Well, hopefully there’s no place like home… Heading back to Minute Maid Park, the Astros are exhausted. They’re humbled. This has been a dismal road trip with lots of "heartbreak losses" (Andy Pettitte’s words), including three extra-inning games (two of which they lost). The offense, namely Morgan Ensberg, Adam Everett and Jason Lane, seemed to enter into some kind of unspoken pact to tank all at the same time (why, WHY, does Mo insist on changing his stance every at bat when he’s slumping? I think he may be the king of overthinking…), the starting pitching was shaky at best, and (hopefully) minor injuries to key players were the order of the day. Lance Berkman struggled with a sore hamstring and then a hyperextended (surgically repaired) right knee, and Roy Oswalt left Monday’s game against the Cardinals (where he was dominant through six) with tightness in his hamstring.
Today’s 11-inning loss to the Cardinals was a particularly hard one to swallow for me, as Mike Gallo (who entered the game with it tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th) was in trouble from the beginning of his outing, the writing was on the wall (especially after his wild pitch on an intentional walk in Saturday’s 18-inning debacle brought the winning run to third), and the game ended with a walkoff single by So Taguchi while Brad Lidge was just sitting in the bullpen waiting to be called upon. Garner said Lidge would have been brought in had the Astros taken the lead and that the game was Gallo’s to win or lose at that point. Generally, whether or not I agree with Garner, I can at least understand the rationale behind his moves (or lack thereof). Today, however, it was totally incomprehensible to me. By leaving Gallo in, at least by leaving him in after he hit David Eckstein to load the bases, Garner conceded the game. Period.
Closing thought: I’d like to thank Rafael at Space Race for being so dilligent in keeping us informed and updated on the details of the Roger Clemens signing today. It has certainly been a big day for the Houston Astros and Astros fans everywhere.