Friday, May 23, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G48: Astros at Mariners

Jarred Cosart (3-3, 4.41) versus Roenis Elias (3-3, 3.88)

Another sloppy defensive performance from the Astros combined with a lack of timely hits doomed the Astros to a 3-1 loss in Seattle.  Jose Altuve hit a home run off the first pitch of the game.... and that was it for the Astros offence (at least in terms of scoring).  Tony Sipp's golden run as an Astro reliever comes to a screeching halt.  More poor catching on wild pitches also contributed to the loss.  Astros lose their third in a row, and are in a 1-0 hole in a four game road series against Seattle.

On the Bump:

Jarred Cosart fought his command all night, but managed six innings of one-run ball before starting the seventh.  At that time, the game was tied 1-1, but two consecutive singles followed by a wild pitch left runners on second and third with no outs.  Nick Franklin then walked before Cosart struck out Mike Zunino swinging for the first out.  He then hit the showers and Tony Sipp relieved, getting a Cole Gillespie pop-up on a 3-1 count.

Then, on a 3-2 count, Sipp got Micheal Saunders to ground out softly to first.  He dilly-dallied off the mound, was late to cover first, and Saunders kicked the front of the back with his toe as Sipp was an inch off grounding his heel on the bag.  Sipp was slow off the mound, and he also appeared to slow as he approached the bag.  Two runs scored on the play, as the runners were off and going on a 3-2 count.

Bo Porter asked for the play to be reviewed, and the camera view down the first-base line initially appeared to support the Astros cause.  However, the side-on view didn't, and the safe call was rightly upheld in the New York umpiring box.  Sipp then walked Robinson Cano (mostly intentionally), then managed to retire Kyle Seagar on a deep flyout.

Cosart's final line was decent, but also a little generous given his trouble throwing strikes:  6.1IP, 5H, 3R/ER, 4BB, 6K.  105 pitches, 59 strikes (24 called strikes, 9 swinging strikes, 9 foul balls, 17 balls in play).  He gave up an early run in the first on a single-single-sac fly sequence, then he recovered to end the inning with a groundout and line-out.  One double-play, and only one inning (the 5th) where he retired the side in order.

Tony Sipp ended his streak of 21 straight base runners retired to start his Astros career.  He allowed the abovementioned hit, and the subsequent walk.  Comment was made that he last pitched a week ago against the White Sox, and he certainly seemed rusty with three consecutive three-ball counts (albeit with two of the last three balls were intentional against Cano).

Josh Fields helped exorcise his Safeco demons by walking one in a scoreless eighth, getting 4 swinging strikes in 18 pitches.

At the Plate:

Tonights game was quite unlike last nights game.  Last night, not much happened offensively and the opposing pitcher efficiently carved through the Astros lineup.  Tonight, the opposing pitcher struggled, allowing 7 base runners, and needing 90 pitches to get through 5.  However, the result in the all-important runs column was the same, with the only runs scored off a solo homer.  The Astros blew three consecutive innings were the first two runners reached base.

Jose Altuve mashed the first pitch of the ballgame (an inside, 92mph, thigh-high fastball) over the left-field wall for a solo homer.  Dexter Fowler then walked, continuing his impressive on-base form of late.  But a strikeout (Dominguez), flyout (Castro) and stakeout (Carter) ended the inning without further damage.

In the second, Guzman singled and Hoes walked with no out, but they were stranded (line out, K, GO).  In the third, Fowler walked and Domingues singled, but they too were stranded (K, K, line out).  The left-handed Elias then retired the next 7 in order, and was relieved after walking Chris Carter on 4-straight balls with one out in the sixth.

The Mariners bullpen then dominated: K, K, GO, GO, single (with stolen base shortly afterward), GO, K, K, K, GO, GO, GO.  Yikes.  Fernando Rodney got to mime shooting an arrow into the air.  Damn.

Altuve finished 2-4, and saw 8 pitches in the game.  Fowler walked twice in the two-hole.  Dominguez singled once.  Castro followed with an 0-4, 3K game.  Carter (BB), Guzman (single) and Hoes (BB) (the 5, 6, 7 hitters) were all on base once.  Villar and Presley didn't trouble the scorers.  

Turning Point:

Tony Sipp anyone?  Actually, the events before his appearance didn't help either.  Cosart was at 88 pitches starting the 7th, and loaded the bases with no outs before striking out Mike Zunino on a 2-2 count.  Sipp then got a pop out, and nearly continued his perfect Astros career before neglecting to cover first on a soft grounder to the right side.

It is easy to blame Sipp here, but he also fought his command, and appeared rusty and out-of-sorts from the get-go.


Altuve would be the closest to a Hero, but overall this was another sloppily executed, un-clutch road game for this young team.


Sipp.  And rust.  Who knows, may have been unavailable because of niggles over the last week or so, and that may explain the command difficulties.

Next up:

Things don't get any easier:

Brad Peacock (1-4, 5.20, xFIP 4.48) versus Felix Hernandez (5-1, 2.94, xFIP 2.84)

That said, Felix is 0-1 in two meetings against the 'stros this year, and Peacock has pitched a little better (6.2 - 2ER, 6 - 4ER and 6.2 - 3ER) in his last three outings.

10:10 Eastern, 9:10 Central.

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