It was one of those games that just felt bad from the beginning. Astro-killer Carlos Zambrano was on the mound for Miami and it appeared as though Wandy Rodriguez didn’t have his best stuff. Wandy didn’t have his normal velocity in the early going and was throwing very few curveballs. The Marlins hit the ball hard in the first inning but failed to score. Jose Reyes got picked off and a line drive off Wandy’s body was turned into the third out.
The Marlins finally broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Logan Morrison drew a walk with one out and moved to second on a wild pitch. Omar Infante hit a grounder to shortstop that could have been an inning ending double play were it not for the wild pitch. Giancarlo Stanton followed with a long homerun providing all the offense the Marlins would need. John Buck added a homer to lead off the fifth inning and then Wandy retired twelve in a row before allowing another homer to Hanley Ramirez leading off the ninth.
The Astros managed only three hits, all singles, against Zambrano. No Astros base runner reached second base in the game. It was the second straight game in which the Astros failed to collect an extra-base hit. It was also the second game in a row that featured three homeruns by the opposition. This is more like the Astros team we’ve become accustomed to seeing.
The recent five game winning streak had Astros fans, including myself, pretty excited- but reality is starting to sink in. The Astros have already played their best baseball of the season and still couldn’t reach the .500 mark. The offense had been playing over their heads as a group and Wandy has been the only starting pitcher to even approach consistency. Norris has been up-and-down (mostly down) and J.A. Happ looks to have rediscovered his ineffectiveness. Aneury Rodriguez joins the rotation tomorrow even though his numbers at AAA have been less than impressive.
The Marlins have won seven straight and send Anibal Sanchez to the mound at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. This matchup looks to heavily favor the Marlins and Houston fans might need to brace themselves for a losing streak reminiscent of those we’ve experienced over the last couple of seasons.
Yes, the bullpen was dependable during the recent winning streak. But if the starters can’t start getting it done it won’t matter what the bullpen does. After two more games with Miami, the Astros head east for three games in Pittsburgh and two in Philadelphia.