For the second night in a row, the Astros' bullpen suffered an epic collapseagainst the Angels, allowing nine runs in the final two innings of a 10-4 debacle Saturday night, blowing a 4-1 lead they desperately needed. In the process, they wasted a four-hit night from George Springer who was Houston's offensive star.
Springer: Four hits not enough
(c) Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
The Astros are three games behind Baltimore for the final wild card spot with just eight games left to play. The Orioles overtook Detroit for that spot Saturday and Houston would need to outplay Baltimore, Detroit and Seattle to have a chance at the playoffs.
Life would have been easier if the Astros had received the generally sharp relief pitching they've had up until now. Whereas Friday's meltdown came mostly from Ken Giles, Saturday's was the product of Chris Devenski, Luke Gregerson, Jandel Gustave, Kevin Chapman and Pat Neshek.
There wasn't a "big hit" to the Anaheim rally in the eighth. There were three RBI singles and a sacrifice fly that turned a 4-1 lead to a 5-4 deficit. The ninth inning was more of a doubles match. Rafael Ortega, Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout delivered run-scoring doubles. C.J. Cron added an RBI single before a two-error play produced the final run.
By then, many of the partisan crowd of 27,565 were headed for the exits - their hopes for victory dashed for the second straight night.
Starter Brad Peacock had yet another "no-decision" where he looked surprisingly good. He tossed five innings allowing one run on one hit and two walks while fanning seven. But, yet again, the failure of Astros starting pitching to last into the seventh inning meant the expanded bullpen is still overworked.
The finale for this four-game fiasco will be Sunday at 1:10 Central. Daniel Wright (0-4) will seek his first big league win for the Halos when he faces Houston rookie Joe Musgrove (3-4). If Wright wants that first win, he ought to ask Mike Scioscia to let him pitch the eighth inning instead.