Thursday, April 21, 2016

From the Office of the County Clerk – G16: Astros @ Rangers

Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 2.18) v. A.J. Griffin (1-0, 3.27)

This... is not going well. Not well at all. The only reason that the Astros failed to win the American League West Division last year is because they hopelessly floundered against the Rangers (6-13). In particular, the Astros were hopelessly helpless in Arlington (2-8), including the wrong end of two sweeps of 7 total games in August/September. The 70-92 2014 Astros won the season series against Texas 11-8, so the hope for this season was that 2015 was an aberration. Well... not so far. Astros ace Dallas Keuchel makes the worst start of the series, and the Ramgers complete the sweep with a 7-4 score. Houston limps back home to face the Red Sox at 5-11 overall.

On the Mound:
If you think that you should be worried about Dallas Keuchel, then you should be. Or maybe you could say that he's had two good starts and two bad starts, with three of four starts on the road where he was not half as spectacular last season anyway (5-8, 3.77). But either way you spin it, he was not at all good tonight. Over 6 innings, Keuchel tied a career high with 13 hits allowed (7/4/14), and only once last year did he allow more runs (6) or have a lower game score (27). That one worse start last season - of course - was in Arlington against the Ramgers.

Keuchel was so all over the yard tonight that it's difficult to know where to start. In only one inning - the 4th - did he allow less than two hits. In only the 4th and the 6th did he not allow the Ramgers to score, and he was only saved in the 6th because Carlos Gomez gunned down Delino DeShields Jr. at third for the 3rd out, before Hanser Alberto crossed the plate. Keuchel allowed two doubles (Desmond, Mazara), a triple (Andrus), and a 3-run HR (Desmond), along with 7 singles. His only bright spot, if you want to call it that, is that for this first time this season he walked no one, but when you're busy allowing 13 hits, you're still gonna have a bad night. The final tally: 6 IP / 13 H / 6 R / 6 ER / 0 BB / 5 K, and Keuchel now has two losses, which he didn't have last year until June 9.

Pat Neshek finally relieved in the 7th, but not to be left out of the suck, allowed a solo HR to Adrian Beltre on his third pitch. Neshek retired the next three (liner, grounder, K), then Josh Fields took the 8th, and walked one while striking out two in a scoreless frame.

At the Plate:
Colby Rasmus was good. How about that Colby Rasmus? Let's just talk about Colby and forget about everything else that happened tonight. In the 4th inning, against A.J. Griffin, Colby hit his fourth home run of the season, over the right center field fence. In the 8th inning, against Tony Barnette, Carlos Correa was on first and Colby went deep again, this time to the second deck in right. So Colby (2x3, BB) has joined Jose Altuve and Tyler White in a 3-way tie for the team lead in home runs at 5.

George Springer (1x4) also managed the nigh impossible for Houston, stroking a double in the 1st immediately after Altuve (1x3, BB) did the same, which briefly gave the Astros a 1-0 lead and temporarily made them 1x1 with RISP. But Rasmus' 3 RBI and Springer's 1 of course accounted for all 4 Houston runs, and the Astros went 0x5 with RISP and 5 team LOB the rest of the night.

Other hits came from Correa (1x4, R), Preston Tucker (1x4, 2B), and Luis Valbuena (1x4). No double plays of any flavor tonight.

Turning Point:
It all started so well, with Houston up 1-0 in the 1st, and Dallas Keuchel looked fine for two batters. DDJ grounded out to Keuchel on an 0-1 pitch. Nomar Mazara also grounded out to Keuchel, after falling behind 0-2. But then Adrian Beltre singled. Then Prince Fielder singled. Then Ian Desmond homered, and Houston could never finish the uphill climb.

Man of the Match:
Colby Rasmus was good. How about that Colby Rasmus?

Goat of the Game:
Kid Keuchy let us down. F'ing Ramgers.

Up Next:
Home sweet home, and please no lobster rolls. Astros meet the Red Sox at MMP.

Collin McHugh (1-2, 6.39) v. Steven Wright (0-2, 2.13)

8:10 Eastern, 7:10 Central.