So last night's game--despite the win, mind you--took me to an ugly place. Witness the bad words I used in this space before the rotgut mercifully bludgeoned me to sleep.
And I apologize for that, but I wanted to go to that bad place. I wanted to confront that bad part of this team. I wanted to say, you know what? The recent past be damned, this bullpen sucks.
Because there is no enlightenment if you attempt to shield yourself from even the ugliest truths.
No more excuses for Chad Qualls or Mike Gallo or Dan Wheeler or Brad Lidge. It is irrelevant right now that they were collectively great last year.
'Coz they suck right now.
Check this out. You know how I like the pretty charts. Well here's two of them, one that gives you an idea of how much the we've pitched, and another that shows how much we've given up.
Visceral, easy to understand. My mother would get this. Dark colors are the starters, light colors, the 'pen. The first chart, which shows how much each component of our staff has pitched, is mostly dark. That means that mostly, it has been the starters who have been getting the innings.
The second chart, which shows the runs that have been given up, is mostly light. That means that our bullpen sucks right now.
And there's not a lot I can do to cope with that, so I'm going to go to a prettier place now, a place with Technicolor birds of fantastic plumage that soar between billowing ivory clouds, a place where I can lie by the cool blue gurgling waters and blissfully contemplate things like the following:
- Roy Oswalt will never have to try and win his third game of the 2006 season or the 86th game of his career again. He done notched 'em last night.
- The Astros are 1-1/2 games in front of the hapless Cubs, and at least two games in front of anybody actually likely to win the division. This means that even if the Astros lose tonight (the ugliness, it is returning! Away!), they still could not be unseated from that gracious NL Central throne before Friday. Nice to know we got that going for us.
- Astros tied for the NL lead in runs scored? If it wasn't so nice, I might call it flat out weird. Heard Jayson Stark on ESPN radio this morning, and he says the Astros are one of the two biggest surprises of the early season. 'Course the Giants are his other one, so I'm not sure how much that says, but still. . . .
- Morgan Ensberg has hit homers in four consecutive games. I had some doubts during the winter about his ability to replicate his team-MVP year, but obviously, I am a fool, a simpleton, who understands nothing.
- And lastly, but probably most importantly, if it sucks to have to win a game the way the Astros did last night, I reach further levels of beatitude by simply contemplating upon how bad it would have been to lose that way.