Astros let division rival
Cardinals fly the coup
The Astros lost to the St. Louis Cardinals,
4-1, Tuesday, at Astros Field, losing seven of their last eight games showing
just what's going wrong
They have a miserable record against the
Cardinals, who have defeated them eight times out of the last 10 games.
The Astros had snapped
their six-game losing steak, by defeating
the Chicago Cubs with a comeback in the late innings to seal the victory.
But this Memorial Day did not prove to
be lucky to them as they lost by one run. The Astros had 10 base runners
in the first six innings but
scored only one run, when the Cardinals
used four double plays to shut down the Astros. To make matters more frustrating,
stranded three runners at third.
That Astros are fourth in the National
League Central Division with the Cincinnati Reds being on top. The Mets
and Braves lead the NL East
and Arizona leads the NL West.
The Red Sox, Twins and Mariners lead the
American League East, Central and West divisions, respectively.
This season the Astros have faced a severe
power struggle, except for Lance Berkman. Jeff Bagwell has not hit a home
run in 36 trips to the
plate, Richard Hidalgo in 35, Orlando
Merced in 41 and Daryle Ward hasn't hit a dinger in his last 139 plate
appearances. Lance Berkman has
been exceptional this season, and scored
2 home runs out of the 3 runs they scored against the Cardinals on Monday.
The season has seen the Astros struggle
to win games when they haven't scored. Again this season the Astros find
themselves six games
under .500, causing the fans to leave
the park depressed.
Recent seasons have witnessed a severe
dip in the offense. The feared batting order has been disappointing this
season to such an extent
that even struggling pitchers have had
success against them.
On the injury front, Wade Miller is coming
off the disabled list to start Wednesday against the Cardinals, with Tim
Redding temporarily being
Redding struggled in his first two starts
after being brought up from New Orleans' Triple A team to take Miller's
spot in the rotation, lasting only
two and three innings, respectively, in
a pair of losses. After being asked whether Miller would be able to go
deep in the game, manager Jimy
Williams said, " Hopefully, but at least
we have some protection because that actually would have been Redding's
day to pitch anyway."
T. J. Mathews, on the disabled list with
a strained right biceps is making steady progress and should be playing
long toss Wednesday.
On the positive side, Roy Oswalt is coming
off his best starts of the season. He scattered seven hits and one run
with one walk and 11
strike-outs over eight innings in a 3-1
victory over the Pirates. Oswalt, who has allowed only one home run over
his last 63 innings (the fourth
longest streak in the majors this season),
has pitched at least six innings in all eight starts this season, including
seven quality starts.
The Astros face the St. Louis Cardinals
again on Wednesday hoping to earn a badly needed victory, which will give
the players some
confidence and lift the gloom in the clubhouse.
Sooner or later, the Astros must find an
answer for their batting woes. Oswalt could stand to pitch with a lead
every once in a while. He can't be
expected to be perfect to earn a victory.
Manager Jimy Williams believes the Astros
will find their bearings right away any time, but no one seems to have
the answer. The Astros are
trying hard to get back to winning ways,
with their fans being left to extend their hands, hoping their team gives
them something to cheer about.