Since I declared the Astros Dead Team Walking two days ago with a wink and a prayer, they’ve gone 2-0 (I know, two games–but they busted up a five game skid, and so two wins in a row feels like a pretty hefty winning streak) and gone back to the things they’ve done best in past: Excellent starting pitching (and pitching in general), acceptable hitting (comparatively, at least) and excellent defense.
Huge props go to Wandy Rodriguez, better known on this site as The Statistical Aberration, for rebounding from that abysmal previous start on short rest to pitch 7 innings of 5-hit shutout ball. Props and kudos and a tickertape parade to our latest member of The Kiddie Corps, Chris Sampson, who was initially called up from AAA Round Rock to replace a struggling Mike Gallo in the bullpen and was at least temporarily promoted to starter when Roy Oswalt was placed on the 15-day DL with a lower back strain. In his first major league start (yesterday), he pitched 7 scoreless innings of 3-hit ball against the Cubs. It was a high pressure situation, with the Astros desperately needing another win, and he was given no margin for error as the standard anemic Astros offense managed only one run against Cubs’ rookie Sean Marshall.
Brad Ausmus was responsible for the Astros’ one and only run, going deep for the first time this season. As Amy (from the oft-mentioned superfantastic discussion board) put it: Someone owes him a steak dinner. And the bullpen is looking more and more like the pen of 2005, with Dan Wheeler throwing a scoreless eighth and Brad Lidge dispatching the Cubs’ 3-4-5 hitters with the ruthless efficiency of one who has something to prove.
Andy Pettitte goes tonight against the Braves’ John Thompson. Let’s hope Thomas’ magic eight ball is correct in its prediction that tonight is Andy’s night to get it turned around and give us a W.
For a little levity (thanks, JW!)…
Could almost getting no-hit by Carlos Zambrano last night be the equivalent of the 2005 tombstone in the Houston Chronicle? Is this rock bottom? Or do the Houston Astros need to be officially declared Dead Team Walking before they come alive? Fine. I’ll do it. The season is over. Let’s have a rebuilding year. Break up the team, sell off the pieces. Last night was humilliating. As the administrator of my super-fantastic discussion board put it so eloquently during the game (and here I’m paraphrasing): It would have been more enjoyable to rub your skin with steel wool and then pour lemon juice all over yourself. We were reduced to wishing and hoping for a hit, just one, a bloop single, an infield hit, anything to break up the no hitter. And when it was broken up by Preston Wilson in the eighth inning, we felt like that was a victory in itself, never mind we were losing 8-0, that the opposing pitcher who was no-hitting us was responsible for half of the Cubs’ RBIs. It was humiliating. It was pathetic. After starting the season with the best record in Astros’ history (19-9), they have managed to tank in ways I never thought possible. They have raised tanking to an art form. And now our ace, our plug in the bottom of the leaking boat, is heading to the 15-day DL with a back strain. No way we can come back from this one. Not with the way our Kiddie Corps has been struggling (with the possible exception of Fernando Nieve). Not with the way Jason Lane and Adam Everett and Willy Taveras have been hitting (not hitting). Not with the streakiness of the amply talented but psychologically fragile Morgan Ensberg. Not with a struggling Dan Wheeler. It’ll be over before Roger Clemens joins the rotation June 22. His return will be reduced to nothing more than a fanfare-laden, tragically expensive joke. It’s over.
Is that what you guys need to light a fire under your a5ses? There. I’ve done it. Now go get ’em.
I admit I’ve been talking **** these past few days about how PWillie is not worth his salary…
This still may be true.
But at least tonight he was good for something: He broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning with one out, singling to right.
On behalf of Astros fans everywhere, may I just say: Thanks be to GOD.
It’s the bottom of the 7th at Minute Maid Park, and the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano is still throwing a no-hitter against the Astros.
To add to the indignity, Zambrano also has 4 RBIs tonight, 3 of which came on a home run in the 2nd inning.
…through 4 innings…
Yes, I’m blatantly calling attention to it, in hopes that it will not come to pass.
I keep wondering where rock bottom is. Perhaps being on the losing end of a perfect game could be rock bottom?
Wandy Rodriguez, leaving in the second inning. And it was all downhill from there. Enough said.