GAME 148 - September 18: Reds 11, Astros 1
GAME 149 - September 19: Astros 4, Reds 3
When I dragged in from the synagogue at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, here's what I did: First I drank 3 glasses of water. Then I turned on the computer to watch the ballgame. It was only the beginning of the game - at that point the Astros were only losing 2-1. But it started to get uglier and uglier. The Reds mounted up runs, as Figueroa and then Villar struggled to get out of the fifth inning. I warmed up some leftover pizza, ate a bowl of ice cream, and struggled to stay involved. But I was really having a hard time staying awake after hours of fasting and standing in the synagogue (not to mention the week of decaffeinating myself in preparation!). So I did something really out of the ordinary: I turned off the computer and went to bed before the game ended. I would have been really sorry if the Astros had pulled of a miraculous come-from-behind. But they didn't. By the time our newbie reliever, Enerio Del Rosario (traded from Reds), gave up the last 3 runs in the ninth, putting Cincinnati in double digits, I was fast asleep. Meanwhile Houston trudged along with just Lee's solo homer to show for the night. All in all, I didn't miss much in the way of fun.
That was the bad news for the weekend. The rest was all fun and games, as the Astros stayed on the course of winning 2/3 of their remaining games in order to complete the season with a winning record. That's my focus now. I'm betting on these guys not to be a bunch of LOSERS. They're going to dig this team out from the humongous hole that the original bunch dug in the first half of the season. Remember those guys? Matsui, Feliz, Berkman back when he couldn't hit anything? Oswalt? They're all gone now, and the Astros are playing our future hand - and winning! Man, I really can't wait for Spring Training!
As for this weekend's fun and games... Friday night the Astros got off to an early lead, scoring single runs in the first and second innings. CJ hit a RBI sac fly in the first, and Wandy doubled, then scored on Bourn's single in the second. Wandy kept the division-leading Reds scoreless until the sixth inning, then gave up 3 runs, to end his night behind 3-2. But Carlos Lee hit a solo homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the game, getting Wandy off the hook for a loss. Then in the seventh, Kepp singled, Hernandez walked, Bourn bunt singled to load the bases with no outs, setting up Angel Sanchez to drive in the tie-breaking runs with a single. Lindstrom allowed a couple of base runners, but no runs, in the eighth, and Lyon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save. Fulchino, who had pitched to only one batter to finish off the Reds in the seventh inning, was the pitcher of record when the Astros took the lead in the bottom of the inning, so he got the win. Lucky guy.
I went out in the garden Sunday morning and harvested a bunch of my chiles, which I turned into various sauces and potions while watching the ballgame in the afternoon.
That meant that I was pretty much tweet-less during the game, but I can assure you that I was cheering at the appropriate times in my kitchen. When CJ homered, I splashed habanero catsup all over the floor in my excitement.
I have to admit (again) that I was pretty unenthusiastic when the Astros acquired Brett Myers this season, due to his well publicized troubles off the field. Frankly I have issues with guys who rough up women, even if the woman (his wife) doesn't press charges. But on the mound, I have to give Myers credit for about the most super-reliable pitching performances on any team this season. In today's game, he threw another seven innings, pushing his streak of 6+ inning starts to 31 -- that's every game he's pitched all season. His line today was just more of the same -- 7 shutout innings, on 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts.
As it turned out, Myers' teammates gave him just enough run support to get the win: With a 0-0 score in the fifth inning, Michaels was hit by a pitch, then CJ doubled to put runners on the corners with no outs. After Manzella grounded out, Quintero came though with a line-drive single to left field, allowing both Michaels and CJ to score. Q advanced to third on a throwing error, then scored on Myers' sac fly to give the Astros a 3-0 lead. CJ hit a solo homer in the seventh inning for a little extra insurance. As it turned out, that extra run was just what the Astros needed to get the win. Lindstrom (not exactly lights out since his return from the DL) gave up 3 runs on 3 hits in the top of the eighth, and suddenly the game was a whole lot more interesting. ("Interesting" in the Chinese curse form of the term.) Lyon came into the ninth with a 4-3 lead, and promptly struck out the first two batters. Don't sigh in relief yet, though -- he then allowed a pair of singles, bringing Votto (with 3 hits in the game) to the plate. It was all just to work up the crowd, to give the finale a little extra spice -- Lyon got Votto to pop up harmlessly to end the game.
Another series win, Astros Fans! Our guys are working to the plan. They're 5 games under .500. They now need to go 9-4 to avoid the tag of LOSING SEASON. It's not going to be easy, since all but the last 3 games will be on the road. That includes a 4-game series, starting tomorrow, here in the Washington area. I won't be tweeting during the Nats games -- Monday and Tuesday I'll be at the stadium, and Wednesday and Thursday I'll be in my sukkah celebrating the next batch of Jewish holidays. Look for me cheering in the stands tomorrow! I'm sure you'll be able to hear me!
One last footnote: When is someone going to do something about bats that splinter, before someone gets stabbed to death on the field? In today's Cubs/Marlins game, outfielder Tyler Colvin was running from third base to home when the sharp end of a broken bat hit him in the chest, right below the collarbone. He staggered, then completed running to the plate, before being taken off to a hospital for xrays. He's apparently in stable condition, but what if the bat had hit him a few inches higher -- in the throat instead of his jersey-protected chest? One day someone's going to really get speared by a splintered bat. Apparently MLB is waiting for that to happen before taking any action constraining the construction and materials of big league bats.
Okay, enough - look for me in the stands in the Astros broadcast of the game tomorrow. I'll be wearing one of my "FAN IN EXILE" custom Astros jerseys.