Paulino proves me wrong. Astros on the mend.
I’ll be honest — I wasn’t expecting much from Felipe Paulino on Sunday. He was wholly unimpressive while auditioning for the fifth starter job during Spring Training, and while his first two starts for Round Rock were terrific, success at Triple-A doesn’t necessarily translate into success in the big leagues.
Paulino opened the game by allowing a base hit to Willy Taveras, and he hit the next batter, Chris Dickerson. But from there, Paulino was clearly in control. I have no idea what they’ll do with him once Brian Moehler is ready to come off the disabled list, but clearly, Paulino earned the chance to make another start. Moehler is probably going to make a few Minor League starts before rejoining the rotation, so that will give Paulino more opportunities to prove Sunday’s outing wasn’t a one-hit wonder.
With Brandon Backe on the mend and Paulino knocking on the door, it appears the Astros might actually have a little pitching depth. I’m still not convinced Backe can be an effective full-season starting pitcher, but he’s piqued my interest. We’ll see.
Kaz Matsui should be ready to return to his position Monday and look for Jeff Keppinger to play during the Dodgers series. The Astros are facing three lefties — including former Astro Randy Wolf — and the Astros are going to need Keppinger’s bat, and his stellar average against lefties, in that series.