Before I talk Astros, I want to note that on Opening Day, Justin Verlander, a DH league pitcher, was pulled from the game after pitching 8 innings because he was in line for a W and the reason God made closers was to pitch the 9th, regardless. So The Closer, Ex-Stro Jose Valverde, came in and promptly blew the save – goodbye W for Mr. Verlander. Naturally, the manager got, um, heck (ahem) for pulling Mr. Ace and depriving him of a W. So today, Mr. Ace Person pitches 8 innings of 1 hit shutout ball, goes in to pitch the 9th, gives up a single to Ex-Stro Jeff Keppinger and before you know it, has given up 2 runs and the game is tied.
Now because it is a tie game, The Rulz say that a manager is not allowed to send in his supposedly best reliever, The Closer, to shut it down and besides, what if the team was to come back and THEN what would they do if The Closer had already been used up?
So it’s send in some other guy, who can’t get an out, so THEN you send in The Closer, ex-Stro Valverde, who promptly gives up the losing hit to Ex-Stro Ben Zobrist.
So of course, it’s blame tha manager for not sending in The Closer in the first place to start the 9th, seeing as how Jose has a history of not liking to go in AFTER there are men on base…
Back to current Astros…
First, I gotta say I am surprised and pleased to be wrong about Mary Jane Schafer and his hitting. So far, he’s hitting .348 with a .402 OBP. Not real too pleased with his fielding, however – he gets bad jumps on balls and had an actual missed catch error tonight – and it is RARE that scorers ever tag fielders with errors for failling to catch the ball.
Second, I want to point out that except for the catchers – Snyder is 1 fer 10 and Castros is 0fer11 with 3 walks – the position players are hitting very well.
Marwin Gonzalez is 6 fer 21 with 2 doubles and a walk.
Chris Johnson is 8 fer 24 with 3 doubles
Clank is 8 fer 22 with 4 walks, a double and a homer
Jose Altuve is 7 fer 19 with a triple and 3 walks
JD Martinez is 6 fer 22 with a double, 2 HR and 1 walk
Bogusevic is 2 fer 17 with a homer and 2 walks
Um, yeah, Bogu is struggling again.
Bench guys: Matt Downs has continued to look like the last days of JMike. Justin Maxwell hit a homer and has 2 K and a walk. Travis Buck is doing well so far – 3 fer 10 with 2 doubles, a triple and a walk.
And as for pitchers – well, Wandy looked better tonight than he did Opening Day – had the curve working better and he struck out 4 guys plus the pitcher. Well, not as a fielder – TWO wild pitches (Castro is NOT a good pitch blocker), a throwing error, not getting the out at home on the squeeze – and Marwin Gonzalez’ error – not getting one out let alone a DP – made Wandy have to get 2 more outs, and he didn’t before 3 runs scored.
Good was JD Martinez hiting a homer to the left center wall under the Conoco Pump. Bad was Astros leaving bases loaded 2 outs in the 4th (OK, it was Marwin Gonzalez at bat) and worse, leaving bases loaded, 1 out in the 7th (JD Martinez, then Matt Downs!!!!) and Clank striking out with the men on first and third, 2 outs in the botom of the 9th. Lots of missed opportunities.
But at least they ARE hitting – it’s not like the beginning of last year where Michael Bourn was the only guy hitting – and actually, he’s not doing very well to start this year.
And as usual, Chipper Jones is killing us. It’s not a coincidence, far as I’m concerned, that we couldn’t beat the Braves as soon as he got back in the lineup.
Day off, then it’s off to Miami where Lucas Harrell will face Ricky Nolasco, who came to the Marlins in the Derrek Lee/Juan Pierre trade – remember that? Anyway, he has a 5-1 record vs the Astros in 6 games and 1 in relief over 44.1 IP – has a 4.47 ERA, but a 1.06 WHIP and a .231 BAA – his team gets more runs for him than he gives up, sort of like Jack Morris.
Hope Lucas Harrell pitches as well against the Ozzie Guillen-less Marlins. I like how he said he loves Fidel Castro back in 08 and didn’t nobody care, because he said it in Chicago, bout the time that Bud Selig and Peter Angelos had Castro as a guest of honor at a game. But hey, say it in Miami and alienate the 500 Marlins fans, get a 5 game suspension.
(By the way, this is most certainly NOT me endorsing Castro in any way. This is me being amused that it ain’t WHAT you say, it’s WHERE you say it…)