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Game Thread/Matchup Game # 35 at Dodgers, 2:10 CST

Rodriguez. Juan De Rodriguez. No Nick Lowe references this time
Wandy Rodriguez Derek Lowe
4 - 1, 3.27 3 - 1, 3.05

It may be getaway day, but you wonder how hard it will be to escape the consequences of the team's poor play on this road trip.

Although the MSM hasn't gone into "I Told You So" mode yet, you might say that the sharks are circling, as during the road trip 1) Ensberg failed to slug 2) three through five pitching showed its weaknesses and 3) our number eight hitter hit .217, while our rightfielder saw his average dip under .200 and his OBP into the low .340's.

I'm not necessarily saying I buy these criticisms, just that they could be made. Again, I haven't had my skull battered in over the last few days by actually watching the whippings administered us by los Gigantes y los Trolley Dodgers, but in trying to take an overview of the horrid trip, I actually see a couple bright spots.

Ausmus continues to get on, for one. Everyone concedes it's not for real, but for some reason the hot streak still refuses to die. I think it's time to consider hitting Brad one or two, and taking advantage of this Ripleyesque crest before it breaks, but that's a post for another day. . . .

And also, Preston has a hit streak going. He actually walked twice yesterday.

<heart stops, drops dead from shock>

Thirdly, regardless of the skepticism with which the media still may view Ensberg, the fact is, that it was the Astros' best players that struggled the most on the trip. It was Oswalt, and Ensberg, and Berkman. Not that this makes you happy, but the point is that these guys have established a baseline, and they will for the most part play much better than they did these past six games. If Berkman had hit four homers on the trip, and Oswalt had pitched seven innings of shutout ball, and we were still 0 - 6, I might be bothered more, you know what I mean?

And fourthly, lastly, I'll admit I still have no idea where we stand with Lidge and Wheeler, but Qualls has been throwing the ball real well, and it's even been awhile since a Mike Gallo baserunner has come around to score. So maybe the real problem, the one thing you do need to worry about, the thing that actually transcends this dismal road trip, the one true fog over this season so far, is starting to dissipate.


I still think Jason Lane is a .260 hitter, and I believe that his improvement in plate discipline is a real one. I still think Wandy and Taylor have skills that can consistently get major leaguers out. And Preston's little hot streak is a perfect reminder that you should never regard PW as anything more than an aggregate, because he'll never be as good as his high spots, or as bad as his slumps.

So it was a crappy trip. So the media hounds may start baying. So what? The studs and the sleepers on this team shuld convince you to take the longer view, one not so dependent on the luck of a single week's draw. . . .