J.A. Happ (6-7, 4.83) vs Matt Garza (3-6, 4.06)
As we all wait with bated breath to see how soon Carlos Lee isn't an Astro, Houston actually played a baseball game today. J.A. Happ pitched well enough, and the Astros' offense had more hits today (10) than in the previous three games combined (9). But missed opportunities and baserunning blunders did them in, and Houston falls to the Cubs, 3-2. The Astros drop to 32-46 in 2012, and 2-4 in their last six games, against the two worst teams in baseball (Cubs & Padres).
*Happ's 6 IP / 5 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 4 BB / 6 K line gave him his third consecutive quality start, and lowered his season ERA slightly to 4.81. Fernando Abad pitched 1.1 scoreless with 2 K, and David Carpenter gave up a hit but no runs in recording the final two outs in the 8th, but Astros bats couldn't get the right hit at the right time to pick them up.
*Bucking the recent trend of only having one or two players with hits, only two Astros today did NOT get a hit - Carlos Lee (0 for 4) and Brian Bogusevic (0 for 3).
*Bogey did work a 4th inning walk against Matt Garza, so only El Caballo had the Dodger Blues and never got on base.
*Chris Johnson (2 for 3, BB), J.D. Martinez (2 for 4), and Scott Moore (2 for 4) all had multi-hit games.
*Even J.A. Happ got in on the act, going 1 for 2 against Garza.
*In spite of the 10 hits overall, Houston only had one XBH for the fourth straight game - a 3rd inning double by Scott Moore.
*Getting on base against Garza was surprisingly easy (9 H / 3 BB in 5.1 IP), but staying there was the Astros' problem. Houston baserunners were tagged out at least once at every base, plus one (Martinez) in no man's land between second and third, and Houston batters hit into three double plays.
J.A. Happ had a 2-0 lead with two out and one on in the bottom of the 5th, then a Starlin Castro single made it 2-1, but that wasn't the end of it. Choirs sang and angels wept, and Cubs' Lord & Savior Anthony Rizzo launched his first big league homer to give them a 3-2 lead and ultimately the win.
Man of the Match:
Sticking with the pitching trend and giving it to J.A. Happ. In spite of the homer, he pitched better than Garza today and deserved the win.
Goat of the Game:
Carlos Lee. 0 for 4, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 4 LOB. Trade talk is understandably distracting, but it showed on the field today, and it might have cost the Astros the game.