5/24/08: Astros Left Fielders Win The Game For Houston, Beat Philly

I think I’ll have to call this the “I don’t believe what I just saw” game.

Moehler pitched 6 innings – 73 pitches, 50 strikes, giving up 1 walk, 1 HBP, 4 hits, 1 HR, 3 K, 3R/2ER. Really he could have pitched longer, he did quite well in the 6th, but it was a tie game and the pitcher’s spot was due up with a man on second, so he had to be pinch hit for.


It’s a sad time when your long man/spot starter is outpitching your ace, you know what I’m sayin.

Bourn went 2/4 with 1 SB and 2 RS and made 2 excellent catches, the last one in the 9th, coming forward at top speed to get a shallow pop that Miggy wasn’t going to get in time to prevent a run from scoring from 3rd. He’s getting there. Slow but sure, he’s working that average up.

Kaz Matsui went ofer Philly, so far.

Miggy went 2/4 with†a single and a double.

Lance walked twice, was IBB once, and popped out. AND his string of errorless Gold Glove plays came to an end when he looked like a circus juggler out there with Victorino’s grounder in the first, which eventually led to an UER – well, it kind of shouldn’t really be unearned totally because Moehler DID drop the throw from Lance and Miggy didn’t throw home on a relay throw from Carlos and he probably could have nailed Victorino at the plate, as he had broken kind of late from second.

AND Lance’s string of brilliant baserunning ALSO came to an end when he decided to break for home on Carlos Lee’s double to left in the 5th – he was on third and Burrell’s throw into second got away from Utley, but unfortunately he recovered the ball in time to nail Lance at the plate.

Carlos Lee came to the plate 4 times with men on. First time, he hit a double down the LF line to drive in 2. Second time, with men on second and third, he GIDP. Third time, with men on first and third, he singled to left, driving in 1 and Lance foolishly decided to break from third, ending the inning.

Hitter Pence managed an IF single in the 8th, but was caught stealing when Wiggy swung through a hit and run play.

Wiggy went 2/3 with a double, a HBP and a run scored and he handled every fielding chance flawlessly PLUS he made an outstanding play throwing out Utley at the plate. He is determined to show me up I’d say.

Brad Ausmus is ofer Philly and a GIDP and a missed easy popup at the screen (which, fortunately, didn’t cost us the game. But he did make the tag to end the game – more on that later.

Moehler darn near got a hit and he probably would have if it had been anyone else besides awesome glove Pedro Feliz handling that ball. Pedro Feliz, by the way, was the best fielder at third by FAR last year, but you know how it is – the guy with the best BA or closest to best BA who can actually catch the ball, is going to get the Goldie.

Loretta got his first pinch hit of the year, a single with 2 out in the 6th to drive in what turned out to be the winning run.


Well, Byrdak came into pitch the 7th, faced a righty and 3 switch hitters and gave up a double off the LF wall to Jimmy Rollins. He stayed in to start the 8th, getting Utley and Howard to ground out. He had then thrown 21 pitches and Burrell, a righty was up, and he would be followed by Jenkins, a lefty.

So who do all YALL think has a better chance of getting Burrell out – the lefty Burrell or the righty Villareal?

Well, Coop disagreed with all yall and sent Villareal in. And mind, this is a close game in which the Astros are LEADING by one run. Not losing by 5 runs or something. And fortunately, all Villareal did was to walk Burrell. At least it wasn’t a game tying homer because Burrell didn’t swing at the FB down the middle for strike 1. Wesley Wright came in to face Jenkins, but Manuel sent in Bruntlett and Wesley got him out.

You know, pretty much in general it is a VERY bad idea to take any pitcher from Atlanta. With 4 exceptions (in 20 years), pitchers that Bobby doesn’t want any more aren’t any good.

Valverde, naturally, got the night off, so it was going to be Brocail in to close and Brocail, um, made things, um, interesting. Feliz singled, then Coste hit one of those bloopers to short center. And things got more interesting.

And fielding?

Well, I guess Carlos wants me to quit calling him Clank because this is the second night in a row he’s made some EXCELLENT catches in left. Tonight he made a great catch in the 6th, catching Ruiz’ fly ball by the Dr. Pepper sign in the bullpen and he made an even better catch of Coste’s fly ball in the 7th, which had less hang time, almost in the same spot – and he had to catch it on the run and leaping.

You already heard about Wiggy’s great throw home in the first to nail Utley.

And NOW, we go to the 9th. Brocail in to save, Erstad in left for Carlos. And you’ve got to hear about Erstad’s great play in left – and as good as Carlos was this game, he’s still not Erstad. Ok, here’s the situation – men on second and third (because Brocail had a brain fart and fired a ball into center to try and pick off the guy on second, only no fielder was anywheres near second) and Dobbs has just popped a ball into shallow center that Michael Bourn came in on from deep center to make a great running catch and hold the runners, and Rollins has been IBB, leaving bases loaded, 1 out, with the hope that Brocail can get Victorino out on a K, infield pop or DP.

So Victorino comes up with bases loaded, 1 out. You know it is almost impossible to get him to GIDP because he’s Bourn fast. He flies out to Erstad in left. So Erstad sees the ball coming – he backs UP so he can catch the ball coming forward, throws a perfect 1 hopper to Brad who tags out the sliding Ruiz before he can touch the plate. Absolutely Gold Glove. Period. And there we are, a 7-2 to end the game, just like that.

No boring endings 2 nights in a row.

