Astros-Brewers: Home Run Derby

Let’s hear it for the Astros. They’ve got that hold on first place (for most homers surrendered in the major leagues) and they’re not letting it go. How else can you explain Brian Moehler giving up three homers in the second inning yesterday? Or Jose Valverde giving up a two-run home run in the ninth inning, just as the Astros had made a push to get back into the game?

The Astros pitching staff has now given up 96 dingers on the season, opening up some space between them and the second place Cincinnati Reds.

The Astros lost the game 9-6. With the loss, the Astros’ record dropped to 33-34, and the team fell into a tie for fifth place with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Astros have lost 11 of their last 14 games, and they have lost five straight series. And for the third straight series, and the fourth time in five series, the Astros won the first game of the series only to lose the last two games of each.

The easy part of the month is over for the ‘Stros. Their next 15 games are against the American League, starting this weekend when the New York Yankees come into town for their first ever regular season games.

SOME MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:

Here are some interesting numbers from this series just past. Like Corey Hart hitting three homers and getting seven RBI in just two games. Or that Mike Cameron has hit nine home runs this season, with the Astros being responsible for six of those homers. I also like that the Astros have allowed 33 runs in the past five games. But this is my favorite stat: Yesterday, the Astros became the first team in the majors this season to give up four home runs in back-to-back games.

And I say well done. The season home run title is well within the team’s reach. And while my math skills are kind of weak, I’m confident in my figures that show the Rockies’ NL record of 230 homers surrendered in a season as being well within reach – catching the Tigers major league record of 241 is just a bit beyond their reach.

But I can still dream.

***************** So, are you ready for The Joba Rules? For those who don’t closely follow the Yankees – which means you don’t watch ESPN or Fox – The Joba Rules were created last year to prevent reliever Joba Chamberlain from pitching too many innings in his first season.

Joba started this season in the bullpen, but now he’s in starting rotation, and The Joba Rules seem to now apply to the number of pitches he throws a game – and if Joba Chamberlain played for the Kansas City Royals, the same thing probably would have happened and no one would have cared. But it’s the Yankees, so every breath he takes is major news. Which means that MMP is going to be packed with media tonight. I mean, packed even more than normal.

Shawn Chacon (2-2, 4.96) starts versus Joba Chamberlain (1-2, 2.67) tonight. Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 1.99) matches up against Mike Mussina (9-4, 3.82) on Saturday night. And the series closes out with Roy Oswalt (5-6, 5.06) going up against Chien-Ming Wang (7-2, 4.30) on Sunday afternoon.

The Yankees have been a bit of a disappointment so far this season, battling for last place with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles. But the Yankee offense has started coming to life (especially with Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada getting healthy), and it’s going to be interesting to see how Joe Girardi handles his lineup. Jason Giambi has been the primary DH, but since there’s no DH this weekend, it’s going to be interesting to see if Girardi actually starts Giambi at first base.

***************** Hey, Drayton, do you listen to KTRH during the games? I’m just wondering because I listened to yesterday’s day game on the radio, and I kept hearing commercial after commercial urging people to switch the station to KPRC so as to listen to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

I don’t know about you, Drayton, but I wouldn’t want the station carrying my team urging listeners to change the station during a game. Especially for windbags like Limbaugh and Hannity. – John Royal

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