Astros demote struggling starter J.A. Happ to Triple-A

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J.A. Happ apparently used up all his good luck with the Phillies.

Happ had a 14-5 record and 3.11 ERA in 217 career innings when Philadelphia traded him to Houston in the Roy Oswalt deal last July, but since then he’s 9-18 with a 5.32 ERA in 191 innings.

That includes an ugly 6.26 ERA and league-high 14 losses this season, but Happ won’t have a chance to go for 20 losses because the Astros have optioned him to Triple-A.

Happ was never as good as his win-loss record and ERA suggested in Philadelphia, sporting a mediocre strikeout rate and so-so control while getting outstanding support from the lineup and defense.

On the other hand, he also hasn’t been nearly as bad as his current record and ERA suggest. Ultimately he’s a fairly run-of-the-mill mid-rotation starter and will probably be back in Houston next month, with a full-time rotation spot all but reserved for 2012. After all, it’s not like the Astros have a ton of superior options.