Not ideal! Collin McHugh was cruising - CRUISING, SORT OF! - and then it all went straight to hell when the light-hitting White Sox torched him for seven runs in the 5th and 6th. Astros lose for the 8th time in their last 12 games, 7-1. They are 71-42. Seattle won, so the Astros' division lead is at 13 games; Boston won (of course), so the Astros' AL lead is 6.5 games, with 49 remaining.
The results are going to be tough on our guys, but I always like our approach...All in all, just not a good night.
Yeah, there's been a few of those lately.
McHugh, who went 5.1IP, 9H/7ER, 5K:3BB:
Wasn't able to stop the bleeding there, which is really unfortunate because I knew their guy was throwing the ball well and our guys were battling and putting good swings. They just weren't quite falling in for us. As a starting pitcher, you need to be able to keep the game at that part there.
I think we're past the stage where he's in the Spring Training thing. He was an effective pitcher tonight. He pitched out of one huge jam early. They just put up a couple of big innings.
*Collin McHugh, by inning:
1st: 8 pitches, 0H/0ER, 1K
2nd: 30 pitches, 1H/0ER, 1K:2BB (got out of a bases-loaded/no-out jam)
3rd: 9 pitches, 1H/0ER, 1K
4th: 11 pitches, 0H/0ER, 1K
Through four innings - 58 pitches, 2H/0ER, 4K:2BB.
5th: 21 pitches, 5H/4ER, 1K
6th: 16 pitches, 2H/1ER, 1BB
5th-6th innings: 37 pitches, 7H/5ER, 1K:1BB
Francisco Liriano "relieved" McHugh and put up your traditional Liriano: 0.2IP, 1H, 1BB and allowed two baserunners he inherited to score, so McHugh was charged with 7ER last night.
*The rotation has put up a 5.50 ERA since the All-Star Break.
*The White Sox had lost 23 of their last 27 games coming into this series, so it makes perfect sense for the Astros to have lost two of the first three games. That said, I would like to remind you that baseball is a fickle beast, a troubled lover, an insolent whore. The 2013 Astros won 51 games all season long, but won six in a row in late May-early June, including a four-game sweep at Anaheim. They took two of three at Oakland in mid-August at a time where the A's were hot on the Ramgers' trail for 1st place. Good teams hit patches, and this is most definitely a patch. Is it encouraging? By no means. Does it happen to every team at some point in the season? Absolutely. Panic if you want, I'm not going to try to talk you out of it: Keuchel isn't right yet, McCullers has probably been hurt for two months now, McHugh is still trying to figure it out after essentially an 8-month layoff. Will Harris is hurt. Francisco Liriano is...well, pretty much the worst-case scenario of what you could get out of Francisco Liriano. Carlos Correa is still probably 3-4 weeks away. There are issues, most definitely. But every team goes through a slide at some point. The Astros just need to figure out how to stop it, because Justin Verlander (probably) isn't walking through that door. And even if he was, is his presence magical enough to fix Dallas Keuchel? Or maybe he can talk Francisco Liriano into embracing the idea of leaving an inherited runner on base?
*Hinch, on the team's recent struggles (and the smallest 13-game lead in baseball history):
We have the opportunity to worry about ourselves, and try to get ourselves right with some of the things we haven't done well...Regardless of external expectations and talk, we haven't done anything yet. Our guys know that.
*An AL scout talked to the New York Daily News' John Harper and told him, of Keuchel:
Those comments (after the trade deadline) made me think Keuchel might know he's still compromised in some way. He doesn't look anything like he did (before the injury). The late movement isn't there. And he's missing location, which he can't afford to do. With his stuff, he's throwing BP when he's not on point with the command and the late sink.
*George Springer returned from the DL, missing 13 games after the Astros said he wouldn't require a DL stint, and got a leadoff single. Tyler White was optioned back to Fresno to make room. Hinch:
We struggled with that decision because we could've gone a couple different ways. Whether it was between (White) and J.D. (Davis) or the pitchers; we could've gone down a pitcher if we wanted to. But going into (Arlington) and Arizona, we wanted to keep the extra pitcher.
*Alex Bregman hit a double to extend his extra-base hit streak to a franchise record-tying ten games.
*August 25-27 will be Players Weekend across MLB. The Astros get to (or have to, according to your preference) wear these uniforms and have nicknames on the back. Shoutout to the ever-creative George Springer, Brian McCann, and Dallas Keuchel, who all just chose their last names. Way to get into the spirit of the thing. But here's to Clubhouse Guy Jake Marisnick, for choosing "Big Fudge."
*The Indians traded for Jay Bruce, so I guess it is possible to make your team better in August. Weird. Speaking of, Danny Knobler has sources that said the Astros had talks with the Tigers about an August trade for Justin Verlander but "were unwilling to surrender any of the prospects the Tigers wanted or to take on a significant amount of his remaining contract." Verlander last night: 8IP, 1H/0ER, 6K:3BB. He blamed his "bad stretch" on a mechanical flaw, which is now apparently fixed.
*Corpus' Jason Martin hit a walk-off grand slam last night to push the Hooks to a half-game lead on a postseason spot.
*Via Daren Willman: Forrest Whitley has the highest K% in minor-league baseball at 35.7%
*Jerome Solomon: Don Baylor did everything the right way.