It was shaping up to be a pretty enjoyable Wednesday afternoon, with a nice businessman's special out at Minute Maid Park, a game that looked like it was shaping up to be an Astros win when they scored two runs to take a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Six more outs, and it would be off to eat a nice steak or crush about ten beers or do whatever the businessmen do after the local team wins an afternoon game.
But as we've learned way too many times in the month of September, no lead is safe with the Astros' bullpen lurking, and certainly not a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning against a capable Los Angeles Angels squad. And so it was that, like so many other times in the previous 22 days, the Astros' bullpen entered the game and ruined it for the Astros the same way that those hundred pigs ruined the Tri-Lambs frat party in Revenge of the Nerds.
The two biggest pigs this time around were Will Harris, whose performance (two earned runs in one third of an inning) matched his perpetually sour look on his face, and Pat Neshek, who could've rescued Harris and the Astros, but didn't (two hits, one run, one third of an inning). As mentioned earlier, this performance was just the latest in a string of putrid, soul crushing performances from a bullpen that had been a strength of this team through August.
However, since September 1, the numbers are enough to make you want to lay down on the train tracks atop the left field wall...
#Astros bullpen ERA, by month: April: 2.18 May: 2.70 June: 2.76 July: 3.34 August: 2.75 Sept (through 9/23): 6.63— #1 Astros Fan (@AaronHlavaty) September 23, 2015
Basically, the Astros would be better off using a promotions girl shooting the ball out of a t-shirt gun from the mound as a middle reliever than any of the jabronis they're trotting out there right now. How bad did it really get Thursday? Well, I think the best way to indicate the relative temperature of the fan base between 4:45 and 5:15, which was about the time Harris and Neshek were dousing the game in lighter fluid, is to gather some of the angry tweets.
So let's take a look….
"POSTING A PICTURE OF A DUMPSTER FIRE IS STILL FRESH, RIGHT?" TWEETS
Live shot of the Astros' bullpen . . . pic.twitter.com/OxK9J6l0hR— Did Colby Jack? ?? (@RasmusHomer) September 23, 2015
Angels beat Astros thanks to the Astros bullpen, which is pictured here. pic.twitter.com/X3buZUAY5w— Dan Feldman (@dfeldman53) September 23, 2015
"WHAT ABOUT CARTOONS ABOUT BURNING IN A DUMPSTER-TYPE FIRE" TWEET
"ASTROS BULLPEN IS LIKE DYING IN A MASSIVE EXPLOSION" TWEET
"POOP JOKE" TWEET
"CAN OTHER HEROIC HOUSTON ATHLETES HELP US, PLEASE?!" TWEETS
James Harden threw out the Astros opening pitch. It was probably better than anything out bullpen can throw— Scott Evans (@scottevans92) September 23, 2015
"DEGENERATE GAMBLER" TWEET
I feel like the Astros bullpen owes me a shit load of money— Just Jake (@HudsonjakeJake) September 23, 2015
"ARMCHAIR GM" TWEET
"THE ASTROS BULLPEN IS LIKE BLUE BALLS" TWEET
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"HARSH REALITY" TWEET
The Astros wake up this morning three games behind the Rangers in the AL West, and one game ahead of Minnesota for the second AL wild card spot. They have nine games left, including the biggest series of the season starting on Friday, a three game set versus those first place Rangers at Minute Maid Park.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.