By Will Martin
Exactly twenty games remain in the 2013 season for the Houston Astros. In this their first season ever in the American League.
Suffice to say this nucleus of youth and little payroll has served as quite the bottom feeder for other teams to rack up wins at their expense.
Quite a few callups from Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi can be expected to finish out a year of adjusting to life in the American League West.
September 5th the Astros can take pride with the knowledge that for one day a road victory in Oakland would knock the Athletics out of a first place tie with the Texas Rangers.
Oakland would go on to win the next three games of the series and now enjoy a one and half game lead in the West as their schedule gets easier compared to the Rangers.
This weeks Astro post will speak more to the efforts of a young man who got in trouble for using poor judgment trying to stretch a single into a double and getting thrown out. Jonathan Villar would make a base running miscue in an extra inning loss to the Twins on Tuesday night 9-6. That would lead to getting benched.
Brandon Barnes hit a dramatic three run homer on an 0-2 count to knot things up at six before the Twinkies would prevail in the 12th.
“You wish you could have just closed it out there [in the ninth], but we didn’t,” skipper Bo Porter said. “They did a good job of coming back and getting the win.”
Kevin Chapman would throw a wild pitch and allow three runs to score in that 12th frame. Jarred Cosart would finally have a bad outing after eight great starts in his career. How did the bad outing affect him?
“It’s kind of what everybody has been waiting for,” Cosart said. “I just didn’t get the results. A starter’s job is to keep the team in the game, and I didn’t do that today. I thought I made one really bad pitch, and I fell behind some hitters and that’s kind of how it went.”
Coming into play Cosart was enjoying a 1.59 era in those eight starts. A high pitch count-90- was at issue in four innings of play last Tuesday.
“Whenever your pitch count’s spiked that high, that fast, it’s just a lot of deep counts and he just did not have a lot of fastball command,” he said. “He wasn’t able to get to his put away breaking stuff because he wasn’t commanding his fastball.”
Wednesday night Jonathan Villar would redeem himself in the 9th inning of a 6-5 walkoff victory when going 2-for-5 in the leadoff spot. He got on base in the 9th, got bunted over by Jose Altuve, and would score the game winning run when Trevor Crowe would knock in the game winning hit. An RBI single for a 6-5 Astros victory over Minnesota.
The last walk off victory at home for Houston was back on July 23rd against the Oakland A’s when Grant Balfour had a rare meltdown. Jonathan Villar scored the winning run in that game.
Bo Porter is all forgiven with Jonathan?
“I went over and gave him a hug and told him, ‘I’m very proud of you,'” Porter said. “That’s maturity in less than 24 hours. A lot of guys would hang their head and say, ‘Poor ole me, I got taken out of the game.’ He didn’t handle it that way at all. I said last night I really felt he was going to handle it the right way, and he came out today and literally showed he handled it the right way. He took ownership of it and told me it would never happen again.”
Trevor Crowe has been on a roll since getting the recall last Sunday. He had words of praise for Bo Porter.
“Baseball is a game of momentum, and you have to stay after it every single day, because one bad day and things are working against you,” Crowe said. “I owe a lot of credit to Bo. When I got here, I was in a good rhythm, and he put me right in the lineup. And I feel like I’m still in that rhythm.”
Rhythm also has been in Chris Carter’s corner as he has reached the 27 homer mark. Most since Lance Berkman in 2008. 30 definitely is within reach for the outfielder.
Jordan Lyles had a solid start with over six innings of work. 2014 shapes up to be an interesting quintet of starting pitchers. In no particular order Jordan Lyles, Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholzer, Dallas Keuchel, and Lucas Harrell.
Saturday Brett Oberholzer lost a pitchers duel to Dan Straily, allowing only a solo homer to Yoenis Cespedes yet falling to Oakland 2-1. Straily threw seven innings of shutout ball in a game where baseball miscues hurt Houston again before getting blow out 7-2 in the series finale. A seven run third inning highlighted by a Seth Smith three run bomb was the Astros undoing.
Bo Porter did manage to get himself ejected twice in four games. Porter dared to inquire about the strike calls.
With 20 games left the Houston Astros are 47-96. A third straight 100 loss season is inevitable. Houston now heads to Anaheim for three. The Angels have won 12 of 16 including taking two of three from the Rangers as the Halos now play for Mike Scioscia’s job.
Better days are ahead. Twenty more days for this season of change.
9/9 @Mariners 9:10 PM
9/10 @Mariners 9:10 PM
9/11 @Mariners 9:10 PM
9/13 Angels 7:10 PM
9/14 Angels 6:10 PM
9/15 Angels 1:10 PM