J.A. Happ didn't sully his good pitching name with one bad night, or two, or three. He did it with the sheer force of repetition – failing behind in counts, getting into a defensive mode, piling up high pitch counts and low out totals, start after start.
Happ didn't restore his good name on Friday night at AT&T Park. He'll have to do that through the sheer force of repetition, too. Though Happ took yet another loss in his return to the major leagues, he regained some of the sense of his old pitching self in a 2-1 defeat against the San Francisco Giants.
Turning in his first quality start since June 3, Happ allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in six innings before a crowd of 41,438. The one blight – besides the Astros' inability to muster up much support on offense – was a two-run double by former Astro Jeff Keppinger in the fifth inning. Lefthander Madison Bumgarner (8-12) and two relievers combined on a five-hitter, dooming Happ (4-15) to regaining sole possession of the National League lead in losses.
"I got the loss, but I'm trying go be done with the negatives," Happ said. "And I think there are a lot of positives to take out of this game. If I throw the ball like that, more often than not I'll get the win."
Happ had allowed five or more runs a team-record eight consecutive starts when the Astros sent him down to Class AAA Oklahoma City. He went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts in the minors, spending that time working on the mental and mechanical side of pitching.
Giants 2, Astros 1: Ex-Astro Keppinger's two-run double spoils Happ's return to rotation
Houston Chronicle | Aug 27