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Stuck In Reverse

In Houston Astros 2010 Season on August 12, 2010 at 2:15 am

A week ago things started looking right for the Houston Astros. The team was winning and winning convincingly. The pitching and hitting seemed to be on par and glimpse of another late season run seemed possible. Now losers of the last 6 of 7, Houston has gone 13 games behind the division leader to 16. They were only 12 games under the .500 mark and now have extended their deficit to 17. So what went wrong is such a quick turn around? After their 18-4 victory over the division leading Cardinals, Houston’s momentum has seem to just float off into space. Their impressive starting pitching has evaporated and bullpen has been beyond atrocious. The hitting has slowed down but not enough to keep them in ball games.

J.A. Happ’s career in an Astros uniform has been seen three games, he has been impressive. Outside of the huge implosion vs the St. Louis Cardinals where he surrender seven runs in the first inning, Happ has had two extremely solid outings. Unfortunately for him, he is dealing with the same problem that Oswalt had to contend with. If it isn’t the offense being able to score runs, it is the bullpen not being able to hold the lead. Now these two can play hand in hand. It is hard to put pressure on the bullpen when the team only can muster a 1 or 2 two run lead with 3 + innings to go.

Another pitcher that has performed well but has failed to gain a victory in last two starts is Wandy Rodriguez. In his appearance against the Milwaukee Brewers on August 6, Wandy pitched 6 strong innings only giving up two runs. Houston had a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the 9th where closer Matt Lindstrom blew his fifth game of the season giving up 4 runs. In his latest start Wandy again pitched admirably going seven strong allowing 2. The game extended into ten innings where relievers Lyon and Fulchino gave up six runs to the Braves.

It could be that the pen is getting worn down already as they have put in a lot of innings. They could have just hit a bad rut but excuses can be made. Things still need to be done all around the organization to improve this team. Lindstrom is going to be around as he hasn’t had a bad year blowing only 6 games. It is really the inconsistency that wears down the ball clubs patience. Not just with the pen but the starters and hitters. It is rare to have Houston’s 1-3 starters pitch great games. The pitchers themselves might go on a winning streak but as a whole, the starters will go 2-3 as the rotation cycles. That number is just if the starters can make it more than 5 innings. Most of the time it is the pen being spotted with the loss.

The rest of the August doesn’t ease up as the next five opponents will be the Pirates, Marlins, Mets, Phillies and Cardinals. The 100 loss mark could come up a lot quicker if the pen doesn’t turn it around. As the season does come to an end, we all will get a good idea who might be sticking around next year.

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