Astros Vs. Nationals Recap: Houston Had Its Opportunities

HOUSTON - AUGUST 03: J.D. Martinez #14 of the Houston Astros hits a two run home run in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Minute Maid Park on August 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Someone has to root for the worst team in baseball and for past couple of years, it's been Astros fans. Houston continued its quest to record breaking failure this week against the Washington Nationals.

So the Astros played another series and true to form, they were unsuccessful against the NL East division leading Washington Nationals. Not much of a surprise there. The Nationals have possessed some of the best pitching in baseball this season, while the Stros haven't shown anything that we could call "best."

That doesn't take away from Houston fighting in this series, particularly in those first two games that resulted in extra innings victories for the Nationals. One likes to believe that once a game goes to extra innings, both teams have earned a certain level of respect for the day, despite the fact that someone has to be a loser.

I felt that way watching the Astros this week and it led to some reflection. No one wants to root for the worst team in Major League Baseball, but guess what? Someone has to. For right now, that's Astros fans.

No need to go through the particulars of the Nationals sweep. You can read all about it at this StoryStream.

Let's discuss J.D. Martinez for a second. J.D. hasn't been very good this season. He plays for the Astros, so that should explain quite a bit. Still, he's headed to Class AAA ball for the first time in his career, which has to be a debilitating blow for young player who's with the league's worst team.

If you can't stick on the Astros' Major League roster -- again we can't stress this enough, the worst in the game -- then whose team do you belong on and how much improvement do you need?

J.D. had an 0-for-4 Thursday, was hitting .235 with a .308 on-base percentage and a .373 slugging percentage. As Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle mentioned, much of the production came early in the season with a strong April especially.

Here's manager Brad Mills on J.D. via Levine:

"He's in a situation where he's kind of going through a little funk. Because he's got that option left, I think it's better if he's to get out of that funk in the next couple weeks at the AAA level instead of trying to work on that here."

That just doesn't make much sense to me. I get the idea of maybe getting J.D. back into a rhythm by going against inferior pitching over the next several weeks, but my concern is whether or not this messes with his confidence or damages him for good. After all, he's never been demoted in his professional career.

Well, here's J.D. Martinez:

"You never expect it. But I'm going to try to take it positive and just try to get my swing - the same swing that got me here."

Read more on the Astros at The Crawfish Boxes and SB Nation Houston. Head over to Federal Baseball and SB Nation DC for more on the Nationals. Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis around Major League Baseball.

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