GAME 27 - April 30: Astros 2, Brewers 1
GAME 28 - May 1: Astros 5, Brewers 0
GAME 29 - May 3: Astros 10, Reds 4
GAME 30 - May 4: Reds 3, Astros 2
GAME 31 - May 5: Reds 10, Astros 4
GAME 32 - May 6: Astros 3, Pirates 2
GAME 33 - May 7: Pirates 6, Astros 1
GAME 34 - May 8: Pirates 5, Astros 4
The Astros managed to take their No Shutout Streak almost 2 months into the season, but it finally came to an end in the first game of the Brewers series last week. But don't tell the Astros that they are supposed to be losers -- they went on to win THREE GAMES IN A ROW for the first time this season. (This is definitely a year in which we will have celebrate every little excuse of a success!)
This has not been a good week for watching ball games. Between Sabbath games (the Sabbath ends LATE now), last Sunday's trip to NY to meet our new twin granddaughters, and a pair of day games while I was at work, I've only managed to watch a few innings live. So if you haven't seen me tweeting in a week, that's why. And I've had little time to write up games after the fact, so this post covers 3 whole series. If you want to see my excuse for not writing up ball games last weekend, here's what I was up to instead. This is the "Twins" Fan in Exile with Oscar and Oren, age 5 1/2 months:
And here are my brand new twin granddaughters Sylvie and Lyla:
I finally got to watch a whole game live today -- on Mothers Day! After spending several hours doing back-trashing work in the garden, I treated myself to a ballgame. (Telling myself that I'd go back out after the game, but now all I want is to shower off the sunscreen, mulch residue, and bug spray!) Watched the game on my new toy -- the iPad 2 that finally arrived this week, with "Astros Fan in Exile" etched on the back. I've only bought one app so far -- MLB At Bat 11, of course. (I can see why I have to pay for my MLB.TV subscription every year, but I don't really understand why I have to buy MLB At Bat each season. Why don't I just get a free update like most other apps?)
Meanwhile, in the game, things didn't look too good for the first 6 innings, as the Astros could not get anything going against the Pirates' starter. But as soon as he was replaced in the 7th, the fun began: CJ hit a leadoff solo homer to get things started. Hall singled, then scored on Quintero's double, then Q scored from second on Sanchez's pinch hit bunt to put the Astros ahead 3-2. (Q scored from second on a bunt!?!?! That's what kind of year this is.) In the 8th inning, Lee got a double off what really looked like a caught fly ball (ump mistake), advanced to third on a bad pickoff throw, and trotted home on a humongous sac fly by Wallace. That extended the Astros lead to 4-2, and Happ's chance for a win was still alive. But in the bottom of the inning, Abad gave up a single, a walk, and a 3-run homer, and the Pirates took away our Mother's Day win. This is not a good year for the bullpen. The Astros lead the league in blown saves.
There's not really a whole lot of astounding news from the past week: The Astros are working hard to keep up their position as the Worst NL Team, with a 13-21 record. I generally don't pay that much attention to the standings when the Astros are below .500, let alone under .400. If we're not going to the playoffs, I don't actually have much preference who does. I just count games under .500, because that's how many days of a winning streak it would take to stop being LOSERS. We are on pace to lose 100 this year.
The Astros bullpen has been pretty iffy lately, as today's loss illustrates. Biggest other bullpen disappointment this week: Aneury Rodriguez (replacing Figueroa in the rotation) pitched 5 scoreless in his first ML start, helping the Astros take a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. But Lyons lost the game on 4 hits and a walk, allowing 3 runs to score without getting an out -- his 4th blown save in 8 tries this season. After the game, Lyon went back to Houston to get checked out, and ended up on the DL with biceps tendinitis, and a partial rotator cuff tear. Melancon, the Astros end of the Berkman trade last year, is due to take over the closer job. Speaking of Berkman, he's got the #2 batting average in the NL at .388, with 10 homers, and leads the league in RBIs. Good for the Puma! (Except when he does it against us!)
In other injury news this past week, Carlos Lee was out for a few days after bruising his ribs in a fielding crash with Angel Sanchez. It was hard to miss him, when he's having another ho-hum season, and Bourgeois, his replacement in left field, was tearing the cover off the ball. In his 7 starts, Bourgeois went 14 for 27, with 7 stolen bases. With Lee back from his injury, the Astros didn't want to take Bourgeois out of the lineup, so they tried out him out at second base Saturday night -- and he was hurt in the game. Now he's on the DL with a strained left oblique, and Inglett's back up from OKC.
Happily, real life is going much better than the Astros baseball season, with those four grandbabies and other good family stuff. It's a long season, and no doubt the Astros will find a way to win at least one or two more games before it ends. Meanwhile, Happy Mothers Day!!!!