When our family traveled to Texas in June, we went to see two different Houston Astros baseball games. In both of the games, the Astros played the Chicago White Sox. The first game on Friday night was the best game we could’ve seen, and the second game on Saturday was pretty boring.
It took us about 25 minutes to walk from our Airbnb house to the Astros’ Minute Maid Park. We didn’t have to wait in lines for too long to get inside. There were free giveaway jerseys that you collected as you entered the stadium.
Sitting behind the Astros dugout, we had an excellent view of the game. Framber Valdez pitched for the Astros, their second best pitcher this year, while Lucas Giolito, who’s an above-average pitcher but is having a down year, pitched for the White Sox.
In the 1st inning, the Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman hit a home run, so that made it 2 to nothing. At that point in the season, he was slumping and hadn’t hit a homer in a while so that was cool to see. The next inning Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel also hit a home run which made it 3-nothing. Gurriel was in a slump, too, so it was exciting that we saw both of the slumping hitters hit a homer. The only bad inning pitcher Valdez had was the 3rd where one of the White Sox players hit a home run to tie the game at three runs.
However, the Astros scored three runs in the 6th to take back the lead. They still had the bases loaded with zero outs and the Astros left fielder Michael Brantley came up to bat. He’s not really known for hitting home runs; in fact, last year he only hit eight homers the whole season. To our amazement, this time he hit a grand slam to make it 10-3 Astros!
Interestingly, both times we’ve seen the Astros (the other time was in Baltimore back in June 2017), a Houston player hit a grand slam at the winning game, while the next day’s game was disappointing.
But this season the Astros best hitter Yordan Alvarez smashed a homer, giving Houston another run. It was 12-3 and they were destroying the White Sox. Surely, I thought they wouldn’t score anymore that inning, but then the very next batter Kyle Tucker hit yet another homer, making it 13-3. That was the first time the Astros had scored 10 runs in one inning since 2017. For the rest of the game, the Astros pitching didn’t let the White Sox score any runs and the Astros won the game easily.
The following day, we saw the second game in the afternoon. The Astros best pitcher Justin Verlander was on the mound whereas the White Sox pitcher hasn’t been performing wells since 2016. The White Sox scored first in the 3rd inning when they loaded the bases and their center fielder knocked in two runs on a single. Their next batter also got a hit which scored two more runs for the Sox. In the 4th, Chicago scored three more runs and Verlander was taken out of the game.
At that point in the season, Verlander had an ERA below 2, meaning that he was only allowing 1 run per a full game; that’s why he’s considered an elite pitcher. In this game, however, he didn’t do that. What’s weird is that now, Verlander has been living up to his reputation and even has the best ERA in all of baseball. Unfortunately, the one time saw him pitch, he was subpar. But we did get to witness a awesome first game at Minute Maid where Astros offense did incredible.
For years I have wanted to attend a baseball game in Houston and we finally got to see two. It was a really fun experience and I’d love to see another game sometime.