Astros-Pirates: And to Think, We’re Just Barely Past the Halfway Mark

You know, even the best of us baseball fans can sometimes get bored. Especially when it’s bad baseball, like the kind the Astros play. Sure, I watched the game last night, but nothing just really seemed to sink in. It’s like I was in another world during the game – I do know that Jason Bay had four hits and that after a bat shattered early in the game Jim Deshaies decided to quote

Mick Jagger

.

Brownie and J.D. did their best to keep me in the game. J.D. quoting the Stones. Brownie noting that if the ‘Stros were in the NL West they would be in the heart of the playoff hunt. But games like last night, with mediocre pitching, lots of hits, lots of base runners, lousy defense, they just bore the hell out of me.

God, it can’t get much worse than last night. But I just know the Astros are going to be like this the rest of the season. For whatever it was that I did in a past life, I’m sorry. I wish I were covering the Tampa Bay Rays – they’re a fun team to watch. But I’ve got the Astros.

I suppose I should actually tell you something about the game. So…

What do you want to know? That what until the ninth inning was a low scoring game took over three-and-a-half hours to play? That the Pirates stranded 12 runners, and the Astros 13 – seven of them who were in scoring position? How about Jason Bay’s hits? Well, Bay had four hits, three of them singles, and an RBI, and that in top of the ninth, with the Pirates down 3-2 and Jose Valverde on the mound for the Astros, he hit a monster home run to left field to tie the game. That was followed by an Xavier Nady single, which in turn was followed by Adam LaRoche’s two-run homer to the Crawford Boxes to put Pittsburgh up 5-3. Oh, and to rub salt in the wounds, six of the Pirates final seven runs of their 9-3 win came on ninth inning homers, including a three-run Freddy Sanchez inside-the-parker.

The Astros season record drops to 46-53, and to 6-10 for the month. To meet my 12-12 prediction for July, the Astros are going to have to go 6-2 for the remainder of the month. The battle for last place continues as Ari Gold Jack Cassel (1-0, 6.28) gets the start for the Astros tonight, and he faces the closest thing that either team has to an ace in Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm (6-6, 4.10).

SOME MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:

Last night was Pittsburgh’s first game at Minute Maid Park this season. But there are still six games of excitement between these two teams left for MMP this season. And that’s not all for the bad baseball still to come at MMP for the Astros still have nine games with the Cincinnati Reds left for MMP and four games with the San Francisco Giants. Oh yes, fun times ahead indeed. Fun times indeed.

And speaking of the fun times, Jason Bay’s ninth inning homer was his 20th of the season. It was also his 14th career homer against the Astros (and the ninth for his career at MMP). And the blown save was Valverde’s sixth blown save of the year.

Here are some more fun stats: the Pirates only had one three-up-three-down inning. Also, after one out in the ninth, the Pirates put six straight runners on base while Jose Valverde was in the process of giving up six earned runs. And I really like this: the Pirates hit three homers in the ninth, giving the Astros a major league leading total of 137 home runs surrendered this season.

******************* Here’s something to give thanks for: before the game, Jim Deshaies informed us that it’s the Pittsburgh Pirates who have the worst team ERA in the National League. Just imagine what Astros games would be like if they’re pitching was as bad as Pittsburgh’s. (Oh, yeah, since the Astros are only a game up on the Pirates, there probably wouldn’t be that much of a difference.)

And after last night’s game, the Pirates are now 16-32 on the road this season, while getting their first road win in eight games.

******************* Going from the pregame show to the actual game broadcast, Fox Sports showed video of Carlos Lee drinking an enery drink in the dugout. It must not have been a Red Bull because he sure didn’t fly at anytime.

******************* To move Cassel onto the roster, Dave Borkowski was designated for assignment. And with the return of catcher Humberto Quintero from the disabled list, J.R. Towles also returns to Round Rock. – John Royal

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