It was a brutal week for the Astros, winning only once in six home games. That made this week’s award one of the easiest choices of the season. Bud Norris was a shining star in an otherwise dark and scary abyss. Norris was responsible for the week’s only victory and flirted with history in the process. Bud squared off against the Cardinals on Wednesday night and continued his personal dominance of the division leaders. Norris had held the Redbirds hitless through six and 2/3 innings when our old pal Lance Berkman stepped up to the plate. After a pitch that appeared to be ball four was called a strike, Berkman blasted a homerun into the rightfield bleachers. Berkman has come back to haunt his former team this season and already has more homers than he had last year. That was the only hit Norris allowed in eight innings of work. Mark Melancon pitched the ninth to earn his sixth save and deserves an honorable mention for his three scoreless outings during the week.
Carlos Lee gets runner-up honors. El Caballo accumulated a .615 on-base percentage by going 9 for 19 and drawing seven walks in six games. Lee managed to drive in five runs even though pitchers were attempting to pitch around him on a regular basis. Hunter Pence stayed hot and has extended his hitting streak to 22 games. Lower back tightness forced Pence to sit out his first game of the season today. Hunter sustained the injury during Friday night’s game and hopes to return to action tomorrow. Wandy Rodriguez will come off the disabled list to make the start against Atlanta in the finale of a four game series. The Astros have really missed Wandy’s magic since the lefty went on the shelf with fluid on his pitching elbow. The Astros are now 2-8 over the last ten games and Norris has picked up both wins. Pittsburgh comes to town Tuesday as the season’s longest homestand continues. Hopefully the Astros can right the ship against the perennial cellar dwelling Buccos. Then it’s off to L.A. for me and the Astros. I will be going into the unfriendly confines of Dodger Stadium for two games next weekend. Although the rest of the league will be playing interleague games the schedule-makers paired us up with the Dodgers instead of the Angels. Anaheim would have been a nicer destination but I guess I will have to take my chances with the less refined lowlifes that frequent Chavez Ravine.