Astros-Cubs: So That’s What a Good Team Looks Like…

I’ve got a confession to make. I started out listening to the Astros game on the radio last night, as I was still at work when it started. Then I got home and turned on the TV and flipped it over to watch Brownie and J.D. in the hi-def. And just I was getting into the Astros losing the game, I noticed that Jon Lester was pitching a no-hitter for the Boston Red Sox, so I flipped over to my MLB Extra Innings package, found that game, and turned that one on. And I basically stayed on that game until it was over, when I got back to the Astros game during the seventh inning.

You might ask why I was watching the Red Sox and not the Astros? Simple. I love pitching. I love to watch good pitchers. I love to watch games that are well-pitched, and frankly, most games involving the Astros don’t have good pitching. I came of true baseball age in the late-1970s watching J.R. Richard, Joe Niekro, Ken Forsch and Joaquin Andujar front the rotation and Joe Sambito come in to close out the game – when closing out a game meant going several innings. I know many of you find 9-7 games with each team using five to six pitchers to be a fun game, and I don’t get it. Those games bore me as they’re generally the result of poor pitching and bad defense.

So, that’s why I spent more time watching the Red Sox/Royals than I did the Cubs versus the Astros.

As it is, I did watch enough of the game to make some basic comments. First, I thought Jim Edmonds was old and washed up. Isn’t that why the San Diego Padres dumped him last week? But damn, there he was again making one of those catches on Tal’s Hill to rob Hunter Pence, one of those catches that only Jim Edmonds ever makes, and which he seems to make only when playing the Astros.

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Second, I know that some of you out there have been deluding yourself into believing the Astros are a good team. They’re not. The Cubs are a good team, and they shut the Astros down last night. Shut them down good. Even Lance Berkman got shut down, as he went 0-4 with three straight strike outs – including a key strike out in the eighth inning. (That said, damn, wasn’t that streak of Berkman’s something else?)

The Cubs won the game 7-2, and are now 3-1 against the Astros this season. Chris Sampson gets the start tonight, and he matches up against Ryan Dempster.

SOME MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:

As I said above, I had to listen to the first part of the game on the radio. And I got to listen to Milo who was rather disappointed at how the weekend series with the Rangers with. Milo even went so far as to say that the Astros pitching staff should have started throwing at the Rangers because of all of the homers they were hitting. He made it clear that he didn’t want them hunting for heads, but he was clear that “they should have thrown at some chins.”

Now, I don’t know what Milo learned about the human body, but it’s my understanding that the chin is part of the head. But I know what he was talking about. He wanted it to be like the good old days, when, if a guy dared to hit a home run off of Bob Gibson (or Nolan Ryan), then Bob Gibson would throw them a little chin music the next time at bat. They weren’t hit, most of the time, but they fell to the ground, and would back off the plate a bit. However, Roger Clemens nearly killed Mike Piazza trying to send this message.

And I’m sure there’s one other thing Milo forgot. If the Astros were to start throwing at the Rangers’ chins, then I’m sure the Rangers would have started throwing at the chins of a few Astros, like, I don’t know, Lance Berkman. And with Nolan Ryan as the president of the Rangers, you just know the Ranger pitching staff would have responded.

And I know how Milo would have responded to Berkman being hit. He would’ve been pissed and calling for suspensions.

***************** Can somebody explain to me why my friend Ria is no longer an umpire, but Joe West is still out there missing call after call? He missed Giovanni Soto’s home run in the forth inning, but because of the crazy way the ball bounced off the wall, he was able to turn it into a three-run inside-the-park home run.

Then he missed the call on Kaz Matsui’s stolen base in the eighth, calling Matsui safe even though he was clearly tagged out. He might have made the call had he been in position, but I don’t think Joe West has been in the proper position to make a call in about two decades.

***************** Here’s the thing: whenever I see Carlos Lee, all that goes through my head are the opening lines to Bruce Springsteen’s “Tunnel of Love,” you know, “Fat man sitting on a little stool/takes the money from my hand/while his eyes take a walk all over you.”

To me, Carlos is that fat man sitting on a little stool, taking my money.

And don’t expect an Astros game post tomorrow. I’m going out to The Woodlands tonight to watch Elvis Costello (with the Police). And if Elvis gets me pumped enough, I just might be doing anything my radio advises. – John Royal

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