Bums, I tell ya! Fire the lot of ’em!
…well, except for Berkman. We like him too much to fire him, even when he is a bum. Same goes for Oswalt. And Hunter Pence… we’d like the chance to like him too much, so keep him around. But the rest! Fire ’em all!
After two nights when the offense resembled competence, if not exactly brilliance, they lapsed back into their old ways tonight. These are the kinds of games I came to love, growing up knowing only the cavernous Astrodome, but of course I liked them better when Houston didn’t draw the short straw. TOUGH loss for Wandy, as he pitched a great game even after his pitch count got alarmingly high early on. Y’know, I could rag on our hitters again for failing to get the job done, but sometimes you just run into a buzz saw. Wandy was great tonight, but Chad Billingsley was brilliant, so my hat’s off to him. A win over the Brewers tomorrow will still put us at 6-4 over the last 10. I’ll take it.
Miguel Tejada is our only everyday player to consistently get on base almost every day so far. Who saw that one coming?
I am somewhat upset with Joe Torre, because this could have been Brad Ausmus’ last chance to ever play in front of the fans that know and love him best. You’d think that should count for something, even this early in April, and Joe’s the kind of guy that should respect that. But I know, Joe is also the kind of guy to try and win every game, so with tonight tough and tight, he didn’t feel he could sacrifice Russell Martin’s bat. C’est la vie.
I’ll be very interested tomorrow to see how Felipe Paulino follows up his shining season debut. For now, it’s late and I’m tired, so I’ll let it rest. G’night, y’all.
And this is why, as Milo Hamilton is so fond of saying, “Baseball is the most UNpredictable game in the world.” The Astros were struggling offensively and found themselves matched up against a young lefty who surrendered no runs with 13 strikeouts in his previous outing, on a team riding an eight-game winning streak. The result? Houston’s best offensive showing of the season and an 8-5 win. It certainly wasn’t pretty, but Russ Ortiz earned his first W of the year, Jose Valverde notched his first save, and Houston is 4-3 in their last seven after starting 1-6. 4-3 doesn’t sound like much, but a 4-3 pace projected over an entire season is worth 92 wins. I’ll take it.
We saw one ex-Astro in the game last night – Mark Loretta, who went 0-for-2. We’ll see another tonight when Randy Wolf goes for the Dodgers against Roy O. Roy is due for his first win and I’m Astros loyal to a fault, so I have no qualms cheering against Wolfie, but I will still enjoy watching him again. Wolf has been a favorite ever since he rose to stardom in Philadelphia – I’ve owned a Phillies Wolf #43 t-shirt for years – so I was thrilled when Ed Wade made the trade last year. I made it a point to snag an Astros Wolf #39 shirt in September, because I knew he might not be with the club after that. Obviously then I was disappointed when Houston pulled their offer to him, and later when he finally signed with LA, but I wasn’t surprised. I know that’s home for him, and I know the economics just didn’t work for Houston, so I don’t begrudge him that.
It’s the third ex-Astro in LA that I miss the most – Mr. Brad Ausmus. Alyson Footer has some great photos over on her blog from yesterday. I’ve been nostalgic about a lot already this season, as I realize the time of my childhood heroes is growing to a close; it happens when you grow up. But as much as I loved Ryan & Scott, Bags & Bidge, Cammy & Kile… the one guy I honestly liked more than all of them was Brad Ausmus. I don’t begrudge him signing with LA either, as I know it’s home for him too. I’m most glad we knew it was coming so Houston could give him a proper send-off.
So I wrote him a letter back on April 10. Maybe childish, I know… something I haven’t done in 20 years, and will more than likely never do again. But I thanked him for the memories. I included a baseball card, and I asked for his autograph. I told him I was an adult, that I understood if he didn’t sign for adults, and I left it at that. I didn’t hold any expectations then, but on Monday, I got my card back. Signed. That was all, but that’s more than enough. Brad has always been a class act, all the way.
We may not actually see him in a game this series, though he wants to face off against Roy tonight. I’ll be terrified if that happens; we saw what he did to Hampy last year. But it would also be great fun. (Joe Torre, are you listening?) I sincerely hope all the Ausmus-as-manager talk ends up being true down the line, even if it’s not in Houston. But I ultimately wish him well in LA this season, and then in whatever he chooses to pursue after that. He’ll never be in the Hall of Fame, but he’ll always be one of the game’s greats to many. Including me.