The Astros pulled out a very improbable win on Saturday night, beating the LA Whiners, I mean Dodgers, 7-5. The game seemed like a big reversal in so many ways for the Houston nine (well really the Houston Twenty-Eight).
How so? Let us count the ways:
1. Winning on the road. The Astros, one of the best road teams around the last three seasons, came in with a bottom feeder road record of 6-17, one of the worst in baseball. The win was a big reversal of that trend.
2. Winning on this road trip. The Astros came into this game with a terrible 1-8 record on this road trip, the only exception being a come from way behind 5-4 win over the A’s.
3. Beating the Dodgers. When the Astros last saw the Dodgers, Houston had been flying high with a revved-up offense after starting the season 3-1 against the Mariners. The Dodgers’ pitching shut the Astros down and there was definite revenge on the Blue Men’s minds for the 2017 title they feel was stolen as they rapped Houston twice at Minute Maid. This game had to feel doubly good for the ‘Stros.
4. Starters vs. Relievers. In general, this season and especially in their losses Houston has featured good to great starting pitching followed by disappointing relief work. In this game, that trend was reversed as Framber Valdez struggled through 5 innings of 5 run ball, while the bullpen tandem of Humberto Castellanos, Cionel Perez, Josh James and Ryan Pressly combined for 4 scoreless innings.
5. Freebies. One of the worst features of the bullpen has been their propensity to walk the opposition. In this game, the Astros gave up only one walk and none by the bullpen.
6. Late Offense. Even though the Astros are second in the AL with 5.07 runs per game, they have not been a late-game team, scoring only 18% of their runs in the 7th thru 9th innings heading into Saturday. They were also only hitting .208 BA in Late and Close games. This time, they busted out for 1 run in the 8th and 5 runs in the 9th.
7. Unexpected Sources. The biggest hit of the 9th inning rally was from an unexpected source, Josh Reddick. His double not only narrowed the lead from 5-2 to 5-4, but it also put the tying run in scoring position with no out. The other biggest hit of the inning was Alex Bregman’s single to break the tie, his first hit since returning from the IL.
Bottom line, the Astros, at least for a day, reversed a bunch of their bad trends to pull out a game that looked lost.