Baseball really IS a funny game. It is ever so true that really, youneverknow.
The guys can’t beat a lousy pitcher like Todd Wellemeyer. They go out and beat an ace like Garza (because Chris Carpenter beat himself, losing his temper.) Roy beat Garza a couple of years back, in Tampa – after going to talk to Jim Hickey, his old pitching coach. He didn’t likey Dewey at ALL, as we all know.
They showed a couple of closeups of Roy, face completely expressionless, in the dugout. It was made public, first in Chicago, that Roy asked his agent to inform the Astros Organization that he would LIKE a trade – not that he would CONSIDER a trade. He can’t force them to trade him, and, in fact, he has sort of backed off that – going to a contendah thingy – I guess, because he is SO angry with Draytie-poo that he’d consider pretty much anywhere except the Royals, I guess.
Not that I blame him. A pitcher shouldn’t have to throw a shutout every time to not lose. Notice I didn’t say – to win. Roy has by FAR the lowest run support in the NL – 2 runs/game started, and it is only that high because he got 4 runs of support in his 2 wins.
Of course, the Astros only scored 2 runs tonight because Lance left men on base twice – on first and third in the 3rd and a man on 3rd in the 7th. He’s looking bad again. Feliz is looking even worse, but he’s Fast Eddie’s little pet, so he won’t get Matsuied even though Chris Johnson is tearing the cover offn the ball at AAA – he’s 15 fer 39 with 5 doubles, a triple and 3 homers. But nooooooooo, we can’t get young guys up here – noooooooooo.
but I digress…
Anyway, I was noticing that Garza went 6 up 6 down on 17 pitches in the first 2 innings. The Rays took 45 pitches to get through 10 hitters in the first 2 innings – scoring only 1 run on a rare Pence error.
Ben Zobrist was up there dead set on reminding Astros fans that Drayton and Tal were dunces to trade him away (the day after Brooks Conrad reminded Astros fans that having a good switch hitting utility guy is a good idea – he hit that walkoff granny off Coco Cordero – you know, the Astros long time nemesis – to win the game for the Braves) and he went 3 fer 4 with 2 doubles – but I don’t wanna get ahead of myself just yet.
Anyway, Kevin Cash, of all people, broke up the nono in the 3rd when Garza figured that Cash couldn’t hit water iffn he fell outta a boat threw 3 FB right down the middle and Cash hit one over the SS for a clean single. Freaked out Garza so much that he couldn’t even throw a pitch anywheres NEAR the plate with Brett Myers holding his bat ready to bunt and he committed the serious major sin of walking the pitcher. Bourn hit into a FC (cain’t double HIM up) and then Kepp got really lucky because the HP ump made a mistake and called Strike 3 Ball 1. Freaked out Garzo so much he threw a meaty one crotch high inside (where Kepp likes it) and he hit a RBI single to left. Then Lance crapped out swinging at a slider near his ankles. He’s gonna have a tough time gettin his little self traded with Roy, he surely is – lookin like THAT.
So it’s a tie game, 1-1.
The 5th got exciting. Benny Zobrist (yeah, him) led off with a double. Then, with Evan Longoria batting, for reasons unclear to me, on a 3-1 count, he decides to take off for 3rd (on ball 4) and even Cash is able to throw him out – and by like 10 feet. Reminds me of Lance taking off for 3rd right after he got back from the DL. What the HECK? Anyway, Longoria trots to first, Pena (now you talk about a FINE lookin man) and with Jason, the catcher, hitting .300 something up, Longoria gets his fool self picked off – and he was out by like at least a couple feet, too.
Then, no interesting action. Until the bottom of the 6th when Kepp leads off with a double. Lance draws a 4 pitch walk. Hickey trots out to talk to Garza because Carlos is up. And sure enough, Carlos hits the ball up the middle, as they planned, but Bartlett doesn’t get the ball to the second baseman fast enough, and Carlos HUSTLES down the first base line and beats the throw!!!!!
Yes, you read that right. Carlos ran hard ALL the way down the line. Might could he be trying to get his self traded, too?
Anyway, Pence, who got struck out his last time up on the usual slider away, hits a smash up the middle and Kepp trots home with the go ahead run!!! Feliz, as usual, grounds out limply. Manzella walks. Bases loaded, but Mills decides to let Cash hit for himself instead of pinch hitting. Garza isn’t dumb enough to throw him another meatball down the middle, and as usual, Cash grounds out weakly to third.
In the 7th, the Rays go 1,2,3 – and Benny Zobrist makes the 3rd out because Lance makes a great play on what could have been another double down the RF line. Sullivan does his usual weak groundout. Then Bourn hits a perfect, a PERFECT push bunt, steals second, goes to third on a Kepp groundout, then Lance pops up on the first pitch. He looked S O R R Y on THAT one.
So it is a 1 run lead and the question is – can Lyon and Lindstrom hold it?
Lyon makes it exciting. He gives up a leadoff single to Longoria, then Ks Pena after going 3-0. Jaso singles to shallow right, and it’s men on first and second, 1 out. Up comes PH Willy Aybar, who I remember being on the Dodgers and beating us, but he flies out to Carlos on the first pitch. And then, it’s Reid Brignac, who is already 3 fer 3 and hitting around .300, and he he goes to 3-2, fouls off like 5 pitches, before FINALLY swinging and missing the 9th pitch.
Clank, Pence and Feliz get themselves out on 10 pitches, Pence popping out on a pitch around his shoulders and Feliz popping up to shallow left.
Then it’s Lindstrom. He gets PH Blalock (who replaced Pat the bat-less Burrell – and I don’t think that Fast Eddie will pick up his old LUUUUVVVV because the boy is a righty and he only has the one lefty offn the bench in Sully – the fact that Burrell can no longer hit anything or field is not relevant…) to ground out, but then gives up a hit to Bartlett, the leadoff man.
Carl Crawford, Houston boy, is up, and hits a sharp grounder to the right of Manzella, who makes an AWESOME play on it and gets the ball to Kepp in time to get Bartlett. No way in HECK that Kepp or Blum at SS even THINKS of even GETTING that baseball, let alone getting Bartlett out – and it would have been men on first and third, 1 out, instead of man on first, 2 out.
And then it’s Ben Zobrist up – Carl easily steals second – and Lindstrom goes to 3-1, but then gets him to FO to Pence.
The Rays way outhit the Astros – 9 hits plus 4 walks and 1 HBP – but left all 12 RISP.
Must have been because cheapo Drayton decided to close the roof, instead of making everyone sweat to death as he did last night.
Tomorrow, it’s Wandy vs Jeff Niemann, the only one of the trio of great Rice pitchers from their WS winning club in 03 to make the majors – actually, to succeed (This year, he’s 3-0 in 8 GS and except for his first start, when he was pulled after getting hit in the shoulder, he’s pitched ALL QS. ERA is 2.49, WHIP is 1.14). Phil Humber has thrown 29.2 ML innings, and they are lousy. To be nice. Wade Townsend got picked in the 1st round by the Rays in 05 and got paid 1.5 mill to suck decaying eggs in every level of pro ball he’s pitched at – has a minor league ERA of 5.59. Who woulda thunk it that Paul Janish would have much greater ML success than either Humber or Townsend, let alone both of em put together?