September 22, 2010
By David Driver
For the Standard Journal
Used with permission
WASHINGTON - Matt Lindstrom admits that his timing has not been the best this season with the Houston Astros.
The pitcher from Rexburg was the closer early in the season when the Astros struggled as one of the worst teams in the National League.
Now that Houston is playing better, with the regular-season coming down the stretch, the Madison High School graduate Lindstrom is no longer the closer in the bullpen.
"There are ups and downs. It was a roller coaster for a season," said Lindstrom, 30, standing by his locker in the Houston clubhouse before a game earlier this week against the Washington Nationals. "My goal is to finish the season on a high note, just stay mentally focused."
A former pitcher at Ricks College, Lindstrom was 2-5 with an ERA of 4.59 in 55 games out of the bullpen for Houston in games through Tuesday. He had 23 saves in 29 chances and in 51 innings of work he allowed 65 hits (five homers) and 19 walks with 42 strikeouts.
"You wipe that slate clean each and every time," he said of pitching out of the bullpen for manager Brad Mills and pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who grew up in Oregon.
In early August he had a three-run lead in the ninth against the Brewers but could not hold the lead as Milwaukee came back for a 6-5 win.
He was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Sept. 1. He was put on the DL on Aug. 19 with back problems. "The season is such a grind," he said. "It is just unfortunate for me because I was pitching well" before the injury.
The closer down the stretch for Houston has been Brandon Lyon, who had 18 saves in 20 tries prior to Tuesday. "Brandon has done a great job," Lindstrom said.
Lindstrom was acquired by Houston from Florida for three minor league pitchers during the 2009 winter meetings. The Rexburg native said he was so excited to join a new team that he changed his off-season workout program.
"I was so excited to come in here. I wanted to make an impression," he said. "Last year I didn't take more than a week off."
He said this off-season he plans to take off all of October. "I want to give my body a chance to rest," he said.
Lindstrom broke into the majors in 2007 with Florida and he was named the rookie of the year for the Marlins. Last year with Florida he was 2-1 with an ERA of 5.89 with 15 saves for the Marlins.
He was one of just three Idaho-born players to appear in the big leagues in 2009 and Lindstrom is just the second native of Idaho to play for Houston. The first was lefty pitcher Pat House, who pitched for the team in 1967-68. House was born in Boise and played at Boise State and the University of Wyoming, according to www.baseballreference.com
Lindstrom hopes that next year he can pitch well when the Astros, 73-77 before play Tuesday, are also doing well. "We have shown a lot of promise. I look forward to being part of this team next year," he said.