Why They Lost
Yes, Paulino struggled to begin the 7th inning, pitching to four batters and recording no outs, but this is pinned on the bullpen, because Paulino left with the bases loaded and the game tied 2-2. Byrdak and Fulchino combined to actually allow five of the six runs scored in the crucial 7th inning, in which the Astros entered the bottom half with a 2-1 lead, and came out of down 7-2.
Yeah, so let's revisit that 7th inning. We'll begin at the beginning of the bottom of the 7th, with Paulino pitching:
Marlon Byrd: 2-2 double to center
Soriano: 2-1 double to deep left (2-2 game)
Fontenot: 4-pitch walk
Hill: 6-pitch walk
Now Byrdak comes in:
Nady: 1st-pitch flyout (Soriano somehow holds at 3rd)
Theriot: Reaches on bunt single that Feliz completely nutted (Soriano scores, 3-2 CHC)
Fukudome: 0-1 sac fly to center, scores Fontenot (4-2)
Now it's Fulchino's turn:
Derrek Lee: 2-2 (7 pitches) three-run homer to center (7-2)
Ramirez: Doubles to left
Byrd: Grounds out to second
So all of the runners that Paulino left on base later scored, and Feliz screwing up the bunt single for two reasons: (1) He didn't make the tag on Theriot, or (2) throw the ball to home for the force, really hurt Paulino's line.
Fulchino has appeared in five games (and this was his first appearance since April 11). He gave up 4H/4ER, 0K:1BB, HR in 0.1IP against the Giants in G3, and a three-run homer today, which he was only charged for one earned run. Even with the one earned run, Fulchino's ERA is 12.27, and he's allowed 7H/1BB in 3.1IP.
Jeebus. Six hits. No walks. Again. The six hits were spread evenly over six batters. And hey, Carlos Lee got a hit, so that bumps his OPS all the way up to .228! Chris Johnson had an RBI triple and 3Ks, and Tommy Manzella was 1x4 with an RBI. Otherwise, your 0-fers were Bourn (0x4), Feliz (0x3), and Pence (0x4).
The impatience at the plate is killing me. The Astros only saw 113 pitches (compared to the Cubs' 142 - of course the Cubs batted a lot more in the 7th inning). Today was the 8th straight game that the Astros have seen fewer pitches than their opponent (somehow in Gs1&2, the Giants threw more pitches than the Astros). This is also the fifth game, and the second straight, this season that the Astros have not leisurely strolled to first base. Michael Bourn walked (right after Jeff Keppinger walked) in the 8th inning of G7. And it's now 73 plate appearances, and counting, since that walk. And the Astros only saw a three-ball count three times (Keppinger, Bourn, and Pence).
Pitch Count Hero: Jeff Keppinger (1x4) & Hunter Pence (0x4) - 17 pitches in four PAs.
Pitch Count Punk: Pedro Feliz (0x3) - 10 pitches in four PAs.
Man of the Match: Chris Johnson. Because the more he can make an impact at the plate, the harder it will be to play Geoff Blum anywhere. And his triple, thanks to some Helen Keller-esque fielding, tied the game at 1-1.
Goat of the Game: Jeff Fulchino. Knock those homers off.