The Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Athletics on Thursday and Julia Morales of Root Sports passes along word that the veteran southpaw will debut with his new club tomorrow night against the Royals.
Kazmir has had a couple of health scares this year, but he has posted an excellent 2.38 ERA and 101/35 K/BB ratio over 109 2/3 innings and gives Houston a fine No. 2 alongside staff ace Dallas Keuchel. The Astros flipped two pretty good prospects, catcher Jacob Nottingham and right-hander Daniel Mengden, in order to get a deal done. The 31-year-old Kazmir is due to be a free agent this winter, but the Astros are clearly going for it. In fact, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle that he’s still talking about more deals.
Now that Kazmir will pitch Friday, the Astros will have Scott Feldman pitch Saturday and Keuchel on Sunday. Vincent Velasquez, who earned his first major league victory on Tuesday against the Red Sox, will pitch out of the bullpen for now.
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.