On occasion, at my work, I get behind on some assignment or another. Sometimes it is a problem, but sometimes if you wait long enough, the need goes away.
I had been unsuccessfully trying to attack the “next” blog post for several days. At first, it would be a review of Jake Odorizzi‘s situation and the Astros’ other options for that rotation. But much like Odorizzi himself, Dan P just did not seem to have too much fire in his belly for that particular subject. Then I started to pivot to a look at the Astros’ recent trend downward and a very bad, getting worse homestand. And yes, my juices were not really flowing to analyze that subject either.
But I procrastinated long enough, and thanks to young Jeremy Pena, I was saved from those two subjects, at least for the time being.
It is hard to tell if a walk-off victory like Sunday’s 8-7 win over the Blue Jays will help the team get on the road to recovery and, more importantly, a route to the top of the AL West, but it has to help the psyche of a team that had to be feeling snake bit.
Look at what Pena’s two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th helped the team overcome:
- After winning the opener of this six-game homestand, the Astros had lost the next four behind an almost non-existent offense and pitching that deserved better.
- This meant the Astros had lost 5 of their last 6 games and had fallen from the top of the AL West on a downward arc to challenge the bottom dwellers in Arlington.
- In games one and two of the Blue Jay series, the Astros took one-run leads into the middle innings and ended up losing two one-run games because their offense decided to only score in one early inning.
- The script looked like it was going to be repeated on Sunday. The Astros muddled through some big scoring chances early but only got two runs out of it. They then played a little yo-yo as their lead went from 2 to 1 to 3 to 2 to 3 to zero. The Jays then went ahead by a run like they did the first two games of the series, but the Astros showed some heart as they tied it in the bottom of the 7th.
- The teams went into extra innings, and it looked bad for the Astros as Bryan Abreu gave up a one-out double to Yuli Gurriel‘s brother, Lourdes. That put the Jays ahead and runners on second and third with only one out. But Abreu got a pop up from Matt Chapman, and Blake Taylor got a fly out to end the 10th.
- Even with a runner starting at 2nd base, the Astros chances did not look great as the Jays’ closer Jordan Romano had converted 31 straight save chances coming into the game. It looked worse as Kyle Tucker remained at second as Aledmys Diaz whiffed on three straight sliders. Pena was hitless in four at bats in the game but had scored a run earlier in the game after reaching on a fielder’s choice/error. He did a great job of laying off Romano’s first two pitches outside the zone. He did an even better job of squaring up a low 97 mph fastball and lining it 420 feet to centerfield for a feel-good walk-off to end the homestand.
- Side note – with the oddness of the extra-inning rules, does this even count as a blown save? Oh, who cares.
This is the first of many Gatorade showers for our new shortstop. As a couple of our regular commenters (uncleknuckle and Mr. Bill) discussed, this may mean little or a lot. But we know this team really needed a lift, and you could not ask for a better lift than this as they head up the road to play the Rangers.