The hitters had a really tough time with RA Dickey’s knuckleball – but I’m not throwing stones, because so does the rest of the ML. After all, the guy has already thrown two 1-hit games this year.
But Michael Bourn got on base immediately with a single up the middle and I thought – well, at least we won’t get no-hit. Then Angel Sanchez hit what looked as if it could have been another single up the middle, except it hit Dickey’s glove and deflected straight to the second baseman, who then had an easy 1-4-3 DP. Pence walked, Clank hit a dribbler to third that couldn’t be fielded, but CJ, who had his second in a row hitless/no reaching base/no driving in runs game. He also GIDP in the 4th with El Perezoso on first – I liked the way that he didn’t even bother to try to run to second to even think of trying to break up the DP but just peeled off for the dugout about half way down…
I guess it’s time to put Feliz back in, hunh Ed? (yeah, sar-chasm…)
It was also a very, uh, er, INteresting (ahem) game as it was Cowboy Joe West, the Ultimo Prima Donna of Lousy Umpires behind home plate – and his strike zone, as usual, was both nebulous and unpredictable – both Astros and Mets pitchers and hitters – uh, um, “asked” where the pitch was more than a few times.
Astros FINALLY managed to get enough hits to string together to get a run in the 8th – Q singled, pinch hitter Michaels singled, Bourn sac-bunted, then Angel Sanchez hit a single up the middle hard enough for Castro, pinch running for Q to score, but Michaels, unfortunately, had to be held at third, as he doesn’t exactly run like Bourn/Pence. And neither Pence nor Clank could get him home.
Blum hit his first home run of this year to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th and Jerry Manuel IMMEDIATELY pulled him. (Over ONE flat knuckleball??? The guy looked as if he could stay out there and throw another hundred pitches. But I digress….)
And then it became the Battle Of The Relievers for both sides.
And I would like to know why Mills is so allergic to having his relievers pitch multiple innings if they cruise through one with a lowe pitch count (yes, I know that Lyon blew up the other day after 1 quick inning, but really, that is ONE guy, ONE inning…)
So Melancon pitched a 1,2,3 quick 8th with 11 pitches, then Byrdak pitched a quick 1,2,3 9th – ok, 17 pitches there, then Lyon came on for the 10th and ran into trouble. You note he is having trouble getting 1,2,3 out lately, right?
Anyway, Reyes singled, Pagan bunt-singled (a perfect one, too, just past the pitcher’s mound on the 3B side and no one could get to it in time – and someone needs to tell CJ that he comes in too far when he goes to field bunts.) Wright was up and I thought – oh noooooooo, but he flew out to shallow left (the boy is in a bit of a slump over the past few weeks and the NY media, who for some reason hates him, is screaming about how the team needs to trade him and get A Real “Leader” who, naturally Knows How To Win – or something.) Then, with Jackal at the plate on a 3-1 count, Reyes and Pagan pull off a double steal. Quintero is steaming.
Out comes Arnesberg, and they put the Jackal on. I usually don’t like intentional walks, but Lyon was having more than a bit of trouble finding any umpire’s strike zone and Arnesberg knows only too well how much the Jackal likes hitting in this here park. And I hate bases loaded, only 1 out, because unless there is a popup in the infield or a K or an EASY GB, usually at least 1 run scores. But lefty Davis hit the ball down the 1B line and Wallace, very smartly, instead of going for the DP, fired the ball home to get Reyes for a FC. Then Francoeur flied out. And believe it or not, that was only 20 pitches.
Lyon, by the way, has already thrown 56 innings, and he usually throws about 70/year and we haven’t even hit September. He’s thrown 11 innings this month 0ver 11 appearances and he usually throws 12-13 innings per MONTH and here we are only at August 19. So I can go along with not overusing him right about now.
Lopez came in and threw 2 quick and easy 1,2,3 innings – except for giving up a seeing eye single to David Wright, who hurt his leg or back swinging – I think – and was removed for pinch runner Mike Hessman - with 20 pitches. Fulchino pitched the 13th, giving up a single and a walk. With Lindstrom unavailable, the only reliever remaining was Gustavo Chacin, who coughed it up.
Walk to Reyes, sac-bunt. Steal of 3rd, walk to Mike Hessman, hitting less than MY weight (this is bad, BTW), then an intentional walk to the Jackal to load the bases. With 1 out, again. I hate this, ESPECIALLY when the pitcher is having trouble throwing strikes in the first place. I know they are hoping from a GIDP from Ike Davis, but Chacin hasn’t done anything but walk hitters and give up a sac-bunt. So Davis naturally hits a sac-fly and there goes the ball game.
The Astros managed exactly ONE hit off 6 innings worth of Mets relievers and if you can’t hit Manny Acosta and Elmer Dessens – not good.
Am I allowed to say, at this point, that I am seriously doubting the ability of Jason Castro to hit ML pitching? And yes I most certainly DO want to give him the rest of the year.
Matt Lindstrom was put on the DL to rest his back – WHYYYYYYYYYYY can’t they do this in the first place???? as it seems to still be bothering him – DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH – and called up lefty Fernando Abad, who has so far this year thrown 6 good innings at AAA over 5 appearances. He also threw 39.2 innings at AA with a 2.50 ERA (including 4 games started) and a 1.36 WHIP – low BB/9, 7.5 K/9, 10.9 hits/9.
Tonight it is Bud Norris. It ain’t the Pirates he’s facing, but I’m still hoping to see that filthy stuff he threw, just so I can say he threws filthy stuff, not just that he gets Pirates out, just like everyone else in the league.
He faces lefty Pat Misch, who was drafted in the 5th round of the 02 draft by the Astros (who prolly lowballed him because he didn’t sign – what a surprise) – then signed after being drafted by the Giants in the 7th round in 03. He was called up in 06, has been a swingman/long reliever/spot starter with a career 4.67 ERA/ 1.46 WHIP.
The Mets picked him up on waivers June 09 and he filled the same role – reliever, spot starter, and threw 59 innings of 101 ERA+ ball with a 4.12 ERA/ 1.37 WHIP. His numbers are slightly better as a reliever than a starter, which is pretty much true with almost every pitcher. This year, he has spent mostly in AAA and has thrown one start, 6 innings, given up 1 ER.