Last year's rotation disappointed. Nelson Figueroa was awful, as was J.A. Happ. Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers did not hit the heights they reached in 2010. Bud Norris did as well as could be expected in his first injury free full season.
Defensive mishaps in the first game aside, this was a great series to open up the season. The Astros starting pitchers allowed just 2 earned runs, both on one swing of the bat off catcher Willin Rosario off Bud Norris, after one of three bizarre at bats with Jason Giambi, where the past-his-prime slugger walked each time he faced Norris.
Did not see much of the vaunted 2-seamer last night, but Norris really worked his slider and changeup well, mixing up the batter's eye-levels with his fastball, touching 95 at times. Some people during the game voiced concern at his fastball sitting at 91-92, but this is probably just a trade-off for greater command. If he drops down to 89 later in the season when fatigue kicks in then you start to worry.
Some massive moments last night, including a tough throw to end the sixth by Jason Castro, as Norris K'ed Rosario. With runners on the corners, the ball bounced by Castro who recovered to throw his opposite number out at first. Castro was also unlucky to see Michael Cuddyer rob him of extra bases with Johnson on first base during the seventh. A poor play by Jordan Pachedo allowed Carlos Lee to reach and get on second, tieing the game and setting the stage for Brian Bogusevic's go-ahead hit.
However we have seen some shaky performances in the bullpen. Brett Myers was lucky that with Cuddyer reaching second to lead off the ninth, Rosario could not or did not want to bunt him over to third, when a sac-fly would then tie the game.
Rockies fans will gripe Tracey for the poor lineup. Apart from Tulowitzki the lineup was not overtly worrying. Rosario will be an elite talent very soon, but all the Astros pitchers did pretty well against them.
Don't expect this to last, but enjoy it while it does...54 more wins to equal last year's total.