What, the Astros can't pull a Colorado on Ryan Franklin? Is that too much to ask?
What a tough game to lose. Wandy was dealing early in the game, ultimately striking out six in six innings of work while allowing four hits and three runs. One of the pitches that led to Wandy's downfall in the fourth inning was Jon Jay's bunt single. it was well-placed and a good tactical move, yet I though many an unkind thought about Mr. Jay when he did it.
Pujols followed with a single off the wall that moved Jay to third and Matt Holliday blasted a three-run home run into the Crawford Boxes, giving the Cards a 3-2 lead. Blasted may be an overstatement. The pitch Wandy made was a good one. Holliday almost popped the pitch up, but was able to muscle it out to left field. Brandon Lyon gave up another run in his inning of work, but the real damage was done by Holliday.
One of the things I hope Bagwell works with hitters about is their approach the second and third times through the order. Notice the difference between the Cardinals and Astros. Houston scored both runs in the first inning and only got one guy to third base the rest of the way. Wandy had five strikeouts in his first time through the order and one in the next three innings. The Cardinals were able to make adjustments when it counted, which is something the Astros have not done all season, much less in this game.
That's not to say the Astros didn't hit well. Jeff Keppinger had another three-hit afternoon, going 3 for 5 with a run scored. Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman were also 2 for 5. The problem was with the rest of the order. In particular, Pedro Feliz had at least two chances to drive in runs and give the Astros back the lead, but ended up going 0 for 4 with a strikeout. Jason Castro also continued his cold streak, going 0 for 3 with a walk.
Again, this series was not really surprising. The Astros have talented pitchers, but lack impact bats. They're better than the worst teams in the league, but aren't good enough to be in the top half of the league. If they make some trades, that might change.