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Paulino takes one (or four) on the chin as the Astros fall to Chicago

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On one hand, Russ Ortiz lasted only 2.1 innings, and the Astros relief pitchers came in and mopped off his mess. If the mop was one of those old ones that no longer soak up water, just spread it out a little more evenly on the surface you're trying to clean. After Ortiz allowed three runs, the middle innings were pretty quiet for the Cubs, as their offense stalled against Chris Sampson. It just so happened that the Astros' offense couldn't muster a hit from the fourth through the seventh innings.

Felipe Paulino took his lumps in the ninth inning, giving up four runs in 2/3 of an inning. Hell, he took enough lumps to last a few weeks worth of appearances. Our offense managed to add three runs in the bottom half, making the final outcome appear a little more palatable. Regardless, the game film for Thursday could have just as easily been any number of games already played this season. The formula has been repeated enough: pitching staff keeps it close enough early on, offense has sparks of life every so often yet don't counter the opposition's run scoring, and eventually the late innings see a tumult of runs scored against and over used relief corps. If an equation is used so many times, over and over again, it starts to gain a certain validity, like it can't be disproved. Hopefully the Astros 2009 Equation is disproved, sooner rather than later.