Houston Astros Provide No Resistance to the Cincinnati Reds

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer ISeptember 1, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 31: Brett Wallace #29 of the Houston Astros doubles in the eighth inning as Wilson Valdez #15 of the Cincinnati Reds applies the tag at Minute Maid Park on August 31, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Astros managed to trade away one of their few remaining actual major leaguers while remaining a punching bag for contending teams.

According to Sports Illustrated, Ben Francisco, who came over in the massive nine player deal with Toronto on July 20th, has been shipped off to the Tampa Bay Rays for the always popular Player-To-Be Named-Later. Hopefully his 31 days as an Astro were memorable. The Rays will be his fourth major league team since 2011.

While Francisco returned to the major leagues, the Astros continued their farewell tour of the National League with a 9-3 drubbing at the hands of the Reds.

At one point it looked like the Astros were going to put up a fight. The Reds took the lead 2-0 on a second-inning Zack Cozart two-run homer. But Houston fought back. They hit back-to-back homers by Fernando Martinez and Matt Dominguez, who came over from the Marlins in the Carlos Lee deal. The score was tied.

Did the mini-home run barrage mean the Astros were going to come back?

Of course it didn't. Jay Bruce homered the very next inning, Mike Leake got the win and there was no need to pitch Aroldis Chapman.

The Reds got their 81st win, clinching at least a .500 record for the year. They have moved 9.5 games ahead of the Cardinals and are looking to do what everyone else is doing: padding their win total in Houston.

The Astros' record under interim skipper Tony DeFrancesco is 1-10. If the team loses one of the next two games against Cincinnati (the odds are in the Reds' favor) the Astros will have lost seven straight series.

If DeFrancesco wants to remove the "interim" label from his title, he should make his win total plural.

The loss, the 92nd for the team, makes them officially the ninth worst team in the history of the franchise.

For the sake of the remaining Houston baseball fans and the other teams in the playoff chase, hopefully the Astros will pick it up and win a little more at the very least to play spoiler.

It starts later today. Homer Bailey against the Astros Lucas Harrell, who has pitched very well but with bad luck.

Of their remaining 30 games, 17 are against either the Reds, Pirates and Cardinals. It would be nice for baseball to see them put up a little bit of resistance.