A bullpen of a converted starter in Brett Myers, a post-injury reclamation project in
Brandon Lyon and a host of guys who haven't even hit arbitration have turned into one of
the league's best bullpens. The Astros crossed the 3.00 ERA barrier in the bullpen Friday
night, pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings -- all nursing a one-run lead -- in a 5-4 victory
over the St. Louis Cardinals.
They lowered the mark from 3.13, which was already fourth in the National League, to
2.97 in one of the bright spots of a 12-14 season that now includes a four-game winning
streak. Friday night, it was Wesley Wright, Wilton Lopez, Fernando Rodriguez and Brett
Myers, but for the season, it's been pretty much everybody.
"From Day 1, we felt we had good arms down there that could compete with anybody and we
have guys who like to compete," Wright said. "We're not really surprised; we just have to
keep our heads down and keep working."
Wright is the situational lefty. Myers is the closer, and a darn good one so far, with
an ERA of 1.04. After that, there's not really much decided. Rodriguez has been getting
more and more eighth innings, but they seem to be doing well with more interchangeable
pieces than in the past.
"Spring training, we can get their arms ready and get them in shape, but we can't
really put them in game situations until the season starts," manager Brad Mills said.
"It's taken some time; we just didn't establish these roles a week into the season."
Added Rodriguez: "It just seems that we're doing pretty well in whatever situations
we're coming into."