Wednesday, April 3, 2013

From the Office of the County Clerk: G3 - Astros v. Rangers

Alexi Ogando (0-0, -.--) vs Philip Humber (0-0, -.--)

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugly. It's one thing when your team is dominated by a fine pitching performance, as Yu Darvish turned in last night. It's another thing when your team embarrasses themselves defensively to compound their offensive woes. Two defensive miscues by the Astros lowlighted a 3-run Rangers 8th, and Houston is shut out for the second straight day, falling 4-0 this afternoon.

On the Mound:

*Philip Humber gave Houston their third straight fine start to begin the 2013 season, so he was a tough-luck loser today. Humber's line: 5.2 IP / 5 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 2 K

*Wesley Wright (1 IP), Josh Fields (0.1 IP), and Rhiner Cruz (1 IP) were all perfect in their appearances today, but...

*...they were sandwiched around an unsightly 8th from Hector Ambriz, who gave up 3 runs (all earned) on 4 hits in his inning, which could have been even worse after Chris Carter dropped a routine sac fly and Ronny Cedeno bobbled a double-play ball behind him.

At the Plate:

*Collectively, the Astros struck out 15 times again today, following 15 K's last night and 13 more on Opening Day. It's early, but that's an alarming trend (and unfortunately not entirely unexpected).

*Jose Altuve did at least make sure there would be no no-hitter speculation today, leading off with a double in the 1st and finishing 2 for 4 with a K. He's the only Astro to hit safely in all three games this season.

*Ronny Cedeno singled in the 3rd and finished 1 for 3 with a K. He managed to avoid an error on his 8th inning bobble in that he at least got the force at second, but it should have been an inning-ending double play.

*Carlos Pena went 1 for 4 with 2 K and an infield single in the 6th.

*Justin Maxwell added a single in the 7th, for his only non-strikeout of the day (1 for 4, 3 K).

*Chris Carter probably had the worst day of all Astros, going 0 for 4 with 3 K and an error on a completely routine fly ball in the 8th.

Turning Point:

Humber had made it through 5 innings unscathed before the Rangers loaded the bases on a walk and a pair of singles to start the 6th. He then got Nelson Cruz to ground into a huge double-play that could have been a game saver if the Astros had managed anything on offense. But Lance Berkman scored Texas' first run on the play, so that ended up being the deciding blow.

Man of the Match:

Philip Humber. The ex-Rice University star looked great overall in his Houston debut.

Goat of the Game:

Chris Carter. He didn't earn himself any favors today from those who doubt his defense in left field.