Houston pitcher Lucas Harrell had the kind of game where he probably wanted to find some sand to dig his head in, as soon as possible. The youngster went 3.2 innings, giving up nine runs, seven of them earned. He and the club need to examine this motif.
He was dutifully yanked and gave way to relievers Brett Oberholtzer and Travis Blackley to clean up the mess; a mountain to climb. But they certainly stopped the bleeding. After Harrell had given up three homeruns, including a grand slam, the Texas Rangers only scored one more run in the next six innings.
The Houston Astros, who out-hit the Rangers, actually won the second half of the game. They scored all of their five runs with well-placed singles and doubles, good base-running and patience. The second half of the game doesn’t matter, however, because by that point it was already too little, too late. The issue again was the long-ball.
The Rangers have not had the greatest offense lately but their ERA is among the best in the league. The Astros, of course, are struggling on both counts, but they have determination and fight. Towards the latter stages of games they have shown resiliency. Too often this comes when there is really no chance of staging a successful comeback, because the starting pitcher’s poor command had already settled the score at the game’s beginnings.
Chris Carter has been finding his homerun swing at Minute Maid at last, but some of the season’s other contributors, like Jason Castro and Matt Dominguez, really must have the deep-fences a little more in their game plan. They may strike-out, but there have been too many hittable pitches just watched by Astros’ hitters who could have really taken them out of the park.
Sometimes you have to be a little selfish – the fans will thank you when it works out.