Bullpen Falters, Astros Drop Series To Marlins

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 15: Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros looks on during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on April 15, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Both teams wore the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Since we've waited quite a long time after the game for the recap, here's some random thoughts about the Astros I had at various points today:

- Did someone tell J.A. Happ that spring training was the "minor leagues," thus bringing on this streak of non-suckitude? Can someone please explain this to me? Dude was dealing today.

- I know it can happen to anyone and the Astros are trying to be aggressive, but some very poor base running decisions this series. That play where Chris Johnson got doubled off on that flare Altuve hit behind second? Ridiculous.

- Speaking of Johnson, I'd really rather he cash in with some power while his BABiP is still racing after spring training.

- Of all the things that were over- or under-rated about this particular Astros team, it appears the bullpen was properly rated. Remember when MLB Network's "30 Clubs in 30 Days" gave the 'pen a 1 out of 5 rating? Wilton Lopez, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter were nodding their heads, sadly.

- I bag on Carpenter there, but he's at least got some success in the past. I'm not sure either Lopez or Lyon are back to their pre-injury selves yet and that's affecting their performance. When Wesley Wright is being asked to do things late in games, it's not the best sign. I like Wright, but he's not an eighth-inning guy.

- If you had told me a month ago that the bullpen arm I'd have the most confidence in right now would be Rhiner Cruz, I'd have chuckled heartily. Now? Just like J.D. Martinez, I feel no real sense of dread when Cruz is on the mound. It's very early and he still has time to regress, but I'm very impressed with his work so far.

- Brian Bogusevic's struggles early remind me a lot of the first year Morgan Ensberg and Adam Everett broke camp with the big league team. Both of them hit under .200 for the first month of the season and I believe neither saw May before getting sent down. Bogey isn't as young as either of those guys were, but he's struggling mightily right now. I'm thinking this particular Astros team will have more patience with him, even if F-Mart is mashing in the state of Oklahoma.

- After nine games, Houston is on pace to win somewhere around 72 games this season. When the odds-makers laid out Houston's season over/under at 62 1/5, everyone said they wanted to jump on the under. For Houston to lose 100 games now, they'd have to win at a paltry .379 clip the rest of the way, taking just 58 games in the next 153. Somehow, I don't see that happening with this particular team.

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