Anaheim – ACE embraces Ramber Valdez’ challenge Tuesday against Angels star Shohei Ohtani. The Astros had a grueling bullpen, a tough offense, that was mired in a three-game losing streak and needed Valdez at his best.
Valdez’s best start to the season to date was one of the best overall wins for the Astros, which saw his lefty team hit 12 batters in eight innings of one-run ball to lead his team to a touchdown. A 3-1 win over the Angels on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.
“I just tried to do the same thing I’ve always done — try to attack hitters and throw every pitch hard,” Valdez said.
Martín Maldonado, who was behind the Angels’ plate when Ohtani made his major league debut as a pitcher on April 1, 2018, hit a two-run homer by Ohtani in the fifth, and Yordan Alvarez added an RBI single later in the inning to put Houston ahead 3–1 .
“Anytime you contribute offensively, especially after we lost three in a row, it felt like a must-win game against a tough pitcher,” Maldonado said. “We had a good game plan. I didn’t try to do too much.”
Valdez edged out Otani, who struck out seven batters and lost three runs in seven innings pitched. The lefty posted Astros season highs for innings pitched and strikeouts, falling one strike shy of his career high of 13. Valdez had 18 swings and misses, didn’t bowl hard and threw 75 of his 99 pitches in strikeouts.
“His break ball was excellent, he had a good command of the fastball, he was very effective in pitch counting and he was deft,” said Astros coach Dusty Baker. “If you’re attacking them…it helped his cause and ours. We really need this game. Seattle beat Texas, we got back to . 500 and we beat Anaheim. So it was a good day for us, and a good day for Framber.”
Valdez relied mostly on three pitches—his catcher (32 of 99 pitches), his two-seam fastball (32) and his curveball (26). He continued to slightly increase his rushing speed — he was thrown 1.3 mph more aggressively this year than last year’s average of 95.2 mph — averaging 96 mph and topping out at 98 mph.
“I think I was throwing a 98 on the way back to Atlanta [on April 22]And that’s because of all the hard work I’ve been doing – my gym work, all my running, all my conditioning and I think all the personal work I’ve been doing in the club,” Valdez said. [zone] It helps get to that, too.”
The only runner to reach third base for the Angels was Zach Nieto, who hit his first career home run in the third inning. Ryan Pressley worked the ninth inning 1-2-3, retiring Ohtani, Anthony Rendon and Hunter Renfro to end the game.
“It’s good; there’s no other way to put it,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said of Valdez. “There weren’t a lot of pitches to hit. I thought we took good swings when we actually got on the pitch, but it was just here or there. It was one of the best games I’ve ever seen him throw, and I’ve seen him throw some good games.”
Ohtani was great out of the fifth inning, when five consecutive Stars reached base after one out, capped by Alvarez’s RBI single.
“We found some holes,” Baker said, “and he didn’t hit as much as he usually does against us, which helped our case.” “We were aggressive on the bases because you can’t wait to get two or three hits in a row on him. We played a good game. It’s all right.”
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