PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 12: J.A. Happ #30 of the Houston Astros walks off of the field after being pulled by manager Brad Mills #2 during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 12, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
What do you want to talk about first?
Houston's in an offensive funk - J.D. Martinez didn't play. Escorpion and Lowrie were held pretty much in check and the team again showed it's lack of power. Other than that, how'd you like the game, Mrs. Lincoln?
The Astros are averaging a paltry 3.7 runs per game in May and just 1.5 runs per game in this recent road trip. (See what I did there? Lies, damn lies and statistics...)
Against the Pirates on Friday and Saturday, this team has looked lifeless at the plate. Granted, Friday's game was against James McDonald, who is a very talented pitcher. But, the league is full of talented pitchers. I think the Astros just have a mental block against some members of this Buccos staff.
Should we be worried? Not in the least. But, I had wanted to see a little more out of this team at this point and I definitely would like J.D. back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
Houston isn't a good road team -The Astros are very young. Young teams anecdotally don't fare very well on the road. Hence, Houston's 5-10 record in road games this season.
But, I think it can't be explained that easily. Sure, Houston is young at a bunch of key positions. They've also run into some tough pitching and have been slumping not just on the road as an offense. It's also not really a huge difference right now, as Houston is scoring 4.5 runs per game at home and 4.0 runs on the road.
Half a run can add up, but over 15 games? Not yet. If the Astros get shut out or something tomorrow and look pathetic in the two games early next week? Still wouldn't worry about it.
Scrappiness won't buy you happiness -The good thing about scrappy teams is that they're fun to watch, they scratch out runs and play hard. The bad thing is they're not always as talented as the other guys and tend to get stretched in some situations.
I'm not saying the Pirates are more talented than the Astros, but they did slap around J.A. Happ from the very beginning. Watching the game, I never really felt like Houston was back in it, even though the score was close for much of the game.
Is that the fate of this offense? With no big power hitters, we cannot expect Houston to scratch out big run production every night. So, we have to live with what we have. Scrappiness is fun, but it won't be fun all the time.
It's not all bad - With all that said, this trip could still end well. Houston faces A.J. Burnett or Mr. Volatility on Sunday and will throw Wandy against him, who may be the best pitcher on the staff. If they win then, they'll win the series and even their NL Central record at 6-6 for the season. That's pretty good. Just like this team can be at times.
They just weren't very good on Saturday.