Angels 6 Astros 7
Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros have had themselves quite a start to the 2017 season. They’ve already shown the Halos how tough they can be, but they’ve also beat up on plenty other teams already this season, looking like they were every bit the formidable foe as was advertised. The Astros lineup is tough as it is, but when you also have to face Dallas Keuchel on the mound, that’s a rough night.
Keuchel was the AL Pitcher of the Month, for April, and that’s because he’s 5-0 with a 1.21 ERA, 0.81 WHIP. The dude has been lights out, to say the least, with ultimate command and location, and tonight was no different.
He would end up throwing 8.0 innings, giving up seven hits, two earned runs (off a couple solo homers), two walks and five Ks. The Halos would get to reliever Ken Giles in the bottom of the ninth, but before that, they had to deal with Keuchel and they couldn’t get anything meaningful going.
The only two runs that Keuchel managed to give to the Halos were off of some mighty solo blasts from Albert Pujols (his 595th career dinger) and Martin Maldonado. Considering what Keuchel’s counterpart, Jesse Chavez, was doing on the mound, it was looking like the Angels would need way more than two runs to take home this W, anyway.
Chavez pitched 6.1 innings, and he only gave up four hits. He allowed four Astros runs, however, and that’s what his night will be remembered for, sadly. That’s the rough life of a starting pitcher. Like Keuchel, Chavez really only had problems with the long ball. He gave up a solo home run to Josh Reddick in the 3rd, and in the top of the 7th, Brian McCann hit a three-run homer.
Those two big hits would account for four Houston runs, to the Halos’ two, and that 4-2 hole that Chavez had put his team in really seemed worse than it was, if you realize all those runs came off of homers (for both pitchers, actually). The Astros just had two more guys on base for one of their homers, that’s all. Thems the breaks; I don’t like it, but it’s baseball.
David Hernandez and Jose Alvarez both gave up a run apiece in their own appearances, making this a 6-2 affair and putting the game further out of reach for the Angels, and that’s sort of the opposite of what they’re supposed to do, if I’m not mistaken. Yet, that’s what we got. If the Angels wanted to win this series opener, they’d have to mount yet another comeback.
We did get to see Keynan Middleton make his debut, though. He came on in the top of the ninth, the first pitch he threw belted extremely hard to the higher part of the right field wall (by Carlos Beltran, no less). It didn’t go out, though, just a really well-hit double. Two pitches later, Middleton induced a ground out, and the batter after that, he gave up a hit that drove Beltran home. The rest of his inning was fine, he even finished it with a strikeout. What I saw was promising enough for me, so right on.
So, remember when I said that if the Angels wanted to win, they’d have to mount yet another comeback? Well, if there was any team that could take those words and make them a reality, it’s this Halos team. They did just that in the bottom of the ninth, as they rallied to get the bases loaded with three straight singles (Maldonado, Escobar, Maybin) off of Dallas Keuchel, and that’s when he got lifted for closer Ken Giles.
Giles would then give up a Mike Trout single that scored a run, and then a Luis Valbuena grounder that was bobbled, while there are two outs for the Angels, allowed everybody to be safe and another run scored. The Angels were now one run away from tying this contest that had been plenty out of reach just a few minutes prior.
Kole Calhoun was called up for Danny Espinosa, and he got a mega-clutch single that scored the tying run, the Angels and Astros knotted up at 6-6, and with a Ben Revere pop up a batter later, we were headed to a surprising round of extra innings baseball in Anaheim. UNREAL.
But hey...that’s THE TEAM OF DESTINY, for ya!
Of course, I think even the ToD gets Buttercupped sometimes, as we’ve seen happen before in the past month or so. Tonight, we got a bouquet of pungent Buttercups, lucky us!
To follow up that amazing, rousing 9th inning Halo Blitz, in which the Angels tied up the game after being down four runs, Bud Norris would end up killing all everybody’s buzz in a hurry. Jose Altuve got on board with a single, then he stole 2nd, and he was then driven home by a Carlos Correa liner to right field (that was bobbled by Cameron Maybin, thus no throw to challenge at home).
Norris had actually gotten two outs in the 10th, before giving up those back to back hits to Correa and Altuve, so I’ll give him some credit. But you read that right...there were two outs, and two out runs have been such a killer of this team that it’s driving me mad. It’s so ludicrous, but without fail, they’re giving them out like candy, at least during one inning, each game. UGHHHHHHHHHHHH.
So, that 7-6 score held in the bottom of the 10th, and the Astros won a game that they were supposed to win anyway, until the Angels ruined it all by having that 9th inning comeback, building us up...just to let us down. Somehow, the Halos were in this one at the end, so I guess they still have that fight in them. Tonight, they had fight. They just needed more than fight. Tomorrow is another day.