HOUSTON, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 05: Hunter Brown #58 of the Houston Astros delivers during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on September 05, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Hunter Brown made his highly anticipated debut for the Astros against the Texas Rangers tonight and made his presence known. In the very first inning, the very first batter he faced was Marcus Semien, who he struck out on four straight pitches for his first career strikeout as a Major Leaguer. He then proceeded to strike out Corey Seager. Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart tweeted out Brown’s velocity on his first 9 pitches and they were in the upper 90s. Brown had three strikeouts in his first two innings. Brown was great through 6 innings with 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 3 hits on 76 pitches. The Rangers could not figure out Brown at all and that is very impressive for a rookie starter in his very first game. This kid is the real deal folks. He is going to be an Astros star in the making. He led the Astros to a 1-0 victory.
Martin Maldanado drove in the only run for the Astros in the bottom of the second with two men on, scoring Trey Mancini to take the lead 1-0 and advancing Chas McCormick to third. Jose Altuve was looking to add more runs to the board but couldn’t as he struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Rangers tried to get something going in the second inning, but nothing happened as Brown forced two groundouts and a strikeout of Leody Taveras. They looked to get on the board in the third inning but again were stopped by Brown as Martin Maldanado threw out Bubba Thompson, who tried to steal second base. Nothing seemed to work for the Rangers offensively.
News and notes
Some good news for Astros fans is that Justin Verlander seems to be on the mend after injuring his right calf on August 28th. He played catch today at Minute Maid Park. Astros GM James Click said on Sports Talk 790 Sunday that Verlander won’t come off the 15-day IL on September 14th, but should be able to return at the end of the month. Ryan Pressly is expected to return on September 6th after battling neck spasms. Aledmys Diaz is expected to return in mid-September after injuring his groin on August 16th. Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle reports that Astros pitcher Blake Taylor had an encouraging rehab start in Sugarland on Sunday. He has been recovering from posterior elbow discomfort.
The Astros will play Tuesday against the Rangers as it will be Framber Valdez (14-4, 2.63 ERA) on the mound for the Astros and Glen Otto (6-8, 4.82 ERA) will be on the mound for the Rangers. The first pitch is at 7:10 CT.