Francisco Cordero went from Toronto to Houston as part of last week’s 10-player swap and the Astros, having traded closer Brett Myers and setup man Brandon Lyon, installed Cordero as their new closer.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, it hasn’t worked out very well.
Cordero was terrible for the Blue Jays, throwing 34 innings with a 5.77 ERA and .340 opponents’ batting average, and he’s blown saves (and taken losses) in two of his first three appearances for the Astros.
Tuesday against the Reds he came into the game with a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning and went fly out, single, homer, ground out, walk, wild pitch, walk, single. By the time manager Brad Mills removed Cordero from the game it was a 4-2 deficit.
Last night, also against the Reds, he came into the game with a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning and went double, strikeout, walk, strikeout, double. Mills again removed him from the game before the inning was over, this time with a 4-3 deficit.
So though three games Cordero is 0-2 with two blown saves and a 23.14 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .417 with a 1.367 OPS. And the Astros, who have an MLB-worst 34 wins all season, have let a washed-up 37-year-old closer turn back-to-back ninth-inning leads into back-to-back losses.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.