The Houston Astros lost a three-game series sweep to the Texas Rangers this week. Monday night’s contest was a 16-5 thumping, but the following two games were both painfully close games in which the Astros gave up early leads to the sturdy Rangers.
Wednesday night’s game concluded the Astros’ nine-game road trip, wherein they entered Rangers Ballpark in Arlington having just gone 4-2. Losing the final three games of the trip unfortunately took their road record to 4-5, something of a sour ending to an otherwise fine tour.
On Wednesday, the showdown went to the bottom of the ninth inning with the score tied 4-4, but relentless pressure from the Rangers batters finally took its toll. Elvis Andrus hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to bring in Ian Kinsler and seal the victory for the division leaders.
Rookie Max Stassi took the most poignant memories from his first two games as a big-leaguer. Tuesday night saw him grab his first ever major league hit. Unfortunately, he followed that by accidentally stepping off second base on a play in which he assumed he had been thrown out. Shortstop Andrus was more than happy to walk over and tag out the hapless newbie, a portion of the story he will surely leave out of his memoirs.
He ended up going 2-for-3 on the day, a fine debut for the youngster. Just 24 hours later, the fairy tale ended with a scary moment in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and the Astros down 4-3, Rangers relief pitcher Tanner Scheppers lost control of a 96 mph fastball that screamed high and inside and caught Stassi in the face. He stumbled off and medical staff rushed to his aid, but he bravely kept his feet.
Strangely enough, the plunking ended up giving him the first RBI of his career, as the walk forced a runner in to tie the score. It’s difficult to know if this will make it into his retelling of the story in years to come, but here’s hoping that for the time being, the damage is not too serious for the promising youngster.