McCullers ineffective again
(c) Associated Press
The Astros have never won a series at Comerica Park in Detroit. That trend continued Sunday as the Tigers humiliated the A.L. West leaders by a score of 13-1.
Lance McCullers was ineffective for the fifth straight start. Tony Sipp gave up a grand slam to Kate, I mean Justin Upton. The defense was sloppy at times and the offense was non-existent.
The game seemed to get away from A.J. Hinch when he sent an already beaten McCullers out to pitch the sixth inning with the game still close enough for the Astros to mount a comeback. A walk and a single later, McCullers was replaced by Joe Musgrove and by the time the inning was over a a 3-run deficit had been increased to six.
Meanwhile, the Astros offense had fallen asleep. The 'Stros failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities against Justin Verlander in the early innings and the veteran right-hander bounced back to retire the final seven batters he faced in a 6-inning outing that would turn into his sixth win of the year.
McCullers finished with a line of 5 innings pitched and 5 runs allowed on 8 hits and 4 walks. Lance Also hit two batters and uncorked a pair of wild pitches. That's five consecutive bad outings for McCullers, raising his ERA from 2.53 to 3.92.
Things got so bad for Hinch and the Astros that first-baseman Tyler White was asked to pitch the eighth inning. Working quickly and without the need for his catcher to give any signs, White kept the damage to a minimum, surrendering a 2-run homer to James McCann before escaping with his pride somewhat intact.
Hopefully you were smart enough to be watching Jeff Bagwell's Hall of Fame induction ceremony instead -- because this game was an outright embarrassment.
The 'Stros hope to get back on track Monday when they host the Tampa Bay Rays in a 7:10 tilt that features Charlie Morton and Alex Cobb as mound opponents.
- Greg Thurston