In case you missed it this weekend, the Astros opened up the second half of the season getting swept by the Mariners. While there were obviously some low lights, there were also a few positives to take from the last three games.
Brandon Barnes (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
The Astros lost the three games 10-7, 4-2, and 12-5. However, Saturday’s game was the only one in which the Astros were competitive.
Let’s take a look at three positives from this past series and three negatives.
1. Brandon Barnes hit for the cycle. It doesn’t get any better than that for the 27 year old outfielder. After beginning to play everyday, Barnes has started to be exposed by opposing pitchers. Heading into Friday’s game, he only had three hits in July combined before getting five of them while hitting for the cycle. The hope here is that Barnes can continue the positive momentum. Bo Porter gave the centerfielder the start in each of the next two games and Barnes went 1-4 each game while driving in and scoring a run on Sunday.
2. Erik Bedard‘s 6.1 no hit innings. Bedard’s start Saturday night is the perfect example of why no two baseball games are ever alike. When you sit down to watch a game on any given day, you truly never know what you are going to get. The southpaw gave up two runs in the sixth inning without giving up a hit. He then left in the seventh inning with a man on base, having thrown 109 pitches. Jose Cisnero relieved Bedard and gave up the only hit Seattle had in the game, an RBI double by Michael Saunders for the only earned run of the game. Although it may have appeared to be odd that he asked out of the game, I can’t say I blame Bedard, as he is the one that knows his body the best. Plus this outing certainly boosts whatever trade value the left hander would have.
3. Even though the Astros got swept this weekend, their offense at least showed a little bit of life. Their pitching let them down both on Friday and Sunday, but they did not quit. In each game they at least made the final score look somewhat respectable by showing some fight. Now they still really never had a chance to win either of the two games, but at least they showed some life.
1. Bud Norris‘ two bad innings. This has been a reoccurring problem for the right hander. For the sixth inning I think Norris and Bo Porter share the blame because it was debatable whether or not he should have been out there. But Norris had a perfectly good outing going through the first three innings. Then he got into trouble, couldn’t get out of it, and gave up four runs in the fourth inning. Norris has come a long way this season, but he will need to still get better at limiting the damage and limiting his pitch counts.
2. Jordan Lyles. This is the second straight bad outing for Lyles and his third in his last five. He gave up nine runs on Sunday for his worst outing of the season. Lyles’ ERA is now 4.78 on the season, and it is something to keep an eye on going forward. I understand he is still a young pitcher trying to find his way and grow into a major league starter, but his window of opportunity is slowly closing as the Astros’ stable of minor league prospects is getting closer to Houston.
3. 16, 7, 9. Those are the hit totals the Astros registered respectively in each game this series. 32 hits in three games. With hit totals like that, you should not be getting swept. The pitchers (both starting and relieving) need to do a better job of keeping the team in the game. But more importantly, the Astros need to start stringing together some hits and getting some rallies going.