DEMOLITION IN DALLAS: Gerrit Cole, Relentless Lineup, Overwhelm Hapless Rangers 8-2, Astros Win Opening Series 3-1

In his Houston Astros debut, 4th starter Gerrit Cole flashed Cy Young stuff, holding the Texas Rangers to two hits and one run in 7 innings. Frequently baffling the Rangers lineup he K’d 11 hitters with an impressive assortment of pitches, including a fastball that hit 99 mph. He improved as the game progressed, striking out the side in the 5th inning, and whiffing 7 of the last 9 batters he faced.

Meanwhile the Astros hitters, after a slow start, wore down the the Rangers’ staff, scoring 8 runs, all after the 5th inning, on 13 hits including 5 doubles. It was a balanced attack, with seven starters figuring in the scoring. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa again had multi-hit games, as well as Evan Gattis and red hot Max Stassi. Gattis led the team with 3 RBI, and Correa added two to his team leading total of five. In the last two games Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are 13 for 20.

The Rangers actually led off the scoring, with Joey Gallo figuring out that the best way to beat the four outfielder shift is to hit it over the shift, with a just barely home run over the head of forth outfielder Alex Bregman.

Cole held the Rangers hitless after that until the 6th inning, when Elvis Andrus led off with a double followed two hitters later with a walk to Adrian Beltre and one out. The play of the game ensued with an Altuve to Correa to Gonzalez double play, Correa flashing his cannon right arm to beat Nomar Mazara by a hair and end the threat.

The Astros got on the board in the fifth with good base running by Max Stassi and Derek Fisher. After getting nicked by pitch, Stassi scored on Derek Fisher’s triple to center by taking off immediately on the hit even though it was possibly catchable. Then Fisher scored on George Springer’s sac fly, which was too shallow for almost any other runner with feet less fleet as Fisher’s to score upon.

The Stros added two in the sixth with a Correa single, who then stole second, followed by an RBI Gattis double who then scored on a Stassi single.

The Stros biggest inning was the 7th which started with an Alex Bregman single, followed by one of Altuve’s patented swinging outfield bunts to right field. Correa then doubled both of them home and was plated by another Gattis RBI hit.

In the eighth the Rangers made a feeble attempt at respectability with a solo home run by Drew Robinson off Chris Devenski. Joey Gallo added a knock, finally figuring out how to hit a ground ball to the totally vacated left side of the Astros infield.

The Astros finished the scoring in the 9th with a Gattis RBI double scoring Altuve who got on with an infield hit.

Ken Giles pitched a perfect 9th to finish the game.

Questions for discussion:

Which Astros starter will win the Cy Young this year?

Will Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa win the MVP this year?

Is Max Stassi, with an early (sss) OPS of 1.214, for real?

Will the Rangers win 60 games?

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