Ok, there's some good news, so let's first dispense with the bad news, Houston Astros fans.
Bad news: At 22-28, the Astros are still dead last in the N.L. Central division, behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Maybe the Pirates could get a boost by having that famous pirate Jack Sparrow, a.k.a., Johnny Depp, toss out the first pitch sometime).
Good news: The 'Stros now have a three-game winning streak. They beat the Pirates and then have won their first two games of their four-game series against the Colorado Rockies. In those four games, the Astros pitchers haven't allowed more than two runs.
In Monday's 4-1 win over Colorado, Roy Oswalt picked up the victory to go 2-2 on the season. His line: seven innings, six hits, one earned run, two BB's and eight K's. He did give up a home run to--yep, you guessed it--Todd Helton.
Yes, I've whined in the past about Helton playing in the hitter-friendly Coors Field, but truth is, he's a very good hitter; I've never seen him play a game against Houston where he didn't get on base. Perhaps Astros pitchers should consider spiking his Coors beer with Prozac.
(I'm just kidding, of course).
You know it's been a choppy first half of the season for Roy O when he yields one run in seven innings and sees his season ERA dip to only 4.28. I keep getting this strange feeling that Drayton McLane will inexplicably this or next off-season trade Roy away in yet another "rebuilding" of Houston.
Last night's 3-2 win over the Mountain Beer Guzzlers saw Houston chip away with a run in the fifth, ninth and 11th innings. Miguel Tejada went 4-6, driving in all three runs for the Space Explorers--including the walk-off home run in the 11th inning. Tejada's hitting .362 on the season. Maybe other Houston batters should start using his bats.
The biggest thing about this game that concerned me was the bullpen. Sure, they did a great job holding Colorado at bay, but five relief pitchers tossed an inning apiece. Yes, I know it was an extra-inning game, but I wish Houston's bats and starting pitchers could give the bullpen some rest.