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Monday, July 10, 2006

A Stirring Victory!

Well, you just have to hand it to the Astros. After a thoroughly demoralizing extra-inning loss to the Cardinals, including a blown save by The Mole, the local boys responded by taking out their frustrations on the Cards, 9-6. Let's hand out props where they're due:
Cletus: Not his strongest outing; 5 earned runs (including THREE homers) in only 4.1 innings. I blame Gar[d]ner for this one, though, because Cletus was obviously tiring in the fifth (as his fastball was topping out at 58mph). The back-to-back shots hit off of him are therefore understandable.
Fat Rog: Two innings of no-hit, shutout relief.
Biggio: 3-5, 3 RBI's.
Berkman: 3-5
The Vortex: 2-5, 2 RBI's (Great job, Mo!)
Things really took off in the 7th inning. In the 5th, the Cards had struck for back-to-back-to-back homers by Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds to take a commanding 6-4 lead. But pinch-hitter Mike Lamb followed up Burke's flyout with a pinch-double. Biggio then singled, Never-Hit doubled, Jeff Bagwell singled, Berkman doubled, and Ensberg doubled. In the end, Chris Carpenter gave up six straight hits and five runs, thereby getting tagged with the loss.

After the abomination that was Saturday's blown save, one would think that Lidge would be struggling with confidence issues or something. NO SIR!! He pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save, starting with Jason Isringhausen's flyout to left field. (I was a bit perplexed that The Genius left Isringhausen in to bat, with three pinch-hitters still on the bench. Then again, he's The Genius, and I'm not.) Eckstein then grounded out, and Lidge ended the game by coaxing a weak grounder from Larry Walker.

Man, it feels good going into the All-Star break with a win.


Wait, what now? All of that didn't happen?

Oh, shoot. I think I must have been describing my game of RBI Baseball on my NES emulator this morning. Yup, I guess this screenshot cinches it:

Oh, that's right. Now I remember. I was so annoyed about last night's frustrating loss that I decided to re-play the game the way it should have gone.

Well, except for the part about Jeff Bagwell and Dan Miceli still playing for the Astros. Maybe that should have tipped me off. Or the fact that Mark Mulder--who started the game--is actually on the DL right now. Or that Reggie Sanders (now with the Royales with Cheese) was in left field. Or Mark Grudzielanek (ditto) at second base. Or... well, I think you get the point.

Last night's game just doesn't really bring up anything new to talk about. I could moan and complain about the Mole and how he is now the property of the St. Louis Cardinals (although, to be frank, it's not like he's dominated everybody else; I think the other 29 teams jointly have ownership rights to him). I could also raise my eyebrows about seeing Lanedoza (1-for-5, 2 K's) back in the lineup. I could rail on and on about how pi$$ed I was when neither Skullcap nor Lanedoza could even put the freaking ball in play with bases juiced and only one out in the bottom of the 10th.

But, hey, what's the point? It's another frustrating loss in a frustrating season full of very frustrating losses. (I told you I lost my thesaurus, remember?)

We're going to work on our first-half grades for the Astros and, on balance, I'd say that the local boys should not be getting their hopes up for some high marks. In the interim, we can enjoy watching tonight's pre-All-Star event:

"Face-Off of the Roided-Up Ballplayers who will Try to Hit Poorly-Thrown, Juiced-Up Meatballs into the Lovely Pittsburgh Sky and Hopefully, into the Polution-Filled River, All for the Enjoyment of Local Yokels with Nothing Better to Do."

I think they've got a little shorter, more-official-sounding title for tonight's competition, but I'm just too pi$$ed to deal in reality right now.


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