It’s not that Paulino pitched an ace game – like the one in which he struck out 11 Padres but lost because of no run support. He started off VERY shaky – got a goundout, then walked TWO straight batters, then gave up an RBI single, then got a GIDP – lucky for him. He was nice and sharp in the 2nd and 3rd innings, even though he threw first pitch balls to each hitter. He need 12 pitches/inning and looked as if he was on cruise control, as the Astros were leading 2-1.
But then in the 4th, Hawpe singled, Tulo Kd on 6 pitches, then somehow, he lost all control over the ball. He walked Helton on 4 pitches – NONE of which were anywheres NEAR the strike zone, walked Olivo on 5 pitches (and one was a checked swing). I have like NO idea why he all of a sudden lost it. With bases loaded, he managed to contain the damage, giving up the tying run on a groundout, then striking out Olivo on a checked swing after 2 fouls.
But he came back in the 5th and got 1,2,3 out on 10 pitches, only 2 balls. He was a little shaky in the 6th, going back in with the lead after Carlos hit a line drive like 330′ into the Crawford Boxes. He went to a 3-2 count on Hawpe, striking him out on a curve, got Tulo to groundout, walked Helton on a 3-2, then got Olivo on a swinging K on another 3-2.
Two runs over 6 innings, with FIVE walks, 2 hits and 4 K. Not a thing of beauty, but only wild pitche (which didn’t lead to a run, for ONCE), no hit batters, no IBB. And he SHOULD have FINALLY gotten his first W of the year when he left leading (he must be feeling like Shawn Chacon – hehhehheh) but….
Chris Sampson came in to pitch the 7th, got Mora to GO, then hung some kind of slow breaker, and Barmes hit it high off the CBox wall. Tie game.
And this, my friends, is why I really hate using pitcher win/loss to judge pitchers. The days of everyone finishing his own ballgames vanished over 50 years ago, and when it comes to bullpens, youneverknow. It was Chris’ first homer surrendered this year. But you know how sliders are – iffn you hang em, they gonna bang em. Ask Uncle, you disbelieve me…
So Lyons held the line in the 8th and Lindstrom closed the door in the 9th.
But I’m getting ahead of myself – I wanna talk about the Astros hitting – and tonight, they hit a LOT. Trouble was, they did lousy with MOB – at least for most of the game.
Let’s talk about hits/walks (none until the last inning, but I’m getting ahead of myself again):
1st inning: Bourn singles, Kepp doubles him home, Berkman, Lee, Pence all GO – Lance 7 pitches, Carlos 3, Pence 2. The Astros have THE fewest pitches/PA in the MAJOR leagues. Along with the lowest BA and the fewest walks. That’s just sorry. Also, the 3,4,5 hitters leaving a man on second – that’s sorry, too.
2nd inning: Feliz hits one of those dribblers down the LF line that goes about 60′ and the 3B has to hope rolls foul because he couldn’t throw out the runner if he was Brooks Robinson (never saw the guy, but going on hearsay..) Tommy Manzella breaks an ofer 16 and singles to left. Cash is up. Cash has 1 hit in 19 AB. Should he sac-bunt or swing away? The guy can’t catch up to anything fastern 84 MPH. He’s even worse than Kaz Matsui. I mean. he’s GONNA be out. It’s not like you’re asking Lance to sac bunt, although lately – but I digress. Anyway, Cash Ks – what a total waste of an AB. Then Felipe Paulino singles, but Feliz is held up at third because he runs only slightly fastern Bengie Molina. Bourn grounds out, scoring Feliz, advancing the runners, and then with Kepp up, Manzella gets his fool self picked off third (although I think he might could have a case for the ump being wrong…)
No one asked Mills why in the name of all that is holy why he had Cash swinging away.
3rd inning: Kepp singles, Lance singles. Men on second and third, Lee pops up swinging on a pitch not in the strike zone. Pence gets an IF hit (he’s getting a LOT of those this year.) Feliz, the supposedly great RBI man the Phils phoolishly didn’t re-up, strikes out, swinging at two pitches WAAAYYY out of the strike zone. Manzella flies out – woulda had a sac-fly if there weren’t 3 outs. No runs on 3 hits, bases loaded.
4th: Cash, Paulino and Bourn go down in order.
5th: Carlos hits one out. Pence hits a clean single to left, Feliz Ks again. He’s getting near Kaz territory.
6th: Manzella singles, Cash sac-bunts (bout time) Jason Michaels pops up the first pitch, Bourn grounds out on a 3-2 count. Guess which Astro sees the most pitches per PA – and guess who still gets heck about the strikeouts. Much better for him to groundout on the second or third pitch like everyone else.
7th: it’s a new pitcher, a rookie with a 6 something ERA (like that’s helped the Astros) Esmail Rogers, who gets Kepp, Lance and Lee out after Sampson has coughed up the homer to tie the score. He comes back out for the 8th. He gets out Pence and Feliz no sweat. And then, miracles happen.
Tommy Manzella hits a slow grounder to the second baseman – it takes a sort of funny hop just before he gets it, and when he picks it up, he bobbles it and Manzella is safe. Not sure IF he could have fielded it cleanly, but Manzella is aboard. Now, I don’t know if Rogers freaked out because of the error, or if he just can’t pitch worth spit from the stretch, but he walks PH Blum on 5 pitches (and yes, I WAS shocked that Sullivan didn’t go first) and it’s men on first and second, 2 outs.
Sullivan comes in to pinch hit. And DAMM if he doesn’t manage to make contact on a curveball that is down and away and shoot it opposite field through the 5.5 hole. Manzella, naturally, broke for home and the LF races for the ball, tries to throw Tommy out at the plate, but Tommy actually runs well (the only guy on the team who is not Pence/Bourn fast, who is not slow) and he beats the throw, which was a lousy throw – gets away from Olivo and runners move up.
So the rook is all shook up – after all, Sullivan DID hit a pitchers’ pitch and he didn’t pull it, as he does 99% of the time. So, bring in a lefty to pitch to Bourn? Well, Bourn DOES hit leftys well. So it is IBB Bourn to load the bases and the rook to face Kepp. I personally think that IBBs, unless you are talking about Uncle with the game on the line, are usually bad ideas for the team that issues them, unless you are bringing in a new pitcher – and for some reason, the Rockies don’t.
And he goes to 3-1 on Keppinger, then throws him a nice meaty FB, inside, crotch high, and Kepp laces it down the LF line for a 3 run double. And the Rox lose.
Maybe we WILL manage to make it to 15-30.
Tomorrow, it’s a pitchers duel between Roy and Ubaldo Jimenez, who is currently the ERA leader at 1.12. He has only 1 loss and that was because he gave up 1 run over 8 innings and the other guy gave up none. He’s already no-hit Atlanta this year. So Michael Bourn had better be thinking of bunting for hits.