Monday, August 25, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G132: Astros v. Athletics

Jeff Samardzija (3-3, 4.07) vs Scott Feldman (7-9, 4.37)

Much like the last 4 games, the Astros couldn't manage much offense - only once now in 5 games have they scored more than twice, and that once took the gift of 4 unearned 9th-inning runs on Friday. Unlike the last 4 games, at least the bullpen made sure it didn't feel like another near miss... I guess? Scott Feldman pitched well through the 7th, Chris Carter gave Houston hope in the 8th, but the Goatpen struck back in the 9th to keep that hope short-lived. Since tying their 2012 win total, the Astros lose their third straight, tonight by an 8-2 final. They drop to 11-12 in August, and 55-77 overall.

On the Mound:

*Jeff Samardzija won the pitching duel tonight - that much is clear. But Scott Feldman still did rather well himself, in spite of 3 runs allowed. Those 3 runs came on 2 pitches - a Josh Donaldson 2-out double down the left field line in the 3rd, and a Josh Reddick 2-run line drive homer to right in the 4th. Feldman threw 104 pitches total - 71 for strikes - with an extreme 12:2 GB:FB ratio, and finished with his 5th quality start in his last 6 games. Not a bad day at all, and overall an excellent job of keeping his team in the game: 7 IP / 7 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 1 BB / 5 K.

*Josh Fields hit Josh Donaldson with an 0-2 changeup starting the 8th, then Dexter Fowler made a great running catch on Stephen Vogt for the first of three straight outs (1 K).

*The Astros finally got on the board in the bottom of the 8th, pulling within 3-2, and so they turned to trusty Tony Sipp for the 9th. But tonight, this night, Tony couldn't throw a damn strike. Four batters faced, four walks issued, four earned runs allowed.

*Jose Veras then was given an impossible situation by Sipp - bases loaded, no outs, and one run already in. He started okay, getting Alberto Callaspo to fly out not deep enough to let a run in, but a Josh Donaldson double plated two to make it 6-2 A's. After a Stephen Vogt K, Derek Norris singled to plate two more, finally closing the book on Tony Sipp's infinitely forgettable night. A Brandon Moss K then closed Veras' book, but with 1 R and 2 H charged to his ledger.

At the Plate:

*First of all, huzzah for cHRis Carter, or else we'd be discussing another Astros shutout. On a 2-out, 0-2 fastball in the 8th, Chris took Jeff Samardzija deep to right for his 31st HR of the season. He finished 1x4 with a K.

*The Astros have a 3-game losing streak, but Jose Altuve has a 3-game hitting streak (after back-to-back 0-fers), singling and scoring on Carter's home run, finishing 1x4.

*Marwin Gonzalez was the only Astro to really have Oakland pitching figured tonight, going 3x4 with 2 2B from the 6-spot, but no other Astro batting 5-9 had any hits at all.

*Robbie Grossman and Dexter Fowler each went 1x4 with a K apiece.

*Jonathan Singleton was the only Astro to work a walk, which he did twice, finishing 0x2.

Turning Point:

The Astros didn't actually have that many scoring opportunities, leaving only one man on second (Marwin Gonzalez in the 2nd) and one man on 3rd (Marwin again in the 9th). So in spite of the Goatpen's latest 9th-inning implosion, this one was really decided in the 4th. Derek Norris grounded out, Brandon Moss singled to left, then Josh Reddick hit his line drive home run to right. That paired with Oakland's run from an inning earlier gave them the winning margin.

Man of the Match:

Marwin Gonzalez. Nice night for Marwin, but no offense ahead or behind him meant that it didn't amount to anything.

Goat of the Game:

Tony Sipp. Because damn.