Archive for April, 2012

4/30/12: Jordan Lyles Beats Mat Latos But Jay Bruce Beats Astros

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Jordan Lyles got sent back down after his start, which was actually pretty good – 5 H, 1 HR, 2 walks, 5 K over 6 IP because Marwin Gonzalez is back. They can’t call him back up for the next time the #5 guy’s turn would roll around, which is May 8, so I would guess Paul Clemens will get called up, seeing as how Aneury Rodriguez is pitching lousy (only 3.2 innings in each of his last 2 starts) and Henry Sosa isn’t on the 40 man. But I have been surprised before…

Clemens right now has pitched 4 games, given up 1-2 runs/game, gone 5-6 innings/game.

Let’s hope Bud stops it with the gopher balls tonight and let’s hope that RA Dickey has one of his bad nights.

4/28/12: Chris Johnson Draws His First Walk

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

That’s not intentional, that is. Which is a good thing. (He also doubled, GIDP on a 3-2 and didn’t screw up with the glove.)

This was not a good game for anyone. Astros left bases loaded in the first and the 9th.

Jose Altuve, who I have been bragging on, gave up 2 runs on an absolutely fer SHER double play and he flew into one (and yes, Schafer WAS out.) And Schafer’s on-base streak is now up to 21 games. There just isn’t anything good to say about ANY hitter this game. I’m also thinking that Jose has been going the other way an awful lot and that teams may be positioning the right fielders to get those balls…

Pitching – well Lucas would have given up 4 runs in 6 or 7 innings if not for the Altuve 2 run thingy, which would still have lost us the game, seeing as how they guys did nothing against Cueto when he was shaky in the first 3 innings.

Good is Wesley Wright coming in and striking out Joey Votto and Jay Bruce and getting Brandon Phillips to popup in the 7th. He was unhittable and his pitches were all working VERY well.

Good is Brandon Lyon getting 3 straight outs, even though it didn’t really matter and was the bottom of the lineup.

Tomorrow is Jordan Lyles’ first start of the year in the bigs. He’s thrown 4 games over 26 IP with 24 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 24 K, 10 ER, 3.46 ERA, 1.08 WHIP. Of course, that is AAA and this is Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.

We’re facing Mat Latos, who was previously with the Padres – threw 4 GS against the Astros with a 2.30 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP: 27.1 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 25 K.

He’s been having difficulty this year – started 4 games, 22 IP, 25 H, 2 HR, 10 BB, 14 K – 5.64 ERA and most of that damage was the 8 ER he gave up vs the Cards over 5.2 IP. Last game, he threw 7 innings of 4 hit 2 walk shutout ball vs the Giants, so he might could be back on track.

Clank will be sitting out again, so it will be Matt Downs at first again, and he looks like the Matt Downs that the Giants didn’t want instead of the guy who shocked the baseball world last year…

4/27/12: Schafer Reaches Base 20 Games In A Row And Wandy Wins

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The Astros put Kyle Weiland on the DL and they called up LOOGY Fernando Abad. He’ll be going back down on Tuesday when (probably) Lyles gets called up – he’s already on the 40 man, no extra $$$ needed to purchase his contract.

Marwin Gonzalez went on paternity leave and they called up Brian Bixler, hitting .423/.483/.635 over 52 AB: 5 W, 13 K, 22 H, 3 double, 1 triple, 2 HR – 3 fielding errors. Scott Moore is hitting even better and has no errors, but he’s not on the 40 man, so he’s kind of out of luck.

Clank twisted his ankle running after a ball – the first hitter of the game hit one of those slow rollers to third that’s gonna be a single for a fast runner and CJ made the first bad play I’ve seen him make all year – he shoulda held onto the ball, but he threw it in the dirt to first and Clank turned to go after it and turned wrong, spraining his left ankle. He’s not on the DL, but he just might could be, youneverknow, so maybe Scott Moore WILL get a chance. Mostly because they don’t want to set the clock ticking on Singleton, who is tearing UP double A.

But I digress.

I think of Mike Leake as killing the Astros – he came up in 2010 after being drafted in 09 and his first 2 games he threw 7 IP, 1 run and 6 IP, no runs. Next game he lost – 4 runs in 6.1 IP, but next year, he won the first game again, 2 runs 6 IP. Of course, I’m disremembering the NEXT game – 7 ER/3.2 IP that got him sent to the bullpen (or was it the drinking/drug/female troubles problem) and we saw him the next 2 games for a couple of brief relief appearances and then not again until this year.

And anyway, he started the game like the Mike Leake I remember – 1,2,3 out. Then Wandy gave up the IF single to start the game, got a 5-4 from Drew Stubbs, then picked him off – first pickoff by a pitcher this year. Very kewl. Then he went to 3-2 on Joey Votto and got him out on a called strike right on the outside corner. Ah LUUUUUUVVVVS that boy.

2nd – Leake’s back, gets 1,2 out, then Bogu singles to the hole at short, then steals second. Very kewl. He’s really REALLY a good baserunner. Now if he can just get that average up. His OBP is over .350, His OPS is 714 (if I’m adding right and that is good for a 100 OPS+ and as a RF, that needs to go up a bit.) Anyway, CJ was up, laid off the 2 pitches outside the zone, took strike 1 (I think he’s consciously trying to take more pitches) and grounded out on a pitch in the zone. 1 LOB. sigh

3rd. Leake’s back. Castro singles to left (average is up to .244 – he’s STILL having serious defense problems – more on that later) Wandy sac-bunts, Schafer Ks, then it’s time for the 2 hole hitter and whaddaya know, guess who is in the 2 hole? Jose Attitude, that’s who – BOUT FREAKING TIME!!!! And so Mr. Tude hits the ball opposite field to deep right and Jay Bruce tries to dive for it, misses (seriously, that was a really sloppy play) and the ball rolls all the way to the CF wall, Castro is home and Tude is on 3rd. JD singles him home and Matt Downs, in for Clank, is out. Downs is not exactly good this year, is he? Leake would have been out of it if Bruce had played that ball on a hop because that would have been easily manageable. But luck went the Astros’ way.

Wandy mows em down 1,2,3. He’s got that FB on the low outside corner goin on and the curve is curvin.

4th – Jed Lowrie doubles to the RF gap, then Bogu hits a bullet to Phillips, who bobbles the ball and it’s men on first and third, no out. So CJ is up and he hammers a ball to the LF fence. Bogu is held at third. Castro grounds out 4-3 and Bogu scores – Phillips is a little late to the ball and no way is he gonna get Bogu at home. CJ on third. Wandy up and I’m hopin for the squeeze, but no, Wandy swings away and ops up. Drat. I LUUUVVVV the squeeze. Ok. Schafer singles to right to extend his streak to 20 games.

