Phillies Phinish Sweep: Astros Lose 7-3

The Astros could finish 0-6 after their first two series and still be a decent team. There will be some people who'd be very disappointed in that outcome (me included), but unlike last season, an 0-6 start would be because the Astros were just pitiful.

No, there were plenty of good signs for the offense, including a home run by Hunter Pence and a double by Bill Hall. Still no real breakout performances by Brett Wallace or Chris Johnson, but that might take some time. If Pence and Carlos Lee are swinging the bat well, with Bill Hall chipping in on occasion, this offense will be better than last season.

Of course, the biggest disappointment here was Bud Norris. This is a big year for Budly. We are going to run into a wall here pretty soon, when Bud stops being considered a growing rookie and becomes an inconsistent veteran. We're not there yet.

This was a tough assignment for Norris, as he was moved up two days to face a tough Phillies lineup that's been swinging the bat well. Placido Polanco continued his destruction of the Astros pitching staff and Ryan Howard added his first big day of the season.

The biggest blow came in the first inning, when Norris gave up a walk, a hit and that costly three-run home run to Howard, followed by a solo shot by Ben Fransisco. It's almost like Norris lost his concentration for just a second and the Astros were never able to recover.

Also a bit discouraging were the outings by Aneury Rodriguez and Enerio Del Rosario. Neither stood out, though Aneury's runs came courtesy of Del Rosario. The bullpen is still very much in flux, but it's still early. I'm sure Mills will take the off day to settle the team down and regroup while headed to Cincinnati.

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