Try to stay positive, Astros fans. It's not easy watching this bullpen blow games, but the starting pitching has been consistently solid.
Friday night was Erik Bedard's turn, and once again Bedard had a solid outing. Is it pretty with Bedard? Almost never. But he has done a great job of keeping the Astros in the game when he takes the mound. The lefty's line: 6.2 innings, seven hits, three earned runs, two walks and five strikeouts.
That's good enough for a quality start, and better yet, the Astros had a 4-3 lead going into the eighth inning thanks to a solo bomb from Jason Castro in the second, RBI doubles from Jose Altuve and Castro in the fourth and a Brandon Barnes home run in the bottom of the fifth. Altuve capped off a three-hit game with a RBI single in the ninth.
Then came the fateful eighth inning. It included a blown save due to four Rangers runs on two hits and four walks against five different pitchers (Josh Zeid, Kevin Chapman, Josh Fields, Wesley Wright and Jorge De Leon), along with two Major League debuts from Chapman and De Leon.
A pretty easy way of explaining how bad it's been for this bullpen from Brian McTaggart.
Astros bullpen with its fifth blown save in last six chances -- including two Bedard starts. Rangers tie game on an Adrian Beltre single.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) August 10, 2013
And then the low blow from Brian Smith.
Chapman's debut included a wild pitch and a strikeout in his only batter faced, while De Leon mercifully finished the eighth before being thrown back out for the ninth. Spoiler alert: It didn't go well.
De Leon was able to finish the inning, but not before allowing two more runs on three hits and a walk.
Lost in all of this was the Astros' ability to load the bases in their half of the eighth inning from walks by Castro and Matt Dominguez combined with a Chris Carter hit by pitch. Marc Krauss pinch hit for Barnes, only to strike out to end the threat.
Another game, another loss for the Astros, but there is some good news. George Springer has achieved 30 home runs and 30 steals with a home run tonight. Now Astros fans can go to bed happy.