Leake out, Alfredo Simon in.

And you know who is up? Jose, The Tude!!! First pitch way up and in and Schafer is on second in a second. And The Tude drives an outside pitch down the RF line, Schafer trots home. JD is up, Mesoraco misses a pitch completely for a PB. So JD goes to 3-1, then swings and his bat goes flying into the stands. And he gets another bat to trade to the fan, but it was a bad idea because very next swing, he ground out, ending the inning.

Stros 6, Reds zip.

Wandy back out – fly out, 8 pitch walk to Votto (who has been workin the Wand Man), 2 grounders.

5th – Downs out, Lowrie singles, Bogu walks, CJ grounds to short, Lowrie out at 3rd – no bad swings. Castro hits a lazy pop fly. 2 LOB with 1 out again. Fortunately, we’re ahead.

Wandy back – groundout, single to left, popup to right. Pinch hit triple to the RF gap, Schafer throws to Altuve who fires a bullet to Castro,slightly up the 3B line, who drops it and the runner scores. Can’t tell for sure if the runner was already by Castro when he dropped it, no good angle. Wandy gets the 3rd out.

6th – JJ Hoover, new reliever in. Astros go down 1,2,3. Wandy back out, at 84 pitches. Stubbs singles on the first pitch. Joey Votto, who drew an 8 pitch walk LAST AB, has a 13 pitch AB, finally doubling to drive in Stubbs. Phillips walks on 5 pitches.

Once upon a time, it would have been time to pull Wandy. But he gets Ludwick then Rolen to fly out and Bruce Ks. 28 pitch last inning.

7th – Hoover back out. JD walks, but then 3 outs.

Now Wilton Lopez is in to face hitters 8, PH, 1 and gets 1,2,3 out.

8th – new pitcher righty Jose Arredondo gets CJ, then PH Maxwell (surprised Millsie-poo didn’t send up lefty Buck, maybe he’s hurting) then Schafer.

So Fernando Rodriguez is in to face hitters 2,3,4. I’m really surprised that Millsie-poo had Wilton in to face the east hitters and Froddy in to face the tough ones. Drew Stubbs goes to 2-2, then strikes out swinging, Castro can’t block a ball in the dirtright in front of him in the dirt (this boy has just GOT to work on pitch blocking)the pitch goes flying back almost to the dugout and Stubbs trots down to first.  Jeezus gawd. Very next pitch, Stubbs takes off for second, Castro makes a bad throw in the dirt in front of and slightly to the right of Lowrie, the ball rolls into center and Stubbs is on third. So Votto hits the ball to CJ who looks makes sure Stubbs doesn’t run before firing a great throw to first. Good fielding. And then Froddy Ks Ludwick and Phillips. Awesome job – especially seeing as how he had to pitch from the stretch when he shouldn’t have had to at all.

9th – Sam LeCure out. I remember him because he came up in 2010, same as Mike Leake and his first game, first start, he beat the Astros. Interestingly enough, it was Wandy pitching and he was having a very VERY bad first half (throwing to Quintero, remember?) and gave up 7 runs in 3 innings. They sent him back down at the end of June (someone was hurt, forget who, probably Harang) and they decided he would be a reliever instead. Whatever. Anyway, he gets 1,2,3 out.

So it’s Astros 6 Reds 2

And who do I see coming out to pitch? LOOGY, meaning a pitcher who is left handed who should ONLY be facing left handers, Fernando Abad. ARE YOU( SWEAR WORDS) KIDDING ME??? SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HOLY (SWEAR WORD)? I’m screaming loudly, Dogss disappear into the kitchen, kidsss come running out from their room where they’ve been watching Indiana Jones for the 11 hundredy billionth time, find out what is wrong. I tell them, lousy LOOGYS should NOT pitch to rightys!!! Oh, says #2 son. We thought something was wrong, he says as they turn disgustedly to go watch Indy shoot the guy with the sword or is it climb out of the snake pit with the screaming chick.

Da Bull is still looking at me as Rolen (righty) smashes a hanging curve to the deep right center fence. Right at the fence. Rolen is old, had too many back, shoulder, elbow operations, and trust me on this,  even the 2010 guy would have sent that ball waaaaaay over the fence.

So Jay Bruce (lefty) hits another hanging curve over the CF fence – dead center 420′ and then Mesoraco, the rookie catcher hits the very next pitch, a FB down the middle, over the LF fence.

Da Bull looks at me and says, he’s not pitching very well. Chris Heisey is coming up and I’m thinking – I do NOT believe this, but for some reason, Millsie-poo has managed (hahaha) to regain his sanity, pulls Abad and sends in the ol WB, who gets Heisey swinging and gets Cozart to lift a lazy FB to center.

So Wandy wins.

He pitched his ace de la ace game in his 1-0 loss, but hey, 2 runs/ 6 IP = W is better than 1 run 7 IP = L.

Tomorrow night is Lucas Harrell vs Johnny Cueto, RHP. To my surprise, I see that Cueto is 1-5 in 10 GS vs the Astros with a 4.01 ERA. I will say that he’s been getting better every year – had a 3.24 ERA in 2010, a 2.31 ERA last year and he’s at 1.78 this year. 4 GS, 25.1 IP, 2 HR, 6 BB, 19 K.

So far this year, Lucas had had great, lousy, great, lousy starts. He’s due for another great one, seeing as how Milwaukee kicked him for 5 ER/5 IP last start.

4/27/12: A Few Notes Before Wandy vs Leake At Cincy

Friday, April 27th, 2012

I was checking out ML pitcher stats after looking at Wandy’s 1.64 ERA, which is #10 in the league among starting pitchers who have thrown at least 3 games and 19 innings. The league average for all pitchers (would be nice to see for just starting pitchers, which is usually higher than relievers) is 3.80. If each team had 5 designated starters, there should be 150 names, but there are only 95 guys who have thrown 3 games, 19 inning. Amazing. Anyway, of those 95, 69 have an ERA under 3.80 and only 25 have an ERA over that. Meaning that either relievers are a lot worse this year or that there are a whole lot of starters who threw fewer than 3 games or didn’t last 19 innings.

In the NL, 2 guys have ERAs under 1 (Kyle Lohse and Ted Lilly);
14 guys have ERAs between 1.0 and 1.99;
16 guys have ERAs between 2.00 and 2.99;
11 guys have ERAs between 3.0 and 3.80.
20 pitchers have ERAs between 3.81 and 7.88.

