Friday, May 18, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk - G39: Rangers @ Astros

Netfali Feliz (3-1, 3.32) vs Wandy Rodriguez (3-3, 1.99)

After a quick 2 game sweep of the Brewers, the Astros came crashing back down to Earth with a 4-1 loss to State Rival (and next year Division Rival) Texas. The Astros offense could not back up a solid effort by Wandy Rodriguez, and they now fall to 17-22 on the year. Texas improves to 25-15 including a very impressive 14-6 on the road.

*Wandy Rodriguez had a pretty effective outing against a high powered offense. He went 6 innings only allowing 3 earned runs, although he did give up 10 hits. He also walked 2 but struck out 4 on the evening. Fernando Rodriguez got 2 innings of work, giving up a solo homerun to Adrian Beltre, and Abad (0.1 IP) and Cruz (0.2 IP) combined to pitch a scoreless 9th.

Observations:

*JD Martinez had an awful night in the 3 spot. 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts. Apparently he isn't entirely over his slump yet.

*Jordan Schafer went 1 for 4 with a SB (his 13th) but he also struck out twice. If he could start putting some of those strikeouts into play at least, he might beat some of them out with his speed and really bring up his average.

*Jose Altuve went 0 for 2 but he did walk twice and score a run. For someone who lacked plate discipline last year, it is nice to see  him with much better patience at the plate this year. His strikezone is tiny based on his size, so he should be taking advantage of it (and he is so far this year).

*Not much else notable on offense. Lee went 0 for 4, Bogey 1 for 4, CJ 1 for 3 and Castro 0 for 3. With Snyder red hot lately I would much rather see him get a few starts in a row instead of plugging Castro in there. Sometimes you have to ride the hot bat...Mills has shown this year that when things are going good (such as during the Astros winning streak earlier this year), he likes to continue to tinker with the lineup and the batting order. Why, I don't know. It's almost like he's second guessing himself and trying to make the game tougher on himself.

Turning Point:

The Rangers scored twice in the top half of the 3rd, but the Astros quickly responded with one of their own in the bottom half to pull within one. However the turning point came in the 5th when Michael Young doubled to center, scoring Adrian Beltre and giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. In a game where runs are scarce (especially for the Astros), that 2 run lead just ended up being too much.

Man of the Match:

In a night where the Astros only collected 4 hits, it's hard to pick someone from the offense here. Wandy Rodriguez was pretty solid but could have been better. For me it comes down to Schafer (1 for 4, SB) or Lowrie (1 for 3, RBI, BB), and I'm going to go with Lowrie on this one. A rare bright spot on a dull night for the offense.

Goat of the Game:

What did we say about leaving JD Martinez in the 3 hole? 0 for 4, 3 strikeouts. Mills, move him down and let him see some better pitches. He isn't doing us any good striking out 3 times in the 3 hole.

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