Posts Tagged ‘Where Sunday’s Game Dagger Was Delivered’

Where Sunday’s Game Dagger Was Delivered

July 2, 2018

Where Sunday’s Game Dagger Was Delivered

Nobody died and it’s not the end of the world. Having said that, it’s still hard to go through team slumps when so many of your really exceptional players are all out of sync with the basics of winning at the same time. Aside from our great pitchers, and they’ve had their moments too, most of our hitters are dialed way back to almost nothing when it comes to their usual note of lusty contribution to run-scoring on the road. A.J. Hinch said it best after today’s Sunday loss of their third of four games at Tampa Bay: “We didn’t play well enough to win a game or the series.”

Except for a sparkling double burp of power from Evan Gattis and his two home runs today, lesser single hits by Bregman, Stassi, and Kemp were all the ‘Stros could otherwise muster Sunday, as they also plodded through some defensive lapses, as well. We still aren’t sure what Josh Reddick was thinking as he casually threw that ball back in almost lob-speed as the Rays runner scored the eventual winning run in the bottom of the 7th.

The heart of the loss, however, unfolded on two pitches in the top of the 8th. With one out, the Astros batting, and the Rays leading, 2-1, Diego Castillo came in for Rays starter Blake Snell to pitch to Jose Altuve with the bases full.

As you will see, and probably remember from the Sunday game, his 2-2 up and tight fast one to Altuve’s ear sent our star reeling back in pursuit of safe ground.

The first thought that struck home here as a result was – now we’ve got him. No way Castillo is going to walk or risk hitting Altuve on a 3-2 pitch “up and in” a second time – nor is he going to plate one that allows Jose to do his own damage to their cause. He’s going to hope he can get Altuve on a nasty slider in the dirt “low and outside” that looks so hittable as it approaches the plate and then falls off the cliff and becomes impossible to reach near the plate in any good way. – If Altuve can just hold back and let it go, he’s walked – and we’ve got a tie ballgame.

Photo # 1: Sunday, Astros @ Rays
8th Inning, 2-2 Pitch
Castillo Pitching
Altuve Batting

Photo # 2: Sunday, Astros @ Rays
8th Inning, 2-2 Pitch
Castillo Pitching
Altuve Batting

Oh No! – Photo # 2 says it all. Altuve bit. Swung and missed. Strike Three. Now there were two outs.

Yulie Gurriel then hit a 2-2 pitch for a slow grounder, 6-3 putout. Castillo had done a great job for the Rays. And the game was essentially over. You could just breathe the air of resignation and defeat through the electronic transmission of team despair. Except for the second mighty blast from Mr. Gattis in the top of the 9th, that dire sense of resignation would carry forth with the other remaining Astro batters.

Tampa Bay won, 3-2.

Time to snap out of it, guys. With your help, the Mariners almost have made up all the loss arrears to the Astros they encountered in New York and Boston in the last few days.

Yes. It’s a long season. And these things happen. Even to the reigning world champions.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle