Why They Lost
Because they can't get the big hit. You could say that the Astros have only had one big hit - the Cory Sullivan flyball to center that Aaron Rowand dropped. Big Hit Tracker stands at one, after the Astros have the bases loaded with nobody out in the 6th, and only push one across. Or when they had runners at 2nd and 3rd with one out in the 7th, and couldn't score.
You couldn't have asked for anything else from the pitching staff. Holding the Phillies to six hits (three for extra-bases), and aside from Roy giving up a 2nd-pitch homer to Jimmy Rollins to lead off the game, nothing was really hit hard. Lyon followed up his diastrous outing last night with a quality inning this time around.
Astros pitchers got ten Ks, three from Ryan Howard (who was 0x4), and 66.2% of the total pitches were for strikes.
We could leave this blank, and it would still be accurate. Instead, let's get all pissed off. Carlos Lee was 0x4 with two strikeouts (that made him look baaad). Bourn (2x4), Keppinger (1x4), and Feliz (2x4) accounted for five of the Astros' seven hits. And once again, there were no extra-base hits.
Let's take a look at the missed opportunities, because there are plenty beyond the 0x5 w/RISP:
Pedro Feliz singles with one out. Matsui comes up, and when Feliz takes off, Matsui - on a 3-2 count - watches strike three go by, allowing Carlos Ruiz to nail Feliz at second base. Double play, inning over.
Johnson, Bourn, and Keppinger are all on base, down 2-0. #3 hitter (?) Cory Sullivan comes up and GIDPs. Johnson scores, and Bourn goes to 3rd. Carlos Lee takes a 2-2 pitch really high to shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Three on base. Three outs. One run.
Blum and Feliz are on 1st and 2nd, and Kaz Matsui bunts them over. One out. Towles takes a first-pitch grounder right back to Halladay, and Michaels strikes out on three pitches. Inning over.
One opportunity that won't make it into the box score was in the bottom of the 9th. Down 2-1, Carlos Lee hooked the first-pitch just foul down the left field line. He flied out to center on the next pitch. A fraction of a second later, and we might have had the opportunity to see the Astros lose in extra innings.
Look, you can only say, "You have to tip your cap to the other pitcher" so many times before you have to kick yourself in the cramhole and start hitting the ball. The Astros head to St. Louis today for an afternoon game tomorrow, facing Adam Wainwright. At some point someone is going to have to own up to the fact that, right now, this team is the worst in baseball. And it all rests on the shoulders of the completely inept offense.
Some sobering stats after the first homestand of the season:
-Five Astros in the starting lineup are hitting .200 or worse: (Sullivan - .111; Lee - .130; Blum - .176; Matsui - .200; Towles - .067). I know Sullivan is a bench player, and with Pence struggling, the last thing Mills needed was for him to screw himself in the ground swinging at Halladay's offerings. Lee
-The Astros have had a lead in three innings this season. To do some reverse engineering, that means the Astros have been tied, or behind in 51 of 54 possible innings.
-The Astros have scored in six out of 54 innings
-The Astros have had eleven extra-base hits this season. Keppinger has had three of them.
-The Astros have drawn five walks in six games. Five.
Pitch Count Hero: Keppinger (1x4) and Lee (0x4) - 17 pitches in four PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Cory Sullivan (0x4) - 11 pitches in four PAs.
Man of the Match: Roy Oswalt. Two quality starts, including one against the reigning NL champions, and he's 0-2. We may need to start commemorating Roy's starts, because he may be asking for that trade any day now.
Goat of the Game: Carlos Lee. Thanks for carrying this team in Berkman's absence. After another 0-fer today, he's hitting .130/.167/.130 with 7Ks in 24 PAs.