Since posting a tombstone on this blog and declaring the Astros Dead-Team-Walking they’ve won 5 of their last 6 games, taking back-to-back series (albeit against the Cubs and the Braves, both teams with losing records) for the first time since April. Coincidence? Or is it the For Love of the Astros Tombstone Mojo? I have my suspicions, but only time will tell 😉 And for yesterday’s loss, I can only blame myself: I have a huge weakness for the Braves’ starting pitcher Tim Hudson and while of course I never root for him when he’s pitching against the Astros, well… those tattoos get me every time. Yum. Sorry, fellas. Regardless,their offensive onslaught today combined with an off day tomorrow bodes well for their brief road trip (a 3-game series at Wrigley) and their subsequent interleague homestand when they will host the KC Royals and the Minnesota Twins.
The Statistical Aberration pitched decently today although in my opinion he wasn’t as sharp as in his previous outing against the Cubs (of course he didn’t need to be, as he was staked to a substantial lead early by the Astros’ unusually potent offense). He also helped himself by singling to right and then scoring from first on Craig Biggio’s 627th career double. After sitting out yesterday with a sore left abdomen, Bidge went 3-4 with an RBI and scoring two runs himself. He’s currently in persuit of Hall of Famer Honus Wagner (I love this picture of Wagner) on both the Career Doubles List (Wagner is in possession of the number 8 spot on the all-time list, with 640) and on the Career Runs List (Bidge has 1,733, and Wagner is number 20 on the all-time list with 1,736). Bidge is reaching career milestones almost every time he puts on the uniform these days. For daily updates, check out the Bidge Hall of Fame tracker on Astros Daily.
The brightest spot in the Astros lineup today was Jason Lane, who has been in one of the more horrendous slumps I’ve seen; today, he went 3-5 with 5 RBIs, smacking a 2-run double and a launching a 3-run homer. Garner calls him the "worry wart"; hopefully, this will help restore his confidence. I know he’s looked awful for the majority of this season, but I really feel like if he can get his head right, he will be very, very good. Astros backup catcher Eric Munson (Wandy Rodriguez’s regular catcher) also had a big day, going deep twice. He has been a nice surprise so far this season.
- Braves’ starting pitcher Horacio Ramirez took a Lance Berkman line drive off the face in the second inning of this afternoon’s game. It was a scary moment, as Thomas over at Stros Bro noted, but Ramirez escaped with only a "minor contusion" and, miraculously, expects to make his next start. Lance ran over to the mound as soon as the play was complete and called Ramirez in the visitors’ clubhouse after the game to see how he was doing.
- Congratulations are in order for Lance Berkman and his wife Cara!! Cara Berkman gave birth yesterday afternoon to the couple’s third daughter, Katie Mae Berkman, who weighs 7 pounds, 1 ounce.
- Morgan Ensberg was held out of the lineup for the second day in a row, nursing a sore shoulder. Garner expects him to return to the lineup on Tuesday.
- Chris Burke’s bad luck and injury woes continue. He was drilled in the left elbow by Ramirez in the second inning but he stayed in the game until the fifth, when he was replaced in center field by Willy Taveras. Burke made a spectacular catch on Tal’s Hill before exiting the game. He’s listed as day-to-day with a bruised elbow.
An off day tomorrow. I hate off days during winning streaks. Happy Mondays, everyone, and see y’all Tuesday when Andy Pettitte takes on Cubs rookie Sean Marshall!