Norris, Astros Not Quite Enough To Beat Pirates In 6-1 Loss

A day after dropping Michael Bourn out of the leadoff spot, Mills restored the world to its order. Unfortunately, the damages had already been done to the space-time continuum.

The results of those damages? A 6-1 loss where the Astros had very little, if any offense, squandering another good, deep Bud Norris start. Jason Bourgeois, who defied the baseball gods by taking Bourn's spot at the top of the order, was struck down with a possible oblique injury. 

What's worse, Bourgeois was starting at second base and hit pretty well. If the Astros could start him there, they'd move Bill Hall to a reserve role and take advantage of Bourgeois' and Bourn's speed in the same lineup. With Bourn, Bourg and Pence at the top of that order, the Astros would have quite a bit of speed to harass opposing pitchers.

Alas.

Jose Valdez showed a little of why he hasn't latched onto a team before now, showing some control problems before exiting. Though Valdez didn't give up the runs, they were still charged to him after he loaded the bases.

And, again, Norris did a bang-up job. He gave up three runs, which is a quality start, but isn't quite as good as he's been in the past. He also struck out nine and now has 20 strikeouts in his last 14 2/3 innings over two starts.

The main thing that strikes me about this team is it's very similar to what the team at the end of last season. It's a .500 team. Those teams will win games they shouldn't and lose games they should win. They'll be inconsistent and they'll show flashes of being very good. In short, they'll have all the earmarks of what this Astros team has become in the past three weeks. They're better than we expected, but not good enough to finish over .500. I think.

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