79 pitchers in the NL have started at least 3 games (would be 90 if no injuries). Every pitcher with 3 GS has managed to accrue at least 15 innings except Paul Maholm.

Every pitcher with at least 4 GS, 56 total, has managed at least 5 IP/GS except for Adam Wainwright (???!!!) Jair Jurjens (sent to minors – probably injured) and Tim Lincecum (???!!! – is quickly losing his stuff and his mechanics are waaaay different). 35 pitchers have managed at least 6 IP/GS.

Wandy, by the way, has the 3rd best ERA of all NL lefty pitchers since 2009 (per Brian McTaggart.)

Kyle Weiland has shoulder pain, is not on the DL (yet), just skipping his turn in the rotation, but fortunately, we have 3 pitchers at AAA who are pitching well:

Jordan Lyles: 4 GS, 26 IP, 24 H, 1 HR, 10 R, 4 BB, 24 K, 3.46 ERA/1.08WHIP
Dallas Keuchel: 4 GS, 27 IP, 18 H, 1 HR, 5 R, 6 BB, 13 K, 1.67 ERA, 0.89 WHIP
Paul Clemens: 3 GS, 17 IP, 14 H, 2 HR, 4R/3ER, 4 BB, 13 K, 1.59 ERA/1.06 WHIP

Henry Sosa is doing OK, Aneury Rod is not. Sergio Perez had 1 good start and has been turned into a reliever (too fragile)

4/24/12: Jose Altuve Hits His First Homer To Right Center

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Hey, why not start with GOOD news?

The lil guy hit it bout 400 feet. I’ll go for that. He got moved up in the lineup to the 6-hole ( went 2 fer 4 with 2 runs scored, an RBI and a SB) because Marwin Gonzalez started in place of CJ and Marwin hit 8th. And CJ came in after Bud got pulled in the 6th and went 2 fer 2 with 2 runs scored and an RBI with a nice single to center. Laid off the only bad pitch he saw. I like all the talk about how he’s determined to learn to swing at only good balls – reminds me of all the similar stories about Jeff Francoeur, who had the same sort of start to his ML career and then had a leeeeetle trouble with plate discipline. (But CJ had damm well best take it to heart because teams know to not throw him anything in the zone because he just can’t seem to not swing…)

Let’s see, what else was good? No errors. Lowrie went 2 fer 4 with an RBI. JD went 1 fer 4 with a runs scored and an RBI (but I’ll leave out him being the last out in the rally in the 8th) and Clank went 2 fer 5 with an RBI.

Bud Norris struck out 4 batters in the 3rd. Yeah, 4. Ishikawa struck out swinging but Chris Snyder missed the pitch – actually got called a passed ball, so poor Bud had to pitch to 2 more hitters.

Speaking of Bud -

Bad news? Bud threw way too many balls down the middle including a 2 run homer on a slider that didn’t to Travis Ishikawa (name was familiar – had to check him out – spent a couple of years between 06 and 2010 as 1B for the Giants – mostly backup and DR as he doesn’t hit for average or much power), a 2 run homer to Corey Hart a FB RIGHT down the middle and a 3 run job to Rickie Weeks – ANOTHER FB right down the middle.

He did have two 1,2,3 innings, the second and the 4th – maybe he was too tired after the 5th – single, homer, single, groundout, walk, GIDP. 20 pitches, but he did NOT look real too sharp. I’m not real too sure I would have even let him pitch the 6th, but Millsie-poo doesn’t pull guys when they aren’t sharp – that and the score was tied at 2 so he was thinkin bout getting Bud a W, because that’s how things go. But DAMM, he shoulda pulled him after the Hart homer – Bud gave up a single on a FB down the middle, then threw 4 straight balls to Hart, who bunt fouled the first, then he threw a FB in the exact middle of the plate and Hart hit it fo hunnert fitty feet.

He walks Kottaras on 5 straight pitches out of the strike zone. So there is a conference on the mound. He doesn’t pull Bud? the guy looks terrrible. But no, he leaves him in to work his way out of trouble. Gonzalez hits the next pitch, a low outside slider for a single, so OK, maybe that’s bad luck, then Ishikawa takes 9 pitches to K, then pinch hitter Aoki hits a mid-plate slider belt high to the RF fence – almost out. Then Bud throws 4 pitches to almost the exact same spot upper outer corner to Weeks who hits the 4th one out. I saw it coming – the same spot 4 times in a row? It’s not like one of those unhittable spots or something.

Bad, bad pitching, pitch calling, judgement by Broakie and Millsie-poo.

Froddy gave up a run in the 7th – a single, a SB (Snyder can’t throw runners out neither) and another single.

The ol WB came in for the 8th – hasn’t exactly had real too much to do this year – and first pitch slider than hung Carlos Gomez hit fo hunnert fitty feet.

Yes, you are counting right – the Crew hit 4 homers today and the Astros hit 1. We had 10 hits, 5 walks, 6 runs and went 2 fer 11 with RISP. Same stuff, different day.

sigh

Tomorrow is J Happ vs Shawn Marcum, who has absolutely KILLED the Astros – 3 games, all 7 IP, 2 runs, 0 and 0 runs.

A few stats: the Astros are 7th in the majors in runs scored with 82. Unfortunately, they are 6th in runs allowed with 84. DAMM look at that – pythagorean says we should be a game under .500 instead of 6-13. At least the Padres and the Royals are worse, but we’re gaining fast. I mean losing fast.

I was gonna check the BA with RISP, but Brian mcTaggart beat me to it – apparently, we’re leading the NL with .302 BA, but somehow, it doesn’t seem posssible. The 4 fer 22 with bases loaded – THAT sounds right…

 are 17th in OPS at .701.

4/23/12: Astros Strand 10 And Lose 10th Straight Game To Brewers

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Stros are now 2-5 in 1 run games. I don’t even want to look it up to see how bad we are with driving in runners this year. It’s bad. Actually, I can’t decide what is worse, hardly hitting at all or hitting a lot but stranding most of the runners and losing.

Astros struck out FIFTEEN times – by far the most in any game and CJ got his first Golden Sombrero of the year. He’s not leading the team – Schafer is, with 2.

On the bright side, everyone in the starting lineup but JD Martinez, who is ofer his last 10, had at least 1 hit. Jed Lowrie hit his first home run of the year.

