Sorry I missed the last few games. Life got in the way. But I always do my best to not let life get in between me and mah Wand Man.
Roster changes since Sunday – Bourgeois and his quad pull had to go on the DL – he could barely limp. So up came Bogusevic. Down went Esposito, who was taking up a roster spot doing like nothing and up came David Carpenter and his 0.00 ERA from AAA (we got him from the Cards for Pedro Worthless Feliz) over 19 IP. Really.
So the Magic Wandy came out and I was a bit concerned because he was throwing too many balls with those strikes. He got Kinsler swinging on a 3-2 high FB, then a single to right off the end of the bat to Elvis Andrus, who stole second on a curve in the dirt (part of the reason that JR hasn’t thrown out real too many basestealers), then struck out Hamilton swinging on a 3-2 curve (see a pattern here?). Wandy ignored Andrus, who stole 3rd as Beltre grounded out to short. 22 pitches, too many 3-2 counts. The ump was kind of stingy on the corners, but at least he was equally stingy with both pitchers.
Gotta say that Barmes was hopping all night long and he made some REALLY beautiful plays.
Lefty Matt Harrison got 2 quick outs on Bourn and Sanchez, then Pence hit a grounder to short and Andrus bobbled the ball, so Pence was on. Then Clank walked. Yes, you heard that right – he walked. Counting this walk, it’s 14 walks in the month of June. And only 11 K and 1 GIDP. In fact, he’s hitting .300 and he hit .313 in May and youneverknow, some desperate rich team might could grab him.
Where was I? Oh yeah – Brett Wallace, natcherilly, was benched and so Clank was at first and Jason Michaels was playing left. So he was up with 2 on struck out looking. Yeah, he batted 5th. It could have been CJ, who is, by the way, hitting .300 with a .815 OPS in June (he’s heating up, yes he is) but, whatever..
2nd inning: Wandy came back out, gave up a single to Michael Young, then got a GIDP (first of 3) then went to 3-2 on Torrealba who fouled off a couple, then grounded to short.
Harrison gave up the first hit, a single to Barmes, but got the other 3 outs – total of 8 pitches in 1 inning.
3rd inning: Wandy got 2 quick outs with a flyout and a swinging K of Harrison. But then it was that locating thingy again – a 3-2 walk to Kinsler, a 3-2 bloop pop that fell in short left between Michaels, Barmes and CJ – so men on first and third, then a 3-1 walk to Hamilton (Clemens was right, you know – don’t give in to a good hitter. Better to walk him and get the next guy out.) So he walks the lefty and goes to 2-2 on Beltre and gets a nice flyout to Pence. 30 freaking pitches.
At least Bourn and Sanchez went to 3 ball counts before getting out.
4th inning: Wandy had that curveball working. He spotted the FB, mixed in the change and got 3 GB outs on 11 pitches. I smiled and said to mahself - Rangers gonna lose or win against the bullpen fer SHER. I can tell when they just AIN’T gonna hit Wandy.
And when Clank led off with a homer into the Crawford Boxes, I thought – if we can just keep the bullpen out, Wandy’s got a lead and it’s all he needs. Michaels lined out to third, CJ struck out on a WICKED changeup, Barmes singled and JR flew out to center.
Stros 1 Rangers 0
5th – 14 pitches, two 3 ball counts, 2 flyouts and a strikeout of the pitcher. The Wand Man is dealing.
Wandy up and he grounds out. Then a breaker gets away from Harrison and Bourn is HBP. I’m hoping to see a stolen base on one of the toughest pitchers in the majors to steal on (he’s given up ONE SB this year) but nope – he goes to second on a bunt out by Sanchez. Then Pence grounds out to third. Only he doesn’t because Adrian Beltre, an EXCELLENT fielder, makes a lousy throw that Young, playing first, can’t grab and Bourn is across the plate and Pence on second before you know it. So the Rangers have Harrison intentionally walk Clank. Don’t blame em – Michaels has sucked all year and Clank is heating up and yes I know you aren’t supposed to consider how a ballplayer is doing NOW but are supposed to average the past 3 years or something – but it’s true that when you’re hot, yer hot and when yer not, well, youneverknow.
