By Will Martin
Mother’s Day is supposed to be special and memorable. That one day you’re able to recognize and validate all the things that Mom has done to help you become the person that you are, and are striving to be.
Why else do those familiar words always get uttered first when a video camera is on a player in any sport?
Mother’s Day was spent in Baltimore for the Houston Astros as they closed out a gutsy albeit frustrating week in the Motor City and Maryland.
Jarred Cosart would once again make the start and leave the game with a lead.
The Houston bullpen through May 10th has blown eight saves for the starting staff hence an 11-26 start despite fine starting pitching.
This would not happen on this Mother’s Day with Jarred’s mom in the stands. Cosart would collect his first win since April 2 with a 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles as the longball would prove to be decisive difference in closing out a 2-5 road trip.
Jason Castro would connect on a three run blast in the first inning, his fifth of the season (and first since April 22) while Marc Krauss added two insurance runs in the seventh going deep with a pink bat being used on behalf of Cancer Awareness on Mother’s Day. Tony Sipp with two solid innings of relief before Chad Qualls shut the door for Houston.
The blown saves surely are a sore point for Bo Porter as Houston’s record in 1-run games is 3-9, 2-6 in 2-run games.
Saturday night in Baltimore Collin McHugh turned in a solid performance with only two runs and seven hits allowed in six and one third innings before the bullpen gave another lead away for the eighth time in 14 tries.
“You’ve got to be able to close games out,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “We had three guys with an opportunity get it done and we didn’t get it done.”
“It’s always tough when you lose guys that you anticipate being a certain portion of your team and now those guys are not a part and now you’re trying to put other guys into those situations, but at the same time that’s why it’s called a team,” Porter said. “It takes 25, and when you’re called upon to do your job, you’ve got to get your job done.”
Saturday night it was Anthony Bass and Paul Clemens who came up short in relief in the 9th and 10th frames. The Orioles scored a run apiece from inning six onward for a 5-4 victory in the 10th. Steve Clevenger doubling in JJ Hardy after the Astros showed some spark of their own to stage a rally in the 9th to retake a lead they had lost.
The Astros weren’t expecting a 55 minute rain delay to allow for Baltimore to provide late magic after the skies had cleared, either. This should have been the game of the year for Team Bo.
“It’s tough right now,” Bass said. “We’re in a little bit of a skid. My main focus is getting that W. It was unfortunate. I made good pitches to Schoop. Sometimes it happens. I just went out there and attacked the zone and unfortunately we ended up on the wrong side tonight.”
“It’s very tough,” Clemens said. “I feel responsible. It’s a ballgame we should win. We should win this type of ballgame. I have a chance right there to stretch this ballgame out and take it deep, but I couldn’t get footing and couldn’t command my fastball. I probably should have went to some offspeed to get myself comfortable, but it happened so quick it was over before I could blink.”
Baseball is a game of breaks and of momentum, which is why Collin McHugh is worried about the bullpen or his ballclub.
“These guys are good down there,” McHugh said. “To have Sipp and Z come in and shut the door in what could have been an inning that gets out of hand, is huge.”
“We’re in here in the clubhouse watching and it’s infield hit, infield hit,” McHugh said. “You feel like the breaks aren’t going your way, but give it to those guys. They battled and swung the bats well. We don’t quit. The breaks will start going our way and you’ll see some W’s, but it’s tough right now.”
With the Mother’s Day win Houston improved to 12-26. Jarred Cosart’s last start prior to Mother’s Day was a 2-0 loss to the Tigers May 5 despite allowing no earned runs in seven innings tossed. You have to go back to Mark Portugal (against the San Diego Padres) on September 9, 1991 for the last time that has been done by a Houston hurler.
Nine of the last 14 games played by Bo Porter’s staff have been decided by two runs or less. Eight of the last 14 games have been by one run. The last three losses suffered by the Astros were all by 1-run.
Jose Altuve has now gone 73 games without an error. In his last 100 games going back to 7/9/13 Altuve has made only one error in 476 total chances for a fielding percentage of .998 which is tops amongst all second basemen in that time frame.
Scott Feldman recalled from the DL on May 9, Brett Oberholtzer was sent down to Oklahoma City while Paul Clemens got the callup from OKC that same day.
George Springer looks to be finding his groove. Aside from an 0 for 5 collar on Mother’s Day, Springer has gotten hits in 11 of 13 games in addition to collecting two homers in three games after not going deep his first 19 games.
Sundays have treated the Astros well as they are 3-3. The rest of the week Houston remains below .500 The Astros now come home for one week as they’ll renew their rivalry with the Texas Rangers starting Monday May 12th.
5/12 vs Rangers 7:10 p.m.
5/13 vs Rangers 7:10 p.m.
5/14 vs Rangers 7:10 p.m.
5/16 vs White Sox 7:10 p.m.
5/17 vs White Sox 3:10 p.m.
5/18 vs White Sox 1:10 p.m.