The Houston players cannot feel too down on themselves, as Monday’s loss to the Sox was their first since last Wednesday. Bo Porter’s boys definitely have a number of things to hang their hats on from the weekend’s play, and it’s vital that they focus on the positives.
Jason Castro continues to be an absolute pillar of prowess, knocking in two doubles and notching two more RBIs. The young catcher is pushing hard for All-Star status, and when he puts on a show as he has done the past five games it’s difficult to argue with him. Brandon Barnes continues to justify his inclusion as he went 3-5 from the leadoff spot, and continued to prove his value in the outfield.
Bud Norris seemed to be going along very well for most of the game, as has been the norm for Houston starters lately. But a weak sixth inning that saw four Sox runners cross home plate cost him the win. His ERA took a shot and perhaps his trade value, if a scout were to be overly scrutinizing, but small errors can indeed become big deficits very quickly in this game. There were some questions of the infielders and their positioning, but mistakes were marginal and the Astros ended the game without a recorded error. This is one statistic that has been very elusive for the Houston defense recently.
Monday’s matchup was a meeting of the end of the Astros’ four-game winning streak and the White Sox’ four-game losing streak. Both teams are picking up scraps wherever they can. Although victory is of little real relevance in terms of league standing for either team, the opportunity to feel good about facets of the club’s game is always valuable.
Houston needs to ensure that when opportunities present themselves, they pounce on them. They ended the game going 1-12 with runners in scoring position, something the coaching staff will look back on and surely recall with furrowed brows at the next meeting. Runners at first and third with no outs should never end in no runs scored, and this won’t fly against the Milwaukee Brewers, who are up next. Quality at-bats, intelligent running and awareness of when to attack and when to contain are going to be crucial moving into this series.