Brett Oberholtzer (5-12, 4.39) vs Nick Martinez (4-11, 4.85)
I know that these games don't matter, but let's not get swept by the Rangers, mmkay? For the second straight night, Houston stayed stuck on 69 wins, and missed another opportunity to clinch 4th place in the AL West outright (as right now, the Rangers could still mathematically tie). For the second straight night, Houston's offense took a step backwards from the solid Seattle series, too. Altogether, the Astros pitched well, but didn't hit well, and so they lost again to the lowly Rangers 2-1. Astros are 69-89 with 4 left to play.
On the Mound:
*Brett Oberholtzer had a shaky 4th (2 R), and the beginnings of a shaky 5th (2 H), so with an extended bullpen at the very end of the season, I suppose there was no reason to leave him in any longer. He still threw 91 pitches, too, so his final start of 2014 was less-than-5-innings brief, with a 4.1 IP / 9 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 3 K line. Barring any relief appearances in the season's final two games - which will NOT be started by Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh, per Tom Lawless - Obie finishes his sophomore season with a 5-13 record and a 4.39 ERA.
*Jake Buchanan was the first man out of the 'pen tonight, and he started by cleaning up Obie's 2-on, 1-out mess with with two straight outs of his own (1 K). Then he allowed a 6th-inning single after two groundouts and a flyout, so 1.2 IP scoreless for Jake.
*Mike Foltynewicz had an... interesting 7th, with a double, single, wild pitch, and a walk that loaded the bases with no outs. But Folty got Robinson Chirinos to strike out swinging on a changeup following five fastballs, then got J-P-R-N-C-B-A to ground into an inning-ending double play, therefore escaping with no damage done.
*Chad Qualls got a non-save situation in the 8th (trailing 2-0), and he kept it clean, getting two outs on three pitches and the third out on six more.
At the Plate:
*7 hits for Houston were a low since they were 2-hit last week in Cleveland (9/17), so the team didn't give themselves a whole lot of opportunities. But for those they did have, they were 0x3 with RISP, with 6 LOBsters, which was huge in a pitcher's duel like this.
*Matt Dominguez had the lone Astros RBI, on a sac fly in the 9th inning. He was also stranded at third after a single in the 2nd, so his night ended up 1x3.
*Marwin Gonzalez also singled in that 2nd, and doubled in the 7th, but died on the bases each time, finishing 2x3.
*Jake Marisnick had a pinch-hit double in the 9th that set up Dominguez' sac fly, but he died on second base himself, representing the tying run as the game ended.
*Robbie Grossman went 1x4 and now has a 6-game hitting streak.
*Dexter Fowler was 1x3 with a BB and a K, and scored that lone Houston run.
*And Carlos Corporan went 1x3 with a K, for the Astros' other hit, which means...
*Jose Altuve went 0x4, but at least his jump swing last night went viral.
In a scoreless game, Robinson Chirinos led off the bottom of the 4th with a solo HR on a 2-2 Oberholtzer changeup. J-P-R-N-C-B-A doubled, then last night's hero Guilder Rodriguez sacrificed him over to third. Daniel Robertson singled, scoring R-N-C-B-A to make it 2-0, then Robertson stole second and Elvis Andrus walked to continue Obie's shaky 4th. He escaped on a double play, but Houston's last hope died in the 9th when Jake Marisnick was stranded on second as Jonathan Villar grounded out to end the game.
Man of the Match:
Jake Marisnick? I mean, he hit 1.000, I guess.
Goat of the Game:
Jon Singleton, Max Stassi, and Jonathan Villar, who comprised the 0x3 with RISP.