Last night in St. Louis the Houston Astros didn’t just lose. They did it with flair.
J.A. Happ had another rough start last night as he gave up 7 hits and 6 runs and walked 3 hitters in a mere 4.2 innings. At one point Houston fans had to be a little bit wishful that MLB had a mercy rule as it was painful to watch them get scored on time and time again. It wasn’t just the pitching although that was a major part of it. The outfield missed several defensive plays to contribute to the Cardinals run count.
In typical fashion, the Astros fought back. In fact, they were prolific hitters with 11 hits in the game. The problem offensively was once again their inability to make those hits productive. If this team manages to improve in any one area through the rest of this season, as much as I’d love to see it be the pitching, plating runners would be near the top of my list.
The offense was not without a few standouts as Jose Altuve, who fans on twitter have taken to calling #PocketJesus for his hitting prowess and size, went 3-4 with two doubles and a single. And then in the top of the 8th inning with the bases loaded, Carlos Lee found the elevation his hitting has been missing and sent one over the left field wall for his 16th career grand slam. It was a moment that gave hope to Houston fans, but that hope was dashed shortly thereafter as Clint Barmes grounded into a force out and Jose Altuve was robbed by an outstanding catch by Colby Rasmus. The ninth inning would see no more run production, ending the game with another Houston loss (10-5).
I’ve tried all season long to look at the bright side, celebrate the small achievements of the Astros and keep a positive spin. Last night it was almost impossible to keep my chin up. At one point I thought, “Why don’t we just trade them all!”
The Astros will get three more chances against the Cardinals who are currently tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the lead in the NL Central. I won’t hold my breath and hopefully I can see the silver linings as this series presses on in what has come to feel, for Houston fans, like the longest baseball season known to man.
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can read her Astros blog atÂ www.talesfromthejuicebox.com, email her atÂ email@example.com, or follow her on twitter @agirlinthesouth.