Star Performer of the Week April 11-17
This week saw the Astros tally three wins and four losses. That’s better than the 2-7 start, but since all of this week’s games were played at home it’s not really the result we were looking for. Michael Bourn, Mark Melancon, Bud Norris, and Hunter Pence made nice contributions. But none of those players stood head and shoulders above the rest. Matt Downs has been swinging a hot bat and earned some extra playing time. Downs went 5 for 11 with a homer and two walks, which was enough to rate as this week’s runner-up.
It was a tough decision for me this time around. After careful deliberation the winner is: Brett Myers. The ace of the Houston staff had two quality starts resulting in one win and a no-decision. Myers allowed only one run in seven innings of work in Tuesday’s win over the Cubs. Myers came back today and battled for six innings, leaving with a 6-3 lead. Brett would have picked up his second win of the week were it not for some questionable bullpen moves made by skipper Brad Mills. I thought Jose Valdez would be brought in to pitch the seventh with a three run lead. After all, Valdez had been closing out games at AAA Oklahoma City. Instead Mills opted to go with Fernando Abad, who has been ineffective of late. Abad screwed the pooch, making two errors on one play and was again unable to complete an inning. Mark Melancon was asked to finish the seventh and pitch the eighth even though he had already appeared in nine of the first fourteen games. Needless to say that didn’t work out either. Valdez was finally summoned to pitch the ninth. But it was too late. The once healthy lead was now a two run deficit. The 28 year-old from the Dominican Republic was impressive in his big league debut. Valdez hit 97 on the radar gun with at least one pitch and was consistently clocked at 95 or 96. His breaking pitches were working too. Both of the first two hitters he faced fanned on three pitches. Valdez then walked a batter before getting a comebacker to complete the inning.
Myers was robbed of his second win of the week, in my opinion. The big righty struck out 10 while walking only two in his 13 innings of work for the week. A consumate professional, Myers would never throw his manager or teammates under the bus. So I’ve gone ahead and done that for him. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing Brett. Maybe Mills will learn from his mistakes.