Saturday, August 30, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G136: Astros versus Rangers

Not a good one for the Astros tonight.  Brett Oberholtzer gets lit up for his worst start this season, Jake Buchanan relieved and kept piling gasoline on the fire, and the Astros' late runs were rendered meaningless because of the huge head-start they generously provided to the Rangers.  Silver Boot celebrations go on hold for a while because of a 13-6 loss.

On the Mound:
Obie didn't really have it tonight.  He needed help in the form of Jake Marisnick's cannon-like arm in the first to avoid a crooked-number inning.  Daniel Robertson led off with a walk, scored on an Andrus double, but when Andrus tried to advance to third on a pop out down the line in RF, Marisnick gunned him down with a perfect throw.  Beltre then flew out to the warning track just short  of the Astros' bullpen for the third out.

Obie got the side in order in the second, but the Rangers sent debutant Ryan Rua and veteran-of-three-games Tomas Tellis to the plate, so it is possible they were overmatched.  The third is when the trouble really intensified: groundout-double-single-sac-fly, line out resulted in another run, but some hard-hit balls.  Things worsened in the fourth with with three singles (one should have been an error, and one was a total bloop-job to CF) and a home run for a 4-run frame.  And when Obie allowed a consecutive one-out doubles in the fifth (one just over a diving Marisnick in RF), his night was done.  Jake Buchanan relieved, and he got the side out of the fifth without any drama.

As this is getting ugly at this point, I will be brief.  Buchanan allowed another run in the sixth on three singles - two of them of the infield variety - and the inning ended when Daniel Robertson was caught between first and second on a pitch that got away from Castro.  But Buchanan's next inning was a disaster - reached-on-error, walk, single, 2 RBI single, groundout (first out), 3-run home run, K, groundout.  13-1 Rangers.

Mike Foltynewicz was the third pitcher of the night, and also the most successful.  He walked Elvis Andrus as his first batter in the eighth, then erased him by inducing Alex Rios into a GIDP.  Folty allowed only a 1-out infield single in the ninth to record two scoreless innings to finish the night for the pitchers.

At the Plate:
The Astros tied it up in the first (after entering the bottom half of the inning trailing by one) on a Gonzalez (3-5, 2x2B, 2RBI) single, who was later driven in from first by Dexter Fowler (2-2, 2B).  Fowler was promptly erased as second after he cruised out of the box, then decided to try for second when he saw the throw going home - some hustle would have helped, that is for sure.  Marc Krauss (1-3, BB) walked in the second, Gonzalez doubled in the third, but was caught stealing.  Fowler doubled in the fourth - that would be his last plate appearance because he was also a victim of Marisnick's arm when the two collided going for a deep fly-ball in the first.

The side went in the order in the fifth, Altuve (2-5) singled in the sixth but was erased on a Carter (0-4, BB) GIDP.  Castro (1-4, HR) hit his second homer in as many nights top RF in the seventh, and this was followed by singles from Krauss and Marisnick (2-4), but the runners were stranded at the corners by a strikeout of Gregorio Petit (1-4) who got the start at third.  The Astros kept making noise in the eighth, when Altuve singled, Carter walked and Jesus Guzman (1-3 in relief of Fowler) singled to plate a run.

The Astros strung together some offence in the ninth for a crooked-number inning.  Jon Singleton (0-3, BB) walked, followed by a Marisnick single, followed by a Petit single to load the bases.  Marwin Gonzalez then cleared the bases with a double to left field - Petit from first scored on the throwing error - to run the final score to 13-6.  Sigh.

Turning Point:
Michael Choice's moon shot off the Community Leaders signs about the Crawford Boxes in left went 90% of the way toward sealing the loss for the Astros.  That blast scored three, and ran the Rangers' scoring to six at the time.  Obie put the pitch about where Castro was asking for it - down - but Choice got under it and mashed it to left.  Sigh.

Man of the Match:
Seven run loss equals no MoTM.  But, if there were one, I would like to point out Marwin Gonzalez's performance leading off tonight: 3-5, 2x2B, 2RBI, R (and a frikking caught stealing at third).  His season line sits at .272/.320/.398 - another interesting season for the utility player and ex-Rule V draftee.  Interestingly, the struggle to get Astros minor leaguers onto the 40-man to stop them being claimed in the Rule V draft may cost Marwin his roster spot after the season - I would think in the form of a trade - but the irony would not be lost on me if it did.

Goat of the Game:
Chris Carters' bipolar season continues, oscillating between goat and hero on a near nightly basis.  His OBP dropped below .300 again: .228/.299/.513.  The power is real, however, not that it needed pointing out.

Up Next:
Robbie Ross Jr (2-5, 6.06) versus Scott Feldman (7-10, 4.34)

7 Eastern, 6 Central.