Saturday, July 19, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G98: Astros @ White Sox

Dallas Keuchel (9-5, 3.20) vs Hector Noesi (3-6, 4.56)

Positives! Positives. After the events of the last few days (and weeks... and years), Astros fans are Brady ready and Aiken achin' for some good news. So... George Springer hit his team-leading 20th home run! Jose Altuve had his 41st multi-hit game of the season, extending his MLB-leading hit total to 133! The bullpen allowed only a single single in three scoreless innings! Buuuuuuuut, the Astros are why we can't have nice things. So they still lost 4-3, falling for the 11th time in their last 15 games, and dropping to 40-58 overall.

On the Mound:

*Dallas Keuchel since mid-June has not been the Dallas Keuchel we saw up to that point. Following his 13th start of the season on June 11, Kid Keuchy was up to 8-3 and down to a 2.38 ERA, having allowed more than 3 runs in a start only twice. Now in five starts since then, he's allowed at least 4 runs every time, getting knocked around today for 12 hits, which trails only the 13 he surrendered two starts ago on July 4. Given all the White Sox on the bases, it's fortunate the damage wasn't any worse, but still Houston has now lost behind Keuchel as many times in his last five starts (four) as they did all season before then. Line: 5 IP / 12 H / 4 R / 3 ER / 2 BB / 5 K, with a bases-loaded HBP.

*No goatpen action tonight, as Anthony Bass retired all three hitters in order in the 6th.

*Tony Sipp went three up, three down with 2 K in the 7th.

*And Chad Qualls allowed a leadoff single but nothing else in the 8th, fanning one.

At the Plate:

*Jose Altuve remains THE diamond in the (deep... DEEP) rough for these Astros, going 2x5 tonight with a 2-run double that had Houston very briefly tied. But he also struck out twice, following 3 K last night, which marks the first time he's had back-to-back multi-strikeout games since Aug. 26-27 last year... at the White Sox.

*George Springer put up Houston's first run with a typically mammoth solo shot to RF leading off the 4th. He finished 1x4.

*It's a shame that Kiké Hernandez has been overshadowed by... well, everything else going on with the Astros, because he continues being a nice bright spot himself. Tonight he went 3x4 with a run scored, raising his average back up to .318 through 14 big league games.

*Marwin Gonzalez was 2x3 with a run scored and a sac bunt, but he also committed the throwing error in the 2nd that let in Chicago's unearned run.

*Robbie Grossman had the other hit, going 1x3 with a BB and a K.

Turning Point:

After falling behind 3-0 through three, Springer's HR in the 4th and Altuve's 2-RBI double in the 5th had Houston tied for about 10 minutes. But neither Jason Castro (fly out) or Springer (ground out) could bring Altuve home, then Keuchel allowed a one-out triple to Alejandro De Aza and a subsequent RBI double to Tyler Flowers that promptly put the White Sox back ahead 4-3. The Astros left the bases loaded in the 7th, and failed to score following two-on, one-out in the 9th, so they have only themselves to blame.

Man of the Match:

Altuve's K's both came in the high-leverage 7th and 9th for Houston, so we'll go with Kiké tonight.

Goat of the Game:

Dallas Keuchel. But also The Bats for not following through on late chances.