Astros Lose, But There Was Something New

The fun thing about baseball is that there’s a chance, at any game, you’ll see something you’ve never seen before. Take last night’s game between the Dodgers and Astros. It’s early in the game and the Astros have a man on second. Dodger pitcher Brad Penny shouts at one of the umpires and suddenly, Astros third base coach is ordered to stand in the third base coach’s box.

It’s not that this is wrong. Or that Penny shouldn’t have done this. It’s just that I’ve never seen it happen before. And it’s actually something that I’ve wondered about in the past. What’s the use of drawing that box on the field if the coach doesn’t stand in it? They make a half-assed effort to make the batters and the catcher stay in the batter’s box at the plate, but I’ve never seen anyone request an enforcement of the coach’s box.

Bravo Brad Penny. Bravo.

That aside, the Astros lost. On the same night the Cubs and Brewers lost. On the same night the Astros could’ve moved to within seven games of first place, they lost, blowing a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning.

The Dodgers had lost three straight coming into last night’s game. The Astros had won three straight, and I kind of predicted yesterday that the ‘Stros winning streak would be busted – Jason Jennings was pitching after all. Well, Jennings pitched a decent game, for Jennings, going 5.2 innings while giving up four runs. Brad Penny got the win for the Dodgers, moving his record to 14-3 on the season while Jason Jennings stayed stuck on the two-win mark.

I’ve got to give Jim Deshaies some credit. Breaking down the game, he said the reason the Astros have such a bad record is because the Astros are a bad team. A team that is 54-66 is not a good team. There are 42 games left in the season. If the Astros find a way to play at the break-even mark for the rest of this season, the team finishes with a record of 75-87. Sure, it’s not Pittsburgh Pirates bad. Or Tampa Bay Devil Rays bad. But it’s a bad record. And the Astros are a bad team. (And since 20 of the 42 remaining games are on the road, I wouldn’t expect the Astros to finish the season on a 21-21 run.)

Wandy Rodriguez gets the start tonight. And Wandy sucks on the road. So the odds are against the Astros winning the series. Following this game, the Astros head on down the interstate to San Diego and a three-game series with the Padres. – John Royal

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