And here, for your fun and pleasure, is the play by play:

1st inning: Schafer fouls a ball offn his lower shin, just above the ankle. I wondered if he broke it the way he was hobbling around – looked as if he was in serious pain when he struck out swinging. Then Lowrie hit a 2-2 slider into the RF bullpen. Maybe I shsould shut up about moving him out of the 2-hole. JD grounds out and Clank flies out.

So Harrell gets Weeks to groundout, then walks the new CF Aoki (what happened to Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan? How many CF do they need??) who goes to second on a pitch Castro can’t get (I keep writing this, don’t I?) and Braun drops in a bloop and Aoki scores. Then our old enemy Aramis Ramirez triples into the RF corner – Bogu tries to make a sliding catch, but misses. Lucas is leaving too many pitches up and in the middle. Hart hits a ball to the RF gap and Bogu grabs in in front of the track. Aramis trots in. Gamel pops up to JD who hustles to catch it. That woulda fallen in for Clank. 24 pitches.

Crew 3 Stros 1

Sigh. Here we go again.

2nd inning: Bogu Ks, CJ Ks on a curve – at least he didn’t swing at bad pitches, then Castro singles!!! We won’t get no-hit!! Oh yeah, I forgot, we already have a run. Altuve hits it up the middle and Lucas is up with 2 out. At least he didn’t swing  at anything out of the zone, but he didn’t hit it hard enough to do any good. 2 left. The usual. Let’s hope he’s tired enough that his sinker is gonna like, you know, sink.

Well, right off he walks Alex Gonzalez (was with the Braves last year – couldn’t remember who was the Crew’s SS last year, then I remembered they’d gotten rid of Alcides Escobar and replaced him with Yuni Betancourt and his 65 OPS+ and why he is thought of so highly by baseball people I do NOT get – but I digress)  then Lucroy singles – this is NOT looking good, is it? But Greinke doesn’t sac-bunt, he swings away and hits into a 6-4-3. What a break for Lucas, who just doesn’t have good stuff. Weeks hits a bullet to 3rd – CJ goes well to his left, jumps up, sets himself and makes a good throw. He’s learning to field – maybe he can learn to quit swinging at everything too, youneverknow.

3rd – Schafer stretches a single into a double – ain’t limping now. Lowrie GO 4-3, Schafer at 3rd. Cmon Julio Daniel – get him in. But he walks, and all I can think is don’t let Clank GIDP. Well he doesn’t, but he pops up on a pitch at his feet. Good grief. Clank is now hitting .227 – and he’s still hitting 4th – they’ll keep him there because of his contract. sigh. Cmon Bogu. But no – he GO 4-3. 2 more guys left on base. Good grief, you’d think they were loaded.

And Lucas is back out. Aoki flies out, Braun Ks (and by the way, he is so NOT a HOTTTT guy – I wonder how many females would even notice him if he wasn’t rich) and Aramis grounds out. First 1,2,3 inning. Looks as if he’s got his stuff together and the guys just need to do some hitting with men on base because you can’t rely on 5 unearned runs from 3 errors EVERY night.

4th – CJ Ks on another curve (sigh), Castro grounds out to first and Altuve Ks looking. They aren’t making Greinke work enough.

Corey Hart hits one into the RF corner for a triple – poor Bogu, then Prince Fielder’s replacement, Mat Gamel, hits a long fly ball out to deep right and Corey trots home. Alex Gonzalez walks, then Broakie goes out to calm down Lucas. Then Lucroy should have hit a 6-4-3, but Altuve makes a bad throw and the ball goes into the dugout – it wasn’t Clank’s fault. So Lucroy is on second – I mean, here I have been braggin on Altuve’s great fielding, but Greinke grounds out.

Crew 4 Stros 1

5th – cmon, where are the guys who got 12 runs last night??? Well, Lucas hits one off the end of the bat opposite field, then Schafer singles. Men on first and second. Here we go again. Lowrie Ks, JD takes two balls then 3 straight FB at the knees for a staring K. Carlos Lee hits a ball into right, but Dave Clark holds Lucas at 3rd – throw home was terrible, over Lucroy’s head and Greinke wasn’t backing it up and Lucas could have scored, too bad. And here with bases loaded again. Dave Clark holds too many guys, he really does. ESPECIALLY when he knows that Astros have a terrible time hitting with MOB. I guess he doesn’t want the pitcher sliding, I’d agree with that, but he’s holding up almost everyone. Bogu up. Count goes to 3-2 and he gets a bases loaded walk RBI. It’s CJ – cmon there boy, do NOT swing at that bad curve, but you KNOW he’s gonna do it on a 2 strike count and sure enough, he does. The Sombrero and it’s only the 5th.

sigh. EIGHT left on base already. Jeez…

Lucas back out to face Weeks, who pops up. Aoki grounds out, Braun hits a non-sinker RIGHT down the middle over the left center field fence. Well, that ball sure got out of there in a hurry – anything travels that fast should have a jet pilot on it, donthcha think?

sigh

Aramis grounds out and it’s Crew 5 Stros 2.

6th – Castro pops up. Altuve gets an infield hit to 3rd. Then it’s pitching coach out to the mound (it’s not Rick Peterson any more – he sure didn’t last real too long, did he?) because Justin Maxwell is pinch hitting. I guess Travis Buck is still hurting. Maxwell Ks on a slider in the dirt.  With Jordan Schafer up, Jose steals second. Kewl. But hey, it’s a man in scoring position and naturally Schafer pops out to third.

NINE left on base already. We’re 1 fer 9 with RISP and the 1 was Bogu’s bases loaded walk.

Bullpen time.  Brandon Lyon in. Walk, single, men on first and 3rd. Alex Gonzalez up – and another “wild pitch” on a curveball and a runs scores. Gonzalez Ks, Lucroy singles and it’s men on first and 3rd. Nyjer Morgan pinch hits and is hit by pitch. Bases loaded 1 out. Here we go again. Weeks up – Castro makes a great save on a throw 3 feet to the right of home. Lyon is just gonna have to take one for the team I guess because no one is lookin like he’s coming in. But Weeks pops up to the foul side of first and Mat Gamel, on third decides to run home ???!!! and smashes into Castro like a football player but Castro hangs on. It was really a bullstuff thing – they gave Scott Cousins hell for the Buster Posey play but that play was close and Gamel, who runs like Brett Wallace, was out by 20 feet and he knew it.

They really need to do something about those football player collisions – it’s bullstuff. Yeah, I know, it’s “part of the game” – BAH. Catchers shouldn’t stand in front of the stupid plate – I don’t remember Brad Ausmus ever, EVER getting run into like that.

