In case you stepped away from the game of baseball after the Astros' 0-8 start...or off of a cliff, it now appears safe to return to your homes and places of business. It's impossible to give an honest assessment of a team after just six games, but the Astros have played solid baseball over the "second half" of their 2010 season. The 0-8 start is quickly becoming a fading memory. After tonight's 5-4 win against the Marlins, the Astros have indeed turned things around...at least for the time being.
Damn me for my tempered optimism, but I don't want to wake up tomorrow and find that this has all been some sort of dream. A dream where my favorite baseball team plays competently. A dream where Cudly Budly shows why the team is so high on his future. True, he only pitched five innings while giving up three runs, but Norris pitched four innings of no hit baseball to start the game. He attacked hitters much like he did against the Cardinals in his last start. A 49-37 Strike:Ball ratio doesn't tell the whole story. When Bud missed, he missed with a purpose, unlike in his first start against the Phillies:
Obviously he is a work in progress, but I was impressed by the fact that Bud got a strikeout against John Baker with his changeup, and then followed with a K against Cody Ross with his slider. If nothing else, we can see that Norris is learning, taking his lumps, but applying what mistakes he has made and improving his approach. The fact that we've won his past two starts is gravy.
Geoff Blum and Humberto Quintero had the big blasts for the Astros, tripling and homering in three of our runs. A Carlos Lee single and Lance Berkman ground out accounted for our remaining two runs. The Fish did all their damage in the fifth inning, scoring four runs- one of which was unearned on a Jeff Keppinger error.
I have to say that when Q hit that home run to bring the team within 4-2, I honestly thought, "They're going to win. Two runs isn't insurmountable." Lo and behold, they did. In doing so, they ended the Marlins' streak of winning their first four series of the season. Meanwhile, the Astros have guaranteed themselves of winning two straight series and will go for their first sweep tomorrow evening.
Baseball is fun again. Hopefully Felipe Paulino keeps the fun train on the tracks tomorrow.
Geoff Blum's got good hair and I'm quite charmed by him. This seems like a natural fit....