What the heck does Felipe Paulino have to do to win a game? He had another good game, and the Astros offense was typically awful. McTaggart pointed this out last night in a tweet, but it's worth repeating: Javier Vazquez allowed three hits in his seven innings of work, but had two hits of his own. Braves win, 2-1. Let's do the thing:
Paulino: 6IP, 4H/2ER, 6K:3BB, 14/24 first-pitch strikes, 30/53 non-contact strikes (25 called:5 swinging)
Byrdak: 1IP, 1H, 4/4 FPS, 6/16 NCS (5c:1s)
Brocail: 1IP, 1K, 3/3 FPS, 4/6 NCS (3c:1s)
Fulchino: 1IP, 1K:1BB, 2/4 FPS, 4/8 NCS (2c:2s)
Paulino's two earned runs both came off solo homers by LaRoche and McLouth - meaning in his last two starts, he's given up four earned runs, all of them off home runs (Lee's two-run shot last Wednesday), so that's a little troubling. But basically you're looking at three bad pitches out of 187. And two losses. The Astros have scored a total of one run in his last two starts. Since his last win, on June 27 vs. Detroit, the Astros are 0-7 in the games in which Paulino has pitched, and have scored two runs or more just twice.
Offensively. Jeesh. Hunter Pence has broken out of his little slump, going 2x4 with the lone RBI, and the Astros managed five hits over the rest of the lineup. Maysonet got a sac bunt in the 7th, and Tommy Manzella had a pinch-running appearance in his first-ever Major League action.
The best chance to break the game open came in the 6th, with the Braves up 2-0. Michaels and Bourn walked to lead off the inning, and Matsui sac'ed to the pitcher, putting runners on 2nd/3rd with one out. Berkman struck out looking, Lee walked to load 'em up, and Tejada grounded out to third. Then there was another one in the 7th, with Pence on 3rd and Blum on 2nd with one out. Erstad and Bourn both struck out swinging. In the 9th, with the Braves still up 2-0, Tejada tripled to lead off the inning, Pence knocked him in. And Blum GIDPed. Aaron Boone lined out to end the game, and is still looking for that first hit of the year.
Pitch Count Hero: Hunter Pence - 22 pitches in 4 PAs
Pitch Count Punk - Lance Berkman - 12 pitches in 4 PAs
Man of the Match: Felipe Paulino. Did enough to win the game, but had no help from the offense (Vazquez did have something to do with it), and his record is now 2-8, but he has performed well enough to get an SP spot in 2010.
Goat of the Game: It's difficult. Any thoughts?