With their backs against the wall, the Astros Get off the mat (Or some such mixed idiom)

Sometime around 5:30 PM California time on Tuesday, the Astros were in a world of hurt. A quick summation of their woes after dropping the first game of a doubleheader to the A’s 4-2.

  • Their 6th consecutive loss dropped them to .500 on the season for the first time since they were 10-10 on Aug. 15th.
  • It meant that they could end the night a 1/2 game ahead of the Mariners for second in the division if they also lost the nightcap and the M’s won.
  • Their offense, which had scored 6 runs or more in their four-game sweep at the hands of the Angels, had apparently missed the plane to Oakland as they only had a clutch 2 run homer by Michael Brantley to show for the first two games of the series. Truth to tell the Astros had hit some shots in both games, but they almost all found leather.
  • Their pitching staff and rotation was in shambles. They had seemingly shot off their last and best bullet in Zack Greinke, who was undone by some clutch hitting by Khris Davis (who had not been hitting anyone), and former Astro and Astro farmhand Robbie Grossman and Ramon Laureano, respectively.
  • The Greinke game was supposed to be the best shot at a win in the doubleheader as TBD morphed into Chase De Jong and his emergency start in the second game.

So, if the Astros had their backs against the wall heading into the second game of the doubleheader, about an hour later it seemed like their backs were on the other side of the wall. De Jong had pitched a scoreless first and second inning, but in the third inning, his carriage turned back into a pumpkin as the A’s behind a 3 run moon shot by Matt Olson raced off to a 4-0 lead. This appeared double dire at the time as the Astros had only managed 1 hit off former Ranger Mike Minor in the first three innings and had ended the third inning with three straight strikeouts.

The Astros then had one of the most important and fortuitous half innings of the season. Myles Straw and Michael Brantley opened the inning with singles to left field. After Yuli Gurriel, who hit in bad luck all game, hit a liner to the center fielder, Minor walked Kyle Tucker to load the bases and then hit Carlos Correa on a 1-2 pitch to bring in the first run. The A’s then brought in Yusmeiro Petit to pitch, who had only walked 3 hitters in 16 innings prior to this appearance.  After retiring Aledmys Diaz on another liner to center, things took an odd turn as Petit then walked Abraham Toro (hitting .150) and Dustin Garneau (hitting .160) to bring the Astros to within one run. George Springer then hit a grounder up the middle that with SS Marcus Semien sitting out, 2B Tony Kemp had to field and threw late to first to tie the game.

With the score tied, the Astros’ bullpen did what they could not do in the previous 5 losses and held the opponent scoreless as Brad Peacock, Brooks Raley and Enoli Paredes kept the game tied headed into the 7th and last inning.

The Astros then were almost as lucky in the top of the 7th as in the 4th as Springer reached on an error by substitute SS Vimael Machin (who is apparently no machine in the fielding department). Myles Straw then failed to move Springer over on a couple of bunt attempts, much to Dusty Baker‘s chagrin but hit a two-strike slow roller to the right side that he beat out for an infield single. Brantley worked a walk to load the bases and Gurriel put the Astros ahead with another solid fly ball to center.

All that was left was for Ryan Pressly to put a bow on the proceedings with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 7th and the Astros felt the weight of the losing streak lift from their shoulders.

Across the Bay, the Mariners let the Giants come back from a 4 run deficit, ironically, to win 6-5 and the Astros went back to their hotel with a 2-1/2 game over the M’s and new hope heading into Wednesday and Thursday games against the A’s.

Luis Garcia, who had never pitched above A+ ball before throwing a valiant 4.2 innings in relief of the injured Lance McCullers last Friday gets the ball on Wednesday. This could end badly for the Astros or as they showed on Tuesday night, this could be their finest hour.


48 comments on “With their backs against the wall, the Astros Get off the mat (Or some such mixed idiom)

  1. Baseball games aren’t won on paper. Almost every World Series champion squad has had a clearly defined chemistry and ability to play together as a team. Right now Dusty is throwing guys out there and just hoping we can string together a few innings where we score and the pitching doesn’t give it away. Aside from watching and hoping Tucker and Brantley save the day, I’m not sure what most of the guys are trying to do on offense.

    Having said that, the key is to get healthy. I don’t think it happens this year. Then again, guys like Bregman and Springer can look awful for stretches and then all of a sudden light the world on fire.

