Given the Astros' 4-9 start, the fourth victory coming Thursday night, 1-0 over the Padres, the message was clear. Nobody's happy.
"It's not pretty -- we've got to be honest -- it's not acceptable," said Hunter Pence, who has taken on a more vocal role on the young team. "It's not the kind of baseball we plan on.
"This club has a lot of talent. We have good chemistry, we have good pitching, and we've been scoring runs; I think that's very encouraging. We've just got to continue to build, and we have to find a way to finish the games when we get ahead, and we have to find a way to come back and get all the way over the hump when we're down."
The words are familiar from last year, when the team started the season 17-34 and never sniffed contention after the beginning of May. In the Astros' start this year, their scoring has outpaced last year's, but their 5.13 team ERA and patterns of failing to hold leads and falling just short in comebacks have hurt.
"Those games are over with," Pence said. "What has happened is not the same thing that's going to continue to happen. There are going to be a lot of peaks and valleys throughout the season. We've started with a hurdle that we have to get over."
General manager Ed Wade said he respected that Pence spoke his mind.
"Unacceptable is a strong word, but it's not the wrong word because you don't want the reverse to be said," Wade said. "That's exactly what you hope the player's mind-set would be. We've got the ability to be better, but nobody's going to park in neutral and wait for us to get better."
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