Astros-Brewers: Corey Hart Still Looking Good

So I see Randy Wolf has been getting his pitching advice from Wandy Rodriguez and Brandon Backe. He once again failed to get the magical quality start, forcing the Astros bullpen to go into overdrive once again. And while Jim Deshaies may have spoken about how Wolf’s stat line was deceptive in that he pitched better than he appeared, the result is that Wolf gave up six runs in four innings – five of them in the fourth inning after getting the first two outs.

And with CC Sabathia pitching for the Brewers, falling behind 6-0 like the Astros did in the fourth inning is not a good thing. The Astros, as is their wont, actually did have some chances to get to Sabathia, like in the top of the first, when the Astros got two men on only to have Ty Wigginton pop out, or in the top of the fifth when the Astros once again got two men on, only to have Lance Berkman strike out, or in the top of the ninth inning when they loaded the bases with one out but were only able to get in one run before Berkman made the final out of the Brewers 9-3 victory.

CC Sabathia just dominated the Astros. He gave up 11 hits but only three runs while striking out nine Astros and pitching his fifth complete game in eight starts as a Milwaukee Brewer. The Astros loss dropped them to 63-62 for the season. Brian Moehler (8-4, 3.97) gets the start for the Astros tomorrow night as he goes up against Ben Sheets (11-6, 3.00).

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So there’s a story in the Chron that the Astros have two more spots reserved at Minute Maid Park for retired numbers. Never mind that the Astros already have too many jerseys retired for a team that has made very little historical impact on baseball, but there is still room for two more. The two more are Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman. And nothing against Oswalt and Berkman, but shouldn’t we actually wait for their careers to be coming to a close before this type of planning starts? Shouldn’t the Astros make sure these guys actually accomplish something important before this, like break some records or win some Cy Youngs?

But what bugs me most is that, once again, the Astros appear to be overlooking J.R. Richard. I wrote about Richard’s merits last year, so I won’t repeat it all again. But let’s just reiterate that if this guy didn’t nearly die trying to prove to Tal Smith that he wasn’t faking an injury, he might have gone down as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, let alone Astros history. From 1975 until his injury in 1980, he was nearly unhittable. As much as Houstonians worship Nolan Ryan – with just cause – it needs to be remembered that this guy was just as fast and struck out just as many.

That the Astros continue to ignore Richard is shameful. And I can’t help but wonder if Tal Smith has anything to do with this. Tal Smith not wanting to acknowledge something he helped to cause is one thing, but if Drayton really wants to honor the history of this franchise, which he did when retiring Jimmy Wynn, Larry Dierker, Mike Scott and Jose Cruz’s numbers, then he really needs to acknowledge J.R. Richard.

But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting.

****************** Our quote of the night goes to Jim Deshaies, who said of Ty Wigginton when he was up to bat with two on and two out in the first inning: “This is the guy Cecil wants up in this situation.” I know Wigginton has been hot. And I know JD has to find someway to keep the fans interested in the game, but seriously, if Ty Wigginton is the guy people want up in a key RBI situation, then that is one bad baseball team that people are watching.

Though, seeing as how Wigginton has seven homers and 17 RBI for the month, maybe Wigginton is becoming the team’s power source.

****************** So can someone explain to me why Doug Brocail was pitching in the sixth inning of last night’s lost cause? The Astros supposedly acquired LaTroy Hawkins because Brocail’s arm was tired and they wanted to give him some rest, so why was he pitching in long relief last night? It just doesn’t make any sense. Then again, lots of the things that Cecil Cooper has done this year haven’t made too much sense to me.

****************** While Corey Hart’s home run last night for the Brewers didn’t kill the Astros – they were already dead – it just bettered his numbers against the Astros. For his career, he’s batting .396 against the Astros with 10 homers and 33 RBI. So, in honor of Corey Hart, here’s some “Sunglasses at Night.” – John Royal

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