Crew 6 Stros 2

7th – Jose Veras, RHP in – Lowrie singles. JD up. Goes to 3-2 courtesy of 2 gift pitches, but strikes out on a pitch way out of the zone. Clank hits a ball to the base of the LF scoreboard, lollygags his way to first. I hate it when guys admire their “homers” and I sure nuff remember Manny Ramirez doing that more than a few times. Uncle, too. So it’s men on first and third, 1 out for Bogu.  AND HE TRIPLES INTO THE RF CORNER!!! After the 2 triples he had to suffer fielding. Lowrie scores and Clank hustles (he’d *(^(!@ well better) all the way from first to score. CJ fouls off a curve, then singles up the middle to drive in Bogu!!! Jason Castro up and walks on 4 straight. Jose Altuve up. 2 straight balls – now they are stalling BIG time, Veras walking around, taking forever between pitches. Then Jose takes 2 straight strikes down the middle. And then he Ks on a curve – and I bet he wishes he hadn’t taken those 2 gift fastballs. 2 out, Matt Downs up, but he grounds out to third after watching a nice fat FB down the middle – what is it with watching fat FB down the middle???!!! But at least THIS time, SOMEbody hit with MOB. Downs is ofer as a PH this year with no RBI. Pinch hitting is really tough.

Rhiner Cruz in. Aoki Ks, Braun doubles to the RF gap, but Aramis and Hart ground out on 3 pitches. Braun absolutely pulverizes Astros pitching – a tune of a 1.058 OPS. I looked it up – he has a higher OPS against Astros pitching than Uncle, who is at .961. Believe it or not. And yes, Uncle does have over twice the number of PA. You know, Uncle has at least 100 PA against every NL team (plus KC) and he has at least a .300 BA and a .900 OPS against every team except Philly. Too bad we’re not facing him this year because he’s apparently forgotten how to hit…

Where was I? Oh yeah.

Crew 6 Stros 5

8th – Frankie K Rodriguez up. He Ks Schafer, Lowrie flies out and JD flies out – he got 2 gift strikes THIS at bat, too. This is only the second 1,2,3 inning for the Astros and we’re now only 3 fer 13 with RISP.

Cruz still in. Mat Gamel Ks swinging on a GREAT slider. Alex Gonzalez hits it down the 3rd base line, CJ makes another GOOD play and sets himself to make a GOOD solid throw. DAMM why can’t he teach himself to lay off crap the same way he taught himself to field better???!!! But then Lucroy takes a walk on 5 pitches out of the zone and Rhiner is out and Wesley Wright is in to face George Kottaras. and he walks him. Wesley and those walks again.

Wilton Lopez in to face Rickie Weeks, men on first and second, 2 out and he gets Weeks to fly out. Wilton is looking like the 2010 Wilton, which is great.

9th – If Jon Axford can close out this game, it will be the Astros 10th straight loss to the Crew. Hard to believe. Jon is rocking the Timmy Lincecum  hairdo and the Bagwell goat. Uck. Clank singles to center and Marwin pinch runs. Bogu is up and gets called out on a strike way off the plate – guess the ump wants to go home. CJ up. He takes the count to 3-2 not swinging at crap in the dirt, but he does K on a chest high FB. Golden Sombrero. Jason Castro last hope, but he swings through 3 straight pitches and it’s ovah.

Tomorrow, it’s Bud Norris vs Randy Wolf, who is not having a good year so far.  He’s thrown 3 games, given up 3 runs over 5 IP to the Cards, 8 runs over 4.1 IP to the Braves and 4 runs over 6 IP to the Dodgers. He has an 8.80 ERA – not so great. He’s not been exactly nails aat Miller Park neither – 4.30 ERA over 256 IP.

Actually, with the huge drop in average ERA over the past 5 or so years, we need to be able to sort ERA+ at each stadium for each pitcher. Would be a lot more accurate seeing as how a 4.30 ERA was like 100 ERA+ in 04.

Bud has thrown 2 games at Miller Park – 5 innings each, total of 5 ER – 1 HR, 4 BB, 14 K.

4/22/12: Astros Pitch, Hit And Field Like Dodgers So Wandy Wins

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

What an amazing ballgame!!!

And after the embarrassment of Friday (the unis rocked, but the Astros GOT rocked) and poor Kyle Weiland’s solid 3 run 7 inning job (do NOT hang sliders to Matt Kemp because he goes all Uncle Albert on em – speaking of whom – he is hitting .262 with only 7 doubles, NO homers and a .694 OPS??? He’s missing us!!!)

Last start, Wandy threw 7 even better innings, got jobbed by poor Astros fielding and lost 1-0.

He wasn’t quite as good this one, but he gave up only 3 singles and 3 walks and Jose Altuve made an absolutely magnificent catch near the RF stands on a Matt Kemp foul ball in the first – I took that as a good omen. People are starting to compare him to Carlos Beltran (giggle) but honestly, it’s still better to pitch to the guy because he gets himself out more than he gets on. Just like Barry Lamar, who nobody dares to compare Kemp to, because Barry is still A Bad Guy!!!! Interesting that the early days of Junior Griffey are already long since forgotten, and nobody remembers Eric Davis, who shoulda woulda coulda been one of the best baseball players of all times – and I remember when I was a kid I thought he’d end up being better than Barry Lamar.

but I digress…

So in the bottom of the first, Jordan Schafer struck out (he’s leading the team) then Lowrie reached on error – Juan Rivera, an OF playing first because Loney can’t face leftys, screwed up a dead easy toss and Lowrie reached. JD flew out, then Clank hit one into the Crawford Boxes. Jim Deshaeis is dead right about it being silly to bat Altuve, hitting .360, in the 8 hole; Millsie-poo wants Jed Lowrie in the 2-hole because Jed is a switch hitter, even though he can’t hit near as well as Altuve and from what I’ve seen, can’t bunt either. Anyway, Clank hits a 2 run homer – 2 UER, but hey, they COUNT!

In the second, Hairston walks and steals second (Jason Castro hasn’t thrown out one single batter this year, no matter WHO he’s caught) but he didn’t get anywhere. We’re up – CJ singles (he has GOT to stop swinging at bad pitches. At least he’s fielding well – I hope that saying so doesn’t jinx him) then Castro walks, Altuve flies out, then Wandy walks on 5 pitches (sorry, it WAS 5 balls) and bases loaded and all yall know how bad the Stros have done with bases loaded this year (like 3 fer 14) and Jordan Schafer pokes one over the RF wall – barely, but Ethier couldn’t time his leap just right and only nicked it, so it was

Astros 6 Dodgers zippo

Can you believe it????

