The vaunted offense of the Houston Astros was shut down yet again last night, this time by a score of 5-3. Dan Haren and the Arizona Diamondbacks dominated the ‘Stros, as the vaunted machine strung together only five hits.
Haren was perfect through four innings, allowing the Astros no base runners. The Astros got to him for two runs in the fifth inning, but by then it was too late as the D-backs had already scored four runs off of Astros starter Chris Sampson.
This is just another case of good pitching shutting down good hitting as the D-backs lead the majors in staff ERA. This was also a case of good hitting beating up on sucky pitching. The D-backs, who own a MLB-best record of 19-7, now lead the majors with 99 extra base hits, including three doubles last night. The D-backs have also, after last night, scored 153 runs in 26 games for an average of 5.9 runs a game.
The Astros, who were able to reach the .500 mark last week, now find themselves three games under breakeven point at 12-15, and they now find themselves back in a tie for fifth place in the NL Central.
Jack Cassel gets the start tonight as the Astros once again take on the D-backs. They will have a day game against Arizona on Wednesday to finish out the first month of the season. After an off-day on Thursday, the Astros will open up the month of May by hosting the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS BASEBALL NOTES:
Lance Berkman was named the National League Player of the Week for last week after hitting .455 with 12 RBI, 4 HR, a double, a triple, a 1.136 slugging percentage, a .517 on-base percentage, and getting a hit in six of seven games.
And thanks to the stat guy over at the Chron, I noticed that nobody else on the team but Berkman appears to be putting up any numbers because the Astros are the first team in the majors this season to have six or fewer hits in four straight games.
And thanks to Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies, I learned last night that Lance Berkman’s walk in the fourth inning was the first base runner the Astros had had since the fourth inning on Sunday against the Cards – they had made 28 straight outs. And Carlos Lee’s double immediately after was the first Astros hit since the third inning on Sunday.
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Ty Wigginton has finally started his injury rehab, so there’s a chance he may make it back to the majors sometime this season. Though I think it’s only fair to point out that Mark Loretta has proven to be more than adequate in Wigginton’s place.
****************** The San Francisco Giants haven’t quite bought into the greatness of the D-backs, yet. Then again, maybe the Giants are just upset that the D-backs aren’t jealous of the Giants pitching. After all, it’s not every team that has a seven million dollar player pitching in middle relief.
****************** The Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles played 11-and-a-half innings yesterday, but the game was suspended in the middle of the 12th because of incessant rain. But for all of you fantasy players out there, the stats should still count.
****************** And for you Tampa Bay Ray fans, here’s a little guide on how to handle a winning team. I know you need the help because the Rays have never been a winning team. – John Royal