Recap: Astros avoid sweep despite bullpen's best effort

Dallas Keuchel showed why we at TCB are high on him - Bob Levey

It was all going so well.

Dallas Keuchel did his best impression of Tom Glavine, firing seven sparkling innings of one-run ball whilst striking out six, and he actually got some backup from the offense, as homers from Robbie Grossman, Jonathan Villar and Jason Castro gave Houston a 6-1 lead heading into the ninth inning. And then Bo Porter brought in Josh Fields.

Do you know where this is going? Have you heard this one before? Stop me if you've heard this one before.

29 pitches, three runs, two hits, a walk and two pitchers later, the Astros managed to hang on for the "W" somehow. So, hey, that's an improvement, right? The Astros had a five run lead after eight innings and didn't lose. A 6-4 win over the Blue Jays. Break out the bubbly and hit the music. I guess.

Really though, it's getting old. Three series and ten games into the season, the Astros starting rotation has a decent combined ERA of 4.26, and it would be much better without Lucas Harrell's 11.05 ERA inflating it.

The bullpen, however? 6.55 for them as a group. We've averaged 3.2 runs a game in 88 total innings of play. In other words, the bullpen is giving up in five innings of work more runs than we score in nine innings of play. To put it another way, if the bullpen has to pitch three innings, they're liable to give up 2.2 runs; if your starter gave up just two runs in the preceding six innings, well...I'm no crack smoking BBWAA analyst, but uh, that...that strikes me as a problem.

Granted, Jesse Crain hasn't thrown an inning yet, and Matt Albers has missed some time thanks to helping his wife bring new life into this world (where are his priorities, right? Geeze). Maybe things will get better. Chad Qualls looked better, that's for sure. But how much confidence can anyone have in this bullpen right now? A five run lead and a seven-inning gem from your starter, and it's still just barely enough. How much confidence can one have that this team is going to be better at the rate things are going?

Up Next...

The Astros are heading to Arlington/Dallas/Fort Worth to play the Texas Rangers for a three-game road series before their first off day of the season.

Game one: Scott Feldman vs. Yu Darvish

Game two: Jarred Cosart vs.Tanner Scheppers

Game three: Brett Oberholtzer vs. Martin Perez

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