It was just a week ago that the Astros beat the San Francisco Giants two out of three games in Houston. So when the battle moved to the West coast many assumed the hometown Giants would easily handle the last place ‘Stros in four games. Not so fast. In a series where runs were sparce and pitching was immaculate, the Houston Astros managed to take two of four games, splitting this series, but taking the season series, 4 games to 3.
If there’s anything that fans can be proud of (other than the winning itself) it’s the pitching in this series. We saw a great outing from Henry Sosa on admittedly little rest. We saw JA Happ come back up from AAA OKC and put together one of the best outings we’ve seen from him this season. We saw Brett Myers look like the Brett of late last season. And finally today, we saw Bud Norris pitch against his childhood team with fantastic efficiency and a crazy number of strikes. It was a pitching-palooza for Houston.
Unfortunatly, the Giants pitching was spot on as well, hence the low scoring games and close finishes. Despite the two losses in San Francisco, Houston proved it can hang with the best when they’re playing their best. Not once did this team roll over and give up. Not once did this team look defeated. They battled all the way through.
Today especially, there were surprises for me in the offensive victories. Carlos Lee had more hustle than I’ve come to expect from him as he managed to stretch 2 hits both into doubles – the second resulting in a slide that led to a mild right ankle sprain. He’s not expected to miss any playing time as a result. In addition, in the 10th inning Jason Michaels clocked one into left center for an RBI double that let Houston take the lead 3-2. The Giants would counter back at the bottom of the 10th, but still an outstanding hit from JMike.
There was also help from the offense that I’ve come to expect. Jimmy Paredes (who is one of my favorites of the new kids) was 3-4 scoring 2 of the Astros 4 runs. Jordan Schafer is making himself known on his new team as well, as he went 1-4 today with 1 run, 1 RBI and 1 walk. A big day for him, indeed. And Jose Altuve, pinch hitting for Lee, was 1-1 (2B) with a run. That run came on a single from former Giant, Matt Downs, proved to be the game winner.
Interestingly enough, lately I’ve come to expect the new guys, the kids, to be the hotshots in any Houston game. That was not the case today. It was most definitely a team effort. Without Study, Cudly Budly pitching an amazing game, without Lee’s obvious efforts, without Paredes hitting or without Down’s and JMike’s well-placed hits this game would have ended much differently. It was great to see the plays come from all parts of the team.
It’s too little too late in this season, but still, I’m happy to see the Astros come together a bit. Now if only we could see some consistency in the lineup that Brad Mills puts together perhaps we could see this sort of success a bit more often down the stretch. I don’t know about you but for me the “guess the lineup” game is getting old. I understand that the rookies can’t start each and every game, but a little consistency would go a long way to the team getting into a groove. Consider it, Brad, will ya?
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can read her Astros blog at www.talesfromthejuicebox.com, email her at email@example.com, or follow her on twitter @agirlinthesouth.