Husband was supposed to take me to the ballgame tonight, but by 4, I could tell he was gonna try to get out of it, which was actually fine with me because I KNEW I could just take Lil Miss and he’d get stuck with 3 furious screaming crying little boys wanting to know why they can’t go tooooooooooo.
So men, you see what happens when you try to get out of a date with your wife????!!!!
So it was indeed grrrrls night out – the baseball stadium has just gotta be one of the best possible places to go. Sometimes I really envy the real reporters – they get PAID to go there and watch baseball games. I know what Annie Savoy means by the Church of Baseball.
And in fact, I got to see something at the baseball game I had never before seen at the Box – actual genuine Brewers fans. I asked, and they said they had flown down from Milwaukee for the weekend. My goodness – just like Cubs fans, only with good manners (sorry – waaaay too many of them who come to the Box are, um, not uh, um, well, if their mamas ever taught them manners, they left them back home in Chicago. Yeh, let’s put it that way) Amazing what getting rid of Bud Selig, getting a good owner and a smart GM will do for a ball club. That and a whole lot of GOOD top draft picks. (Does anyone besides me think that Tom Hicks was an IDIOT to throw away Doug Melvin for John Hart?)
And of course we got there in time to listen to the lineup announcement – Hunter Pence got a big hand, but Brandon Backe, who was catching all of the kazillion first pitches, got a bigger hand. And of course, there were a few grrrls with a sign saying – Brad, You Can Catch Me ANY Time. There really IS somethin bout that boy…
Anyhow, about the game – Phil THIS time had the sense to leave Adam Everett at short where he belongs because Sampson gives up ground balls pretty much exclusively to short and up the middle and Loretta is worse than useless at short. Now Roy, on the other hand, gives up a lot of ground balls to third as well as short, so he NEEDS Mo Ensberg there as well as Adam at short.
I was actually surprised to see Loretta at third – I thought it would be Mike Lamb, but maybe Phil is coming to his senses about the lefty/righty thingy and realizing that it is not necessary to run platoons with everyone. Fortunately, only one ball was hit to third and it was an easy grounder, which Loretta didn’t screw up. He also handled an easy popup.
Sampson was absolutely marvelous, stupendous, outstanding, Roy-like. He can’t throw as fast, of course, and he’s not quiiiiite as quick to the plate, but that boy is GOOOOOD. I was a bit surprised to see Phil pull him in the 7th after only 84 pitches, but then again, we WERE leading 10-1 and it IS a long season.
He gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, 1 ER, NO homers, 8 K over 6.1 IP. IF you give him a shortstop who can field, he’s gonna be a REAL winner. He was the guy I thought he was gonna be when he 3 hit and shut out the Cubs last year. I really think he’s a LOT better than Jennings.
Brad Lidge had his second day in a row of excellence. Some despicable *&(%&%@! were booing him as he came in to relieve Chris in the 7th, but fortunately, the cheers drowned out the boos. And let me tell you, the FB was snapping at 95-97 AND he was locating it VERY well. And let me tell you, he was throwing the sliders for strikes and the guys were swinging and missing at BOTH the fastball AND the slider.
He gave up 2 hits, a piddly little slow rolling infield single to Rickie Weeks who runs like lightning and one of those annoying popup bloops down the RF line that almost went foul. But other than that, he was nails – a groundout to first, a can of corn to center and 3 swinging strikeouts. And the cheers were pretty awesome when he struck out the last guy – it’s too bad so many people left after the 6th inning and missed it.
(Lil Miss wanted to know why everybody was leaving after the 6th. Because they have seen enough and figure that if we are ahead by 9 runs, the game is as good as over I said. But it ISN’T over, she sez. It’s not over until it IS over. My own lil Yogi Barrette…)
Back to Lidge – I am telling all yall he looked like BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDD again. Oh I hope he really is, because I want all those sneering *($%! who have been saying he’s cooked, mental, finished, should have been traded/released/sent down/waived to eat their words. ESPECIALLY all the “fans” who have been booing him, saying he’s a drag on the team.
And Trever Miller was sent in to face – and NO, I am not kidding – rightys. Maybe Phil IS getting ready to leave the LOOGY only stuff for when he really DOES need a LOOGY or when he really DOES need a platoon, which is NOT every single time no exceptions. He was a little shaky, giving up a walk on 4 straight pitches and a single, but he got his 3 outs without giving up any runs.
