Why They Lost
Because Bud Norris kind of sucks this year. And in the one game that the Astros' offense comes alive, and spot Norris a 4-0 lead, he nuts it (as well as Moehler. And Sampson.)
|Norris||5||6/4 (5R)||10:3||114-68 (59.6%)||25/19|
Brutal. 10 of the 15 outs that Norris recorded were by strikeout, but he allowed nine baserunners in 5IP. In his nine starts this season, Norris has recorded that sixteenth out (5.1IP+) just once. Things were fine until the 3rd inning. Ben Zobrist took an 0-2 pitch to right for a homer. Carl Crawford was safe on a Manzella error. Jaso pops out, Carlos Pena singles in Crawford, to cut the lead to 4-2. In the 5th, then, Carl Crawford drew a one out walk when Norris got the count to 2-2, and John Jaso homered. Hank Blalock homered two batters later. Norris day was done. Norris now has six Disaster Starts (More, or equal, number of runs allowed as innings pitched).
Then Moehler comes in for the sixth, gives up three singles, a double, and two runs, and his day is over.
When Sampson comes in for Fulchino, he gives up a single, double, triple, and three runs.
So everybody blew today. Except for Gustavo Chacin, whose 1.69 ERA was rewarded with a demotion to Round Rock. Chacin was the only pitcher to not allow a baserunner, so naturally he'll get sent down (we'll get to this in a different post).
What do you do with Bud Norris? Demote him? Hell and no, you don't. You run him out there for 35 starts, like you ran Michael Bourn out there all season long in 2008 and let him figure it out. It's not like he's costing us wins. It's not like we'd be four games out, and looking at Norris' record thinking, "That sumbitch is holding us back." On-the-job training. Like Wal-Mart.
The Astros got four extra-base hits - and that's the most they've had in a game since May 9 against San Diego (and four all season). That's also more extra-base hits today than they had in the four previous games. Doubles for Keppinger and Quintero, and homers from Pedro Feliz (that's 1000 homers in Minute Maid. At this rate, it'll be 2104 before they hit 2000) and Hunter Pence. Pence has seven homers, easily the team lead. It's the Astros' 5th 2-homer game of the season, and they haven't had more than that all season.
The Astros scored four runs in the 1st inning, which is the first time they've scored more than two runs in the 1st. They've only scored 4+ runs in an inning six times this season.
So when the Astros start the second in the lead, they're now 2-6.
Pitch Count Hero: Pence (2x4) - 22 pitches in five PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Keppinger (3x5) - 14 pitches in five PAs.
Man of the Match: Hunter Pence.
Goat of the Game: Bud Norris.