HOUSTON - JUNE 30: Carlos Lee #45 of the Houston Astros receives a high five from third base coach Dave Clark #35 after hitting a home run in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on June 30, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Astros needed a new beginning, that's the only way I can explain it. Tonight's game marked the official beginning of the second half of Houston's season, and they started it off with a bang.
This win probably has no implications on the rest of the season, and it's still likely that the Astros are going to end up with baseball's worst record and the #1 draft pick next June. However, it was nice to see Wandy Rodriguez pitch very well while Carlos Lee starts turning things around.
With Wandy's name coming up in some recent trade rumors, his start tonight certainly helped his trade value. He only surrendered four hits in his seven scoreless innings, and he also induced three double plays by keeping his fastball down in the zone. He seemed to control his curveball relatively well, and he has really impressed since returning from the DL on June 13th. Three of his last four outings have been of the scoreless variety, and he's pitching like we all knew he could. David did a great job earlier today highlighting some potential deals with the Tigers, and I think Wandy could be a real nice starter for a playoff contender in need of pitching.
Carlos Lee hit another home run tonight, and I honestly can't even remember the last time he went deep in consecutive games. His average is still hovering around .270, but he has driven in seven runs in the last seven games. He even drew a couple of walks tonight. Is there any chance that he's playing well in hopes of getting traded before the deadline? Seattle and Oakland could use a power bat anywhere in their lineup, but I'm sure we would need to eat a ton of Carlos' contract before even discussing a deal with another team.
David Carpenter made his major league debut in the eighth, and he threw a perfect frame with a strikeout as well. His fastball command was a little shaky, but he was hitting about 94 on the radar gun.
We didn't need a ninth-inning comeback to win this one, and it was nice not having to worry about the outcome late in the game. This weekend should be exciting with the Red Sox coming to town, and I just hope we don't get embarrassed.