Astros-Marlins: Tough Loss for Houston

I’ve been really hard on the Astros this season and this past week. I’m not going to do that today. I have the feeling that after last night’s 14-2 loss to the Florida Marlins that they’re going to beat themselves up worse than I could.

Let’s just say that Brandon Backe, making his first start since September 2nd, lasted only 1.2 innings while giving up six hits (two homers) and five runs. And Dave Borkowski closed things out by giving up four hits and five runs in two innings. I’ll also note that Brandon Backe has now given up 34 home runs this season, the third most surrendered by an Astros pitcher in team history.

With the loss, the Astros' record for the season falls to 80-71. With 11 games left in the season, the Astros now find themselves four games back of the wild card leading New York Mets, and 3.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Marlins aren’t out of it either, as they’ve drawn to just one game of catching the Astros.

The Astros have one game left in Miami, then they head to Pittsburgh for a three-game series with the Pirates. The Astros return home next week (which means the end of the city-wide curfew) to finish out the season. They’ll have three games with the Cincinnati Reds, three games with the Atlanta Braves, and one game with the Chicago Cubs. SOME MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The Astros announced that they are donating one million dollars to Hurricane Ike recovery efforts. Since my mother’s home in Crystal Beach was destroyed by Ike, I’d like to actually be sincere for once in my thanking the Astros for their contributions. I’d also like to give props to Leslie Alexander and the Houston Rockets who, in conjunction with Feed the Children, have purchased three semi-trucks full of prepackaged non-perishable foods and toiletry items and will be distributing them at Robertson Stadium on the campus of the University of Houston today.

And speaking of Ike and contributions, Drayton McLane is offering up Minute Maid Park for use by the Houston Texans once the Astros’ season ends. I don’t know if a football field will actually fit in MMP. While I think Drayton’s offer is generous, I really think they should be dusting off the Dome, and I don’t care what the Chron says.

And for those of you who are still pissed about the Astros having to play the Cubs in Milwaukee this past weekend, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that the Astros are opening the 2009 season against the Cubs in Houston come next April. -- John Royal

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