Why They Lost
The Astros got hits - nine of them - but they couldn't score, which is pretty common for this year. In this three-game set with the Braves, who had lost nine straight coming into this series, the Astros were outscored 21-4. Bud Norris crapped the bed again, allowing seven earned in 4.2IP - and allowing 12 baserunners (Eight hits, four walks) in his 14-out appearance. Oh, there was also an HBP and a WP. I say we dedicate 2010 to The Maturation of Bud Norris.
I take back everything I inferred about Fulchino getting sent to The Rock. I know he had a couple of bad outings - which for a reliever can kill their stats. I've been lazy and preoccupied, and for that, I repent. Four strikeouts. The bullpen - arguably the strongest factor of this team - had 3.1IP, 1H/0ER, 5K:0BB. In other words, they were the antithesis of Bud Norris.
Norris threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of 25 batters. Let's take a look at the Braves vs. Norris, inning-by inning:
1st inning (10 pitches): 0x3, K
2nd inning (27 pitches): 1x3, 2BB, sac fly, one run
3rd inning (15 pitches): 0x3, K
4th inning (20 pitches): 4x6, K, BB, three runs
5th inning (24 pitches): 2x3, BB, HBP - got two outs.
So let's examine:
1-3 hitters: 0x8, BB
4-6 hitters: 5x5, 3BB, sac, HBP
7-8 hitters: 3x4, BB
That ain't good. As if you needed our notification.
Amazingly, the Astros and the Braves had the same number of hits - 9. And the top three in the order of Bourn-Keppinger-Lee had six of them, going 6x13 with one run and one RBI. The difference was the hits w/RISP. The Braves were 6x10, and the Astros were 1x7, with Keppinger getting the lone hit. Pence, Lee, and Berkman were 0x6 combined with runners in scoring position. Matsui went 2x3 to raise his average to .200, and Blum got a pinch-hit single to raise his average to .326.
And the Astros drew only one walk - Berkman, naturally. Let's take a look at the OBPs of the starting lineup:
Bourn: .404 - he's off the hook.
Keppinger: .370 - so is he
Lee: .234 - he is not
Berkman: .318 - neither is he
Pence: .239 - neither is he
Feliz: .250 - neither is he
Matsui: .256 - neither is he
Towles: .235 - neither is he
Pitch Count Hero: Pence (0x4) - 20 pitches in four PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Towles (0x4) - 10 pitches in four PAs
Man of the Match: Should we even continue this? This is pathetic. Bourn and Keppinger are an option, but this is going to Jeff Fulchino, who got reliever Medlen, Prado, McCann, and Glaus - all swinging strikeouts.
Goat of the Game: It's not even close. Bud Norris, who needed twelve pitches per out.