• Brian L. Barefield

Astros Reliever Has His Coffee Break Interrupted By Major League Debut

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

Most coffee drinkers will admit that it takes a good “Cup of Joe” to get the internal motor running before work. For Houston Astros pitcher Kent Emanuel, he would need to find another way to get himself going before work since his coffee break was interrupted by his Major League debut on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels. He would be all the Astros (10-10) would need to defeat the Angels (9-10) by a score of 16-2.

Emanuel, 28, who served an 80-game suspension that caused him to miss all of the 2020 season and the first 19-games of this season, was inserted into the game after starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi was removed due to right forearm tightness after five pitches.

“It was wild, Emanuel said of how things transpired before he was inserted into the game. “I had just sat down and opened up a coffee. All of a sudden they were like, ‘Hey, you better start loosening up. I was like…here we go.”

Although it may have taken a while for Emanuel to make his debut, he left no doubt about the potential he has to be a pitcher the Astros can depend on in the future. He went 8 2/3 innings giving up only two runs, five hits, while striking out five batters and didn’t allow any walks.

Emanuel became the first pitcher to throw at least 8.2 innings in relief work since Neil Allen for the Yankees in 1988 and the first pitcher since 1974 to pitch eight-plus innings in relief to win his MLB debut (John Montefusco). The last Astros player to go that long in an outing relieving a starter was Mike Cosgrove in 1974.

“It was pretty wild, but I have been expecting this moment for quite some time now,” said Emanuel when asked about taking in the excitement. “So, I was ready.”

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

One way to make a first-time pitcher feel comfortable is by giving him run support and that is exactly what the Astros hitters did on Saturday with 11 extra base hits (seven doubles, one triple and three home runs) that led to a total of 16 runs.

Carlos Correa, who finished the day with three hits got things going with his first career lead-off home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning to give Houston 1-0 lead and they never trailed for the rest of the game. Left fielder Michael Brantley had three doubles in consecutive innings, while designated hitter Yordan Alvarez had a season-high four RBIs including his first career triple.

But no player in the Astros lineup is swinging the bat better than third baseman Alex Bregman who added two more hits and four runs scored including a home run. In his last four games, Bregman has gone 8-for-14 which equates to a .571 batting average.

“It was a fun time,” said center fielder Myles Straw who also finished the day with two extra base hits. “I think everybody had fun today. We’d like to do that every day if we could. That’s a big day there and we want to keep rolling with that and bring it tomorrow and the next day and the next day.”

Houston will play their final game of the four-game series against the Angels on Sunday at Minute Maid Park. First pitch is 1:10 p.m.

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