Yes, you read that right. Carlos Lee tripled to the RF bullpen, then came home on a throwing error by the cutoff man, Crosby. Did I mention that it was a 2 RBI triple? Yes, Carlos (no Clank today) had himself a very good game – made 2 good catches, one at the scoreboard, one in shallow left that he came in for when he was playing deep. He also singled and stole a base on one of his patented – look for when the pitcher doesn’t know you’re alive, then trot into second. I led off with Carlos because there sure nuff hasn’t been much good to write about him this year, so when he does well, important to give him his props.
But the Star Of The Day was, as usual, Michael Bourn. Honestly, I am really trying to not write headlines about the boy every day, but he keeps excelling. To put it mildly. He walked three times (and scored) stole 3 bases, made 2 OF assists – threw out Iwamura after McCutchen LODP (and McCutchen is pretty darn good his own self – had a clean single to left, beat out 2 IF hits and stole a base – AND he is one HOTTTTT man, too, that perfect body like Michael Bourn and Bradley Awesomeness – and yes, I know we aren’t selling jeans here) and scored 2 runs. And of course, he made a couple of great catches, but because he didn’t slide, they won’t get on Web Gems.
Remember how many fans wanted him OFF the team in 08? Remember how Cooper would have benched him for the rest of the year and played Gritmeister if Fast Eddie hadn’t stopped that? Amazing what a ballplayer can do when he really gets a chance to play without worrying about his job/being sent down/being traded. Interesting how many emails I have gotten from Phillies fans saying that they never thought he was gonna be THAT good. I know Victorino hits for more power, but it will be interesting to see, over the years, who creates more runs.
Anyway, it was a bee-yootifful day at the ballpark, which was about half-full. It was sunny and hot, but smart Mami here chose seats in the shade for Lil Miss, Da Bull and me. As much as I LUUUVVVV the excitement of a packed, noisy House with closed roof, I also LUUUVVV the peace of a half empty place, which makes it easier to move around if you happen to end up near obnoxious people who keep standing up right in front of you, taking pics of themselves endlessly (WHYYY is this necessary during the inning) or keep telling, uh, details (ahem) about their pregnancy or somebody’s wedding etcetcetc. And thank goodness for the best promotion EVAH, the free soda for the designated driver – we needed that today fer SHER.
So where was I? oh yeah – Lance hit his first homer of the year, one of his opposite field jobs into the Crawford Boxes – Charlie Morton kept throwing him those high, off the plate FB. Charlie needs to learn how to keep the ball down because he doesn’t throw hard enough to throw high. As Pedro Feliz and JR Towles, who hit his first double of the year, showed him. Pedro hit 2 singles off high FB, and GIDP and made an excellent grab of a ball in the dirt to tag a runner coming into third. I haven’t been real too particular impressed with his fielding, but he did just fine today.
JR did a great job blocking balls in the dirt, hit a RBI double, walked once and reached on a HBP and scored a run – he didn’t have a chance to get in on the Astros stolen base parade – they ran wild on Doumit – 3 steals for Bourn, 1 each for Carlos, Pence and Feliz (yes, Feliz???!!!)
Tommy Manzella hit a RBI double (his first double of the year) and made a bunch of really nice plays. No he’s not Adam, but he’s really good. And he’s a VERY good cutoff man, too with a very strong and accurate arm.
Keppinger didn’t get a hit, but he drew 2 walks – one was an RBI. RBI walks are teh kewl. He’s doing a very good job with the glove at 2B, too – he’s not quite Kaz, but he’s incredibly better at second than at short (shudder.)
And Pence? Well, he went 2 fer 4 with 2 runs scored, a WALK!!! and singled after going 0-2 and NOT swinging at a crappy slider that he would have gotten himself out on last week. Best of all, he really ran like heck out of the box on what should have been an inning ending 6-4-3 and beat the throw, which allowed a run to score, and allowed Feliz to come up and drive in another run and nail the Pirates coffin SHUT. And, he threw a bullet to third to prevent a runner from advancing. The fielding has been stellar, regardless of bat.
The Pirates had more hits than the Astros and, in fact, had men on base in every inning except the 9th, and left bases loaded TWICE. Jeff Clement (an ex-catcher who was supposed to be the second coming of Mike Piazza according to People Who Know in the minor league/prospect world – but ended up getting lucky enough to get traded or he would have been one of those career minor leaguers because he can’t handle ML breaking stuff to save his life) hit a mid-plate, mid thigh FB from Tim Byrdak 434′ to dead CF at the very base of the Hill and all he got for his trouble was a double – he did come around to score, but still, to hit a ball 434′ and all it is is a double? He’s lucky – if Michael had been playing juuuust a little deeper, it would have been an out. One of these days, I’d like to see someone (preferably an Astro) hit the ball over the wall on the Hill. I remember Richie Sexson hit a ball really high off the in-play flagpole – must have been 475′ if it was an inch – and all he got was a double – he jogged out of the batters’ box, natch…
By the 7th, the score was 8-2, so Mills gave relievers some work – Sampson looked very rusty, but came through giving up an IF single to Andrew McCutchen (if that ball isn’t smacked, like Bourn, he’s gonna be safe) who was erased on a GIDP before he could steal second, and an easy FB.
Byrdak gave up that long double and an RBI single, but got a staring K and 2 6-3 GB.
Fulchino actually looked pretty good, getting 2 quick grounders and a swinging K.
And speaking of relievers, Sammy Gervacio is back up and Wilton Lopez got sent down – looks as if he’ll be the first one called up if any reliever sucks/goes on the DL.
So now, the Astros are 8-10 and just might could reach .500 this month, youneverknow. Hopefully, the guys will have gotten their swings together in spite of the fact that they did all that hitting against the pathetic Pirates Pen, and keep it up when the Reds hit town on Tuesday.