added 7/13/2001 by Darrell Pittman
Everyone's entitled to a bad day from time to time.
The Astros' ostensible staff pitching ace, Shane Reynolds, threw what amounted to batting practice to the San Diego Padres tonight.
Shane pitched a fine first and second inning, but seemed to tire as his pitch velocity diminished, and his split-finger fastball lost its bite and ceased to fool the Friars' hitters.
An ominous portent of things to come came in the third inning. Shane allowed a triple and two doubles, letting the Pads score two to take the lead, 2-1.
What followed in the fourth can only be described as a total Reynolds meltdown.
In that frame, Reynolds allowed the Padres to bat around, yielding five runs on six hits. By that time, the score was 7-2 Padres, and the game was, for all intents and purposes, essentially over at that point. The only question left was whether Lance Berkman could extend his hitting streak to 22 games.
Manager Larry "never met a pitcher I didn't like" Dierker, the poster child for leaving struggling pitchers in way too long until after they've done irreparable damage, seemed to be of a split mind about whether to pull his starting hurler. In the fourth inning with two outs and the pitcher's 9-spot due up, Dierker had Darryle Ward on deck to bat for Reynolds. After Tony Eusebio struck out before Ward could come to the plate, Dierker sent Reynolds back out in the fifth. Perhaps he was trying to save bullpen arms, possibly conceding the game at that point.
Dave Mlicki and Ron Villone again shone in relief.
The defensive play of Vinny Castilla continues to impress me, and his bat is coming alive, hitting .291 coming into tonight's game.
Lance Berkman failed to get a base hit, ending his hitting streak at 21 games, though he did get a walk and an RBI sac-fly.
Moises Alou singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 17 games.
Roy Oswalt is due to pitch tomorrow nights' game, and I'm confidant that the Astros will resume their winning ways.