I have denied so many times to call any good streak the Astros might go through as their so-called "turning point", the moment which would turn their luck around, for good. However, it isn’t bad at all to see them ending a road trip in a positive note (for the first time since June 13), with a 4-2 record.
And those wins were achieved thanks to (yes, Thomas, I will say it) some explosive hitting, at least on the three-game series against the Diamondbacks. What a sharp contrast to the scarce offense we’ve seen throughout the season.
8 homers were belted from Friday to Sunday at Chase Field. At least, for the time being, it’s a 180-degree turn. So many times we’ve heard it was just a matter of having all players healthy. That seems to be the case, judging from recent results.
Morgan Ensberg might be Exhibit A for such a case. He seems to be returning to a productive form, similar to what we saw last year (please, don’t keep quiet on your injuries again). Since his return on August 1st, he has a .292 average, with 5 runs, 4 walks and a RBI.
Luke Scott is also on a wild pace, taking doubts away from him and proving us he’s for real. Without counting his performance on Sunday when the ‘Stros fell to the Diamondbacks 4-3, he had a .397 BA, product of 23 hits in 58 at-bats, with two home runs and 9 driven in since his return on July 13. Mike Lamb, who also went yard today, keeps a .320 BA, despite the fact he has seen his playing time dramatically decreased, due to the return of Ensberg and Scott, and the addition of Aubrey Huff to the lineup (he is also picking up pace). And we’re not forgetting Brad Ausmus and his grand slam.
Willy Taveras was a major factor for the Astros’ performance, in a welcome change: he hit .571 in the Arizona series, going 8-14, 2 runs driven in, a double and a homer, which got Houston closer on the scoreboard at the top of the ninth, in which the Astros fell short of at least tying the game and send it to extras.
Yet another side note: Did you take a good look at Fernando Nieve’s relief appearance on Saturday? Matt Albers was demoted and Nieve returned, showing some filthy stuff, a great slider and fastball. We were quite impressed with what we saw from him. It was a frame in which he didn’t allow any liberties to opposing batters. He has nothing else to do in Triple-A.
All the lumber was enough to cast a shadow in an appearance from Roy Oswalt that wasn’t Oswalt-like on Friday, granting 12 hits and earning 4 runs in 6 innings. The bullpen had some trouble of their own, including Brad Lidge and a script that is being played too often for our taste. On Saturday, Roger Clemens was business as usual: 3 runs and 8 hits in 7 innings; and on Sunday, Andy Pettitte took yet another loss despite some very bright moments, fanning 6.
I will not definitely call it "a turning point", but hey, it’s nice to see a healthy team having a good time. I hope it lasts.