Wednesday, April 30, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G27: Astros v. Nationals

Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 3.00) vs Jarred Cosart (1-2, 6.12)

Shades of the 2013 Goatpen are becoming more common, and these are not pleasant memories for Houston fans. Coming into tonight, the Astros were 4-5 since April 19, but 3 of those 5 losses came after Houston led or was tied going into the 9th. Tonight, once again, the Astros held a 3-2 lead after 7, and a 3-3 tie after 8. But the "new and improved" 2014 bullpen once again could not stop the bleeding. Astros fall 4-3 in their first Interleague game of the season, dropping to 9-18 with one game left in the month.

On the Mound:

*As the Constable pointed out in the pre-game, Jarred Cosart's numbers this year actually look pretty good if you exclude the April 18 disaster start - 3.65 ERA, 1.054 WHIP in 24.2 IP. His work today was again pretty much in keeping with that standard, and he deserved a better fate for his 6 IP / 5 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 6 K line.

*Reliever stats are still stupid, as Anthony Bass earned a hold for allowing the game-tying run. He did pitch a scoreless 7th, but left after a leadoff single in the 8th that would soon score.

*Raul Valdes technically kept his string of consecutive scoreless appearances intact (now 5), but that hardly tells the true story. He allowed Adam LaRoche to double home the tying run as the only batter he faced.

*Chad Qualls at least did alright, allowing an IBB and a bunt single, but no further runs, while recording all three outs in the 8th.

*And then Josh Fields. His previous two outings were memorable for all of the wrong reasons, and today was more of the same. Two walks and a steal preceded LaRoche's game-winning RBI single, and Fields earned his third straight loss.

At the Plate:

*Not a lot for Astros offense against Gio Gonzalez, but they had made the most of it until the goatpen happened again. They did all of their damage in a 3-run 3rd, begun by a Matt Dominguez double. He finished 1x3 with a walk and a run scored.

*Dexter Fowler extended his hitting streak to 9 games and got the Astros on the board with a RBI single, finishing 1x4 with a R and 2 K.

*Jason Castro went 1x2 with a R, 2 BB, and a K.

*George Springer plated both Fowler and Castro with a 2-run double, but he struck out his other three times at bat - and added his fourth error in RF - to finish 1x4.

*Jesus Guzman had the other hit, going 1x3.

*Jonathan Villar was 0x2 with a BB and 2 K, but contributed a sacrifice bunt to Houston's 3rd.

Turning Point:

The Astros held a 3-2 lead from the 3rd until the 8th, when Anthony Bass allowed a leadoff single to Jayson Werth, and Raul Valdes let him score on a RBI double. That set the stage for Josh Fields in the 9th, who allowed walks to Denard Span and Jayson Werth on either side of a Anthony Rendon groundout. Adam LaRoche then earned his second RBI in as many innings, singling home Span on a 2-1 fastball for the Nats' finishing blow.

Man of the Match:

Jarred Cosart. Of course you can't just selectively ignore a bad start, but he's shown more good signs than bad so far.

Goat of the Game:

The Goatpen. Without their efforts, the Astros could conceivably be 8-2 in their last 10.