Game 1: Royals 5 Astros 1
Mike Fiers gave the Astros their fourth quality start in the first go round of the rotation (Joe Musgrove was the only Astros pitcher to not meet the quality start measure). Fiers struck out three batters while walking three in a six inning, five hit, and two run effort in his first start for the Astros of the season. Only Salvador Perez's solo-homer run in the second inning hits Fiers' ERA as a bases loaded catcher's interference on Evan Gattis in the sixth inning allowed another run to score.
Carlos Beltran drove in the Astros lone run in this game, a double that scored Carlos Correa in the seventh inning.
The game was broken up by the Royals as Jandel Gustave allowed three hits, one walk, and four runs while striking out only one in one and two-thirds innings worth of relief work.
Despite the loss, this was a solid outing for Fiers who will get the mound against the Mariners next week and hope the offense and defense can contribute a little bit more for him.
Game 2: Royals 7 Astros 3
Dallas Keuchel did it again; although we are only two games into the season, the 2015 Cy-Young award winner looks like he is regaining his form. Keuchel pitched an absolute gem in game 2, going seven strong innings of two hit, one run baseball while striking out four and allowing one walk.
The lone run accredited to Keuchel was on a Chester Cuthbert solo-homerun in the fifth inning. Brian McCann gave the Astros a 1-0 lead with a third inning homerun followed by a Marwin Gonzalez RBI to extend the lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning.
Unfortunately Keuchel would not notch another win in this game as Luke Gregerson had one of, if not the worst relief appearance of his career. Gregerson was only able to last 1/3 of an inning while allowing five hits, two home runs, one walk and a total of six runs scored. Gonzalez would pick up another RBI in the bottom of the ninth inning.
After the game many fans argued that AJ Hinch over managed this game by taking Keuchel out after only throwing 93 pitches and trying to allow Gregerson to work through the mess he created. Keuchel is scheduled to see his next game action on Friday against the Oakland Athletics.
Game 3: Royals 4 Astros 5
Lance McCullers took the hill for the finale of this three game set, and as expected, he delivered. Like Keuchel before him, McCullers pitched and extremely solid seven innings of six hit three run baseball, while striking out ten; yes, you read that right ten batters saw their plate appearances end via the McCullers’ strikeout.
George Springer led the game off with a solo-home run, making him the first player in history to hit three lead off home runs in a team’s first week of the season. Gonzalez and Jake Marisnick would also hit homeruns in this game to give the Astros a 3-2 lead.
Will Harris pitched a flawless eighth inning; followed by Chris Devenski in the ninth, the hero of game three against the Mariners. Devenski would give up a game tying homerun to Designated Hitter Brandon Moss, but settled in for extra innings after that.
Devenski finished the game pitching four innings and striking out seven, combining with McCullers to strikeout 17 on the night. Through two games, Devenski has struck out 14 batters in just eight innings with a 0.50 WHIP.
The game ended in “walk” off fashion as Evan Gattis took a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 12th for the win
Traveling to Seattle
Starting the season 4-3, the Astros look to avenge the loss they took against the Mariners in the final game of their series last week.
While the Mariners sit at 1-6, the Astros are sending the back end of their rotation out to face them in this three game series. Morton, Musgrove, and Fiers will all need to pitch well and the Astros lineup needs to start manufacturing more runs.
Houston needs bullpen anchors Ken Giles and Gregerson to bounce back after a rough end to the week. Both blew save opportunities that could have been wins for the Astros. Let’s hope they have a short memory and get back on track.
As it sits the AL west is led by the Los Angeles Angels, one game ahead of the Astros. Houston will not want to fall behind early as this division is projected to be one of the most tightly contested in baseball during 2017.