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Monday, May 29, 2006

Answer: Sucky.

Question: How did the Astros' offense do against a starting pitcher who had severe control problems?

I've never understood why Jason Marquis has had such success against the Astros. He's now 5-1 against them over the last two seasons. He was described as "wildly effective," although one wonders whether today's success (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER) resulted from his competence so much as the Astros' ineptness. Their only run came in the third inning, when they had benefited from Marquis's wildness to the tune of Taveras's and Biggio's both getting plunked.

Somewhat off the topic: Biggio's being the active leader in hit batsmen has never been a function of his crowding the plate. Rather, his m.o. is to Roger Dorn his way on to base by leaning into anything close. He's mastered the art of turning his body away to make it look like he's trying to get out of the way of an inside pitch, all the while leaning his heavily-padded elbow into the oncoming pitch. He gets on base and gets his team a runner, while the elbow pad is probably the only thing getting bruised. (So "Adverb" Taguchi pulled a Biggio of his own a little while later, turning his elbow into an inside offering from Oswalt. At least Adverb wasn't wearing body armor.)

It's not like Biggio was the first one to figure this trick out out. I never minded Bagwell's wearing padding over his hands, if only because his hand had been broken in 1994; but for the strike, the time he was to lose would likely have prevented him from winning his only MVP award. But look at Bonds, who knows he can crowd the plate because--if he gets hit--it's the body armor taking the punishment, not him. That's why I appreciate that Russ Springer hit him where there was no padding.

Anyway, Morgan Ensberg followed up the back-to-back beanings by taking a walk of his own. Certainly, I don't want him striking out by swinging at bad pitches; we have enough guys doing that already. But, for Ensberg, not swinging the bat just isn't that great a feat. Special K--who struck out once in fear that his recent success might hamper his efforts to break Adam Dunn's record for strikeouts in a season--then drove Taveras in with an infield "hit" that Scott Rolen was simply unable to come up with.

Little did we know that that was to be all the offense we would muster all day. Pitiful.

Question: Was Phil Gar[d]ner's decision to lift Roy Oswalt a good one, or a sucky one?

We labeled Gar[d]ner as Chief Goat the last time he decided to pull Roy Oswalt too early in a game. As it turned out, that was as recently as Oswalt's last start before today: against Washington. The bullpen responded to their manager's faith in them then by blowing the game.

Gar[d]ner didn't learn from having been lambasted over here. Even though Roy-O had done a masterful job of keeping the Cards scoreless--and Poo-Holes 0-for-3, including a shameful three-pitch strikeout (only Albert's fifteenth all season)--Gar opted to pull Roy-O for the ever-productive Orlando Palmeiro, who celebrated the occasion by fouling out to third base.

Question: Rate the performance of the Astros bullpen.

Trever Miller--who should not be trusted with a lead, notwithstanding his three scoreless innings against the lowly Pirates--allowed a dink hit, got two walks, then got squeezed on a few calls in the process of walking John Rodriguez... who, by the way, appeared to be wearing eyeliner makeup today. So in comes Chad Qualls, who gave up the expected three-run homer to Poo-Holes. (It was so expected that I'd already tried to call Phat-C to predict what was to come as soon as Albert strode to bat, but misdialed; by the time I finally connected, the ball, the lead, and the game were gone. I suspect I need more practice working my telephone machine.)

Question: How does it feel to be a fan of a team that's started this ten-game road trip 2-6?

How do you think it feels? After a promising start to May (3-1 after a two-game sweep of the Cards), the Astros have fallen into the proverbial toilet of crappy (pun intended) pitching, fielding, and hitting. I guess those are the only parts of the game that they currently suck at, but I'm hard-pressed to think of what positives that might leave them? I can think of only two, at the moment:

  1. The Astros have zero players whose first name is an adverb. There are three noun-named players (Lance, Willy, and Chad) whom I can identify, and I haven't the foggiest what kind of name "Wandy" is. But these names all beat the absolute hell out of "So."
  2. I don't think any of the Astros were wearing makeup (not counting eyeblack, geniuses) today. The Cards? John Rodriguez was. I also suspect that Jimmy Edmonds--who was out of the lineup--was, too. Probably lipstick, too.


    Blogger SumSum said...

    Although, totally immaterial to the point of your post, I couldn't resist noting that a couple of other Astros players could qualify as nouns...

    Brad Lidge and Brad Ausmus, a brad being "a thin wire nail with a small head or a slight side projection instead of a head." (Thanks,!) If Lidge doesn't start pitching better, the definition may not be too far off. Get it? Small head or slight side projection instead of a head? I just can't help myself!

    Orlando Palmeiro could also qualify, if proper nouns are eligible.

    11:54 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Nice colors. Keep up the good work. thnx!

    12:09 AM  

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