Hampton: 6IP, 8H, 4ER, 4K:3BB
Sampson: 1IP, 1H, 2K:0BB
LaHawk: 1IP, 3H, 2ER, 1K:1BB
Valverde: 1IP, 2H, 2ER, 2K:0BB
Geary: 2IP, 3H, 1ER, 2K:2BB
The problem - once again - is the bullpen. Sampson was solid in striking out two, but LaHawk/Valverde/Geary combined for 8H, 5ER in 4IP. Hampton made it through 5.2IP, and in hindsight might have been better served to go ahead and walk Bill Hall to get to Jason Kendall. He didn't, and Hall tagged him for a three-run homer. LaHawk comes in, immediately gives up a single to Prince Fielder. Then the ejections, then a four-pitch walk to J.J. Hardy. Then a Bill Hall single, then a Jason Kendall sac fly. There you have it. Towles and Matsui give the Astros a 7-6 lead, and then Valverde comes in...Corey Hart takes a 1-1 Valverde fastball - and he was throwing all fastballs until Mike Cameron - almost deep, and Prince Fielder tattooed him.
Now whether Valverde came back too early - leaving pitches up like that makes one think that leg is not 100% - or Valverde just sucks right now is up for debate. Tonight's performance raised his ERA to 6.43. Valverde has had two perfect appearances in this young season, but it's still cause for concern. Because that means in close games, Valverde has put runners on in four of his six appearances, including three home runs. The home run vs the Reds gave the Reds the victory, and had it not been for Pence/Berkman tonight, would have blown another save.
Man of the Match:
Michael Bourn. 2x6 night with his first HR of the season, now hitting .291 and is 8 for his last 24.
Goat of the Game:
Jose Valverde. For reasons already explained.