Astros Clip Cards, Lee Hits Grand Slam, Rick's Reverse Psychology Works

Richard ZowieCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16:  Pitcher Wandy Rodriguez #51 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 16, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

"Rick," of course, is me. Only so much can be fit into a headline.

Readers of this blog know I've had a pessimistic approach to the Houston Astros that, no doubt, would prompt even Mr. Pessimist Woody Allen himself to call me and say, "Cheer up!"

What ails the Astros is something I've blogged about: Shaky starting pitching, inconsistent bullpen, lack of clutch hitting, Lance Berkman's slump, Drayton McLane, those gosh-awful uniforms that not even Calvin Klein could make look good.

Maybe I should whine about the Astros more often.

Courtesy of an 11-6 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Astros are now 48-46 and two games behind the Red Birds.

Wandy Rodriguez waved his magic pitching wand, going seven innings and giving up four hits and one earned run while walking none and striking out five. He's now 10-6 on the season with a 2.72 ERA.

And—get this—he also got a base hit! A double, if you can believe that. He raised his batting average to .053. If he keeps it up, maybe he'll get to order bats with his name on them.

The other big story in this games was Houston's hitting. Three home runs, including a grand slam by Carlos Lee in close to the same spot as his home run the previous night.

Games like this (good starting pitching and great hitting) are what can help Houston make noise this season.