Feldman continues Astros starters' strong run

Feldman continues Astros starters' strong run

NEW YORK -- The recent performance of their starting pitchers has kept the Astros in first place during the month of August while the offense continues its sluggish existence.

Scott Feldman was the latest starter to turn in a gem and not get rewarded with the win when he threw eight scoreless innings in Monday night's 1-0 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. New York pushed across a run in the ninth for a walk-off win.

Astros starters have posted a 2.25 ERA in the team's last 19 games, which includes 14 quality starts and a no-hitter by Mike Fiers on Friday. The club has gone just 9-10 in that stretch because the offense is hitting .201 and has been held to three or fewer runs 15 times.

"Our starting pitching has been very good, our bullpen's been good," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I know, tonight, it doesn't feel that way to end the game that way, but that type of pitching keeps you in games, and as we get deeper into this August and September schedule, I'll take our starting pitching against anybody's."

Feldman has been particularly excellent lately. In seven starts since coming off the disabled list following knee surgery, he's posted a 2.36 ERA in 45 2/3 innings, allowing 44 hits with eight walks. But he has only one win to show for it.

"He's been exceptional," Hinch said. "His tempo, his rhythm, his pitches. He's finishing pitches much better than at the beginning of the season, and that's a big outing for us tonight. I think he had a little bit left in his tank, even in the ninth. He's been conservative with his pitches, he's just been very effective. That type of starting pitching is what we've seen out of the whole group, especially him."

Feldman says the entire rotation has pitched well since the club traded for Scott Kazmir, and the numbers back it up. Houston starters have posted a 2.70 ERA in 29 games since Kazmir, acquired from Oakland, made his Astros debut on July 25. The starters had a 3.95 ERA prior to Kazmir's arrival.

"I've got to give a lot of credit to our catchers," said Feldman, tipping a hat to Jason Castro and Hank Conger, his catcher Monday. "They do a great job. They study the hitters better than anybody, and our defense always seems to be in the right position, and hopefully we can keep it going."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.