Yeah, it sounds better than it really was, but you know I’m so HAPPY to see a starter get a deserved W that I don’t care if I exaggerated.
You know, Brandon reminds me of Roger Clemens. I mean, not that he’s a HOF ace, but somehow Roger really rubbed off on him. Look at his mound attitude, his windup, his delivery. When Brandon first came to the Astros to start in August of 04, Roger really took Backe under his wing – I thought that Roger really enjoyed Backe’s endless energy. And the one thing Roger taught me about pitching is to never NEVER throw a hittable strike just to avoid a walk. And seems to me that Backe learned that lesson too.
Because either Backe couldn’t find the strike zone, or he threw every single dangerous lefty stuff out of the strike zone on purpose, preferring to walk em. He gave up 5 hits, 5 walks and 2 K (one of the pitcher on a foul bunt) over 5 long LONG innings. Roger wasn’t a fast worker either. He had 11 baserunners and somehow stranded every single one of em.
The Astros scored 5 runs in the first 2 innings and stranded 8 more runners over the next 6. I kept praying that with THIS bullpen that only 5 runs would be enough.
Andrew Miller, the Marlins lefty, had great stuff – Berkman said so too. Of course, he pretty much went from college to the majors, so he’s got a huge learning curve, but if he doesn’t get hurt, he looks like he’s going to dominate in a year or so. So Florida might could actually get a good year or 2 out of him before they trade him instead of pay him.
Anyway, Brad Ausmus caught Backe tonight – maybe he’s gonna catch every 6th game, rotate the pitchers. Which is an interesting sort of plan.
It was Hunter Pence night tonight – bobblehead giveaway and some promo giveaway in honor of his 25th birthday. I was hoping he’d have a good night at the plate, but nope. He’s reminding me of Kit Keller and the high fastballs with his slider problem – can’t hit em, can’t lay off em. I think the boy really NEEDS a day off to maybe rest. His swing is just off, his timing is off and he looks absolutely lost. Reminds me of Chris Burke last year – except that Burke was actually spraying doubles all over the field by the time he was sent down – but I digress.
Bourn took off the first 5 innings. Cruz handled the chances in center very well, fortunately, and there were a few really tough plays. Bourn still isn’t hitting, although he IS walking and not swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. Hopefully, they’ll get it together in the next few weks. Bourn NEEDS to get the on base up over 300, although he is almost there right now, in spite of hitting only .195 so far.
Wigginton is now officially on the DL. Good. Blum made 3 VERY good plays that I can’t be sure Wiggy would have. I really would prefer to bench Wiggy unless we’re playing a lefty and then, pull him for DR late in the ballgame. Yes, he IS that bad. Wesley Wright has hurt his finger, but isn’t on the DL. Yet.
Not a word about Roy. Yet.
Valverde FINALLY got through an inning without giving up a run, although he did give up 2 hits. I was even more of a nervous wreck with him on the mound than with Brad Lidge, who, by the way, has given up 1 hit, 3 BB, 4 K, no ER and has 2 saves in 2 save opp in 4 appearances over 4 IP. Chad Qualls, by the way, has appeared in 6 games over 6.1 IP – 2 hits, 5 , 5 K, no R/ER, 1 save.
This afternoon, it’s Wandy Rodriguez vs Burke Badenhop, RHP (is that an absolutely AWESOME name or WHAT???!!!) Why do I think his nickname has GOT to be “Boris”???!! We saw one pitcher tonight who Florida got from Detroit for the salary dump of Cabrera and Willis, Andrew Miller and today, we’ll be seeing Badenhop, who has never pitched higher than AA. Not sure if we faced him in ST, but I don’t remember his name and I am SURE I would remember a great name like that.
And if Coop pulls Wandy in the 8th with a 3 hit shutout, I don’t think Wandy will go quietly this time…