Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’
Remember last year when Roy Oswalt‘s biggest problem was a club-record 16 no-decisions? Those were the good times.
The lack of run support for Oswalt this season has been nothing short of shocking. Oswalt has given the Astros nine quality starts out of the chute and is stuck with a 2-6 record despite a 2.66 ERA that’s among the best in the league. Sure, Oswalt has started games against Tim Lincecum (twice), Roy Halladay and Ubaldo Jimenez, but there was also a Bronson Arroyo and Ian Kennedy in the mix.
Considering the Astros are last in the NL in nearly every major offensive category, the abysmal run support shouldn’t be surprising. Still, it’s even more egregious when Oswalt is on the mound. The Astros have scored four runs in 39 innings this year in Oswalt’s six losses and have been shut out in two of his nine starts and held to two runs or fewer four other times.
Oswalt, who expressed some frustration last week in San Francisco after giving up two runs in seven innings in his second loss of the season to Lincecum, said all the right things after getting beat by Jimenez and the Rockies on Thursday. But no one summed up Oswalt’s plight better than teammate Michael Bourn.
“You feel for somebody like that, who’s going out there and throwing hard and has been putting in all the work and not saying anything about it, but you know it hurts,” Bourn said. “I would be hurt if I were the ace and we weren’t getting any runs behind him.
“He’s got all the right to be mad if he wants to. He deserves to win. He should be 5-1, 6-1, easily, just like Lincecum and Halladay. We’ve just got to put up some runs for him. You give him a comfortable lead, two or three runs, and he doesn’t have to be as fine. He doesn’t think he has to do this and do that and can just go out there and pitch.”
Oswalt’s next start should come Wednesday at Milwaukee against left-hander Chris Narveson, who’s got twice as many wins as Oswalt and double the ERA. Sometimes life — and baseball — isn’t fair.
The Astros had just swept the division-leading Cardinals in St. Louis and had themselves within 6 1/2 games of first place. Life was not good, but it was certainly as good as it could be for a team that endured two eight-game losing streaks in the first five weeks of the season.
But San Francisco has been nothing short of a nightmare for the Astros in recent years. They were crushed 22-0 in their first two games by the Bay last year and suffered an 8-2 loss in Friday’s series opener. Saturday’s game, which the Astros lost 2-1, brought out even more frustration.
They were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the ninth.
The big story was Roy Oswalt. He pitched his eighth consecutive quality start to begin the season, holding the Giants to six hits and two runs on a two-run homer. Of course, he was outdueled by Giants ace Tim Lincecum, who allowed four hits, five walks and one run in eight innings.
Oswalt was clearly upset about the lack of run support.
“I knew I needed to probably throw a shutout, you know, maybe we can get one [run],” he said. “A pitch backed up on me on a slider. I was trying to go down and away, and it backed up over the plate.”
Teammate Lance Berkman was asked point-blankly what he thought of Oswalt’s comments about the lack of run support: “We’re a team, you know what I’m saying?” he said. “As much as you want to cry for a guy not getting run support, it’s a team game. We win as a team, we lose as a team, and we lost today. I certainly understand his frustration, but it’s not like we’re not trying. We’re out there grinding them out and trying to score some runs, and it hasn’t happened.”
And with that, the 13-23 Astros will try to beat Barry Zito, who’s 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA, in Sunday’s series finale.
The Astros, who lost to the Giants 8-2 on Friday night, will battle San Francisco again at 3:10 p.m. today in a terrific pitching match-up between Roy Oswalt and Tim Lincecum. Oswalt is 2-4 with a 2.63 ERA, but has seven quality starts. Lincecum, who beat Oswalt on Opening Day, is 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA.
Oswalt is the only pitcher with seven quality starts in all seven of his outings. It’s the most quality starts to begin a season for an Astros starter since Roger Clemens began the 2005 season with nine. He has received the second-lowest run support in the NL at 2.44 runs. Teammate Felipe Paulino has received the lowest run support.
Oswalt was great at AT&T Park last year, alowing one run on three hits in eight innings to rescue the Astros after they had been outscored 22-0 in the first two games of the series. He’s 5-6 in his career against San Francisco.
The Astros didn’t have Lance Berkman in the lineup when they lost to the Giants on Opening Day, and Berkman is on fire. He’s 9-for-18 with five runs scored, four walks, three doubles, two homers and five RBIs in his last five games, and Hunter Pence has also caught fire. He has a six-game hiting streak (.440) and has homers in four of his last five games. He’s hitting .333 in his last 17 games.
Here’s the Astros’ lineup:
CF Michael Bourn
2B Kaz Matsui
1B Lance Berkman
LF Carlos Lee
RF Hunter Pence
3B Pedro Feliz
C Humberto Quintero
SS Tommy Manzella
P Roy Oswalt
Here is the ultimate silver lining: the Astros won’t have to face Tim Lincecum on Tuesday night. It was evident from the first inning on Monday’s opener they had little chance against the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, who puzzled Houston for seven scoreless innings.
Lincecum is the best in the game, and the Astros weren’t up to the challenge. Still, Astros manager Brad Mills had to have liked what he saw from shortstop Tommy Manzella, who made every play at his position and even added a hit. J.R. Towles had an RBI double in the ninth, and were there two bigger question marks on offense than Manzella and Towles?
That being said, Tuesday’s game is huge. Not in the grand scheme of things, but for Wandy Rodriguez, who will make his first start of the season. Rodriguez had an awful spring and was roughed up mightily in his regular-season finale, so alarm bells could be warranted if he has a poor start. But a good start would pretty much wipe the slate clean.
The Astros will face lefty Barry Zito on Tuesday, so we could see Chris Johnson make his first start at third base. Johnson, as you know, had eight homers in the spring, so I think everyone is anxious to see him out there in the regular season and not rotting on the bench like he did last September.