The Houston Astros have had their fourth straight “good” start by a starting pitcher, but have lost their third game in a row.
Through four games, the Astros’ starting pitchers have thrown 21.2 innings and only given up six runs that totals up a 2.49 ERA. That stat alone is easily good enough to win all four games. The problem is the Astros hitters have yet to do anything at the plate other than on Opening Night. Everyone should have known the Astros were going to strikeout a lot this season, but the hitters are way too aggressive. They’re swinging and missing at pitches in the dirt, balls up at their eyes and balls in the other batters box. Okay, maybe the last part was a little bit dramatized, but not by much. Every starting pitcher the Astros have faced so far this season has set their career high in strikeouts. Now that is one thing no team wants to have happen.
Brad Peacock was the latest to have a good start wasted. He may not have thrown five innings today, but I was pleasantly surprised with his first start of the 2013 season. The only reason he was removed during his fifth inning of work was because of his pitch count. Other than his first shaky inning where his pitch count got near 30 and he gave up a lead off home run, he did really well. He had his curve spinning nicely, but the Oakland Athletics‘ hitters weren’t fishing for it, so that drove his pitch count up early. Also, he wasn’t getting on top of his fastball early on, but he settled in and had a solid outing. I am already anxious for his next start. I believe Peacock could become a solid big league pitcher for the Astros.
The bats woke up late in the game. The Astros stopped striking out as much, and actually made contact. Surprised? I was. Maybe this is a sign that this slow start is just that, a slow start.
However, the defense made one critical error tonight. Marwin Gonzalez booted a would be inning ending double play ball that ended up leading to the A’s scoring seven runs in the inning. If that error never happened, the Astros would have won. But, young teams make those mistakes, and they lose games they should have won.
Starting pitcher Eric Bedard was pushed back till Tuesday, so his first start as an Astros pitcher will be in Seattle. So instead of Bedard pitching tomorrow, it will be Bud Norris on Saturday, and Lucas Harrell on Sunday. If the bats have in fact woken up, this series is very winnable for the Astros.