Houston was not able to hit Randy Wolf. That's what this game boiled down to, nothing more. Wandy may have given up that home run to Brandon Boggs and the three runs in the third, but if Houston had been able to hit Wolf, it wouldn't have mattered.
This isn't the same pathetic offense we saw early last season, either. It just so happened that Wolf was able to own Houston, mixing in that slow, slow curveball with pinpoint accuracy on his fastball. Carlos Lee, who started at first against the tough lefty, couldn't get anything done. Jason Michaels, who got the start in left, couldn't do anything more.
In fact, the most effective hitter of this game was Young Master Towles, who added another home run and is showing the kind of potential he flashed in the minors. Sanchez picked up a hit, Bourgeois went 1 for 3 starting in place of Michael Bourn and Wandy went 2 for 2. If there's anyone to blame, it could be Brad Mills, for continuing to sit Brett Wallace against most lefties. Wallace has been hot at the plate and taking his bat out of the lineup can't have helped things.
If Wandy hadn't given up the runs, this would also be a very different conversation. He did give up 10 hits, but he struck out nine. Overall, he was effective; he just wasn't good enough to match his mound-mate.
The fact that Houston was able to do some damage against the Milwaukee staff in that horrible game from Friday, or the fact that they won that wild game Saturday (even though I was convinced once they lost the lead that they'd go on to lose the entire game), or the fact that they couldn't hit enough to beat Wolf on Sunday aren't separate from the biggest takeaway from this series. That is, Milwaukee is a good team. Houston just may not be quite there yet to compete with them. The talent level isn't hugely different, as evidenced by Houston doing some redeemable things in all three games. But, the fact is Milwaukee has the kind of talent to compete for a division title. Houston still has a ways to go.
So, let's again take a day Monday to breathe, forget about this series and get ready for the next one. It's going to be tough, seeing Lance Berkman swinging the bat well for St. Louis. Brace yourselves, Astros fans.