Despite the advantage of a four-run lead Wednesday, the Astros still managed to complete a winless trip through the rotation to begin the season.
With No. 5 starter Nelson Figueroa on the mound, the Astros gave back their lead in a hurry and lost 12-4 at Cincinnati.
Since Brett Myers' Opening Day quality start was ruined by a Brandon Lyon blown save, the rest of the starts have been short and far from sweet. The last four starters, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, J.A. Happ and Figueroa, averaged 4 1/3 innings per appearance and allowed a total of 29 runs, 24 of which were earned.
While a .214 batting average as a team is not getting the job done, the problems begin with a team ERA of 8.03, by far the worst in the National League.
Figueroa's was just the latest misadventure, and he perhaps paid for the deeds of his predecessors as a tired bullpen forced him to linger out there and absorb the beating. He allowed 10 runs (six earned) on 11 hits in his 5 1/3 innings despite giving up no home runs.
"It wasn't major damage, but you have to do a better job of damage control," he said. "Mentally, I got beat up more than I did physically. You don't want to give up a lead. Four runs is huge for us to come out that way, especially (against) a pitcher like (Edinson) Volquez."
With Myers on the mound Thursday, the Astros are hoping the second trip through the rotation is a lot less bumpy.
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