Astros-Brewers: The ‘Stros Hold onto First Place (in Homers Surrendered)

I’ve got to give it to the Astros. When the competition gets tough, they stand tall and stay in front.

Yeah, I know the Astros lost 10-6 to the Milwaukee Brewers last night, but that’s not the competition to which I’m referring. I’m referring to the major league lead in home runs surrendered by a pitching staff.

The Astros had been running away with this category, but from nowhere, the Cincinnati Reds had soared into competition for first place, sitting just one home run back of the Astros as the game began. And the Reds did everything possible to gain the lead, giving up three homers to the St. Louis Cardinals last night, but the Astros pitching staff refused to cave into the competition and in turn let the Brewers hit five homers.

The ‘Stros now lead the majors with 92 homers surrendered versus 89 by Reds.

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Yay team. Rah, rah, rah.

The loss dropped the Astros’ record back down to the break-even point at 33-33.

The series with the Brewers finishes up this afternoon as Brian Moehler takes on Ben Sheets starting at 1:05. If the Astros lose, this will be the fifth straight series the Astros have lost. As it is, this is the first time in the Astros-Brewers match-ups this season that the road team has won a game.

SOME MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:

What do you know, it appears that a shipment of Viagra arrived at the Astros clubhouse because both Miguel Tejada and Carlos Lee went three-for-four. And both of them hit a home run. But Carlos Lee proved once again that he’s not all there as he chose not to pay attention on the base paths in the sixth inning and got thrown out after he got caught off of second base just as Lance Berkman crossed home plate to score a run. What made this really bad was that the next batter, Ty Wigginton, homered.

And I’m really disappointed in Brad Ausmus. He’s been playing long enough to know not to go running down the first base line when the first base umpire makes a judgment call on a checked swing. I’ve also got to agree with Zachary Levine at the Chron in that Lance Berkman also should have been ejected later in that seventh inning because of the little hissy fit he threw at first base.

And no matter what, the umpires did not lose this game for the Astros. Did any of you see the Astros’ crappy pitching? Brandon Backe may have had his ass kicked, but as he said after the game, the umpires were not the reasons the Astros lost. The inability of the Astros to make good pitches was the reason the team lost.

***************** Let’s hear it for Brandon Backe. Backe, who gave up three homers in his four innings of pitching, flew past Roy Oswalt to take over the team lead in home runs surrendered for the season. Even better, Backe leapt past Oswalt and grabbed a share of the major league for homers surrendered: he’s tied with Brett Myers of the Phillies and Johnny Cueto of the Reds. They have all given up 18 home runs, but Backe’s got the edge in that he’s done it in less innings than Myers and Cueto have.

The three homers given up in the game was Backe’s season high, but that’s not all. Backe is now tied for the Astros record of having given up a home run in 11 straight games – he’s tied with Doug Drabek (1995-96) and Scott Elarton (2001). He’s also surrendered a home run in 13 of his last 14 games.

Bravo, Brandon. Bravo.

***************** I was beginning to think I was the only one around here with the guts to call out the fans as idiots for voting for Miguel Tejada to start in the All-Star Game, especially with the way he’s been playing this past month. So it was good to see that Steve Campbell over at the Chron also has the guts to speak the truth. And really, why are you voting for Carlos Lee? Has he hustled for anything but to get to the buffet table at any time this season?

I agree with your votes for Lance Berkman, but enough with Tejada and Lee. If you want to stuff the ballot and get another Astro in the game, then stuff the ballot for Hunter Pence.

***************** Oh, and Fox Sports Houston, one more time: Friday’s game at MMP with the New York Yankees will not be the Yankees first visit to Houston, either to the Dome or MMP. They’ve played games here before. Is it really that hard to get the facts straight? All it takes is using that Google thing. – John Royal

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