3rd – Wandy gives up a walk to Ellis, but gets 1,2,3 – and Matt Kemp hits the hardest hit ball of the night – a lazy FB to the RF bullpen warning track. Billingsly pulls himself together and gets 1,2,3 out. CJ has GOT to stop swinging at crappy pitches!!!

4th – Wandy gives up a walk, then Ethier barely beats out what shoud have been a 4-6-3, but Wandy doesn’t notice and gets the next 2 eats. Then the Astros are up and stuff happens.

Jason hits what SHOULD be an easy flyball to dead center, but Matt Kemp misjudges the ball, comes forward and it goes over his head, rolls up the Hill and Castro ends up at 3rd – if that had been someone with speed, it would have been an intheparker. I never understand why on earth that is never an error. Shrug-  good for us, bad for them. Then Jose walks and Wandy is up again. Remember that last time he tried to bunt and he got walked. Squeeze this time? Nope. This time, Wandy pulls the bat back, swings away and hits the ball right back at Billingsley, a dead easy 1-6-3, right?

Wrong, because Billingsley mades a very bad throw, Gordon gets the error for missing that bad throw (how stupid), Wandy and Altuve are safe and Castro trots home and Wandy gets his first RBI of the year. JD is right – Billingsley SHOULD have thrown to third because they would have had Castro dead, was way off third.

So it’s Astros 7 Dodgers zip. And Schafer hits into a dead easy 3-6-1, but Rivera, the first baseman, makes a terrible throw to second and he only gets Wandy out and it’s men on first and third. So Billingsley has come undone, throws 3 wide ones to Lowrie, then throws a WP and Altuve scores and Schafer goes to third.

Mattingly takes pity on poor Billingsley and finally pulls him – I was wondering if this was gonna be one of those 11 run Brandon Backe/Woody Williams take one for the team type games. So in comes our old friend Jamey Wright – I remember him best from the Giants game in 06 when Russ Springer deliberately hit (or did he) Barry Lamar and Barry told Jamey he was absolutely NOT to retaliate – and naturally the Barry Lamars won that game. Julio Daniel Martinez hits the ball to third and Juan Uribe, playing 3rd, looks very worn out and very tired, tosses the ball to second – and it sure looks to me like Jed Lowrie beat that throw, but I guess the ump figured that the Dodgers needed a break and called him out while Schafer scored. Clank gets out.

Astros 9 Dodgers zip

5th inning – Wandy is at 70 pitches and I’m hoping he can get a few quick 1,2,3 so he can have a CG. But no, 14 pitches for 1,2,3 out. Bottom of the inning, CJ is HBP (and you KNOW that was an (can you believe this?!) and Castro drives him in with a single up the middle. Then Altuve and Wandy ground out and it’s

Astros 10 Dodgers zip

6th inning – Ellis singles, with Kemp up, Castro completely misses a high FB and gets charged with a PB, but Wandy strikes out Kemp swinging on a wicked curveball. Hehhehheh. Wandy gets the next 2 outs, no prob. Bottom of the 6th – Schafer flies out, Lowrie singles, Julio Ks, then Clank hits a dead easy grounder to Uribe, who boots it, then Bogu walks and bases are loaded. But CJ grounds out. Sigh. It’s the bases loaded curse.

7th inning: single, K 5-4-3 GIDP. CJ isn’t hitting for power, but at least he’s fielding well. Wright is out, a lefty named Scott Elber is in. Castro and Altuve K. Marwin Gonzalez hits a pinch hit single (Wandy is out after 107 pitches – too bad this wasn’t the last game because he was only at 87 after 7 when he was pulled for a PH) then Jason Maxwell, PH for Schafer singles, but Lowrie pops up. So much for the switch hitting thingy. That’s 5 guys stranded in the past 2 innings, but fortunately we’re still ahead by 10. But I’m remembering Roy-O’s game against the ChiSox in 06 in which he was leading 10-1 after 7, then Qualls, Wheeler and Lidge ALL gave up homers to tie the score…

8th inning – Fernando Rod comes in and he has had, uh, difficulty, so far this year and I’m hoping he doesn’t go all BoSox bullpen and blow Wandy’s W. So James Loney, who has come into the game to play 1st where he belongs, singles (he LUUUUVVVS hitting at home here at the Box), then Froddy gets 2 outs, then he gives up a double to left center to Tony Gwynn Jr – I didn’t realize he wasn’t still with the Padres – I remember Milwaukee trading him there a few years back, but he was with the Dodgers last year too (signed as a FA.) But then he gets Rivera to GO to 3rd – and that was a very tough play.

Bottom of the 8th, it’s Mike MacDougal, the Stork. Julio grounds out (it isn’t his night) then Matt Downs, who has come into the game and Clank is out, singles, then Bogu doubles off the scoreboard (a fast runner woulda scored, yes) then CJ singles to the 5.5 hole and drives in Downs!!! YAY!!!! (Sorry – I like CJ, what can I say) Castro flies out, then Jose Altuve beats out a grounder to third (like I said, Uribe looks very very old) and Bogu scored. Marwin Ks and it’s

Astros 12 Dodgers zip

9th – Brandon Lyon comes in and gets out, single, 6-4-3. Marwin Gonzalez made a great grab and Altuve made a GREAT turn and throw. Can’t believe it, but Marwin looks like a better hitting and better fielding SS than Jed Lowrie. But you know how it is, until Jed gets an owie, he’s gonna be the starter pretty much no matter HOW bad he is.

And we’re off to meet the Brew Crew. It’s Lucas Harrell vs Zack Greinke. Lucas threw 6.2 very good innings vs the Nats last time out, giving up 4 H, 3 BB and 1 run over 6.2 IP but had nothing to show for it because the bullpen and Astros hitters sucked.

Greinke is unbeaten at Miller Park, where he is 12-0 and the Crew is 19-0 in all of his starts. He has a 5.09 ERA over his first 3 starts, but that is because he let the Cubs beat him like a drum at Wrigley giving up 8 runs over 3.2 IP. His other 2 starts at home, he went 7 innings each and gave up 4 hits/no runs vs the Cards and 4 H, 2 walks, 2 runs vs the Dodgers.

