Matt Belisle – yeah, Matt Belisle, the guy with the 5 something ERA, set the Astros down in order for 6 straight innings needing only 54 pitches to do so. Fortunately, Josh Anderson hit one of his Tony Gwynn Jr singles through the 5.5 hole to break it up to start the 7th and then Burke doubled into the LF corner. Cody Ransom walked to load the bases. Carlos Lee regained the closely fought league lead in GIDP, his 26th, scoring Anderson to break up the shutout. Pence then singled up the middle to tie the game.
Amazing. Belisle didn’t give up so much as a well hit ball for 6 innings, and the guys were swinging at way too many first pitches. I thought fer SHER he was going to easily pitch a nono in under 90 pitches. Which certainly goes to show that when it comes to baseball, there’s just one word – youneverknow.
On the other hand, Wandy was a little shaky starting out. He had a bit of trouble locating his fastball. He gave up a bunt single to Norris Hopper (man that guy is a GREAT bunter – I think he’s even better than Willy T), got 2 outs, then Edwin Encarnacion pounced on a luscious midthigh outside FB and sent it over the fence for a 2-0 lead. Actually, it really wasn’t a bad pitch – the one Wandy threw to the next hitter was much meatier, but he got under it and ended up just flying out.
Wandy gave up just 2 more hits, an infield dribbler and a solid double to deep center, 2 walks, an IBB and 6 K. That was 2 GOOD games he pitched to finish up the year. He had a very good fastball – and he was throwing it 92-93, the curve was working and so was the change. He actually had a VERY good year this year. He’s really learned to control his FB a lot better – he doesn’t nibble near as much as he used to and he is throwing both the curve and change for strikes. He STILL needs to work on controlling his emotions a bit better, especially when he gets squeezed by the umps, but all in all, he really improved over last year.
He worked VERY well with Towles, too. I’ve got to say – that boy has very very good hands, seems to be working just fine with the umps and is getting good calls on pitches. Towles has done a reasonably decent job of blocking balls, too and I’ve been surprised how well he’s handled both Qualls and Lidge. He’s got Quintero beat hands down, far as I’m concerned.
Borkowski pitched a 1,2,3 8th. He hasn’t given up a run since his ER debacle at Shea on the 7th.
Gary Majewski coughed up the lead in the 9th, giving up a double to Wiggy (who had replaced Cody Ransom, who had somehow gotten hurt – not sure how) who then scored on†Carlos’ single to left. Votto, the LF, made a wide throw home and Majewski, who was backing up the throw, attempted to throw to center to catch Carlos, but the throw went into center and Lee continued to third. Majewski then IBB Lamb to pitch to Bruntlett – not a bad idea, but Brunt actually managed to hit the ball to right, scoring Carlos.
Astros 4 Reds 2.
And oh dear Lord, there was Brad Lidge going out to keep a 2 run save. I can’t stand it. WHY are they doing this? Is anyone warming up in the bullpen just in case? Nope. First batter Jorge Cantu – ball, ball, ball, gift strike, good strike, foul, ball 4 WALK. Second batter David Ross – ball, ball, ball, gift strike, ball 4 WALK. Is Coop gonna let him win or lose again? WHY??? Here comes the pitching coach. Brad is not finishing off his pitches again – same as the last 2 appearances. Third batter Ellison – sac bunt.
Men on second and third, one out. Fourth hitter Valentin to pinch hit – ball, swing at a slider, RBI infield hit to third. Men on first and third, one out – should have been 2 outs but Wiggy made a very VERY bad throw (error) to first. PH Coates – taps a ball to shallow IF and Mike Lamb fields it and tags out the runner trying to come home from third. Sixth hitter Hopper – strike, infield tap to Wiggy who tags out the runner between second and third.
19 pitches and the last 3 hitters really did Lidge a favor. Either Lidge is lying and his knee IS bothering him, or he’s just lousy and I sure do hope he’s just doing the stupid male macho thing because if his knee really ISN’T bothering him, then he has a VERY serious problem called he can’t throw strikes.
I haven’t been impressed one bit with Cody Ransom’s hitting. His bat + glove is not an improvement over either Everett or Bruntlett. Yes, I know he’s the AAA team’s MVP this year. Joe McEwing was the MVP last year and 32 year old Mike Coolbaugh was the MVP the year before that. This tells you all you need to know about the excellence of our AAA team.
And now, back home for the 3 day long Biggio-fest. Atlanta is coming to town and they are out of it, too. 2005 sure seems like a LONG time ago, doesn’t it?
Matt Albers, 4-10 with a 5.88 ERA will face lefty Jo-Jo Reyes, 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA.
Remember when the Braves were famous for great pitching? All they have left is John Smoltz. Amazing, isn’t it?