Couple big moves by the Astros, both on and off the field. Most importantly, we righted our ship by sweeping the Reds behind spectacular pitching by Wandy, Pettitte and Roy O.
Wandy: 5 IP, 1 ER
Pettitte: 7 IP, 0 ER
Roy: 5 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 11 K!
And we actually scored some runs -- 18 of them. Roy remained a perfect 15-0 against the Reds in 19 career appearances against Cincy. He's been complaining of fatigue and dead arm, so it's good to see Garner's going easy on his pitch and inning count. Pettitte says he's "a better pitcher right now than ever before." Since the All-Star break, he has been our best pitcher: 7-2, 1.60 ERA, 0.96 WHIP. And Wandy has been a pleasant surprise. With his tremendous run support, he's definitely keepin us in games.
Off the field, we sent Humberto Quintero and Mike Burns to New Orleans and called up Raul Chavez, Travis Driskill and Charles Gipson. We're basically swapping out our worst hitter and worst pitcher and adding a little speed. Why not?
I still have high hopes for HQ, mostly because of that nickname. I think he's displayed decent pop in the minors, and he just turned 26. (Note: my "high hopes" are realistic... maybe a .700 OPS? I don't see him as an adequate starter anytime soon.) Apparently Raul Chavez is a much better defensive catcher. Or at least our pitchers prefer him behind the plate.
Gipson is a speedster and can pinch-run un the late innings. I don't expect him to get any playing time. Burns wasn't getting it done: nine ER in his last five innings. Driskill is a non-factor: a career 5.29 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. He's got mop-up duty.
Now then, we got a huge series against the Cardinals this weekend:
Friday, 8:05 ET: Mark Mulder (15-6, 3.74 ERA) vs. Ezeqiuel Astacio (2-6, 6.03)
Saturday, 7:05 ET: Chris Carpenter (19-4, 2.29) vs. Roger Clemens (11-6, 1.51)
Sunday, 2:05 ET : Jason Marquis (10-13, 4.42) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (9-6, 5.94)
Wow. Saturday's matchup will be phenomenal. Unfortunately, Mulder went 10 innings last time we saw him. Hopefully we'll do better this time around.