WannaB Backe turns into killerB
NewB Brandon Backe rocks the Box
No, I’m gonna call this game the 1968 game. Nerve wracking starting pitchers’ duel with spectacular defense from both teams. Nerve wracking closers’ duel.
I had heard that they were gonna leave the roof open tonight and was really surprised – not just because it was like 95 today, but because I had read that the guys were believin that the noise with the roof shut was helping them win. Husband was a little worried, but I said that if the ballplayers think a shut roof is good luck, the roof B shut, and it was. Gametime was supposed to be 7:05 – we figgered something was up when we got to our seats at 6:40 and the Cards were still doing BP. We then found out that game time was being delayed because the ACLS was only in like the 7th – man, those AL games take forEVER to finish – so first pitch was at 7:50 – strike 1 to Tony Womack.
The Box is filled with rabid, noisy Astros fans, many of who are using cell phones and palm pilots to follow the ACLS – every last one wants the Sox to win. Is it because the Jeter-worshipping national media wrote off the Sox, just as the national media wrote us off even before we started the NLDS? As our game goes on, we all are watching that scoreboard – starts out Yanks 4, Sox 2 in the 7th.
1st inning – And Brandon Backe looks like Roger Clemens in ’86, same motion, same delivery, same results, 10 pitches, 1,2,3 out. Oh. That third out? Mr. Pujols on a grounder to Kent. Woody Williams, Houston boy, pitching for St Louis. Last start here, he gave up 8 runs in 2 2/3 IP. Tonight, he’s starting sharp – except for a clean single to Bagwell, 4 up, 3 down in 9 pitches.
Scoreboard (time delayed) shows the Sox have scored a run in the 8th (Ortiz homered) and it’s 4-3 Yanks.
2nd inning – second verse, same as the first.
Scoreboard shows the Sox have tied it (Rivera blew another save, says the guy in front of us with a radio. This is a GOOD omen I say to my mother the stat geek, who, for once doesn’t start speaking stat and it’s the
3rd inning – Morgan Ensberg makes a fabulous catch of Reggie Sanders line drive – who does he think he is, Scott Rolen? 6 pitches later, Matheny and Williams are sitting. Woody Williams walks Ausmus, but after Backe strikes out trying to bunt (good grief, boy) Woody gets his groove back and Biggio and Beltran (yes, Beltran) out. Listen Woody, the cheering is for the hitters, not you.
4th inning – Brandon gets Womack, Walker AND PUJOLS (for the second time) out easily. 43 pitches after 4 IP-WOW!!! We’re up and Jeff Bagwell hits a ball down the left field line that should be a double, but somehow, Rolen manages not only to stop that ball, but to throw Bagwell out from his KNEES!!!! WOW!!! Man, you just gotta tip your cap to Rolen. WHY in the name of God did they run this guy outta Philly??? Ain’t like they didn’t get a chance to see that glove. Anyway, Woody walks Lance, Kent FO, Ensberg is hit on the top of the helmet by some slow curve – obviously NOT intentional- and there isn’t any fuss “to rally the troops” but Viz GO to end the inning.
5th inning – Rolen up. He isn’t just swinging, but is taking balls and fouling off pitches and on the 10th pitch, finally grounds out to Ensberg. I sure do hope these guys haven’t decided to work the count to get Brandon outta there and get to the soft meat of Harville and Springer, etc. Edmonds walks – hope Brandon hasn’t lost his command – but he gets Renteria and Sanders out on 1 pitch each. Woody gets 1,2,3 out. I note that his fastball is generally between 87 -89 MPH, occasionally 90-91. Guess it must move a LOT, cuz it sure ain’t the speed – and the change-up is around 85.
Brandon is throwing a no-hitter. Can we think that before the 6th? I mean, Brandon has said that he LOVES pitching here at home, at the Box where balls love the friendly skies and rack up the frequent flier miles and his 1.50 ERA here supports that. You know, Roger Clemens Himself has never thrown a no-hitter.
Yankees/Boston still tied top of the 12th…
6th inning – Brandon takes the field to approving screams. Matheny and Woody out. We know what Brandon’s doin and so do his teammates because no one went near him in the dugout…He goes 2-2 on Womack, and we’re chanting Back-e, Back-e at the top of our lungs and waving our Astros towels, but he breaks up the no-hitter with a clean single to right. Walker walks – omigawd, has Brandon lost command? Two on, Pujols (boooooooooooooooooo) up – we’re all clutching our towels, afraid to breathe, but mighty Albert pops up the first pitch to Kent. Relief flows out of us and we’re all on our feet, screaming our luv. If that boy pulls this game off, they better start printing a LOT of Backe t-shirts and jerseys.
