Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G141 - Astros v. Cubs


Chris Volstad (2-10, 6.23) vs Dallas Keuchel (1-7, 5.54)

In a battle of sub-.400 win percentage titans, someone had to come out on bottom. After a weekend in which they beat two pitchers (Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto) with a combined 9.1 WAR, the Astros fell to a pitcher (Chris Volstad) with a -1.2 WAR, who didn't win a game all season until August 26. It took nearly four hours, but eventually Houston finished losing the game by a 4-1 score. The Astros drop to 44-97 on the season.

*Dallas Keuchel returned from a brief vacation in OKC and didn't do poorly, but he ran up his pitch count to 82 after only four innings, so Tony DeFrancesco pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the 4th. Kid Keuchy exited with this line: 4 IP / 6 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 1 K. Chuckie Fick escaped trouble for a scoreless 5th, but Fernando Rodriguez was less lucky (read: he was bad) in giving up a run in 0.2. Xavier Cedeno struck out the only batter he faced, but then Hector Ambriz gave up two more runs in the 7th before notching a scoreless 8th. Rhiner Cruz struck out two and surrendered only a single in the 9th.

Observations:

*The Astros couldn't capitalize on seven walks from the Chicago pitching staff, including five from Volstad in five innings. As a team, Houston left 11 runners on base and managed only a meager 1 for 12 with RISP.

*All of Houston's six hits came from the first five spots in the order, but Brett Wallace went 0 for 4 with a walk and two strikeouts batting third, leaving four LOBsters stranded.

*Justin Maxwell tripled and scored the Astros' only run, finishing 2 for 4 with two strikeouts.

*Jason Castro had the RBI single, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a K.

*Fernando Martinez stayed hot, going 2 for 4 with a walk.

*Jimmy Paredes also tripled, and finished 1 for 5 with a K.

Turning Point:

The score was deadlocked 1-1 after five, when Tony D turned to Fernando Rodriguez. The inning immediately began to go poorly, as F-Rod hit Josh Vitters with his third pitch. A fielder's choice swapped Dave Sappelt for Josh Vitters at first, then Brian LaHair went down swinging for out #2, but a Joe Mather single moved Sappelt over to third. F-Rod's third pitch to Darwin Barney went wild then, allowing Sappelt to score with the go-ahead and ultimate winning run.

Man of the Match:

Justin Maxwell. He's now got himself a four-game hitting streak, going 5 for 13 (.385) over that span.

Goat of the Game:

Fernando Rodriguez scored his 10th loss (as a reliever), but this one was really on the offense. We'll go with Brett Wallace, because everyone around him hit, but last night, he didn't.

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