Tuesday, April 19, 2016

From the Office of the County Clerk – G14: Astros @ Rangers

Scott Feldman (0-1, 3.48) v. Derek Holland (1-0, 2.31)

Score round 1 for the Ramgers. Grumble grumble Astros lose 7-5 grumble grump.

On the Mound:
The best thing that Scott Feldman did today was pitch four more innings after a 1st that didn't go well at all. That 1st wasn't 100% his fault, as he should have had two outs and none on before Prince Fielder came to the plate. But a ground ball by Ramgers right fielder Nomar Mazara bounced out of Carlos Correa's glove, so Fielder's home run put them up 2-0 with one out and one run unearned. Correa's mistake had nothing to do with Feldman then allowing three more singles in a row to Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland, and Ian Desmond, the last of which gave the Ramgers a 3-0 lead. That prompted a conference on the mound, but Feldman stayed on and hung in, and to be fair, he did so admirably well thereafter.

A ground out and a line out ended Feldman's 1st. Two walks and a sac bunt amounted to nothing after a fly out and a ground out ended his 2nd. The 3rd inning was more iffy, with a one-out Desmond double and a subsequent single from Rougned Odor putting Arlington up 4-2 at the time. A passed ball and a sac bunt moved Odor around to third, but Feldman got a ground out to end the frame, then faced the minimum through the 4th (fly out, walk, GIDP) and 5th (two grounders and a K). So 96 pitches and a 5 IP / 6 H / 4 R / 3 ER / 3 BB / 1 K line were the final tale on his night.

I wonder if Feldman had stayed in for the 6th if the night might have ended differently for Houston, but instead it was Josh Fields. While Feldman at least redeemed himself of his shaky start, Fields did not earn that chance. Four batters faced, all of them got hits, two of them for extra bases: Odor single, Elvis Andrus double (RBI), Brett Nicholas double (RBI), then Delino DeShields Jr. laid a bunt down the third base line that adamantly refused to roll foul. It was a frustrating end point to Fields' awful outing, forcing A.J. Hinch's hand to bring on Chris Devenski.

With an assist from replay review, Devenski nabbed the first out of the 6th by picking DDJ off first base, then a ground out (Mazara) and fly out (Fielder) ended the inning with no further damage. With one out and none on in the 7th, "Dragon" Devenski's flawless track record was finally marred, as Mitch Moreland hit a line drive that cleared the right field fence in a hurry, before George Springer had any chance to try and stop it. But that would be Devo's only mistake, finishing up with the final two outs of the 7th, and a single-GIDP-K 8th rounded out his 3 IP / 2 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 1 K night.

At the Plate:
Much like in Mike Fiers' start against Kansas City, the Astros responded quickly to an opponent's 3-run 1st, but again their response did not go quite far enough. George Springer (2x5, R, RBI) doubled to no purpose in the 1st, but after Arlington's 3 in their half of the frame, Houston roared back with three straight doubles to start the 2nd: Evan Gattis (1x4, R), Carlos Gomez (1x4, R, RBI), and Marwin Gonzalez (1x4, RBI, SB). That pulled the Astros to within 3-2, and hope began to bloom, but that hope angrily died over the rest of the night.

Carlos Correa (1x3, BB) singled in the 3rd. Jason Castro (0x2) walked in the 4th. No Astro reached in the 5th, and Tyler White (1x4) doubled out of DDJ's glove leading off the 6th, but no Astro reached home again until the 7th, when it was then 6-2. Ramgers reliever Keone Kela started by striking out Castro, then pinch-hitter Preston Tucker just missed on a fly out to center that would have made it 6-3 had he pulled the ball much in either direction. But then Jose Altuve (1x5) did make it 6-3, with his 5th home run of the year. Then Springer made it 6-4 to straightaway center, with his 3rd #SpringerDinger in as many games, and his 4th of the year. Then Correa walked, and Jeff Banister went to his 'pen again for Jake Diekman, with Tyler White representing the tying run at the plate. But White struck out, and Moreland's home run in the bottom of the inning pushed Arlington back to a 3-run lead.

Following a 1-2-3 8th, Ramgers closer Shawn Tolleson came on and walked pinch-hitter Colby Rasmus on four pitches. Rasmus stole second, moved to third on Tucker's fly out, and scored on an Altuve grounder to make it 7-5. But with none left on base, Springer struck out on a 2-2 slider, giving the Ramgers the win.

Turning Point:
If it wasn't for Josh Fields' flawed appearance in the 6th, the score was otherwise 5-5, so who knows what happens? Though the 1st inning really put Arlington in the driver's seat, and Houston could never knock them out.

Man of the Match:
Jose Altuve, again, with a pair of RBIs, and his 5th home run in 14 games. That's a mark it took him 36 games to reach last year, after only ever having 7 HR in a season before that.

Goat of the Game:
Feldman was not great, but Fields was worse. Also Correa's error led to one run directly, and he bobbled a relay throw in the 6th that could have prevented at least one more.

Up Next:
Doug Fister (1-1, 7.59) v. Cole Hamels (2-0, 2.95)

8:05 Eastern, 7:05 Central.