Reminds me of Roy-O’s streak against the Reds in which he remained unbeaten for something like 20 games. Of course, the TEAM lost a few of those games even though HE didn’t…

4/21/12: Ex-Rice Owl Phil Humber Pitches A Perfect Game

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Time goes by so incredibly fast, and it’s going by faster the older I get. It seems like yesterday, although it was 2003, that the Rice Owls won the College World Series. I remember their 3 aces, Niemann, Humber and Townsend, along with Lance Pendleton and their arm-shredding coach, Wayne Graham. I remember OF Chris Kolkhorst, who I thought fer Sher was gonna be a star, 1B Vince Sinisi, who I thought had a good chance to make it to the majors until I realized he was being blocked by Mark Teixiera and/or Hank Blalock – but I digress, and SS Paul Janish, who, to my surprise, made it to the bigs with the Reds. And of course, closer David Aardsma, who

Anyway, they were all sophomores so Niemann went to the Rays first round 04, Humber went to the Mets first round 04 and Townsend to the Orioles first round 04 – he refused to sign with them and the next year signed with the Rays first round after sitting out a year.

Townsend needed TJ surgery in 05 – and he never regained his pitching ability – got as high as AA in 08 where he threw 22 terrible innings, and was done. At least he had all that bonus $$$.

Niemann took 4 years to reach the majors, started 2 games in 08, and has been an OK 4th/5th starter with an aggregate 97 ERA+ over 516 IP and 86 GS. Not so great for a first rounder, but at least he, unlike Townsend and humber, didn’t have to have his elbow rebuilt.

Phil had a Wade Townsend start to his ML career – well, unlike Wade, he signed right away. I meant that the Graham shredding had done a number on his pitching elbow and he had to have TJ surgery in 05. He was coming back when he was traded to the Twins in the johan Santana trade. He did lousy at AAA for 2 years with Minnesota, as well as his 20 scattered innings in the bigs and they gave up on him.

The Royals signed him for the 09 season and he threw 20 blah innings in the bigs and 188 blah innings at AAA, unremarkable hit and K rate.

The A’s picked him after the season, thoguht about it, dropped him, and the White Sox took him off waivers. I guess Don Cooper was the ticket for Humber, because something clicked for him at age 28 and he pitched better in the majors than he had done at any organization’s AAA club – threw 26 games and 2 in relief over 168 innings with a 3.75 ERA 112 ERA+ and a 1.17 WHIP. Nothing extraordinary though – had 6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.5 H/9. No game lasted more than 7 IP, and he had 4 games in which he gave up no runs over those 7 IP.

But you know, sometimes the unlikeliest guys throw no hitters or perfect games. Anyone remember Bud Smith? No one would remember Armando Galarrhaga if it wasn’t for the blown call. And some of the greatest pitchers ever haven’t thrown any nonos – Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Roger Clemens.

And it’s unbelieveable how many of the recent nonos have been thrown against the Rays – I mean, since they got good in 08 – with all their great hitters, how is that possible??? I’m always surprised that the post 08 Astros haven’t gotten no-hit and the one that Zambrano got against the immediately post-Ike shell shocked team, you know, where the guys couldn’t even get in contact with their family members, it doesn’t count to me.

It’s baseball and youneverknow…

But what I want to know is – what on EARTH went wrong with the Mariners? It’s like the minute Edgar Martinez retired, no one could hit, well except for Ichiro and all those slap/infield hits. But it seemed to be the park where good hitters went to suck. Yeah, their GMs seemed to sign a lot of old FA, but for some reason, they went from good to bad as soon as they got to Seattle and their fans have about given up in spite of the small surge of hope when they hired Zdurencik, who doesn’t seem to have made a bit of difference in either the major league or minor league club.

It’s amazing how fast a good club can go bad, especially when clubs don’t really make any sort of serious backup plans and keep old, worn out guys playing full time when they don’t merit it any more. I still don’t understand why they don’t seriously try to work harder with the talent they DO have in the minors. Like, say, Humber. How is it that he rotten in 3 different Organizations for all that time? Why did he get picked up after all those years of suckage and why did he suddenly have success?

No idea.

But hats off to the guy and best wishes for his future.

4/19/12: Bud Norris Drives In 2 And Beats Nats To Avoid Sweep

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

OK, so that isn’t quiiiite fair, but hey, pitchers hitting and driving in runs is teh absolute KEWL.

The funny thing is that Bid didn’t throw an ace start, as Wandy and Lucas Harrell did before him, but Bud had great run support, which he certainly needed seeing as how he threw an unmoving FB right down the middle to Ryan Zimmerman with 2 on and he would have been down 3

except for the fact that tonight, the guys hit. Schafer struck out swinging on 3 pitches, then Jose Altuve hammered a ball off the far RF fence for a triple, then JD hit an infield single to short

Stros 1 Nats 0

then Clank singled, then Brian Bogusevic, getting to play bcause Travis Buck pulled something owie, crushed a ball to the RF scoreboard and cruised into third, scoring JD and Clank – and Clank was lucky to score because fer SHER the relay beat him, but the catcher dropped the ball and there was the run.

Stros 3 Nats 0

So then Matt Downs, who hadn’t done anything all year except for ground out weakly, was playing while CJ was sitting, and he hit a 3-2 pitch, a nice fat one up and mid plate, to the left center fence, and trottted into third while Bogu scored.

Stros 4 Nats 0 (no I’m not kidding and ther’s only 1 out)

Then Jason Castro singled to right to drive home Downs.

Stros 5 Nats 0

But then Marwin Gonzalez, playing short while Lowrie sat this one out, flied out and Bud popped out.

Good thing that the Astros scored all those runs in the first because except for a single by Bogu in the 3rd, the Astros didn’t do one more thing agaisnt Jackson.

Meanwhile, Bud got 1,2,3 in the first, then in the second, gave up a single, then a WP (Castro catching, what can I say), then a single to left and slow running Adam LaRoche scored because JD made an absolutely terrible throw. He’s Clank V2 out there, except he hustles more.

And in the 3rd, The Pest Part 2 gets one of those bloop hits to start off, then a strike called ball, then a pitch right down the middle sent to the wall of the RF bullpen and it’s men on second and third, then a midthing inside FB over the LF fence and after 4 pitches, 3 runs in.

Stros 5 Nats 4

Then a 4 pitch walk to Adam LaRoche. Then a 3 pitch swinging K, single, popup and a 4 pitch swinging K. He had one on in the 4th, got 1,2,3 in the 5th.

Then the Nats pulled Jackson after 5 innings, 89 pitches – not sure why because really, the Astros hadn’t done anything for 4 innings. But it worked out great, because our old friend, lefty Tom Gorzellany, who we know from all those years with the Pirates and Cubs, came in and he didn’t have good stuff. He came in having pitched 5.1 innings, 3 hits, no runs.

