Lucas Harrell (5-8, 4.59) vs Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.71)
So here's the deal. The Astros are pretty okay against average to mediocre competition (23-19 vs. teams at or below .500). They're pretty godawful against playoff contenders (8-36 vs. teams above .500). They started out the season playing mostly those contenders, and they ended up 10-30. The schedule got a little softer, and they ran off a respectable 19-17 stretch. But now they're 2-9 in their last 11, and playing mostly contenders again in the run up to the All-Star Break, so it's not likely get much better anytime soon. The latest loss is 10-5 to the Rangers tonight, dropping Houston to 31-56 overall.
On the Mound:
*2013 Lucas Harrell is not 2012 Lucas Harrell. Tonight Lucas walked himself into trouble again, then a trio of home runs made him pay, tagging him with a fugly 3.2 IP / 5 H / 9 R / 7 ER / 6 BB / 3 K line.
*I do believe that Brett Oberholtzer has the stuff to be an effective major league pitcher. He's yet to fully show it, though, as this was his third appearance with Houston, and he's given up runs in all three. He did at least limit the damage to 1 R on 3 H with 2 K in 3.1 IP tonight.
*Travis Blackley got the 8th and allowed a single, a wild pitch, and an IBB, but he kept the Rangers off the board.
At the Plate:
*The game was an awful 10-0 before the offense really woke up in the 6th, and Jason Castro did the best of that, going 3 for 4 with a double, 2 R, and a RBI.
*Chris Carter had a 2-RBI double in the 6th, finishing 1 for 3 with a R, a BB, and 2 K.
*J.D. Martinez had his own double and went 2 for 4 with a RBI and a K.
*Jose Altuve singled twice to finish 2 for 5 with a R, a SB, and a K.
*Carlos Pena and Matt Dominguez each went 1 for 4; Pena also had 2 K.
*Brett Wallace went 0 for 3 with 2 K, but he did walk and score a run. He also committed a fielding error in the 4th that led to two UER on an Adrian Beltre bomb.
The Rangers set the tone early against Lucas Harrell, as Ian Kinsler led off with a walk and David Murphy followed with a two-run homer. The 2nd inning was the crushing one, however, as Harrell got to two outs with a runner on second. But then he issued consecutive walks to Kinsler and Murphy, and Nelson "Biogenesis" Cruz blasted a grand slam out to left-center field. Houston's five late runs made it look closer than it was, but this game was all Rangers.
Man of the Match:
Jason Castro, awaiting his potential All-Star selection fate Saturday evening.
Goat of the Game:
Lucas Harrell. His 5.04 ERA is now worst among Houston starters.