Wednesday, April 13, 2016

From the Office of the County Clerk – G9: Astros v. Kansas City

Scott Feldman (0-1, 9.00) v. Yordano Ventura (0-0, 3.60)

It's too early to panic about anything. It's too early to pass judgment on anything. But it's not too early note at least that Ken Giles' Astros career is off to a rough start. His own costly error notwithstanding, Scott Feldman pitched very well indeed, and Houston's offense clawed themselves back into the game against Kansas City's young ace & ballyhooed bullpen. But for the third time now in four Astros appearances, Hundred Mile Giles was not the shutdown reliever that Houston had hoped he would be. A two-out, two-run homer by Salvador Perez off of Giles was the deciding blow, and thus the Astros fell again 4-2. They drop to 1-2 at home and 3-6 on the season.

On the Mound:
The Constable earlier noted that tonight's pitching matchup looked like a pitching mismatch in Kansas City's favor, but in fact, Scott Feldman and Yordano Ventura matched zeroes through the first five frames. The Royals got a double in each the 1st, 2nd, and 5th, and a single in the 4th, but those were the only hits that Feldman allowed in each frame, so nothing came of any of them.

Feldman finally cracked by his own hand following back-to-back singles from Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer in the 6th. With one out and two on, Feldman got Kendrys Morales to bounce the ball down the third base line. Feldman pounced on it and faked a throw to third, but then his sidearm toss to first went at least 2-3 feet over Tyler White's head, allowing Cain to come around and score the game's first run. After an IBB to Alex Gordon loaded the bases, Salvador Perez hit a sac fly to Colby Rasmus in left that put KC up 2-0, with both runs unearned.

Feldman retired Omar Infante to end the 6th and Paulo Orlando to start the 7th, then gave way to Tony Sipp after Alcides Escobar singled. Sipp did his job and struck out Mike Moustakas, then Pat Neshek came on and likewise struck out Cain.

Which brought us to Ken Giles for the 8th. Giles got Hosmer to ground out and Morales to K swinging for two uneventful outs, but Gordon waited out Giles for a walk. That brought up Perez again, who quickly fell behind 0-2. But a 1-2 slider turned into a 2-run homer - the third home run that Giles has allowed this season.

Chris Devenski, for his part, struck out the side in the 9th.

At the Plate:
Not much to report until the 6th, when Jose Altuve (3x5, 2 2B, 2 RBI) led off with a solo shot to the train tracks in left (HR #2 of the year). After two outs, the Astros loaded the bases on a Colby Rasmus walk (0x2, 2 BB), a Tyler White single (1x4), and Preston Tucker (1x4) reached on an E-6 by Escobar. But Ventura got Carlos Gomez (0x4) to ground out, ending the threat.

With one out in the 7th and Luke Hochevar on the mound, Jason Castro (1x2, BB) stroked his second triple of the young season, and Altuve's RBI double plated pinch runner Jake Marisnick to tie the game 2-2 at the time. But two K's ended the 7th; Kelvin Herrera K'd two and walked one (Rasmus) in a scoreless 8th; and Joakim Soria (1 K) set down the Astros in order in the 9th.

Turning Point:
Alex Gordon's AB against Ken Giles in the 8th, followed by Salvador Perez. Giles' shaky Spring Training has carried over into the games that count, and you can bet Jeff Luhnow wants him to get it sorted out soon.

Man of the Match:
Jose Altuve, with his second multi-hit game - all extra-base hits, raising his average to a season-high .297 and his OPS to .922.

Goat of the Game:

Up Next:
Doug Fister (1-0, 5.40) v. Ian Kennedy (1-0, 0.00)
8:10 Eastern, 7:10 Central.