Will 100 losses change Bo Porter's outlook?
The Astros coaching staff isn’t stressing the win-loss record to the players this season. The team is focusing on rebuilding and looking for ways to improve from game to game.
For the record, the Astros have 100 losses. That occurred as the Reds dominated the Astros 10-0 on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park as Jay Bruce had five RBIs, including a grand slam, and Mike Leake pitched eight scoreless innings.
“I didn’t know that was the 100th loss,” said Astros starter Jordan Lyles (7-8), who was victimized by nine runs, eight earned, in 3 1/3 innings. “We’re trying to win games every night. I had no idea we had 99 losses.”
The Astros, who have 51 wins, have reached 100 losses for the third straight year. The last team to do that was the Royals from 2004-06, who lost 104, 106 and 100 games respectively.
“I don’t sit down and look at the records each day,” said Astros manager Bo Porter.
And speaking of numbers, Astros first baseman Chris Carter struck out swinging in his first at-bat off Leake in the second inning to give him 200 strikeouts on the season.
Carter wasn’t the only Astro to have trouble hitting Leake (14-6), who allowed only five hits. Houston’s only extra-base hit was an eighth-inning double by Jose Altuve, who has a major-league leading 30 hits in September.
Things went bad for the Astros from the beginning. Jonathan Villar led off the Houston first with a single to left-center and was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double. The next batter Jose Altuve reached base on a fielding error by shortstop Zack Cozart. The third batter Marc Krauss singled before Matt Dominguez grounded into a double play.
The first three Astros reached base but they failed to score in the first inning. Houston’s other two hits of the game off Leake were singles by Brett Wallace and Jimmy Paredes.
“He throws very good,” said Villar. “He throw a good two-seam, he throw a good changeup. We didn’t hit good today.”
The Reds accumulated 12 hits and staked Leake to an early four-run lead. The Reds put the game away in a four-run fourth inning on Bruce’s second career grand slam and his 30th home run of the season that chased Lyles from the game. Bruce’s grand slam gave him 100 RBIs on the season for the first time.
With the win the Reds have won 16 of the last 18 series against Houston and improved to 86-66 on the season.
“They’re good at what they do and they put a lot of points on the board,” said Lyles, whose costly two-base throwing error in the first inning contributed to the Reds’ four-run inning. “They hit balls hard, things fall in for them. That’s what good offensive teams do. They get a lot of hits, hit balls hard, and the ones they don’t, sometimes they fall in.
“That goes to being a good offensive team and getting the right pitches for what they’re trying to see and making the most of their opportunity.”
Cozart, who drove in four runs in Cincinnati’s 6-1 win on Monday, had three RBIs on Tuesday. Scoring two runs each on Tuesday were Bruce, Xavier Paul and Joey Votto, who has hit safely in 23 consecutive games at Minute Maid Park, the longest hitting streak ever at the venue.
But until Bruce’s 367-foot grand slam to left field in the fourth inning that made the score 9-0, Porter felt the Astros were not out of the game.
“I thought we were still in it,” said Porter. “I thought we were going to mount some offense.”