Well, at least the Astros made it interesting tonight. Manager Brad Mills used 9 pitchers in Houston’s 10 inning loss to Milwaukee. The Houston bullpen went 3.2 2-hit innings after relieving J.A. Happ. However, this was before Mills brought in the ‘Killer L’s’. The disastrous duo had pitched well recently but it turns out it was simply a mirage. Brandon Lyon had a one run lead in the ninth but blew the save on a Ryan Braun double. This after Houston had battled back from a 5-0 deficit in the bottom of the 5th. Then Lyon’s partner in crime, Matt Lindstrom, came on in the tenth and gave up 2 earned runs on 3 hits without recording an out. Gustavo Chacin relieved Lindstrom and sat down all three batters he faced to give the Astros a last fighting chance but they failed to score. I guess if you live by terrible relievers, you’ll die by terrible relievers. And in the case of the Killer L’s, death seems to come more often.
Tonight’s loss leaves the Astros’ magic number at 6 with 16 games remaining. Let’s break down the remaining schedule and probable starters (at-least the starters as I would schedule them):
3 games in Minute Maid against the Reds (Rodriguez, Figueroa, Myers)
4 games @ the Washington Nationals (Norris, Happ, Rodriguez, Figueroa)
3 games @ Pittsburgh (Myers, Norris, Happ)
3 games @ Cincinnati (Rodriguez, Myers, Norris)
3 games at home vs the Cubs (Happ, Figueroa, Rodriguez)
To finish the season at .500, Houston has to go 11-5 in their remaining games. This will certainly be a challenge with 6 games remaining against the division leading Reds. However, if the rotation is set up as I expect it to, Houston has their two best pitchers, Rodriguez and Myers, pitching 4 of the 6 games. One caveat I will add to the suggested rotation I’ve shown is if Felipe Paulino is ready for a major league start, he would take Nelson Figueroa’s spot. The second off day allows for Myers and Norris to skip one of Figueroa’s starts and delay his last start to the Cubs series rather than @ the Reds. Here’s hoping to an 11-5 finish….