The Astros vaunted offense collected ten hits last night. Unfortunately, they only converted those ten hits into three runs. Even worse, Brandon Backe once again fell apart in the sixth inning, and with Oscar Villarreal once again failing in his attempt at being a pitcher, the Astros found themselves losing for the first time in six games by a score of 8-3.
Lance Berkman continued on his roll, going two for three. But though he was able to get on base, he was not able to do any damage by way of scoring or knocking in runs. And Brandon Backe tied his career high with nine strikeouts, but he also surrendered six hits and four runs in his six innings of work, continuing with what has always been a problem, going deep into the game.
But the Astros, after winning five straight, were due for a bad game. And this was it. Though this is actually how I felt the Astros would play all season. The vaunted offense getting tons of hits, but no runs. The starting pitching barely keeping the team in the game, the bullpen letting the game get further out of hand.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:
While Lance Berkman was destroying the Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman did the same to Astros pitching. He had eight hits in 14 at bats with two homers, four RBI, and four runs in the three games against the Astros.
****************** Roy Oswalt is not the only Astros pitcher surrendering home runs at an alarming rate. Brandon Backe has now given up seven homers this season. But what’s really sad is that, in 18.2 innings, Oscar Villarreal has given up six homers. The Astros also continue to lead the majors with a total of 48 home runs surrendered on the season.
I don’t know about you, but to me, it sounds like Lima Time.
****************** The Astros went 5-1 on the home stand, and are 18-17 for the season. The important number to remember is the number of runs scored per game. The Astros are only 2-12 when scoring three or less runs a game, while they are 16-5 when scoring four or more runs. And for a stat that really means absolutely nothing, I’ll note that the Astros are now 9-5 when the MMP roof is open.
****************** The Astros will be on the road for the next ten games, starting tonight in Los Angeles. The ‘Stros have a three game series with the Dodgers, then they fly up the coast to San Francisco for four games with the Giants, then head to Arlington for three games with the Rangers.
Brian Moehler gets the starts tonight for the Astros, and he’ll face Derek Lowe. Chris Sampson throws against Chad Billingsley on Saturday night, and Shawn Chacon goes up against Hideki Kuroda on Sunday afternoon.
****************** I like that Fox Sports and the Astros are now producing a Spanish language version of the broadcast – Spanish-speaking announcers and Spanish-language graphics. What I’m not liking is that Fox Sports feels the need to cut away from Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies for an inning so that we can watch that broadcast. If I wanted to watch that broadcast, I’d watch that broadcast. But – and I know this is hard to believe – when I’m on the English channel, I want to watch the English version.
The same goes for the ever decreasing times when I’m actually watching SportsCenter and they switch to ESPN Deportes to give me a few minutes of Spanish SportsCenter. Once again, if I wanted to watch ESPN Deportes, I’d be watching ESPN Deportes and not watching ESPN.
Then again, SportsCenter has become virtually unwatchable anyway, so why am I bitching? Ah, to hell with it. Have a good weekend, everybody. I’ll report back for duty next week. – John Royal