HOUSTON - JUNE 08: Pitcher Bud Norris, center, of the Houston Astros talks with J.A. Happ #30 and Jordan Lyles after being removed from the game at Minute Maid Park on June 8, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
One game it's the back end pitching, another it's the entire batting lineup. The Houston Astros face all sorts of issues.
If only the Houston Astros had the out-of-nowhere kind of production at the plate for the entire series against the Kansas City Royals, maybe they would've managed to put up more than one run through two games facing the likes of Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen.
But that's not the way it went down. No, the Astros barely avoided a sweep against the Royals, had it not been for the mini-home run derby in the series opener.
It's a bit interesting comparing the opener to the finale because Houston faced such drastically opposing issues. We had Monday night in which the Stros scored nine runs uncharacteristically, with Brett Myers almost giving the game away when he gave up five runs in the ninth inning (also uncharacteristic).
Houston's offense didn't show up at all in Tuesday's 2-0 loss, but Wednesday saw the Stros put up eight hits, at least attempting to threat an act of run production.
Still, it was the second consecutive game when starting pitching put the team in a decent position to win, and the second consecutive game the bats couldn't pull through.
Just as Wandy Rodriguez had done the day before, Jordan Lyles took the Stros through the seventh inning having only given up a pair of runs. It's just that Houston whiffed for 14 strikeouts and managed to leave 23 runners on base, going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
"One of these games, we're going to put everything together," Lyles told the Houston Chronicle after Wednesday's loss.
The truth is that KC's offense isn't much better than Houston's, but its timeliness proved to outmatch anything positive the Stros could put together.
So Monday, the batters were the heroes and Myers of all people turned into the goat, even in a win. Tuesday was uneventful at best, before Wednesday' head-scratching loss for Lyles. It just goes to show much the situation changes from game to game, and with a team like Houston, there is no such thing as a sure thing.