Houston beat Huston today, as the Astros staged an improbable ninth-inning comeback against Angels closer Huston Street. Brought on to protect a 3-0 lead, Street looked like he was en route to a routine save after he got the first two outs, but the Astros then roared back for five runs. Jed Lowrie delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer that ended up as the difference in the 5-3 victory. It was a much-needed win for the Astros, who retained their 1.5-game lead in the AL West over the Rangers just before the two teams meet for a huge four-game series in Arlington beginning Monday. Here’s some more from Minute Maid Park…
- Carlos Gomez missed today’s game due to what the team described as left intercostal discomfort and he’s heading to Houston to be examined by team doctors and undergo an MRI (as reported by several Astros beat writers, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart and the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich). Gomez will miss Monday’s game with the Rangers though he’s hopeful of not being out for much longer than that. Gomez’s health, of course, has already made headlines this season when the Mets backed out of an agreed-upon trade to acquire Gomez from the Brewers due to concerns about Gomez’s hip. More related to stomach muscles, he also underwent an MRI for a possible abductor issue earlier this summer. The Astros stepped in to acquire Gomez instead, though he hasn’t played up to his usual standards; the outfielder is hitting .234/.282/.379 over 158 PA for Houston.
- The Astros are succeeding in 2015 and if you told someone two years ago that No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel would not be a part of that upswing, they would have been pretty surprised. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle spoke with Appel’s agent, Scott Boras, who says that his client is progressing just fine in the minors. “You hope each year in a player’s career, they progress and you can certainly say he did that,” Boras said. “He moved to a new level and performed well and I think he feels very confident about coming to camp (in 2016) and competing..Look, every player’s different. He’s a big guy. And … new to pro baseball. But getting control of those limbs, that body takes time — and it takes professional seasoning.” Appel posted a 4.48 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 12 Triple-A starts and a 4.26 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 13 starts at Double-A.
- Another Boras client, Josh Fields, was the victim of a roster crunch when he was optioned to the minors on August 20 and Boras didn’t hide his frustration over the demotion in his chat with Drellich. “A lot of organizations are doing that now. It’s hard, it’s hard on [veteran] players, because they have options left because they were successful when they signed and got up to the big leagues right away,” Boras said. “When teams have roster limits, they choose those guys. So it’s kind of an unfortunate circumstance of an organization with a lot of talent.” Fields had a 2.20 ERA and 54 strikeouts (to just 15 walks) over 41 innings when he was demoted and was hit hard in his first two outings since being recalled, giving up seven ER in just 1 1/3 innings.