Astros-Padres: Michael Bourn Is Looking Good. Everyone Else, Not So Much.

I know that two games does not a season make, but damn, I think I’m ready to declare Michael Bourn the real thing. Consider that he managed to get on base twice last night. That he managed to steal his third base of the season last night – the Astros as a team were lucky to steal three bases in a week last season – and he got the team’s first RBI of the season when he drew a bases loaded walk in the sixth inning.

Then consider that he made another WOW!!!!! catch last night, robbing Brian Giles in the bottom of the seventh inning with an over-the-shoulder catch 395 feet from home plate just before he hit the wall.

So that the Astros were even in the game last night can be placed firmly upon Bourn’s shoulders. Well, his and Brandon Backe’s.

Backe, who only pitched in five games last season as he worked himself back from Tommy John surgery, managed to go five innings last night while surrendering only two runs. The runs came in the fourth inning when Backe slipped into Wandy Rodriguez mode – a long double to the outfield followed by a long Scott Hairston two-run homer to left field. Luckily Khalil Greene was stranded at second after he sent a ball deep off of the left field wall, or else the score might have been worse.

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I think I even saw Carlos Lee running after that Greene double, but I really have trouble telling the difference between Lee walking and running.

The Astros faced Chris Young last night. Young finished last season with the fifth lowest ERA in the National League as well as the lowest home ERA. So of course the mighty Astros offense was shut down once again – hey, I should look at the positive. At least they had two more hits last night than they did Monday.

The Padres got the 2-1 victory. The mighty Astros offense has now been held to one run and ten hits in 18 innings. I know the Padres have one of the best pitching staffs in the majors, but damn, good hitters are supposed to be able to hit good pitchers. And that’s not happening.

Sure, they stranded 11 runners. Sure, they managed to load the bases twice. But they could only squeeze out one run, and that’s because Michael Bourn exercised a little plate judgment.

The Astros and Padres play again tonight, and this should be another mismatch as Wandy Rodriguez faces one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, Greg Maddux.

SOME MISCELLANEOUS BASEBALL NOTES:

Because I’ll go nuts (more than I already am) if I just write about the Astros this year, I thought I’d throw in some miscellaneous baseball notes from time-to-time.

As some of you might remember, I wrote about the Washington Nationals' new pleasure palace last week. I wasn’t thrilled that the real fans can’t get decent seats, and I definitely wasn’t thrilled that people were raving about all of the nooks and crannies. Well, it appears the Washington Post architecture critic agrees with me, calling it “a machine…for sucking the money out of the pockets of people who like baseball, and it makes no apologies about its purely functional design.”

I couldn’t help but notice this: Alex Rodriguez will make more money this season than the entire roster of the Florida Marlins.

And speaking of A-Rod, Jose Canseco is threatening to name A-Rod’s steroids supplier if A-Rod sues him. Look, after the stunt Canseco pulled with Magglio Ordonez, I don’t know why anybody believes anything Canseco says. But I’m saying Canseco has nothing. There is no supplier. Canseco is making the whole damn thing up so he can get some attention.

Last night was not a good night for baseball on television. It started with the fact that Houston seemed to be the only market on the Astros television network that couldn’t actually see the game. Oh, you could hear Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies, but all that Channel 20 could put on the screen were either color bars or the My20 logo – and I know this problem was just in Houston because that’s what Bill Brown told me. (They eventually got it straightened out midway through the second inning.)

And it was also a bad night for televised baseball because I plucked down a lot of cash yesterday to get the MLB Extra Innings package, only to be greeted with some kind of system-wide failure that allowed me to watch the Twins/Angels game, but prevented me from watching any of the other games I wanted to watch – the Red Sox/A’s and the Dodgers/Giants – and I know it was system-wide because that’s what the friendly guy on the other end of my phone told me, and we all know that cable companies don’t lie.

Okay, if you had half-a-game in the Pedro Martinez injury pool, you win. I thought the guy would make it through at least three games. Pedro’s beginning to make Carl Pavano look like Cal Ripken.

And while I’m on the Mets, I’m calling out Moises Alou. You prick. Now, NOW, you say there’s no way you could’ve have caught that foul ball that Steve Bartman grabbed in Game 6 way back in 2003. Do you realize how miserable Bartman’s life has been since then? Do you realize that one reason for that is because you threw a tantrum when he caught the ball, and that another reason is that, after that game, you said you were all set to make the catch and then said, “Hopefully, he won't have to regret it for the rest of his life.” How magnanimous of you. You just ruin a guy’s life then expect forgiveness five years later.

Moises Alou, you are my asshole of the day. Well, you and the people screwing with my MLB Extra Innings package. – John Royal

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