Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 4/8/12
The Houston Astros won their opening series with the Colorado Rockies. They won two of three games and did it with a long time formula for winners. They had some timely hits, but more importantly they had very good starting pitching. Bud Norris was the sort of pitcher the Astros need him to be more consistently than he has been in the past on Sunday. He was able to last seven innings and allowed only two earned runs. He didn' t personally get credit for the victory when the Astro tied the game and took the lead after he had left the contest. But make no mistake about it. Without Norris' sterling start the Astros don't beat the Rockies and take the series. Actually while Houston did lose the opening game it wasn't pitcher Wandy Rodriguez faultat least not as a pitcher. He committed one of three Houston miscues that contributed or perhaps even caused the Astro loss. Wandy, as a pitcher, allowed no earned runs. Lucas Harrell also was unsolvable by Colorado in taking victory if the series' second game. See the theme here? Starting pitchers have more to do with teams being good or bad than anything else. Only with good pitching can teams win 3-2 games as the Astro did on Sunday. Obviously Carlos Lee and Brian Bogusevic had clutch two out RBI hits. Teams don't win without a few of those either. But if the pitchers can keep games close the hitters don't have much chance. On Monday with the Braves coming to town Astro starting pitching will be on the spot. More precisely, J.A. Happ will be on the spot. He had an unimpressive spring after an unimpressive 2011 season. A control pitcher who often can find the spots in the zone to stay ahead in the count, Happ needs to find his spots soon or could be the first starter "on the bubble". There are some young arms not far away from getting a shot in the major leagues. Happ has to perform to hold on. His career shows he can. It also shows he may not. One thing for sure if Happ DOES turn the corner into the land of consistent success fans may have to think about re-thinking the fate of this Astro team. It is all about the pitching. A pennant winner or even contender in 2012 off the first series of the season? That is a very premature and likely ridiculous thought. Let the Astros keep winning some series for a few weeks and it becomes less ridiculous.
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