The Astros lost their three-game series in New York to the Yanks in fairly spectacular fashion. After a solid come from behind 5-3 win on Makeup Tuesday, they coughed up two big hair balls in a row. On Wednesday, Collin McHugh luckily got one out while giving up five runs or his ERA would have been infinity rather than 135.00 and the Astros were trailing 6-1 after one inning. The Astros rallied back to close the gap to 6-5 in the second inning and everyone relaxed until Michael Feliz and his bullpen buddies imploded leading to a 16-6 blowout. On Thursday Mike Fiers coughed up a 5-2 lead and new reliever (notice – not called closer) Ken Giles piled on giving up a 3 run homer in an 8-5 loss.
So what are we looking at here?
- The Astros are 1-2 and wasted solid, but not over the top offensive efforts in the last two games of the series. Six and five runs would have won a lot of games last year.
- Last season the Astros started off 1-2 against Cleveland after winning the opener and they were at home to start 2015.
- The Astros gave up 24 runs in the last two games.
- In all of 2015, the most the staff gave up in two consecutive games was 22 runs when they were collapsing against the Rangers in mid-September.
- Are the Yanks a really great and patient offensive team? Have they figured out that you lay off the Astros off-speed stuff outside the zone, take your walks and then stroke those sitting duck fast balls out of the park?
- It is hard to say. Certainly some of that happened with McHugh and perhaps with Fiers was based on that. Feliz looked like a young guy thrown into the fire and told to throw 100+ pitches no matter what happens. Giles continued a bad trend from spring training of running his fastball into the meat of the opponents bat.
- Certainly the conditions were not ideal to judge anyone’s pitching as both teams’ staffs looked fairly vulnerable. Well, the Yanks bullpen blew the first game, but locked down the next two with a series of 6′-10″ 100 mph hardballers from the ‘pen, or so it seemed.
- And Carlos Correa went 0 for 4 in the last game. Time to sit him down – right? He isn’t hitting over .500 anymore.
- On the other hand Tyler White looks like a “hitter” – plain and simple. If they sit him when Evan Gattis returns they will regret it.
The starting pitching is the key here. The Astros with Lance McCullers out are a more vulnerable staff. If McHugh regresses more (last season he regressed a good bit in ERA, but still won 19 games due to run support) they could have continued troubles. The problem is that too many short games by the starters takes a toll on the bullpen. Bringing Chris Devenski up was smart as they would have no one in the bullpen to go more than an inning or two while Feliz recovers from pitching a complete game worth of pitches in 4 1/3 innings.
It’s only 3 games, the first 100 yards of a marathon, but the fans are worried. Is it justified? What do you think?