Dude deserves his own title today seeing as how he was the ONLY pitcher to accomplish that magnificent feat.
I just didn’t feel like writing – The Other Geoff Brings His Iron Mitt And Makes Mike Lamb/Ty Wigginton Look Like Brooks Robinson – You Know, The Player Back In The Good Old Days Who Vacuumed Every Ball Hit To The Left Of The SS And Never Made A Mistake.
But I COULD have written – Props To Borkowski Who Came In With Only About 5 Warm-up Pitches, Threw 8 Straight Pitches Outside The Strike Zone, Didn’t Strangle Blum When He Screwed Up A Dead Easy 5-4-3 (AGAIN!!!!!!) Getting Only 1 Out Then Having To IBB Jenkins Then Giving Up A Piddly Single To Load The Bases Then Pitching Out Of The Jam.
Or I could have written – Backe Pitches Batting Practice In Like What Has Gotta Be His Worst EVAH Start (ida wanna hafta look it up – this one was waaaaaayyyy too depressing…) But we knew he was having problems with location because of all the walks in his last start.
He started off in trouble – Taguchi singles the 4th FB to left. Then Dobbs takes the 1-2, which is chest high and outside to right. He gets Utley to K on a curve.But then he hangs a slider to Howard, who singles Taguchi home. Then Tejada can’t handle a ball from Burrell and Howard is safe at second and Burrell is safe at first -this is a “single” and Dobbs scores. Then Jenkins doubles off the CF wall on a mid thigh mid plate meatball, Howard scores and Burrell is out at the plate because Bourn can hit the cutoff man. Coste reaches because Blum makes his first error of the day dropping an easy ball. Fortunately Bruntlett lines out. Bad pitching, bad fielding.
Then Houston hitters can’t manage to score with 2 on and no out. Bad hitting.
Bottom of the second – Backe walks the effing PITCHER on 4 straight balls. Then Taguchi singles on a perfectly acceptable curve. Dobbs FO to Clank Lee. Then Utley hits a mid plate outer half meatball off the RF wall, which should have been an easy RBI double, except that the pitcher doesn’t know how to run the bases and he goes back to tag before advancing and Utley, almost to second, manages to make it back to first – he SHOULD have drawn a throw at least from a fielder of Erstad’s quality. Bases loaded one out. But then Howard does Backe a favor and hits a FB that actually had some movement on it (for a change) into a 4-6-3. Narrow escape.
Bourn walks, but no one gets him home – and yes, he does steal his 9th base in a row.
Bottom of the 3rd, Backe still has pretty much nothing except bad pitches and bad luck. Walks Burrell on 4 straight balls. Then Blum makes error #2, booting a simple 5-4-3 tailor made GIDP and Jenkins is safe at first and Burrell is safe on third. Then Coste hits a ball to left center which Clank, naturally, doesn’t get near, and Burrell scores. Then Backe gets the next 3 outs – and he was darn grateful that Berkman managed to fish out a terrible throw from Blum on out #3.
Top of the 4th, Tejada hits Wifebeater’s only mistake over the RF wall. Thank you for making sure at least we didn’t get shutout.
Bottom of the 4th, Dobbs takes an inside knee high FB to right for a single. Then Backe serves up a nice tasty unsliding slider which Utley hits over the R centerfield wall. FINALLY Coop gets the bullpen going.
Everyone trots to the mound. The ump knows wassup, and finally he trots out there – break it up, break it up. They all trudge slooooooowwwwwwwwwllllllllyyyyyyy back. Then Backe holds the ball, Tejada calls time and trots out. The ump sighs, starts to wander back out there, then FINALLY he gets the notice that Borkowski is ready.
Dude has had like maybe 2 minutes max to get ready. And darn if he doesn’t manage to get through the entire inning without letting any runs score.
And Blum had best throw the glove he was using today in an incinerator. I don’t guess HE ever wants it near him again neither….
Villareal is given a chance to try to remember how to pitch to guys you DON’T want to hit the darn baseball.
5th inning, he mows down Taguchi and Dobbs and then Ks Utley. DAMMMM!!! But in the 6th, well, the usual Villareal shows. Howard, who has been slumping, sends a changeup into the right centerfield stands. Here we go again. Then Pat Burrell gets a cheapie 331′ just an inch to the right of the LF foul pole – woulda been off the scoreboard at The Box. He then settles down, gets Jenkins to K, gives up a single to Coste (Blum doesn’t get) and then gets Bruntlett to pop out and Myers to FO.
Might could there be a reason that Atlanta didn’t mind trading a much needed bullpen arm for a minor league OF who will be, at best, a 4th/5th OF defensive replacement?
7th, Geary gets 1,2,3.
8th – Valverde is given a no-pressure outing. He’s been working with Dewey Robinson, the pitching coach. So let’s see how he does. He gets Ryan Howard to swing at ball 2 – mid chest. His splitter still has very little movement. Burrell then pops up the second pitch – looks like a slider??? OK – so far so good. But then it’s the Lidge’s curse – one more batter to go and sure enough, a splitter doesn’t split and Jenkins sends it into the LF corner. Then Coste, the backup catcher is up, and Valverde, I guess giving up on the breaking stuff, feeds Coste a steady diet of fastballs until he finally leaves one in the middle of the plate and Coste sends it over the CF wall.
He STILL can’t get any of his breaking stuff to break and even backup catchers are gonna hit 90 something FB down the middle.
As for our hitters, they didn’t do spit the few times we had MOB. Loretta is looking tired. He is NOT an everyday player anymore. Maybe it is a good thing that Matsui is supposed to be coming back soon.
We SHOULD have won game 1, but today was a disaster.
Got no idea what they are doing with Hunter Pence, who sat out today. He’s in some sort of mental funk, swinging at anything low and outside. Maybe he needs a hypnotist. Maybe the day off will help somehow. Because when Erstad is a better hitting option, Houston, we most DEFINITELY have a problem…
The Rox are coming into town for the weekend and Chris Sampson gets the start tomorrow. Hope he isn’t rusty, it will be 9 days…
UPDATE: Meanwhile, the Rox played 22 innings in San Diego last night and hopefully, they will be too tired to do much of anything at the plate, in the field…