channel.

And listen to ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM for Houston's best sports talk.

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