Bogu singled, Downs hit into a 6-4, Castro singled, then Marwin ROE off Zimmerman’s glove – not sure why that was called a hit, because it sure looked like an error to me. And then Bud came to bat. The infield comes in, expecting the bunt, and Bud hits the ball over the drawn in IF and he drives in Downs and Castro!!!!

Then Jordan Schafer singles to center and for some reason, Clark holds Marwin, bases loaded. Then Jose Altuve smashes a ball to the left center field fence, 2 runs score, then JD hits a comebacker to Gorzellany, whom has the ball clank off his glove, runs after it and gets it in time to get JD who really runs slowly – not If he had gotten that ball cleanly, he would have had Schafer picked off third, easy. Instead, he wandered home and then Clank ground out.

Stros 10 Nats 4.

Bottom of the 6th, Bud Hitter is back out, gets Bernadino to hit into a 3-1, only the ump calls him safe – and it wasn’t very close. So Bud gets back to work, gets a flyout, then Pest, Jr gets a single (a real one) then Bud gets a flyout and a popup.

It wasn’t a good outing for Bud – 10 hits, 1 homer, 2 walks, 6 K, 4 ER – but sometimes, you get lucky when you aren’t good.

Gorzellany came out for the 7th – damm, the boy is takin it for the team – got a groundout, then Matt Downs hit a GR double to the LF bullpen and Castro – 3rd hit tonight – singles him home.

I do believe this is Castro’s first 3 hit game in the majors. YOU GO BOY!!!! BA almost up to his weight!!!

Wilton Lopez gets 1,2,3 in the 7th. David Carpenter gives up a single, but gets the other 3 outs and Brett Myers mops up 1,2,3 in the 9th.

All told, Stros have 17 hits, no walks/HBP, no GIDP and go 9 fer 12 with RISP. Bout time.

We’re home for the weekend – that’s all, to face Ell Lay. It will be J Happ vs our old pal, lefty Ted Lilly. And Teddy LIKEY pitching at the Box – he’s 4-2 in 9 GS, 53.2 IP, 50 H, 11 HR (remember that game where the Astros had 5 solo homers against him and STILL lost???!!!) and a 3.02 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and a .243 BAA.

The Dodgers are 10-3 and Matt Kemp has been invincible. And Baltimore is leading the NL East. It’s baseball and youneverknow…

4/18/12: In Which The Nats Walk All OVAH The Astros

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Second night in a row we had great starting pitching. Last night, we got beat by 2 plays that should have been made, but weren’t. Tonight, it was all about the balls.

Lucas Harrell pitched great for 6 innings – 2 hits, 3 walks, no runs, clinging to a 1-0 lead (more on that later). He started off the 7th just fine – got a groundout, but then left up a ball to Ankiel, who hammered it for a double. He then got called for a balk – don’t ask me why because he sure as heck didn’t move his foot off the rubber and it was a man on 3rd, 1 out. So Broakie trotted out to talk him down, and he got a swinging K. 2 outs, no worries about run scoring grounders, but Harrell couldn’t get the job done, threw a breaker that didn’t and the ball was hit down the LF line and in trotted the run.

So out went Lucas with a man on second, 2 outs, in came Froddy and up came The Pest V2 (Lombardozzi) and the suddenly changing strike zone. So it’s ball 1, then strike 1 at the top of the zone which has been a strike all night, is ball 2. Then it’s ball 3. 2 called strikes then a ball in the dirt which almost gets away (HEY, Castro blocked a ball!!!!!!) and it’s men on first and third 2 outs. Then a popup and we have a tie game.

Lucas can’t win, but then again, he can’t lose neither. 6.2 innings of 1 run ball and all you get is a no decision.

He didn’t pitch as well as Wandy did last night, but still – he gave up a double in the first. Then in the second, a walk then stolen base then advance to 3rd on a swinging K on a dropped ball that had to be thrown to first – heads up baserunnung by Werth, then an IBB and it’s men on first and third for Ryan Zimmerman, but he grounds out to Marwin Gonzalez, playing second. Guess it’s Altuve who needed a rest (?!) along with JD Martinez, who had been ofer Washington. Justin Maxwell, who couldn’t manage to catch that double last night was in left.

Then it was a 1,2,3 3rd and 4th, then a leadoff walk and 1,2,3 5th and 6th – well it was single, FO, GIDP.

And that, my friends, SHOULD be enough to get you a W, but

Froddy came back to start the 8th after Jason Castro and Schafer had gifted him with the go ahead run - walked the leadoff guy on 5 pitches (and sorry, but ball 4 was strike 2 – seriously, it’s been a strike all night) then a single to right and it’s men on first and second, no outs and it’s not like they are the Astros.

So in comes Wesley Wright to get Adam LaRoche out and he goes to 0-2, then throws 4 straight balls, so it’s bases loaded. And to repeat, they aren’t the Astros. So in comes Rhiner Cruz, who goes to 3-2 on Werth, then Strike 3 is called ball 4 and in trots a run. You notice this is 3 walks in 4 PA, which is NOT good. Then Rick Ankiel hits a bullet to Altuve (now at second and Marwin is at 3rd and CJ is out) who throws home, but Ankiel runs fast and beats the throw back to first. Bases STILL loaded, 1 out. And he throws a FB down the middle to Ramos who sends it to DEEP center and even slowpoke Adam LaRoche has no trouble trotting home.

Nats 3 Stros 2.

Next guy flies out.

No Brad Lidge tonight, it’s a guy named Henry Rodriguez who gets Maxwell, Clank and Bogu. Guess it’s closer by committee.

Astros had 6 hits, no walks and went 1 fer 7 with RISP. Nats went 1 fer 9 with RISP, but then again, the Astros and the HP ump gifted them with all those walks, and an RBI is an RBI whether it is a walk or a single to short.

Both Jason Castro and Marwin hit doubles off the fence, and there were 3 singles and a bunt, but hey, this is not exactly hitting.

Bud Norris faces the well traveled Edwin Jackson tomorrow. The guy is only 28, but he spent 03-05 with the Dodgers, 06-08 with the Rays, 09 with Detroit, who traded him at the end of the year to the Dbax, who traded him at the deadline to the White Sox. He started 2011 with the White Sox, who traded him to the Cards at the deadline and he signed as a FA with the Nats this year.

This year, he threw 5 innings of 3 run ball against the Cubs and a 2 hit 1 run complete game vs the Reds. He’s done well vs the Astros in general, but this year’s team has so little in common with the teams he’s faced in the past that it’s hardly worth mentioning.

It would be nice to not get swept, so let’s hope Bud brings his ace game (pretends he’s facing the Cards).