OK. We have the Bs up – time to score some runs, but 10 pitches later Beltran, Bagwell and Berkman sitting. Woody Williams pitchin out of his mind, too. Can you believe that these heavy hitting lineups are being shut down by a #3 starter and a kid who just came up to start games in August? This tense pitchers duel is far more exciting than slugfests and the country is missing this because
bottom of the 13th and Yanks/Sox STILL tied. We matchin them 0 fer 0.
7th inning – Brandon has thrown 84 pitches. No one warming up. Hope the boy hasn’t lost his FB. 8 pitches later, he’s out of the inning. Oh, by the way, he’s out because Carlos made a stupendous (incredible, amazing, spectacular, pick your word) catch of a diving liner to left center that maybe only Cameron, Erstad or Edmonds would have gotten to. WOW! Woody one-ups Brandon by getting 3 outs on 5 pitches. This is freaking unbelieveable. Mama and Susanna say this is even better than Game 1 of the 86 playoffs with Mike Scott and Dwight Gooden.
8th inning – Brandon out there. What a STUD! Remember, this is the guy we got from Tampa Bay for Geoff Blum in the offseason and Man, what a trade. This is gonna go down on the top ten lists of most one sided trades. We all know it and we’re all standing and screaming. Reggie Sanders hits the first pitch at LEAST 430 feet to dead center and Carlos has to run up that stupid hill to catch it. It must be how Vic Wertz felt when Willie made The Catch. The Box erupts. Dayton, I don’t know how much Carlos wants, but GIVE IT TO HIM!!! We’re standing screaming with each strike call and when Brandon strikes out Mabry pinch hitting for Woody, his 101st pitch of the night, we’re screaming, hi fivin and chanting Back-E, Back-E, Back-E all through the 3 minute commercial, but to our disappointment, he doesn’t come out of the dugout.
The good news is that Woody is out. The bad news is that Isringhausen iz in. See. You DO put your very best reliever in when you are tied and the game is on the line. And he gets Ausmus, Palmeiro (WHERE is Jason Lane, a MUCH better hitter) and Biggio.
Suddenly, there is cheering as the scoreboard shows that Boston has won, 5-4. Now I KNOW we’re gonna pull this off.
9th inning – And of course, it’s BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD. First pitch, Womack GO to Kent. Screams and yells. Larry Walker can’t catch up to those 96 mph FB and the screams are shakin the building as he swings at strike 3. We’re still standing and screaming as Albert, Mighty Albert strides to the plate and there ain’t no joy in Mudville tonight after he swings at big strike 3. 9 pitches and he hardly noticed it. Mariano who?
Izzy iz back. Carlos, still hitless and homerless is up and he hits a clean single to right. We’re standing, screaming, chanting I !!! B-Leeve !!! I !!! B-Leeve!!! Lance up, hero time, boy. And Carlos steals second on a 1-1 high curve. TLR to the rescue – IBB Lance to pitch to Kent, 2 fer 8 against Izzy. Ok Jeff, that’s an insult, boy, remember the Barry, and Jeff hits pitch #1 onto the tracks above the Crawford Boxes – knew it was gone before it landed.
The Box erupts. Pandemonium. To put it mildly. We’re standing and screaming for several minutes after Kent throws off his helmet, jumps onto home plate and is swarmed by his teammates and we’re all screaming Back-E, Back-E while he’s being shown on the big screen and when we finally get down the upper deck stairs and get into the hall, some guy holds up a sign that says “Backe for President” and we all start cheering. And in the stairs down we’re chanting “Houston!!!! Astros!!!” at the top of our lungs and people still yelling when we get in the streets.
Stros fans everywhere, many heading over to the giant party on Main St. but we’re just wiped and I’ve hardly gotten any sleep between games, blogging and regular life, so we head on home.
Cars full of Stro fans honkin horns screaming GO STROS!!! We feel invincible, we’re this year’s miracle team, we’re on an unending roll, we’re gonna go into St. Louis and come home with that pennant. And then we’re gonna roll into Boston and Roger’s gonna lead us to that Series Ring.
It’s our DEStiny….