Astros fall to 4-11, their worst 15-game start since 2013, as starting pitching woes continue vs. Rangers

Written by on April 13, 2024

The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers opened an ALCS rematch at Minute Maid Park on Friday night. The two clubs split four games at Globe Life Field last weekend, and this weekend they’ll play three games in Houston. The Rangers won Friday’s series opener (TEX 12, HOU 8) thanks to Evan Carter’s three hits and Jonah Heim’s three-run home run.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the game, we must first acknowledge home plate umpire Ángel Hernández had an adventurous at-bat in the fourth inning. We’re not usually in the business of call-shaming umpires here, but these called strikes are egregious. Take a look for yourself: 

Wyatt Langford got rung up on three straight breaking balls that were clearly — clearly — off the plate. Righty JP France and catcher Yainer Diaz recognized Hernández was giving a very generous outside corner against Langford, so they went back to it on three straight pitches to get a key strikeout with the bases loaded. Bad calls. Bad, bad calls.

Do note, however, the Rangers led 8-1 at the time, and they went on to win the game 12-8, so Hernández punching out Langford in the fourth inning was not particularly costly. The Astros made some noise against the Texas bullpen in the seventh inning, but the comeback ultimately fell short. Houston has lost four straight games and six of its last eight games.

France was charged with eight runs in four innings just one day after Hunter Brown allowed nine runs and got only two outs against the Kansas City Royals. The day before that, Spencer Arrighetti got tagged for seven runs in three innings in his MLB debut. It has not been a good few days for Houston’s rotation.

After Friday’s game, the Astros have a 5.56 ERA as a team, second worst in baseball and better than only the Colorado Rockies (6.30 ERA). Houston has an entire rotation on the injured list — Luis Garcia (Tommy John surgery), Lance McCullers Jr. (flexor surgery), Framber Valdez (elbow), Justin Verlander (shoulder), José Urquidy (elbow) — and its available depth hasn’t stepped up.

The Astros had interest in Blake Snell before the reigning NL Cy Young winner signed with the San Francisco Giants. On Thursday, special advisor Reggie Jackson said Snell’s two-year, $62 million contract with an opt out is “too much for him,” and “we don’t play that game.” Snell allowed three runs in three innings while on a pitch count in his season debut earlier this week.

Friday’s loss dropped the Astros to 4-11 on the season. It is their worst 15-game start since the 2013 team also started 4-11. The Astros were in their hard tanking era in 2013 and went on to lose 111 games that season. The Rangers, the defending World Series champions, are 8-6 following Friday’s win.

The post Astros fall to 4-11, their worst 15-game start since 2013, as starting pitching woes continue vs. Rangers first appeared on CBS Sports.

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