Sports Spectrum Weekly

Astros rookie pitcher Josh James thankful to God for his MLB opportunity

The Houston Astros sent Josh James to the mound Tuesday night for his second career start, and by the end of the night, James came away with his first MLB victory.

The 25-year-old rookie went 5.1 innings, allowing just four hits and zero runs while striking out seven, helping the Astros to a 7-0 win over the Mariners. His fastball topped out at 99.9 mph.

“My challenge was to keep my ball straight and not let it run back over the plate to the lefties,” James said after the game. “[Catcher Brian McCann] did a great job of calling the game. He kind of guided me through it. That was huge.”

Earlier in the day, James joined Twitter. After the game and his performance, he went back to the social media site to share his thanks to God:

The Astros are now looking at James as a possible asset for the postseason out of the bullpen. But it wasn’t always that way for the Hollywood, Fla., native. He was a player that did not appear on many team’s radars. In fact, it took until the 34th round of the 2014 MLB Draft until Houston took a chance on James, who played his college ball at Western Oklahoma State.

But after a few years in the minors, James began to show he had a pretty effective pitching makeup. In 2018, he began the year in Double-A with Corpus Christi, but quickly elevated to Triple-A Fresno, where he became a strikeout machine. In 17 starts, he appeared in 92.2 innings and struck out 133 batters.

James made his MLB debut on Sept. 1 when he started against the Angels and got a no-decision after going five innings and striking out nine. Overall, he’s appeared in four games, and has 24 strikeouts in 16 innings to go along with a 2.81 ERA.

The Astros are five games in front of Oakland in the AL West and poised to host the AL Divisional Series in a few weeks against the Indians.

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