Two questions:
1 – Please someone, explain to me why, with men on first and second, no outs, top of the 9th, down by one, a superb pinch hitter at bat who is hitting 11/19 as a PH and is hitting .349 over all with a .508 SLG, why, WHY would any manager tell that guy to bunt? (And, by the way, he hasn’t exactly been slumping lately…)

2 – Wandy Rodriguez will rejoin the team and pitch Wednesday in St. Louis. Someone will have to be sent down. Who should be sent back down, Villareal or Nieve?

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15 Responses to “5/24/08: Astros Left Fielders Win The Game For Houston, Beat Philly”

  1. mark2 says:

    This is my first time to post, but I have already noticed that there is a Mark that shows up from time to time. I have no problem being Mark2. Anyway, if it’s Villareal or Nieve, it’s got to be Villareal, please! Go ‘stros!

  2. wags says:

    Maybe when Roy gets his homer-happy delivery straightened out, he can clue in Oscar.
    Don’t be surprised if an injury postpones the decision. I’m guessing Borky.

  3. wags says:

    Oh, by the way, awesome game!
    Did anyone hear the radio post-game interview? Brett finished by thanking Carlos for waiting around longer than usual. I could have sworn El Caballo thereupon shouted, “Hey, speed it up, Milo!”

  4. Lisa Gray says:

    – grinning
    of course, you could always be marky mark. me, i’d rather send down villareal, too.
    do you think bork is worse than villareal? meaning, if they were your only 2 pitchers left in the pen and the game was on the line, who would you rather NOT send in?
    and milo is getting worse and worse. he misses pitches – heck, sometimes, he misses BATTERS. and he usually forgets to tell the inning and/or the score.
    – AND i notice coop is giving roy an extra day of rest…

  5. charles cortines says:

    definitely send villareal away, and even thou nieve is not doing so good thus far i still think is potential is greater than bortkowski, so i would send bork away when we get geary back. what do you think?
    ok lisa now that you got bourn headed in the right direction , you need to work your magic on j.r. ok

  6. Jastro says:

    Jastro is happy to see that Bourn is getting some breaks going his way. Jenkins should have caught Bourn

  7. Steve Schramm says:

    In the same position last year, this team would have found a way to lose. The stros are finding ways to win, and that makes for very exciting baseball. Not only did Loretta get a base hit, that was an awesome at bat. He worked the count full, and waited to get a pitch he could drive up the middle. And he hadn’t played in days, so that’s impressive.
    As for that throw to the plate from the warning track in left, well, wow. On target, perfect one bounce to Ausmus, who made a most excellent tag and held onto the ball. Championship baseball, to be sure. (That catch by Bourn for the first out was pretty impressive, also.) And yes, those two catches by Lee sure surprised the heck out of me. Nicely done.

  8. Bruce says:

    Beautiful throw. Beautiful catch. Beautiful tag.
    My wife said “I starting to think play-offs”.
    (To which I thought, “Play-offs? Who’s talking about play-offs. Play-offs?)

  9. mark2 says:

    ummmm, maybe Nieve goes down to the minor, adios!

  10. wags says:

    pick ’em…

  11. I think Lisa owes another apology to Ed Wade after much bashing of the Darin Erstad move and the sarcasm around it all.

  12. Lisa Gray says:

    i worked on that question in my latest entry
    correct about bourn being an extrreme pull hitter, STILL. but, you know, a lot of times, a guy gets lucky with a few balls that just happen to fall in or get juuuust past a diving howard. and sometimes, if he isn’t so freaking desperate to get SOME hit, he relaxes and gets a little bit better bat control.
    i was actually pretty surprised that coop didn’t give kaz a day off and give loretta a start. and yeah, like brocail said, i was delighted that nobody cut off the throw to concede the run and put the game into extra innings (which we would most definitely have lost against philly with the 3 crud-skateers.
    – and fer SHER the tag by ausmus was most positively gold glove. NO question.
    i know better than to say one word about youknowwhats in may. because youneverknow…
    i think so.
    i give credit to the smith-wade TEAM (remember, we do NOT know exactly how much decision making wade is allowed to do) for signing a good OF glove – i never thought he wouldn’t be a good glove. I am surprised that he has hit this well as a pinch hitter/backup, seeing how he has looked for the past 3 years as a full timer.
    but the person i REALLY give credit to is whoever it is who has made the decision not to throw bourn on the junk heap and put erstad full time in center, but to keep erstad in the role he was signed for and let bourn learn to play.
    and i don’t know how he has been here in houston about being a bench guy, but i did know that this is what he was signed to do in chicago last year and i heard tell he made life miserable for the young guys there, so i was a little concerned about how he would do with pence/bourn…
    apparently, coop/wade/smith FULLY has pence/bourn’s back, so that may have given him a different mind set…
    i STILL don’t see how kicking a football makes a person a better human being, let alone a better BASEball player and neither you nor anyone else has ever answered that question.

  13. “however,
    i STILL don

  14. Lisa Gray says:

    there is no reason whatsoever to mention in any discussion about a man’s capacity to play major league BASEBALL, that erstad ever was involved with any other sport, or any other legal activity, for that matter.
    the fact that erstad kicked footballs has no more to do with his capacity to play major league baseball than his ability to knit. yet, that particular fact unfailingly appears in virtually any paragraph discussing him as a BASEBALL player. not only is that one particular fact mentioned, but it is mentioned as if it is somehow, not merely a good thing, but as if it is too important to omit from his BASEBALL resume, as it is some sort of proof that he is a superior BASEBALL player.
    its relevance still escapes me and to this day, no one has bothered to give so much as a rudimentary explanation.
    i don’t remember whether or not it was here or your blog, but i could swear i remember you bringing up erstad’s history as a football kicker when i first discussed the astros signing the gritmeister….
    if i am wrong and you never said anything about that either here or on your blog, then i apologize to you for saying that i thought YOU were among the many who brought up that particular issue