So Michaels hits a ball down the RF line – it hits the chalk and bounces into the stands and back on the field. Murphy, the RF, is shouting and pointing to the ump that it’s a dead ball because it went in the stands and Michaels is on third before he gets around to going over to pick it up and throw it in. This is dumb. Remember Miguel Tejada losing one of the A’s playoff games because he did something stupid like that – I mean, not complete the play and THEN complain? I remember Prince Fielder or someone as slow as Brett Wallace hitting an intheparker because one of our idiot OF insisted it was foul or fan interference or something.
Anyway, the umps get together, the other guys tell the first base ump, who called it, that the ball went into the stands, bounced off the ice-cream guy’s tray and went onto the field. So we’re up 3-0 instead of 4-0. But CJ is up. Harrison throws him 3 wicked changeups on the outside corner – he swings and misses/fouls em off – barely. Then for some reason, he decides to throw him a FB in the same spot and it must not have moved much because CJ hit it solidly up the middle to score Michaels and Clank. Those intentional walks – sometimes they work when it’s not to the #8 guy or Mr. Big Sluggah. But seems to me they very often do NOT.
Astros 5 Rangers 0.
6th inning: Wandy gives up a 3-2 nine pitch walk to Andrus and I thought – here we go again with the basestealing. But no, because Hamilton flies out on the first pitch, a nasty curve, and Beltre GIDP to short on the very next pitch, an even nastier changeup.
Bourn hits a double to right – 9 game hitting streak now – but Harrison gets the other outs without giving up any more runs.
7th: Young grounds out to short on the the second pitch. Murphy gets an IF single to short – one of those deep in the hole balls that CJ can’t make a play on and Barmes can but can’t throw out a fast runner in time. Torrealba helpfully GIDP on the very next pitch.
7 innings, 106 pitches, 4 singles, 3 walks, only 4 K, 3 GIDP, no runs. And this against one of the best lineups in the AL. Heck, in the ML.
Harrison out, our old friend Dave Bush in. Dave gives up a single to Pence, a flyout to the scoreboard – Hamilton makes a great leaping catch – to Clank, who has suddenl;y stopped popping everything up, so be it and shall it remain, then Bush throws a FB down the middle to Michaels who hits it over the Crawford Boxes – bounces off the wall and into the section closest to center.
Stros 7 Rangers zippo
Then CJ hits a liner to left and is absolutely ROBBED by Hamilton, who makes a great diving catch. When you put center fielders in left, they do stuff like that. Barmes singles, but JR flies out to deep right.
8th: I was hoping to see Wandy go back out – I mean, he’s freaking unhittable – and get the shutout, but no.
In comes David Carpenter. Bottom of the lineup, no pressure. Well, except this being his first ML game. All yall remember Mike Burns when he was brough up back in 05? He was the AAA closer and was absolutely NAILS – and back then if a guy came up, he’d better be damm near perfect because he wasn’t gonna get much of a chance. So it isn’t quiiiite that bad these days. And Carpenter gets a swinging strikeout, a flyout to the LF bullpen (good thing it wasn’t 30′ to the left) and a flyout to right.
In comes Arthur Rhodes, who has been pitching for like 20 years, and gives upa double to Sanchez, but gets the other 3 outs without trouble.
9th: In comes Abad. Millsie-poo is letting him face a righty – will miracles never cease? Andrus goes to 2-2, then flies out to Bogusevic in left (no he wasn’t hitting real too particular well at AAA, but he is already on the 40 man and you don’t want to have to buy someone else’s contract, see). Hamilton grounds out weakly to second.
Then Millsie-poo, out TLRing TLR, pulls him and sends in Melancon, who gets Beltre to groundout. What, Melancon needs to increase his total number of “games finished” or something?
But it was a good win. The Wand Man is the awesomeness. Brownie and JD said that since last June 22 (when he stopped throwing to Quintero and started throwing to Castro/JR) his ERA is 2.42, the lowest for a lefty in the majors over the past 365 days.
Which probably explains why all the top teams are heavily scouting him and there are more trade rumors involving him than I gots fingers and toes.
This weekend’s games – the ultraheavily pimped Bahstin team is coming in. I expect the stands to be full of people who pretend they grew up there and are generational fans. Like C*bs fans, only more obnoxious. Ah well, it will be fun seeing David Ortiz play first and Adrian Gonzalez play left. Well, probably right in THIS park. And it will be nice to see homie Carl Crawford.
Bud Norris against Tim Wakefield, old enough to be his father. Is baseball teh KEWL or WHAT???