And now, the rest of the story…
Lance must been feeling pretty bad about costing Chris Burke his job, and possibly his career, because he seemed to have taken it upon his “leader” self to change his hitting, fielding and running ways. He seemed a LOT more purposeful and determined out there today. He struck out in the first inning, but took what he had seen about Bush and how the ump was calling balls and strikes and the very next at bat, firmly hit a changeup for a solid single to center. Of course, then Carlos grounded into one of his many double plays (one of the problems with a contact hitter, by the way)
In the 5th, Lance came up with bases loaded, two out. And instead of grounding out to second as he has already done so many times this year, he hit a pea down the first base line. Now, here’s where it gets to be fun – Sampson and Biggio scored easily and Mansolino held up the stop sign for Loretta at third. Lance had overrun the bag a bit, and Hart, the RF, threw the ball into the second baseman and Lance was caught in a rundown. He managed to avoid the tag, until Loretta, suddenly coming to his senses and realizing that the infielders had forgotten ALL about the runner on third, sprinted for home without drawing a throw and then Lance let the fielders tag him out.
A three RBI single. How about THAT?
I had FUN explaining all that to Lil Miss, who is just beginning to get the basics down.
It’s making up a little for him dogging it down to first yesterday and overrunning first.
Most of the damage was done by the bottom of the lineup – Adam Everett, Brad Ausmus, Chris Sampson who scored TWO runs and hit a single up the middle thru an infield expecting a sac-bunt and Biggio, who hit an RBI sac fly to left, walked, hit a 2 RBI triple (this was a REAL one, not a single and a 2 base error like the one the other day) scored 2 runs and drove in 3. Carlos Lee didn’t do squat. Luke Scott walked and scored a run. Loretta went 2 fer 4, drove in 2 and scored a run.
And of course all yall want to know how Hunter Pence did. Well, his feat of the night was his 12 pitch strikeout in the second inning. Bush, wisely figuring that a AA guy would hit fastballs and probably not hit ML breaking stuff, threw him 9 of 12 different breakers, but K’d him on a fastball. Fouling off 9 pitches? Now THAT is impressive for a real major leaguer and is AWESOME for a guy who had exactly 3 weeks of AAA in his baseball career.
And NO Milo, he did NOT get a standing O for that. I was freaking THERE, OK? He got a hand, not a standing O. Pence also was hit by a pitch and singled on a fastball thrown by the tiring Bush.
He DOES run fast. He’s not as fast as Willy, or even Everett or Burke, but he has surprising speed for such a large person. He ran back to catch a fly ball on the warning track (and yes, it was a FB that even Burke would have caught – I’ve seen him do it) and I was VERY pleased to see that unlike Willy, he took a direct route to the ball. And NO, Milo, it was most definitely NOT a spectacular play, not by a LONG shot. It was just a long fly ball that 99% of ordinary center fielders catch.
So far, just fine, but he only had 3 plays and I want to see how he does with both the tricky corner in left near the bullpens, with the corners near the hill, and with the open area near the RF bullpen. I ALSO want to see if he can come forward to catch a ball and not let it drop in front of him so he can catch it on the bounce – Burke had his faults fer SHER, but that wasn’t one of them. I ALSO want to see if he can hit the cutoff man, unlike Willy.
I’m willing to give the guy the same 30 AB the rest of the Astros fans gave Chris Burke. Hey, that’s generous – most of them didn’t even want him on the freaking TEAM and didn’t want to give him even ONE AB. Either he looks like Beltran out there by then, or I’ll be screaming that he’s had his chance and needs to be sent back down where he belongs. Same thing the FIRST time he misplays a ball. Fair is fair.
And the first time he doesn’t hit with men on base AND we happen to lose, I’m gonna blame him for losing, just as everyone felt it was right to do to Chris Burke. Seeing as how it was all his fault. You take him off the roster and we only leave 3 guys on base AND we win. Pence most certainly didn’t win this game for the Astros, that’s fer sher. So until he starts doing that, I’m not gonna annoint him The Saviour.
And the boy he’s gonna get his chance to show defensive skills tomorrow fer SHER because Woody Williams is an extreme fly ball pitcher and there will be a LOT of balls hit out there.
Woody has been good vs Milwaukee – 12-5 in 17 GS and 9 in relief: 10 HR, 37 BB, 97 K over 129.2 IP: 2.98 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and a .238 BAA.
He faces Claudio Vargas, RHP who came up with Montreal in 03 and was picked up by the D-Backs when he was released mid-05. He signed a FA contract with Milwaukee this past offseason.
He’s 2-2 in 4 GS and 2 in relief against the Astros. 6 HR, 14 BB, 26 K over 25 IP – 4.32 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and a .268 BAA
Claudio is a #4 or 5 guy who has a career 4.92 ERA -†93 ERA+ which has been reasonably steady from year to year.
Oh, I forgot.
Of course yall wanna know if grrrrlz went out on Grrrrlz Night Out. Of COURSE!!! She screamed and I screamed for Ice Cream and there’s no place like Hank’s. And of course Husband hadn’t put the kidsss to bed and so when Mami got home Mami had to hear it about whyyyyyyyyy did Lil Miss get to go and they dinttt?????!!!!!!!!
Because, I said, there was only one ticket and it was her turn. Shut them up but good.
Men never think of the obvious….