It’s tough to be an Astros fan these days.
Jordan Lyles is a 20 year old kid. The pennant (I mean postseason) is not on the line. Learning should not consist ONLY of having his head beat in as his manager leaves him in to get pounded.
At the end of the 4th inning, Jordan was leading 7-1. Yes, you read that right. Jason Marquis was throwing batting practice – the score COULD have been even higher, but Jason Bourgeois, who did not have a good night, left 2 on in the first; Quintero left Paredes on 3rd with 2 out in the 3 run third; Angel Sanchez left Bogu at second in the 3 run 4th.
It’s not that Jordan had been untouchable – in the first, he got a GO, K, single, RBI double and a FO to deep right center. In the second, he got a FO, GO, single, then GO from the pitcher. OK, this finishes the first time thru the lineup. In the 3rd, GO, FO, lineout to Clank. In the 4th, Montero singles, Young singles to left and JD throws out Montero at third (good throw, better tag by Paredes)
5th inning – Marquis is gone and Micah Owings is in - I remember Micah only too well, the pitcher who can hit (career .828 OPS) - I remember him from the infamous game the first year of Cooper – he was called in to pinch hit and hit the go ahead homer off Dave Borkowski and Cooper absolutely LOST it with Bork – also, this was the game in which JR Towles was robbed of a homer – incorrectly called a double and Cooper went off on him too and that was the end of him too. The “Brooks Kieschnick” experiment with him in Cincy worked great in 09 but he didn’t pitch OR hit well last year and he came home to Arizona. Which worried me because I remember him as an Astros killah.
Anyway, he gets 1,2,3 out and then Jordan is back in. He’s starting off with the #8 hitter, who hits a clean single to center. Then Owings is up – and I’m remembering that this is the guy who has hit 9 HR in 201 AB – and he Jordan jams him and he hits this little popup behind first base – Clank barely stirs himself, kind of halfheartedly jogs over to where the ball will probably fall foul, BUT IT DOESN’T. It should, SHOULD have been 1 easy out, maybe even doubling the runner off first, but no error, no out and this is BAD juju.
No one goes over to Lyles to say anything, calm him down, nothing. He’s not a seasoned vet, he’s a 20 year old kid.
We’re starting the 3rd time through the lineup – and we all know that everyone has now seen Jordan twice AND have seen all his pitches and this is when hitters have figured out how to adjust, IF they can. And, mind, it’s CB Bucknor behind the plate and we all know THAT guy. Isn’t it interesting how we know the names of most of the umpires these days? And how 15 years ago we didn’t know/care? Unless it was some SERIOUS something that affected a pennant race or the WS (say, Eric Gregg calling every pitch thrown to Indians batters as a strike no matter where it was) - or a tragedy like Dave Pallone getting shot or John McSherry having a heart attack on the field during a game.
I’m not a big fan of instant replay but I sure would like to have a Questec/pitch fx type machine calling balls/strikes – every single pitcher and hitter have exactly the same zone regardless of the quality of pitcher/hitter, regardless of the score/inning. As I’ve said before.
Anyway, it’s men on first and second, no out. Willie Bloomquest singles up the middle – IF can’t get it and it is bases loaded, no outs. Ryan Roberts pops up on the IF fly rule – one blessed out.
The infield fly rule, by the way, is simple – it happens with 0 or 1 out and men on first and second. The UMPIRE calls “infield fly” and the batter is automatically out whether or not the ball is caught or dropped. If the ball is dropped, the runners ARE allowed to run if they tag up first, but this would be as rare as a triple play – probably even rarer since, oh, say 40 years ago when gloves started improving. I’m saying this about the rule because I can NOT believe how many people don’t know what this rule IS. It does NOT apply with 2 outs. It does NOT apply with men on second and third, men on first and third.
Where was I? Oh yeah – bases loaded, 1 out, Justin Upton is up. Justin is a GOOD hitter – actually, he’s the only guy I’ve ever seen hit a baseball OVER the 435 sign in deep center. Jordan throws 3 outside pitches, goes to 1-2, then throws a changeup down the middle and Upton hits it off the LF fence and 2 runs are in – when he hit that ball, I thought it was gonna be OVER the fence, but I guess he juuuust got under it a bit.
Stros 7 Dbax 3, men on second and third, 1 out and Montero is up – and Montero is a GOOD hitting catcher. So he hits a blooping single off a GOOD pitch, an inside FB, over the IF, Bogu has to run forward to get it and both runs score – and a perfect strike wouldn’t have nailed Upton neither because he’s FAST.
Stros 7 Dbax 5 – Young flies out to deep center and Kelly Johnson Ks. 27 pitches and he faced 8 batters.
Time to pull him, dontcha think, let someone new start a fresh inning? Yeah, I know he’s only thrown 80 pitches, but he barely escaped the 5th – let the guy have his W. (And don’t give me any let’s see how Aneury does because Ed Wade made it plain that we were gonna call up a guy he’d traded Keppinger for – gotta show how good he is at trades, even if he can’t draft guys who are any good).
But noooooooooo. He’s put out there to start the 6th – Mills should catch holy heck for that, but this being Houston, it ain’t gonna happen (just imagine 7 years ago if Jimy Williams had done that) and sure enough, he gies up a single, then a double.
And then Mills sends in the WORST reliever possible, Wilton Lopez, who lets over half of his inherited runners score. So you’ll NEVAH guess what happened. Yep. But fortunately, he gave up 2 runs of his own – the guy who he let single in Lyles’ runs and Upton, who hit a changeup down the middle over the wall.
I shrugged, sighed, cursed Mills and went to bed – I hate these late starting West Coast games and am NOT looking forward to being put in any West division (you wanna bet it happens within the next 2 years – I bet it was a condition for agreeing to let Crane buy the team with so little money and keep the payroll down and the team in the cellar_
Owings pitched 3 innings, giving up 1 run, Jimmy Paredes first ML homer – over the CF wall. Astros loaded the bases in the 8th with 2 out, but Bogu struck out.
Froddy gave up 2 runs (one of em an IBB who scored) and then Stros are screwed by Bucknor in the bottom of the 9th. Well traveled closer JJ Putz comes in, gives up a FO, 2 straight singles, a RBI GR double. Men on second and third. PH Downs is up. He goes to 3-1. Ball 4 is WAY inside and is called Strike 2. Downs tells the ump it was inside. The ump says he better swing at the next pitch cuz it’s gonna get called Strike 3. So naturally he swings and misses, Altuve then strands both runners and Astros lose.
Now you might could say that Downs could have hit that very hittable pitch he swung at and missed for strike 3, or Altuve could well have GIDP and the game would have been ovah anyhow, but youneverknow.
Of course Aneury is not starting today’s game, Henry Sosa is. Henry pitched 2 good games at AA Corpus and 7 shutout innings his last start at AAA. This makes him ML ready, you see. He’s a 26 year old righty with 2 years of AAA experience – ERA 4.89/WHIP 1.60 over 145 IP: 9.7 H/9, 1.4 HR/9. 4.6 BB/9 and 6.6 K/9
Whoopie like do