Quantcast 2009 Houston Astros: Houston Astros vs. San Diego Padres Series recap
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Houston Astros vs. San Diego Padres



After dropping their last two games at Minute Maid Park against the Chicago Cubs, the Astros were searching for answers. The Astros record stood at a less than impressive 11-17, and they ranked near the bottom of almost every major offensive category that mattered. The pitching staff had been solid and was performing better than many experts had predicted. The bullpen, who had been tagged more times than a white wall in East L.A., had faltered in Titanic fashion. Lance Berkman was slated to bat fifth in the lineup for this series. It would mark the first time that Lance Berkman had batted that low in the Astros lineup since his rookie year. Berkman has struggled mightily this year, batting .184 on the season, which was highlighted by his 0-5, including 4 strikeouts, performance Thursday evening against the Cubs. Before Berkman would get a chance to begin to work out of his season long funk, he would find himself on the bench. Berkman woke Friday morning to a sore wrist, an injury that occurred in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game against the Cubs. Berkman said he first noticed the injury after a check swing while facing Carlos Marmol. Berkman is listed as day to day, and sat out the entire series against the Padres over the weekend.

Houston Astros hats & merchandise While the absence of Lance Berkman from the Astros lineup is not a sight that many Astros fans would want to see, the fans that came into this weekend series had to be happy with how the other Astros performed in Berkman’s absence. Carlos Lee, Miguel Tejada and Hunter Pence picked up the slack and pummeled the Padres in the weekend set. The pinnacle was Sunday’s game that saw the Astros achieve a slew of season highs and firsts. Roy Oswalt, not at all unfamiliar with slow starts, pitched well enough on Sunday to claim his first victory of the season. The Astros also scored 12 runs and cranked out 16 hits, both season highs for the Astros. Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada each drove in four runs on Sunday and Hunter Pence, filling in for the injured Lance Berkman, was 1-4 with two walks. Pence now has 16 base on balls this season. He tallied only 40 all of last year. Pence continues to shine this season and is quietly establishing himself as one of the most complete outfielders in the majors. Bourn continued his dominance from the number two position in the lineup and has proved to many in the organization that he is a more that capable hitter and that last year was a fluke. When batting in the two slot in the lineup Bourn is hitting .347. Bourn also leads the team in OBP. It was s statistic that proved to be quite elusive for Bourn last season.

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The Astros leave the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park and embark on a six game road trip, with two three-game series against the Colorado Rockies and the Chicago Cubs. The Astros have a chance to even their record over the next week and enter next weekend’s matchup with the Texas Rangers with a .500 record or better (a feat that the Astros had not accomplished all season long.) With the series sweep against the Padres now in the books, the Astros still have a few questions that have yet to be answered. How long will Lance Berkman be out? If Berkman is going to be out for any extended period of time, then who fills the power void that is left behind? Will the starting rotation continue to perform as well as it has and can Roy Oswalt continue his winning ways? There is only one way to answer these questions and that is out on the field.


By: Jordan Fleck
MLBcenter.com Houston Astros correspondent

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