HOUSTON – The Astros are still very much the team to beat in the AL West but the race has tightened quite a bit in the past two weeks. A 10-game cushion is now down to only 4 ½ over the Texas Rangers as the weekend begins.
The stretch began on June 15 with a 12-0 loss in the Astros' finale with the Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park. Then came the road trip to Cincinnati and New York when the Astros lost six of sevenr= to the Reds and Yankees.
Coming home hasn’t produced the pop most expected as the Astros just lost two of three to the Pirates including Wednesday’s 10-nothing blowout loss that dropped Houston to 50-32 on the season.
A.J. Hinch spoke with the media after the loss. Here are his Top 5 comments from his press conference:
Hinch’s thoughts on Astros starter Brad Peacock’s tough day
“The four-spot in the first, it started from the beginning. He didn’t have a feel for many pitches and didn’t execute and had a tough day. It went downhill from there.”
On the series loss to the Pirates and how to correct the mistakes
“You can sit in this chair every time a game like this happens and talk about execution and attack some weaknesses in their hitters. Their lineup did a great job of putting the bat on the ball and being the aggressor on pitches they can hit. Credit to them and small blame to us since we didn’t adjust to what they did offensively.”
On how he feels about this tough stretch on the road and now at MMP
“I don’t think about 10 or 11 games, we lost a series we should have won. For me losing the series at home bothers me. We are doing things not in the box score that are not considered errors. We aren’t playing clean enough to win. If you don’t play clean enough you go home losing.”
On things he knows needs to improve starting this weekend versus the Mariners
"Funny thing about baseball reminds you if you had a good or bad day. You maintain your work and stay the course. We have guys out of position and we have to do a better job of getting them into position. We didn’t pitch well this series and didn’t play clean."
On Yordan Alvarez coming out of the game with a sore knee
“It started barking in his knee a bit. He said he could play. You saw how the game was going so I took him out as a precaution. I don’t know if I will play him tomorrow (Friday). I may give him a day or two off.”
AHEAD THIS WEEKEND FOR THE ASTROS
The Astros continue their homestand Friday night with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners. Wade Miley will make the start for Houston. He’s 6-4 with a 3.51 ERA and 78 strikeouts so far in 2019.