Well, that's what a 2-7 road trip looks like. The Astros were shutout for the 11th time this season, and the third time on the nine-game road trip. That said, there were two positives: Aaron Boone kept the Cubs in check with at least one great stop at first base, denying extra-bases in one instance. And Paulino, who was basically pitching today for a job next year, definitely rose to the occasion, throwing only one bad pitch. It's a shame that the offense couldn't bail him out for a win. Let's do the thing:
Paulino: 6IP, 4H/2ER, 7K:2BB, 13/23 first-pitch strikes, 37/61 non-contact strikes (20 called:17 swinging)
Byrdak: 1IP, 1BB, 3/4 FPS, 5/8 NCS (3c:2s)
LaHawk: 1IP, 2K, 1/3 FPS, 5/8 NCS (2c:3s)
Offensively...jeez. Tejada was 0x4 to send his batting average (.298) below .300 for the first time since May 8 vs. San Diego. But the Astros only managed five hits, and couldn't take advantage - going 0x7 with RISP. In the 8th, down 2-0, Quintero hit a 1-out double to right. And Berkman and Matsui left him there. In the 9th, the winning run was at the plate twice, with Pence on second and Lee on first - and Tejada and Blum left them both there.
It's just a pretty bad time to be an Astros fan. And help isn't on the way. It's probably going to be 2-3 years before it gets better. This season's Hole-Plug Gamble (which is going to be the name of my new band) didn't pay off, and now it's time to turn it over to the young'uns, who are still pretty far off. I'm happy with a Roy/Wandy/Norris/Paulino/Bazardo rotation in 2010, but even if The Quints at Lexington skip High-A ball, we're still looking at late-2011/2012 before they wear an Astros jersey.
Pitch Count Hero: Pence - 20 pitches in 4 PAs (1x3, walk)
Pitch Count Punk: Boone - 10 pitches in 3 PAs (0x3), but you can't blame him for being excited.
Man of the Match: Felipe Paulino. Had to do a job for the future, and did it.
Goat of the Game: Miguel Tejada. All eyes on you.