Following a ragged road trip that resulted in six losses over nine games, the Houston Astros opened an eight-game homestand Monday while kicking off a grueling stretch of the schedule.
The Astros’ 6-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Minute Maid Park was Houston’s first of 30 games in a 32-day stretch, with the only off days coming Thursday and Aug. 31. With the roster already stretched thin by attrition, the Astros will need resiliency to persevere.
“It’s real hard,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “We might have to give some guys some days off when you don’t want to. We’ve got to keep them strong, but we’ve got to win some games and just win series and play better baseball, more inspired baseball.
“I asked a couple guys (Monday) if they want a day off because we didn’t get in until 1 in the morning, and they said, ‘No, I want to play.’ So they want to play, let them play.”
Astros rookie right-hander Brandon Bielak (2-0, 0.87 ERA) will make his second career start and fourth appearance on Tuesday.
Bielak made his major league debut and recorded his first career win against the Seattle Mariners on July 27, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with four strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings in an 8-5 victory. He replaced Josh James in the rotation in Arizona on Thursday, working five scoreless innings with two hits and three walks on his ledger in the Astros’ 5-4 loss.
“I’ve been preparing my whole life to be a major league starter,” Bielak said. “Just get in that moment and sticking with it and stick with my routine and my preparation is going to come a long way in the end. Just be prepared to go out there each and every start is what I’ve been working on, and I feel pretty confident.”
The Giants’ Tuesday starter will be Tyler Anderson (0-1, 2.19 ERA), making his fifth appearance and third start this season.
The 30-year-old left-hander did not factor in the decision on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies despite working five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks with three strikeouts in the Giants’ 6-4 loss.
Anderson is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA over two career starts against the Astros, with both appearances coming during the 2018 season while pitching for the Colorado Rockies. In his lone start at Minute Maid Park, Anderson allowed nine runs on seven hits — including three home runs — and three walks with four strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings in a 12-1 loss.
Giants rookie right-hander Logan Webb threw a season-high 81 pitches while taking the loss Monday, and if not for shaky defense behind him, appeared poised to pitch deeper into his start. Webb logged 90-plus pitches in five of his eight starts following his Aug. 17 debut last season.
“We’re comfortable continuing to send Logan back out as long as he’s efficient,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “I recognize that you guys have seen some trends with the … number of pitches that guys throw, especially with a young developing pitcher like Logan. That’s not going to leave our minds.
“We want to build him up slowly and with a lot of awareness. But he’s built up to this point where we’re very comfortable pushing him beyond that 80-pitch mark.”
San Francisco third baseman Dominic Solano went 2-for-4, raising his average to .458 and extending his hitting streak to 15 games. However, he committed two errors, raising his season total to four.
–Field Level Media