Dang. I really thought the Astros might start another winning streak after they beat Tampa Bay 2-1 on Friday. Instead, the bad luck that has filled this season continued.
It takes plenty of bad luck for a team to fall on hard times. Bad drafts, bad injuries and bad scouting all lead to bad results at the major league level.
Losing two local players like Carl Crawford and Jeff Niemann is bad enough. Having both of them single-handedly beat the Astros on Saturday? That's just rubbing it in. But, it's exactly what happened as Niemann (4-0) gave up four hits and two runs in seven innings against Houston to pick up a victory. The 27-year old struck out five and walked one.
Crawford, on the other hand, went 4 for 5 with a double and a run scored. Teammate and former Astros farmhand Ben Zobrist was just 1 for 2 but he also had three walks and an RBI.
Compare those two guys to Houston, who totaled five hits between all 10 batters who came to the plate. The three walks were two more than Houston had on Saturday and as many as they totaled on Friday. One player outwalked Houston's entire team. That's unacceptable.
But, there were positives to come out of this game. Wandy Rodriguez continued a nice streak of godo starts, allowing six hits and three earned runs in six innings of work, while striking out four and walking four. He was hung with the loss, his sixth of the season.
Lance Berkman also looked good, going 2 for 3 with a solo home run in the sixth inning. He also walked once, officially starting a streak of three straight games with a free pass. Of course, the bottom five spots in the Astros batting order also went 0 for 16, which pretty much renders any contribution from the top four moot.
Sunday, Bud Norris starts the rubber game in this series against David Price, who is 6-1 with a 1.81 ERA this season. Let's hope Hunter Pence, Pedro Feliz, Tommy Manzella or someone can actually get a hit or two against him. Otherwise, it'll be a long Sunday.