How the Astros Beat the White Sox Despite Losing Key Relievers & Sluggish Performance
Welcome to the first MLB series of the season – Houston Astros vs Chicago White Sox. The two teams have had an intense few games, with the Astros winning the second-consecutive match, despite their starting pitcher only throwing four innings, losing three of their key relievers and a lackluster performance from their lineup.
So, how did they do it? The Astros pulled off a 6-4 win against a tough White Sox squad with some impressive teamwork and savvy decision-making. Let’s take a closer look.
First up, the Astros’ starting pitcher, José Urquidy, threw 82 pitches in just four innings, giving up three runs and seven hits. Despite Urquidy’s early exit, the team showed grit and determination, with three relievers Ryne Stanek, Ronel Blanco, and Hector Neris stepping up to cover the final five innings, allowing only one run.
“We knew we had to keep an eye on him, especially after he had a 30-pitch plus inning. He kept us in the ball game and Blanco could have given us another inning, but at that time we thought he had done enough.” said manager Dusty Baker.
Meanwhile, the Astros were missing key relievers Rafael Montero and Bryan Abreu, who had already thrown in the previous two games – and All-Star closer Ryan Pressly, who was “under the weather.” This left Stanek, who hadn’t pitched in the first two games, to face the White Sox lineup, matching his 2022 season high by recording five outs.
“It’s early in the year, and you’ve got to kind of do these things when pitch counts are limited,” said Stanek after the game.
The Astros’ playing time between center fielders Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers will be worth keeping an eye on as the season unfolds. McCormick, the World Series hero, made his first start of the season and went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI, contributing significantly to the team’s win.
“I felt great. It was awesome. It felt good to play,” said McCormick.
Finally, everyone expected Astros left-handed sluggers Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker to benefit from the restrictions on defensive shifts this year, and the duo seemed to take advantage of it in Saturday’s game. Of the Astros’ 11 hits, 10 were singles, including a few through defensive holes.
While it was undoubtedly a challenging game for the Astros, these takeaways demonstrate the team’s resilience and teamwork, proving that they could overcome obstacles and keep fighting until the final out. With a strong start to their season, the Astros look set to make some waves in MLB 2023.