On Saturday night, at LeLacheur Park, the Lowell Spinners and their fans got a look at what being in the show is all about. Dallas Keuchel on rehab from the Houston Astros made what he and the organization hopes was his final minor league start before he heads back to the big leagues. The Lowell Spinners, on the other hand, gave the ball to their first round pick of this spring Tanner Houck, a guy the Boston Red Sox feel one day will be a part of the show himself. In the end, the Tri- City ace prevailed winning 5-1 to send the Spinners off on the road after a 2-5 home stand.
Keuchel did what he was supposed to do. He got some innings under his belt and proved to the Astros that he is ready for the stretch run. He would go five innings, giving up three hits, one run that was earned, struck out five and walked no one. He threw 62 pitches in his outing and said afterward he felt fine and thought the outing went well. He would go on to say that if all goes well he expected to be back in the Astros rotation next weekend in Detroit.
For Tanner Houck, it is about getting to where Keuchel is and that will take some time and work. Tonight’s performance lasted 1.1 innings. He gave up a hit, an earned run, walked one strike out one. His Manager Iggy Suarez said he thought Houck was a little more comfortable tonight.
Spinners hitters were aggressive facing Keuchel on Saturday night and Suarez liked that. He believes the at-bats are getting better and liked that his hitters made the former Cy Young winner work some in this game.
Tri-City got single runs in five of the nine innings played. The number three and four hitters did most of the damage against Lowell pitching. Abraham Toro-Hernandez had a 3 for 4 night with three runs scored and one RBI, a home run in the seventh his fifth of the year. The four hole batter was pretty good too as J. J. Matijevic had a 2-4 game with two doubles and two runs batted in.
Lowell’s lone run of the evening came in the fifth, Keuchel’s last inning of work. He said he started to tired in the inning. The first two hitters reached on him. Yoan Aybar got a double to the base of the wall in right, and that was followed by a RBI single to right center off the bat of Nick Sciortino. At the time, it made the score 2-1 Valley Cats after five.
The tacked on runs came at the expensive of the bullpen who gave up four earned runs to Tri-City. Meanwhile, Kristopher Schweetz came on to replace Keuchel and ended any hopes of a Lowell comeback by throwing four scoreless innings allowed only one hit while fanning six to pick up his first save of the season.
Houck gets the loss, his second of the week, to go with zero wins. Lowell hits the road for a brief road trip before returning home next Thursday night to face Brooklyn.