Sunday, May 4, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G31: Astros v. Mariners

Brandon Maurer (0-0, 6.75) vs Collin McHugh (2-0, 0.59)

Collin McHugh's charmed life in Houston had to end some time. The suddenly-more-lively offense did their best to pick him up, but for the second afternoon in a row, the Astros' late rallies fell just shy. Seattle takes the game and the series by a 8-7 final, ending Houston's homestand at 3-6, and sending the Astros on the road to face J.D. Martinez and Detroit at 10-21 overall.

On the Mound:

*Collin McHugh is likely still deserving of a longer look in the rotation based on his sparkling first two starts, in spite of Scott Feldman's expected Friday return. But Doctor McWho (thanks, TCB) was eminently more hittable today, falling short of the 5th with a 4 IP / 8 H / 6 R / 5 ER / 1 BB / 4 K line.

*Jerome Williams got the piggyback call from the pen today, and he was passable if not dominant, turning in a 4 IP / 3 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 2 K line.

*Lefty Darin Downs made his Astros debut in the 9th (in place of the DFA'd Raul Valdes), and he allowed a single to Jose Cano, Jr. on his first pitch. But then he settled down to get the next three outs in order, including a K.

At the Plate:

*The Astros tied their season high of 11 hits in all three games of this Seattle series, and their 7 runs today were one off the season high they set yesterday afternoon. Every Astros starter except Marwin Gonzalez (0x4, K) got at least one hit today.

*Alex Presley had the biggest day today, going 2x3 with a 2B, a HR (his third), and two runs scored. Alex has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games, going 14x38 (.368) over that stretch.

*Jonathan Villar took over the team lead in home runs (!), going deep with a solo shot in the 5th, homering for the second straight game and his fifth of the season. He finished 1x4 with a K.

*Jason Castro had a multi-hit day, going 2x4 with a R, a RBI, a BB, and a K.

*Jose Altuve has now hit safely in 8 of 9 games (15x40, .375), going 1x4 with a 2B, a R, a BB, and a K today.

*Dexter Fowler has also hit in 12 of his last 13 games (14x50, .280), going 1x5 today.

*Chris Carter was 1x4 with a 2B and 2 RBI.

*Matt Dominguez also doubled and went 1x5 with a run scored and 2 K.

*George Springer is up to a modest four-game hitting streak again, after going 1x4 with a R and a K today.

*Marc Krauss only got one plate appearance, but delivered what was remarkably Houston's first pinch hit of the season, with a 2-run single in the 8th.

Turning Point:

The Astros never gave up the fight, but Seattle took control of the game in the 3rd and ultimately never let go. Collin McHugh began by allowing a walk to Dustin Ackley and a double to John Buck, before getting Michael Saunders to strike out swinging. But then three straight hits - Willie Bloomquist double, Robinson Cano triple, Corey Hart single - plated four Mariners runs, giving Seattle a 5-1 lead that put them in front for good.

Man of the Match:

Alex Presley. He's proven to be a nice pick-up for Jeff Luhnow and the Astros thus far.

Goat of the Game:

Collin McHugh. The only unearned run he allowed today resulted from his own throwing error, so as good as he was in his first two games, this loss rests squarely on him.