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Astros Outclassed In 5-1 Loss to Tampa Bay

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There are some micro things to talk about in this game, like the return of Hunter Pence or how Wandy Rodriguez looked in his latest start. But, I thought this a good example of something the Astros have seen in their last four series or so.

When a team is good, the thing you hear all the time is "These are games they have to win." Games against sub-.500 teams are not the ones good teams can afford to drop. When they do lose, it's either because said good team had a bad day or said bad team had a particularly good one.

Classify the Rangers game on Wednesday in both of those categories at once. A walk-of comeback victory off one of the best closers in the American League? Bad day for the Rangers and a good one for Houston.

This game on Friday, though, was a different animal. This was a good team getting things done against a bad team. They sent a pitcher to the mound in James Shields who has been ridiculously good at his job lately and he was again with the Astros flailing away.

This offense isn't as pathetic as it was last season, but it's quality swings from game to game. Right now, with Brett Wallace slumping and Hunter Pence coming off a little injury, it's in a down swing. Add to that a great Shields changeup and the Astros had no chance.

That doesn't mean they won't have chances the rest of this series. But, for Tampa Bay, these are games they need to win if they want to get back into the AL East race. The Astros might be happy with just staying competitive these next two games.