Back again!!! Or should I say, Backe again.
What a game!! After the embarrassment of last night’s batting practice thrown by Munro and Harville, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the at least 5000 *#@%$@%#*!! Cub fans seated in the upper decks, I sure did appreciate this one.
Brandon Backe, local boy (alright, Galveston BOI, close enough) had never done particularly well last year for the Devil Rays, who drafted him, or for the Stros earlier this year, who used him mainly as a mop-up guy. He was sent back to the minors in June with a 5.32 ERA and put into the starting rotation there. He did very well in New Orleans, with an ERA in the low 2s and was called back up because we needed someone to replace Tim Redding in the rotation, Carlos Hernandez having already been brought up to replace Andy Pettitte.
Well, Backe was The Man tonight. Fastball in the mid 90s, a good slider and a lot of first pitch strikes. 4 singles scattered over 7 innings, 3 walks, 2 DP, and 1 batter made it to second. He also drove in 2 runs with his first major league hit. He finished with 93 pitches and 56 strikes. ERA now down to 4.03
Mark Prior sure didn’t look like the next coming of Tom Seaver/ Cy Young/ Walter Johnson/ Mary Poppins….. He walked 6 batters, couldn’t get a single breaking ball of any sort over the plate, and the ONLY reason that he got away with giving up so few runs is that the lousy Astro hitters kept swinging at ball 4. He threw 104 pitches, 61 for strikes.
But then Dan Miceli, who has had an eye infection, (can he see??!!) started the 8th, went 2/3, got 2 outs and left 2 on. Time for closer/ace reliever Brad Lidge. Who, to put it mildly, was having trouble finding the strike zone. One hit, one of Miceli’s runs scores, the the 3rd out. Score now 2 -1. Remlinger gets a 1,2,3 inning.
Brad Lidge is back out. He has 14 saves in a row now. Cmon boy, throw that evil slider, get a 1,2,3 inning and let Brandon get the W he deserves. But noooooooooooooooooooooo. Lidge can’t get the ball over the plate and gives up 2 more runs and now we’re down 3 – 2. All the %$^&&^$#** Cub fans (WHERE did they all come from???) are screaming and cheering. Why is there never a rotten tomato concession when you need one? (But the beer guys have had a field day with the Cub fans up here – usually they appear around the 3rd inning, look hopefully around, sell a couple beers, give up, then vanish for the rest of the game.)
Well, I figure I’ll stick it out even though we have exactly ONE comeback win after the 8th inning ALL YEAR! Something like 1 for 54. No kidding.
Latroy Hawkins comes on to pitch. I’m hoping for the pre-Guardado Twins version… And there’s a single by Kent, who is pinch run for by Eric Bruntlett. Followed by a bunt by Ensberg (WHY is this good hitter bunting???!!! the ghost of Jimy?) which is overthrown by Macias, their 3rd baseman. Sammy Sosa has to run after the ball, which has rolled into the right hand corner. Bruntlett is on his horse and is rounding 3rd at full steam when Lamont, the 3rd base coach throws up the stop sign! WHAT???!!!!! Bruntlett takes more time to pull to a stop than he would have taken to cross home. Ensberg, who is pretty fast himself is at least halfway to 3rd and has to get back in a hurry. I’ve heard of Wavin Wendell, but Stopem Lamont is ridiculous! Like, this team is not exactly very good at scoring runs.
But then Vizcaino (who by the way is NOT Everett with the glove) singles and Bruntlett scores. And we’re tied!!!!! Lamb comes in to pinch hit and receives an IBB. Then Jason Lane, who, with any luck, will be out starting RF next year, has his big chance – hero vs goat. And he singles to right and Ensberg trots home. Can you believe it?! The $@*#&%&$#!! Cub fans sure can’t.
Well, 2 big comebacks tonight – the Stros AND MY BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!! So be it and shall it remain…..