Astros-Pirates: Another Win for Houston

I was at the Astros game last night. Where were the rest of you? Where were all of you people who packed the stadium for game after game back in June and July when the Astros sucked? You see, I’m one of those people who think that if the team sucks for an extended amount of time, then it’s okay for you not to go to the game. But I’m also one of those who think that if the team is actually winning, then you really should be packing the stadium, even if the Astros are playing the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Though, I have to say, seeing as how most of the people around me were interested in anything but last night’s game, then maybe it’s a good thing you guys decided to stay home. It’s amazing how all of you complain about the costs of concessions, yet whenever the beer guy comes down the aisle, you all have to buy something. Have any of you ever heard of actually watching the game?

Speaking of the game, the Astros won again last night. And this game wasn’t even close. Randy Wolf struggled in the first inning, giving up two runs on a walk and two hits. But Lance Berkman’s three-run homer to the Crawford Boxes in the first inning put the Astros in front to stay as they would go on to the easy 9-3 victory.

The Astros have now won seven of eight games in September, and with the Brewers extra-inning loss last night to the Reds, the Astros have drawn to within four games of the Brewers for the NL wild card. The Astros still sit in fourth place in the NL Central, however, as the Cardinals came from being down 3-0 to the Cubs to win 4-3 and to stay a half game up on the Astros.

I still can’t believe the Astros are doing this. And I’m still not sure they’re going to pull it off. But Milwaukee just seems to be acting like the pressure is getting to them. The only times the Brewers seem to be able to win are in games pitched by CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets.

The good news for the Astros is that the Pirates seem to have given up on the season, so if the Astros continue playing as they have been, they should easily win the last two games of this series. The last series contest for the Astros should happen this weekend as the Chicago Cubs are supposed to be coming into town for three games – Ike pending. And Carlos Zambrano, who came out early in his last start against the Astros and missed his next start, is currently set for the Saturday night start against the Astros.

SOME MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:

Lance Berkman was a triple short of hitting for the cycle last night. He homered in the first, doubled in the third, and singled in the sixth inning. Berkman also had four RBI, which gave him his sixth season with 100-plus RBI. His six seasons to hit this mark trail only Jeff Bagwell on the Astros all-time list – Bagwell did it eight times.

Darin Erstad went three for five and scored twice. Miguel Tejada was three for four, and Geoff Blum and Hunter Pence contributed key hits.

Hunter Pence’s hit led to the first home run replay review in Houston. Pence hit a shot off of the top of the right field wall in the sixth inning last night. The ball hit the wall, bounced back to Pirate outfielder Steve Pearce, and he fired it back into the infield to hold Pence to a double. Cecil Cooper came out and argued that it was a home run. The umpires conferred, then decided to go into the tunnel and review the replay.

Upon emerging from the tunnel, the umpires upheld the call of double. Both teams appeared to be satisfied, though several of the morons sitting around me thought that the umpires still had gotten the call wrong. I can’t say. I didn’t see the replays the umpires saw since I was at the game.

I did see one replay, however, when the DiamondVision staff put a replay up on the screen right as Cecil Cooper was coming out to argue. That replay seemed to show the ball hitting the yellow line, which indicates it wasn’t a homer. It’s my understanding that fans in the stadium aren’t supposed to see the replays of disputed home runs.

**************** Wandy Rodriguez will miss Friday’s scheduled start against the Chicago Cubs because of the injury he suffered on Sunday. Jack Cassel will probably get the start instead.

The Astros aren’t yet sure of when Brandon Backe will be able to pitch again. And despite the fact that he’s been off the disabled list for several weeks, Kaz Matsui is still not close to returning. – John Royal


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