Thursday, April 14, 2016

From the Office of the County Clerk – G10: Astros v. Kansas City

Doug Fister (1-0, 5.40) v. Ian Kennedy (1-0, 0.00) 

Well then. Um. Let's focus on the positives. Colby Rasmus' walk leading off the 2nd made sure that Ian Kennedy would not throw a perfect game. Carlos Gomez' leadoff single in the 6th ended the possible no-hitter talk. Jose Altuve's leadoff homer in the 7th broke up Kennedy's shutout. Evan Gattis got his first hit, Carlos Correa drove in another run. And remember, back before the Royals made the World Series in 2014, a much inferior Astros team swept them in three games at Kaufmann Stadium in late May (leading many to call for Ned Yost's head, if you recall). So really, who cares if KC won 3 of 4 against the Astros to open their 2016 home season? Royals won 6-2, Astros looked awful, move along.

On the Mound:
How about that Chris Devenski, no? Straight from Double-A - only being on Fresno's roster doesn't count - three big league appearances now, and not a run allowed yet. Tonight he squashed a Royals rally with the final out in the 6th, then recorded three more outs around a walk in the 7th. The Dragon's big league line is now 5.1 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 1 BB / 8 K. That's pretty slick.

Tony Sipp pitched the 8th, alternating outs with singles, but three of the former and two of the latter would not lead to another Kansas City run. Then Josh Fields took the 9th, allowed a one-out single to Mike Moustakas, but otherwise handled the inning without event.

But Doug Fister started. Doug Fister started okay, for a while, other than a Moustakas solo HR in the 1st. But Fister fell apart in the 6th, at which point Houston had not yet managed a hit, and the Astros' chances at a series split sank with him. Paulo Orlando singled leading off the 6th, then Fister got a pair of flyouts, but it's become fashionable to say that what happened next was "Royals gonna Royal." Lorenzo Cain single, Eric Hosmer double, Kendrys Morales double, Alex Gordon double, Salvador Perez single, then A.J. Hinch pulled the plug on Fister, but by then it was already 6-0. Even Devenski allowed a non-RBI single to Omar Infante before KC's two-out onslaught was stopped.

At the Plate:
Ian Kennedy probably deserves a lot of credit, but dang if it didn't seem like the Astros were doing their best to help him face the minimum for as long as they could. Rasmus' 2nd inning walk turned into a strike-out, throw-out double play with Tyler White (not) hitting and Colby caught stealing. Gomez broke up the no-hitter immediately following KC's 5-run rally, but then Marwin Gonzalez popped out to shallow center and Gomez got doubled off first (on admittedly a fine diving/throwing play by Alcides Escobar). Altuve broke through with his third homer in the 7th, and George Springer followed with a walk, but then somehow Correa flied into a force, erasing Springer at second, and a pair of subsequent K's ended Houston's 7th and Kennedy's night.

Nothing doing for the Astros offense against Danny Duffy in the 8th, but the only thing resembling an Astros rally tonight came against Duffy in the 9th. Beardless Evan Gattis pinch-hit for Jason Castro and singled to center, then Altuve followed with a double that moved Gattis up to third. Springer worked to a full count, then struck out swinging, but Correa legged out an infield single that allowed Gattis to score, making the score 6-2 and making Ned Yost at least worried enough to bring in Wade Davis. Rasmus got ahead 3-1, took a called strike 2, then fouled off a pair before grounding into a game- and series-ending double play.

Turning Point:
Kansas City's 6th. When your team is busy getting no-hit, your starter shouldn't give up 5 two-out runs if you want to keep morale alive.

Man of the Match:
Jose Altuve, the only multi-hit Astros, going 2x4 with 1 R and 1 RBI, to bump his BA to .317 and his OPS to 1.025.

Goat of the Game:
Up Next:
The Royals are leaving town! And Keuchel pitches tomorrow! And it's Friday! And Masked Marvel will be back on the beat! See? More positives.
Gm. 1 v. Detroit
Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 3.55) v. Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 14.73)
8:10 Eastern, 7:10 Central.