Today's big Houston Astros news comes by way of the Harris County Family Courts where sources are reporting that Astros ace, Roy Oswalt, has filed for divorce from the Houston Astros citing irreconcilable differences as the cause for the failure of the union. In support of his filing, Oswalt pointed out that Kazuo Matsui was the final out with runners on base on Saturday and Sunday. Oswalt also pointed out that he surrendered only two runs on Saturday, yet lost the game 2-1 to the Giants.
Oswalt was clear that he and the team had tried to iron out their differences, but ultimately, there was just nothing that could be done to repair the damage done by an offense so inept that former shortstop Adam Everett, long known for a stellar glove and an ability to ground into double plays, was now longingly seen by the pitching staff as an offensive savior.
"I knew I needed to probably throw a shutout, you know, maybe we can get one [run], he said on Saturday. "A pitch backed up on me on a slider. I was trying to go down and away, and it backed up over the plate."
That pitch that backed up over the plate ended up being a two-run home run -- the only runs the Giants scored on Saturday. But it was enough. The Astros were able to score one run -- Michael Bourn led off the game with a walk, stole second base, went to third on a Lance Berkman groundout, then scored on a wild pitch. The Astros had plenty of chances off of Giants ace Tim Lincecum, however. They just couldn't get it done when it mattered as they put the leadoff batter on base in six of the nine innings, but were a stellar 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"I feel pretty good," Oswalt said of his start. "My mechanics wasn't as good as it was last start, but good enough to lose."
The loss dropped Oswalt's record to 2-5 on the season while he lowered his ERA to 2.62. Oswalt is putting up all-star numbers. His teammates just aren't producing. And they apparently aren't happy with Oswalt's inability to pitch shutouts every time out.
"We're a team, you know what I'm saying?" Lance Berkman said when informed of Oswalt's statements. "As much as you want to cry for a guy not getting run support, it's a team game.
We win as a team, we lose as a team, and we lost today. I certainly understand his frustration, but it's not like we're not trying. We're out there grinding them out and trying to score some runs, and it hasn't happened."
But while the offense may be out there grinding, the evidence fully supports Oswalt's contention that they suck, and that he has to be perfect every time out. The lineup that manager Brad Mills started on Sunday, when the team lost 4-3 to the Giants despite Brett Myers pitching a complete game, didn't have a single starter with an average over .262. The team's offensive catalyst, Michael Bourn, who despite a major slump has continued as the team's main weapon, was benched yesterday. It's almost as if Mills was deliberately trying to lose the game, a move furthered by his pinch-hitting Kazuo Matsui with two men on base and two outs in the ninth inning.
The end result of the three-game series in San Francisco was that the Astros were swept by the Giants for the second time this season, and in none of the six games has the offense been competitive. At 13-24, the Astros once again have the worst record in the National League, and once again have only the Baltimore Orioles to thank for keeping them from having the worst record in the majors.
The Astros will play the Los Angeles Dodgers, in Los Angeles, tonight and tomorrow. The Dodgers are one of the hottest teams in baseball, having gone 9-1 for their last 10 games. And you just know that they're licking the lips at the thoughts of facing an offense so anemic that even anemia is attempting to disassociate itself from the Astros.
It's still early in the Oswalt/Astros divorce proceedings, but word is that the rest of the Astros starting staff is eagerly anticipating the outcome. Seeing as the how the Astros offense is the absolute worst in the majors -- they're dead last in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, homers, RBI, runs, and walks -- the rest of the staff is hoping that they, too, can gain their freedom should Oswalt prevail.
Only time will tell the final result. But be assured this, if the offense continues as is, then things are going to get ugly between the Astros and Oswalt.
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