After falling to the Phillies 2-1 at Minute Maid Park on Sunday, the Astros remain the only winless team left in the majors. Right-hander Roy Halladay threw a complete game for Philadelphia, giving up seven hits and a single unearned run in his first complete game in the National League.
Roy Oswalt gave up a lead-off homer to Jimmy Rollins in the first and surrendered another run in the second. Two runs were all Philadelphia would need. Sunday completed the sweep for the Phillies in Houston, dropping the Astros to 0-6 after San Francisco's sweep to open the season. It's been the worst start to a season for Houston since the Astros went 0-9 in 1983. With at trip to St. Louis next on the schedule, the Astros are in serious danger of reaching that nadir once again.
Houston’s starting pitching thus far has been adequate, if unspectacular. The Astros’ woes can be placed squarely on the shoulders of their underpowered, underperforming lineup. Though Houston did manage to put a few runners on base in the last two games of the Philadelphia series, their run production has been sorely lacking: The Astros have produced the fewest runs in Major League Baseball so far. Right fielder Hunter Pence, possibly Houston’s best player with Lance Berkman on the disabled list, has hit 2-for-21 to begin the year. Slugger Carlos Lee is still trying for his first RBI of the season. There’s no doubt Berkman is missed, but the Big Puma’s return alone seems unlikely to cure Houston’s offensive ailments.
Houston’s new manager, Brad Mills, must be wondering what, exactly, he has gotten himself into. Mills will have to find a way to make his team more competitive, or he may find himself sweltering through one of the longest summers in franchise history.