Oh yeah – and he Pujolsed a Lidged slider into the upper deck in RF, too. His third 2 homer game this YEAR. Amazing how healthy legs are good for a player’s hitting.
It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL night – sweater weather (really) with the roof open and – what can I say – I absolutely HAD to go, especially because I had a chance to get there early for batting practice and get a look at Lance up close. He isn’t that much thinner, really – believe it or not – and his stance is definitely different than it was last year when he was hurt – it looked that way on TV, but I can really tell in person – knees bent more, more weight shifted back.
Stadium was pretty empty – it had been about half full the previous 2 nights – lots of Cards fans AND lots of Berkman fans. Me, I went old Skool and wore my Ausmus t-shirt. Of course, after the 3rd inning, I had to wear it OVER my sweater. Is that kewl or what – here it is April 28 and it is GOOD weather for outdoor baseball, not Drayton McLane is too cheap to close the roof and we have to all die sweating – outdoor baseball.
Tonight, Nelson Figueroa did a very good job – remembering he’s the 5th starter – and this time, the ump pretty much called strikes strikes, and didn’t call them balls. He gave up 3 walks (only one of em was a problem with getting strikes called strikes), got a nice 4-6-3. And speaking of 4, Freese singled to left in the 4th, Figgy tried to pick him off, the throw went into left, Hall picked it up on the RF line about 90′ down the line and threw a bullet to CJ to get Freese, who ran thorough a stop sign, out. GREAT throw. He had 3 of 5 1,2,3 innings.
He gave up a run in the 5th when Lance doubled on a bullet down the line into the LF corner, then scored on a Laird single up the middle. Figgy gives up walks and singles, seldom gives up extra base hits, I’ve noticed. But you sure nuff can lose getting singled to death. As he could tell you.
And speaking of which – the Cards did the Baseball Bugs conga line (you’ve seen that cartoon) in the 6th. Figgy gave up a 3-2 single to left to Freese, then Uncle blooped one to right, then Holliday singled through the 5.5 hole to drive in Freese.
With Lance coming up, Brad Mills decided to pull Figgy – although he was still actually throwing just as well – and send in lefty Abad to face Berkman. As much as Figgy is no ace, he’s STILL better than Abad and all I said was OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. And sure enough, he hits the 1-0 curve off the wall over the Crawford Boxes for the go-ahead 3 run homer (and this time it WAS the game winning hit – but I’m getting ahead of myself….)
And the singles kept on coming – ABAD gives up a single to Rasmus, a walk to Gerald freaking Laird (Arnesberg goes out – it does NO good) a slow roller to short to Green that goes for a FC, then a single to the PITCHER on a 3-2, then a sac-fly.
Abad out, Fulchino in. And Fulchino gives up 4 straight singles without getting an out.
Fulchino out, Valdez in, who FINALLY gets the last out on a grounder.
NINE runs in 1 inning.
My GAWD. You talk about el sukco bullpen – they made Figueroa look like Clemens. Husby called – asked if I was coming home early. He got hung up on – not that he wasn’t expecting that…
And that was it for Cards runs except for that 467′ upper deck homer by Lance - Aneury Rodriguez threw a hanging slider and Lance hit it further than the one Uncle hit offn Lidge. Only homer I’ve seen hit further in the upper decks was the one by Dontrelle Willis 5 or 6 years ago – and no, I do NOT believe whoever “measured” that shot at only 450′ – please.
Astros hitters hit the ball QUITE well, thank you, and reached on error twice.
Brett Wallace continued his absolutely torrid hitting – he hits leftys just as well as rightys, and sprays line drives all OVAH the place – left, right, middle. Doesn’t seem to be a home run hitter and he’s way too slow a runner to hit triples, but he’s hitting essentially the same as he did in the minors. Even in his prime, he’s no Berkman (in HIS prime) but of course, Lance wasn’t appreciated when he WAS here and he’ll be disrespected now that he’s gone as “fat” or “not a leader” – he seems to be “leading” fine with the Cards – oh yeah, that’s the complaint.
where was I?
