The Astros sure are finding ways to make this season interesting. It's almost like the players have realized, "Hey. If we finish .500, Coop will be back next year, so let's come up with the dumbest ways possible to lose games." Because that's exactly what happened in a 7-2 loss to the Brewers last night.
A five-run 7th will do that to you. Let's do the thing, and then we'll look at the 7th:
Moehler: 6IP, 5H/1ER (2 total), 3K:2BB, 18/26 first-pitch strikes, 21/56 non-contact strikes (14 called:7 swinging)
Byrdak: 0IP, 1H/2ER, 1BB, 1/2 FPS, 0/2 NCS
Gervacio: 0IP, 2H/2ER, 1/2 FPS, 1/3 NCS (1c)
Wright: 0IP, 1H, 1/1 FPS, 1/3 NCS (1s)
Fulchino: 1IP, 1H, 1K, 2/4 FPS, 7/12 NCS (5c:2s)
Valverde: 1IP, 3H/1ER, 1K, 3/6 FPS, 8/18 NCS (5c:3s)
Notice a couple of things here:
-The Astros trotted out three relievers who did not record an out. As far as I can remember (and I'm not going back and looking) that hasn't happened this season.
-Moehler, again, pitched well. That's his eighth straight start in which he's gone at least 5IP and given up three or fewer runs, and he has lowered his ERA to 4.80.
So in the top of the 7th, Hunter Pence got himself a homerun to give the Astros a 2-1 lead. And then Jason Kendall singled to left to knock Moehler out of the game.
Byrdak comes in, and a bunt finds its way through. Byrdak walks Felipe Lopez, and in comes Gervacio, who gives up singles to Gerut and Braun. And in comes Wesley Wright to solely face Prince Fielder, and Fielder wins for the second straight night with a single. In comes Fulchino - remember, there aren't any outs at this point - and he gives up a 2-run single to McGehee. That was fun, no?
The Astros only managed five hits - Matsui, Lee, Pence, Tejada, and Johnson - and again were 1x5 with RISP. There were five 1-2-3 innings, including a stretch from the 3rd to the 7th in which Jeff Suppan retired 11 Astros in a row. And the Brewers pitching staff retired 19 of the final 21 Astro batters of the night.
Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn - 20 pitches in 4 PAs (0x4)
Pitch Count Punk: Miguel Tejada - 8 pitches in 3 PAs (1x3)
Man of the Match: Brian Moehler. Has slowly reestablished himself as a pitcher in which I don't go "Ahh crap" when he's the PP.
Goat of the Game: This one goes to the bullpen, collectively, who needed five guys to face 15 batters, and get six outs.