Astros-Cubs: Setting the Clocks Back to Lima Time

What can I say about yesterday’s Astros-Cubs contest? That it wasn’t much of a contest. I can say that. But I don’t think that comes close to getting to just how ugly the Cubs 11-4 victory was. The Astros actually led the game at one point, scoring four runs in the third inning to the take the early 4-1 lead.

It was at that point I got an e-mail from a good friend, telling me the Astros were going to lose the game; he didn’t care what the score was at the moment. Perhaps he sensed Brandon Backe was about to self-destruct.

Again.

Brandon Backe managed to last 3.1 innings yesterday, 3.1 innings of pure suckitude – Jose Lima levels of suckitude. In those 3.1 innings he threw 100 pitches, gave up nine hits, 11 runs, 11 earned runs, six walks, and two homers. He gave up eight runs in the third inning. Eight runs in the third inning AFTER he had gotten two outs. Then Cecil Cooper sent him back out for the fourth inning.

The Astros somehow found a way to win four straight games to start the month without getting a quality start. They’ve found a way to lose the last two games without getting a quality start. And it’s not known when the Astros may again get close to receiving a quality start from one of their starting pitchers.

The Astros, at 54-59, are now in Cincinnati for a four game series with the 52-62 Reds starting tonight – that’s right, kids, it’s more of the battle for last place. Baseball doesn’t get much better than this. Roy Oswalt (8-8, 4.47) gets the start tonight against Josh Fogg (2-3, 7.57). Randy Wolf (7-10, 4.60) goes in search of his first five-plus inning game as an Astro on Friday against Johnny Cueto (7-11, 5.00). Brian Moehler (7-4, 4.01), the last Astros starter to pitch a quality start, matches up against Bronson Arroyo (10-8, 5.55) on Saturday evening, and Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 3.98) finishes up the series on Sunday afternoon against Edinson Volquez (13-5, 2.93).

MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:

Our quote of the day goes to the Astros radio broadcasters who, when the third Cubs batter of the game came up to bat, stated “Backe has really jumped out in front of these guys today.” You might want to let the guy toss a few innings before trying to praise him.

And the alternate quote of the day also goes to the Astros radio guys who stated that Geoff Blum “is by far the best .230 hitter in the big leagues.” Is that so? I would argue that Adam Dunn, with 32 homers, 74 RBI, 79 walks, a .380 on-base percentage, and a .543 slugging percentage would be by far the best .230 hitter in baseball. But seeing as Dunn is actually batting .238, I guess it can technically be said that he’s not a .230 hitter. By the way, Blum, the so-called best .230 hitter in baseball is actually batting .226 with only 10 homers, 32 RBI, 10 walks, a .261 on-base percentage, and a .400 slugging percentage.

Yeah, I see how they could think Blum’s better than Dunn.

***************** I thought you would like to know that the two homers Backe surrendered allowed him to pull back into a tie for the Major League lead in home runs surrendered with 25. And courtesy of Zachary Levine over the Chron comes some really ugly facts regarding Backe’s performance yesterday. For instance, only one Astros pitcher has surrendered more than 11 earned runs in a game. And if you guessed Jose Lima, you guessed right. Lima surrendered 12 earned runs to the Cubs back in the 2000 season.

**************** For those who are interested, Lance Berkman’s homerless streak continued. He has not hit a home run since the Astros-Dodgers game on June 30th. That makes for 30 games since he last went deep, the longest streak of his career. I would opine that this drought could be blamed on the Home Run Derby screwing up his swing, like others have claimed. But the streak was already 12 games old when the Home Run Derby took place. So I’ve got no idea of what’s going on with Berkman. – John Royal


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