Michael Bourn hit lots of balls to opposite field, including one to the LF bullpen off Kyle McClellan – who didn’t exactly look ace tonight – 5 runs over 5.1 IP. Michael has reached base in all but 1 of his last 20 games, and that was a PH appearance (against the same *(%*#%! closer whose stuff he couldn’t see the night before – with the same result). He didn’t have any great plays or stolen bases tonight. And no weird stuff like forgetting to go to second on a PB.
Angel Sanchez grounded out a few times, turned a DP, drove in a 2 out run, flew out to deep right. Right now, he’s 31 for 105 with 5 doubles, 1 HR, 1 GIDP and 6 BB – oh yeah, and 16 RBIs FROM THE 2 HOLE – same as Carlos Lee hitting cleanup.
And speaking of Carlos, he finally got a few hits – reached on error E1 – hit a dribbler up the 1B line which the pitcher dropped – an easy out. He hit an RBI double down the LF line – juuuust inside the 3B bag which hit the stands jutting out at a funny angle and he hit a bloop to right. Which is more than he had done with all those popups, especially with MOB!!!!! for the past few weeks.
So anyway, Sanchez is gonna get benched for Clint “A-Rod” Barmes (or is it Tulo redux) and Mills is keeping Clank hitting cleanup because he “is confident that Carlos will get out of his funk” – has NOTHING to do with the fact that he almost certainly has no choice in the matter seeing as how Carlos is making 19 mill.
Hunter Pence – being aggressive is good and bad. It’s good when he runs through the stop sign at third and scores on Carlos’ double to left that takes that funny angle off the wall when the throw home is offline. It’s bad when he swings at 2 pitches waaay out of the zone then stares at the one down the middle with bases loaded when the Stros are trying to come back 6 runs after the Cards 9 run top of the 6th. It’s even worse when he is out at the plate trying to score on a pitch that didn’t bounce far enough away from the plate with bases loaded, 2 out in the 8th (and yeah, I know Hall was up and you shouldn’t expect miracles twice in 1 series)
CJ had a 430′ homer off the LF wall – hit in between the 99 and 01 flags for a 2 run job. He hit the ball very well every AB and hit 3 of them to opposite field – the last one fell for a double, but he was stranded. This is good – he doesn’t look lost. Of course, I am considering who was pitching. The Cardinal’s bullpen is almost as bad as ours. Bet TLR wishes he wasn’t so quick throwing Chris Perez away. Well, no he doesn’t. TLR is NEVAH wrong (see how Scott Rolen has failed everywhere he’s been since he and TLR got divorced 4 years ago…)
I guess that last year was The Year Of The Pitcher, This Year it is The Year Of The Bullpen Suckage.
Hall went 1 fer 4 with a single and run scored. AND he had that great assist to get Freese at 3rd.
Quintero went 1 fer 3 with a reached on error E5 and a run scored. He also made another throwing error – was trying to throw out Rasmus stealing and the throw hit him and bounced into CF and Rasmus went to 3rd on the throw. Other than that, very solid fielding tonight from everyone, including Carlos. Yes, Carlos, who caught a long fly ball at the LF bullpen that he wouldn’t have gotten near last year. Or the year before. Or the year before that, neither.
The guys went 5 fer 18 with RISP and left 24 MOB. It’s not that the Astros aren’t hitting (for once) but that the pitching has been teh sukc. And so has the fielding. To be nice about it – 27 errors over 25 games. Uck.
And tomorrow night, the Brew Crew is in town and we face Shaun Marcum again. And Corey Hart is off the DL and ready to lust after the Crawford Boxes…
Oh yeah – and when I got home, was Husby-doo watching The Draft Report? Heck no, he was watching Astros Live. Why yes, Alyson Footer WAS on tonight. HowEVAH did yall guess?