Astros-Cubs: A Tired Houston Team Only Gets One Hit

The Houston Astros found another way to make history yesterday. Sunday night, it was Carlos Zambrano no-hitting the Astros – the first Chicago Cub no-hitter since Milt Pappas tossed one in 1972. Yesterday, not only did the Astros lose 6-1, but they were one-hit by Ted Lilly, making the Astros the first major league team since 1956 to be held to only one hit over two games.

But luckily for the Astros, despite losing these two games, they are still only 2.5 games out of the wild card chase. And for that, the Astros can thank the Milwaukee Brewers, the team that loaned out their stadium to the Astros and Cubs for this weekend. The Brewers, who are now tied with the Philadelphia Phillies for the wild card lead, have gone 3-11 in September – this after going 20-7 in August. And in an unprecedented move, the Brewers fired manager Ned Yost yesterday and appointed Dale Sveum as his interim replacement.

The 80-69 Astros will now take their act on the road to Miami for a three-game series with the Marlins, then head to Pittsburgh for three games with the Pirates. The Astros will return home next Monday to finish out the season, including a game against the Cubs on Monday, September 29, if the game is necessary because of playoff considerations.

OTHER MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:

It’s being reported that Astros manager Cecil Cooper called up MLB commissioner Bud Selig yesterday and read him the riot act. Cooper is unhappy that the Astros had to fly out on Sunday morning to Milwaukee and play that night in a site filled with Chicago fans that made the short drive.

I can understand Cooper’s anger. But I sure hope he phoned his boss Drayton McLane and had a nice little chat with him. Sure, Selig should have done something sooner about alternate plans for this Cubs series, but the reason he didn’t is because Drayton was insisting that the games had to be played in Houston, and he went so far as to attempt to force the Cubs to get on a plane and fly into the eye of the oncoming Hurricane Ike.

The Cubs were able to put a stop to this situation, and after Ike had wiped out Houston on Saturday, the Cubs and MLB were finally able to knock a little sense into that thick skull of Drayton McLane.

Sure, Milwaukee wasn’t the ideal place for these games, but Drayton wasn’t open to options, and Selig had to accept the options that were open. There was also talk of moving games to Turner Field in Atlanta, or Dolphins Stadium in Miami, but they were ultimately rejected because of weather concerns.

What really bugs me is that Drayton is claiming that he acted as he did because of the fans and the players. Now I don’t know how Drayton thought a game could be played in Houston after a hurricane tore through town, but apparently he did. But anyone who pays any attention to these things knows that Cat One storms can cause significant damage even with glancing blows, and on Thursday, it was still thought that Ike was going to be a Cat One.

And if I were the players, I would be pissed at Drayton. If I were Drayton, I would have chartered as many planes as I could find, and I would have flown the players, the coaches, all of the staff of the Astros and Minute Maid Park, and all of their families out of harm's way. I guess it would have been okay for a player or a loved one to die because of a hurricane as long as there was a chance a game could have been played in Houston.

So while I think MLB commissioner Bud Selig should have taken control of this situation sooner, the party who should get the ultimate blame is Drayton McLane. So let’s just say that I hope Cecil Cooper is letting Drayton have it right now.

And personally, I think the reason Drayton wanted these games in Houston is simple: he didn’t want to have to give back the money to those who purchased the tickets. -- John Royal


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