    At least we’re not paying for tickets to the ballpark.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Should we send the “Fat Lady” back to her dressing room? I would think we’re about to find out how much these guys want it. Yes, they’re pretty beaten up but they have to reach down deep and find a way to get back into the game. “Come on Maverick, get back in the game.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Something tells me we are another swing and a miss from Springer headed to the IL. He hurt himself making a huge swing and a miss yesterday. Don’t know if it is a quad or groin injury.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess they theoretically have 18.8 million people in the NYC metro area – so that is worth something OP. Of course they need to take into account some things going forward….
      – There are probably 1/2 that population who never watch baseball – so let’s drop that to 9.4 million
      – Then let’s say only 30% of those baseball fans watch the Mets (there are so many people who are front runners watching the more successful Yanks) – so that drops it to 2.8 million
      – There was already a fair migration away from NYC going on due to high taxes – so let’s say over the next 10 years that might cost them 10% population – so let’s say they will be down to 2.5 million
      – There are just so many people spending every day out in the streets protesting rather than watching the Mets – so that drops us down to 2 million people
      – Then there are all the people who have decided to not watch baseball because it is getting too political – so that drops it to 1 million people
      – They say that 60% of NYC’s restaurants and bars will go out of business by early 2021 – and that probably represents another 500,000 worth of people tied to small businesses that will be gone – so that drops it down to 500,00 people
      – Since COVID and the recent violence in the big cities there has been a big exodus of high end people headed to other places to live – so let’s drop that down to 100,000 people
      – Since COVID affects the elderly and obviously the elderly are the majority of baseball fans and we are being told there can never be a vaccine and we are all going to get it – so let’s drop that down another 100,000 to 0 people left.
      So you are right – there is no reason for anyone to pay $2 billion for the Mets

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lol Dan, you were on the cusp a couple of times with that post! New York is certainly going to change, but for how long? Plenty more empty real estate before a real rebound. Corporate America is already reevaluating where home base might be going forward and some people simply won’t be going back to the office. Working from home will be a permanent thing for many. By the way, maybe the independent restaurant operator can experience somewhat of a comeback, as rents again become at least approachable in a city like New York where it is almost impossible for the small operator to thrive.

        On the flip side, the Metropolitans, in spite of their name, have always been the New York club with a bigger suburban following. As a 12 year old kid, I was allowed to take the LIRR from Nassau County on Long Island to Jackson Heights and then change there for the elevated train to Shea. What a great day! So Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey, lot’s of potential fans in the immediate vicinity anyway. And don’t forget, our Astros are supposed to be worth 1.85 billion. Baseball will survive. We might not recognize it in a few years, but it will grow once more.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess if we were A’s fans we would be livid about the loss in Game 2 of the double header. Other than the Astros bullpen not giving up a run since Moby Dick was a minnow, the Astros did absolutely nothing to get the win. In short, Oakland gave us that game.
    The Astros are good at home and bad on the road. They beat bad teams who are playing poorly(Angels), lose to bad teams who are playing well(Angels), and lose to good teams.
    They are one half game ahead of the Yankees for the #7 playoff spot.
    The Astros needed someone to step up and get them a win and somebody finally did: Mike Minor/Yusmiero Petit.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Not sure why Baker had to bring James back in a tight game. He does a Biagini and allows the game to be tied. Pressly loses it in the 9th.
    Luis Garcia pitched terrific in his first MLB start

    Liked by 1 person

  6. McTaggart on why Dusty brought in James:

    Agree that Garcia has looked great so far. Glad we did not trade him at the deadline.

    Wondering why Bailey has not been brought back.

    Maybe Verlander is almost ready?


  7. Just having my coffee and peanut butter toast (I don’t do avocado toast) and watching the condensed game while the sun comes up. Thankfully, this one did not have to go into extras. This was another game for the taking. The A’s sure didn’t do much. Even with the walks, we should have been out of the 7th with the shutout intact. Tucker should have made the play on the pop up. I don’t know why he’s always sliding like a little leaguer when coming in on a ball. Garcia looked pretty raw and the delivery is weird, but he’s got a big arm. Can he lose a few pounds and get faster? .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Let’s see. Two walks in the 7th and both scored on Tuckers boo boo. Pressly walks one, hits another, and another game in the loss column. With what little I saw umpire had an awfully wide strike zone. I though the plate was 17″, not 21″.


  9. I guess I owe a semi-apology to Josh James, I was switching back and forth from a basketball game and I missed Tucker’s gaffe. Of course if you don’t frigging walk a couple guys……..


  10. I stumbled in to a quick peek at the game today, in the bottom of the eighth. A ball hit to Diaz, at second, who throws a sinker, in the dirt, to Gurriel, at first. Yuli does not catch the errant throw and instead of an error on Diaz, Grossman, the hitter, gets credit for a hit! Home cooking scoring.


    • Sarge, I’m not sure if those ball and strike calls have evened out either. I understand MLB playing baseball. I understand many of the inconsistencies with scheduling, travel, home games at road parks and other elements of this exhibition season. Some things I don’t understand though. But does anyone really care about backing into a “post season” with a record below .500? I do not care. I’m ready for a reset. I’d like to see if I can appreciate the game once more come 2021.


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