Houston Astros' Bullpen Frustrates Mike 'Hard Luck' Hampton

Richard ZowieCorrespondent IJuly 1, 2009

KISSIMMEE, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Pitcher Mike Hampton #11 of the Houston Astros poses during photo day at Atros spring training complex on February 21, 2009 in Kissimmee, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

I imagine right now Houston Astros pitcher Mike Hampton is in his San Diego hotel room, vacantly staring out at the Pacific Ocean. No, he's not mourning the deaths of recent celebrities (such as that one who famously sang a song called "Pretty Young Thing").

Instead, he's wondering: "What more do I have to do to get a win?!"

Hampton pitched and hit a great game last night: six innings, four hits, one earned run, one walk, six strikeouts. He also went 1-2 at the plate to raise his season batting average to .360.

But Hampton, who entered the game 4-5 on the season, remains one win below .500 as the Astros bullpen failed to hold the lead.

Chris Sampson yielded three runs in the seventh inning to earn his first loss of the season as the San Diego Padres rallied to defeat the Houston Astros 4-3. It's safe to say that Sampson, who entered the game with a 2.66 season ERA, simply had an off night.

Still, an encouraging night. The first four in the Astros' lineup reached base seven times, all but one on hits.

Also encouraging was Roy Oswalt's pitching performance against the Padres the night before: a complete-game two-hitter where he yielded only one run, walked two and struck out eight. With a 4.02 ERA, another great outing or two and Roy O's ERA will dip into the three's.

Houston's now 36-39 on the season.