Chris Devenski schooled the Seattle Mariners in relief and George Springer sent them back to their hotel 0-3. Make no mistake about it, this game had multiple storylines to tell and a major underlying issue that the Houston Astros must focus on in order to sweep the series from the Seattle Mariners tonight.
This was probably not the start that Charlie Morton wanted for his Astros debut. However, outside of one pitch that Seattle shortstop Jean Segura was able to get ahold of, Morton looked pretty good.
In the top of the fifth inning Segura took Morton deep to left field for a two-run homer that would make the score 2-0. In a game where you cannot take back that last pitch, Morton pitched six strong innings of five-hit, two-walk baseball; allowing only those two runs while striking out four.
An acceptable outing for a team’s number three pitcher, mark that down as a quality start for Charlie. Unfortunately for Morton, the bats would not show up in support of his effort to get a "W" until he was already out of the game. Three games in Morton, Lance McCullers, and Dallas Keuchel have combined for the second lowest ERA for starters in Major League Baseball behind only the Minnesota Twins.
My oh my, what can you say about that bullpen last night. They had their work cut out for them as this game went 13 innings, so let's break it down.
Tony Sipp entered the seventh-inning walking one. After 1/3 of the inning for Sipp, Michael Feliz entered the game to finish the seventh inning off and striking out one in the process.
In the eighth inning, in came one of the two men of the hour, Chris Devenski. Devenski sent Astro fans into an absolute frenzy last night via social media and the ballpark. Pitching four innings of relief, Devenski was putting on an absolute clinic for the Seattle lineup, sending seven batters back to the bench with a new strikeout on their stat line.
Devenski finished his four inning effort with seven strikeouts, one walk, and zero runs allowed. Easily one of the heroes of the night; if you didn't know him before, you know him now.
Will Harris would relieve Devenski in the 12th inning, allowing only one hit and no runs.
Jandel Gustave would come in to pitch the 13th inning, but the stat line is going to show that he could not manage an out; in fact, he could barely find the strike zone.
Gustave walked the only three batters he faced before AJ Hinch would pull him. The way the bats were seemingly forgetting how to hit with runners on, this spelled disaster for the Astros.
Once Gustave was out of the game, Brad Peacock had his work cut out for him. Inheriting three base runners with no outs is not something relief pitchers fantasize about, but they make due. Peacock walked one run in (earned run is attributed to Gustave for putting the runner on), and struck out two to get out of the inning. Peacock would get the win in this game.
There is not a lot to say here, outside of Springer, the Astros batters absolutely embarrassed themselves last night with their situational hitting. Let's get the bad out of the way before we get into the good.
3-17, that's how the offense did with runners in scoring position, two of those hits coming from Springer in the seventh inning and 13th inning.
12, that is how many runners the Astros offense left stranded.
0-6, has anyone seen Jose Altuve? If I had not watched the game myself last night I would not have thought it would be possible for Altuve to go 0-6 with two strikeouts and leaving six men stranded. It is early, the Astros are 3-0, but I am sure Hinch and other Astros fans would like to see Altuve turn this slow start around, and in a hurry.
Carlos Beltran got his first two hits of the season last night, a single in the eighth inning and a weakly-hit infield single in the 10th inning that Seattle was unable to field.
George Springer provided all of the Astros RBIs last night (5). In the seventh inning with the bases loaded and one out, Springer got a hold of a pitch and was able to turn it into a two-run game tying double.
The game stayed tied until the 13th inning where the score was now 3-2. Evan Gattis would work a walk, followed by a two out single by Nori Aoki. A 2-2 count, the game was in Springer's hands and like he did 29 times last season, Springer Dinger! Walk off three-run shot to the Crawford Boxes, ball game! Your Houston Astros are now 3-0!
In the final game against the Mariners of this four game series, the Astros will look to break out the brooms and sweep Seattle to begin the season 4-0 as they send right hander Joe Musgrove to the mound for his first start of the season. Musgrove went 4-4 in 11 starts in 2016 with a 4.06 ERA
Musgrove will face off against Seattle lefty Ariel Miranda who went 5-2 last season with a 3.88 ERA in 11 games during 2016. Miranda notched a win against the Astros last September in a game where he allowed seven hits and two runs through seven innings.
The Astros have to turn some of these base runners into runs scored. So far the Astros have been relying too much on the home run swing. Now that every defensive player has made at least one start, look for Hinch to begin setting a more consistent lineup with Nori Aoki and Brian McCann starting at their respective positions.