Dallas Keuchel (3-8, 5.44) v. Matt Moore (2-4, 5.56)
You cannot win if you don't hit. You cannot win if you don't field. You cannot win if you don't pitch. The latter two of those went badly awry for the Astros in the 5th inning, and the former was a fault all afternoon. Add all three together, and you get a 5-0 Houston loss, dropping the weekend series in Tampa to the last place Rays.
On the Mound:
Through the first four innings, both Matt Moore and Dallas Keuchel had allowed nothing more than a lone single apiece. Moore's dominance continued for the rest of the afternoon, but unfortunately for Houston, Kid Keuchy's didn't. He cannot entirely be blamed for the trouble; with two on and none out, what coulda/shoulda been a double play ball resulted in a single force when Jose Altuve's throw pulled Tyler White off the bag, scoring Tampa Bay's first run. Later in the inning, Luis Valbuena's error let their second run score. The case can be argued that those two plays should have gone differently, in which case only one Tampa run would have scored. But they didn't, and the defense did not allow a double, three singles, and two walks, which accounted for the other four Tampa runs.
Through 14 games in 2014, Dallas Keuchel was 8-4, 2.63, and the Astros were 9-5 in his starts. Through 14 games in 2015, Dallas Keuchel was 8-2, 2.04, and the Astros were 10-4 in his starts.
Through 14 games in 2016, Dallas Keuchel is 3-9, 5.54, and the Astros are 4-10 in his starts. This team has more problems than Keuchel's regression alone, and it is unfair to pin the blame and trouble on any one man. But if '16 Keuchel was pitching anything like the last two years, that 5 or 6 game swing would at least have 30-35 Houston at or above .500 right now, and that's a huge problem for Keuchel & Co. if they still have any plans to be playing past September.
Keuchel was gone after that 5th inning, so Scott Feldman, Pat Neshek, and Tony Sipp finished the game with an inning each. Feldman allowed two singles with a K, Neshek allowed one single with 2 K, and Sipp allowed a triple and a walk, but none of them allowed any further Rays runs.
At the Plate:
Jose Altuve did alright at the plate, singling twice off Matt Moore to go 2x4.
...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand that was it for the Astros offense. Tyler White and Jason Castro each worked a walk, while 11 Astros struck out.
Obviously the Tampa 5th. Logan Morrison led off with a double, then Steven Souza Jr. followed with a single, moving Morrison up to third. Desmond Jennings' grounder forced Souza at second, but Tyler White came off the bag to catch Altuve's throw, so Jennings was safe and Morrison scored. Keuchel walked Tim Beckham and Curt Casali to load the bases, then Valbuena's error on Logan Forsythe let Jennings score and everyone was safe. Keuchel allowed two more singles, to Mikie Mahtook and Evan Longoria, plating three more Tampa runs, then he finally struck out Steve Pearce and got Morrison on a grounder to end the inning all too late.
Man of the Match:
Goat of the Game:
Every Astro in the bottom half of the 5th, and every Astro at the plate all afternoon.
Off day tomorrow as the Astros travel to St. Louis for a two game set against the Cheatin' Ass Cardinals.
Doug Fister (6-3, 3.34) v. Jamie Garcia (4-5, 3.89)
8:15 Eastern, 7:15 Central on Tuesday.
County Clerk, Oakland Athletics