Astros-Padres: Shawn Chacon, Not So Bad?

What if I were to tell you that Shawn Chacon pitched against a major league baseball team? And what if I told you that Chacon went six innings while giving up only two earned runs, five hits and one home run?

After you picked yourself up off of the floor, you would probably think, WOW, the Astros won a game. Alas, you would be wrong.

The Astros lost for the third time this season, the third time in four games. Shawn Chacon was actually able to keep the Padres down, and when he was pulled after six innings, the Padres were only leading 2-1 on the strength of a Kevin Kouzmanoff two-run homer in the first inning. But for the third time in four games, the vaunted Astros offense failed to show up for the game. And after tying the game in the seventh inning, the Astros bullpen – which Ed Wade supposedly remade in the off-season – reverted to the form of last year and surrendered the winning run in the seventh inning.

Trevor Hoffman trotted in once again, to the sound of “Hells Bells,” but this time he did the job that has made him a no-doubt Hall of Famer, and the Padres won 3-2.

I could go on about how this team sucks. But really, you’ve heard me do that for a long time. What I will say is this: If the Astros actually get a good game from Shawn Chacon, they better not waste it. It’s not like the Astros were facing Jake Peavy yesterday. Or Chris Young. Or Greg Maddux. They were facing Randy Wolf, a serviceable, journeyman pitcher. And the Astros made him look like a Cy Young winner.

The Astros move onto Chicagoland for three games this weekend. Chris Sampson gets the start for the Astros this afternoon, and he’ll be facing Rich Hill. Roy Oswalt will pitch Saturday afternoon, and Brandon Backe gets the start on Sunday afternoon.

The good news is that the Astros come home on Monday for a series with the Cardinals, and the Cardinals are supposed to be sucking this year, too. So maybe the Astros can pick up a win.



Playing baseball in Chicago this time of year is generally iffy because of lousy weather. However, it looks like the Astros will be catching a break. While it should be cold and windy, it looks like they will be missing the rain, sleet and snow that usually make early-April games in Chicago so damn miserable.


Let’s hear it for Mike Hampton. Maybe sometime in this century, maybe, he will pitch again. He was scheduled to start for the Braves last night, but he injured himself while warming up and was scratched from the game. He is currently day-to-day.

Brad Lidge, however, is coming back, and should be available to the Phillies on Saturday. Lidge, being Lidge, faced six batters yesterday in his final rehab game, and Lidge, being Lidge, faced these six batters in one inning, surrendering two hits (including a home run) and a walk.


Continuing their shocking run, the Royals are now 3-0 for the season after sweeping their opening series against the Detroit Tigers – a team many idiots feel will win the World Series.

And the juggernaut that is the Washington Nationals finally lost a game yesterday after they failed to hold a lead against the Phillies. I guess it’s a shame that Brad Lidge wasn’t around for the Nationals to beat upon.


Now, if you’re like me, you’ve really been enjoying the Chron’s sports section lately. That’s primarily because Jose de Jesus Ortiz was otherwise occupied with some top secret mission and was not around to write about baseball.

Unfortunately, he’s back.

I don’t know what we, the readers, have done to deserve this. And I really don’t know what Brian McTaggart and Joseph Duarte have done to deserve this treatment. They’re far superior reporters and writers, yet for some reason, that hack of all hacks is once again given back this prime assignment – especially since it sounds like he really doesn’t want the job.

Please, Chron editors, please. Heed our pleas. Don’t do this. Please don’t do this. Put him back on top secret assignment. Please.

Free Brian McTaggart. Free Joseph Duarte. Free Brian. Free Joseph. Freedom. Freedom.


One of the best things about any broadcast involving Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies comes when Deshaies starts to get bored with the team and he goes off on some tangent. Deshaies has lots of interests, and Brown is a nimble enough broadcaster to be able to follow whatever path Deshaies sets off on.

Since yesterday was a day game, I was not able to watch it. And since I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the Astros radio crew, I made use of my MLB Gameday Audio pass to listen to the Padres crew call of the game. And I’d like to thank them because they actually made me long for the Houston guys.

However, there was one point, about midway through the game, when the Padres radio guys started talking about the Astrodome. And from the Astrodome they moved to NASA. And from NASA they moved to a discussion of The Right Stuff, then they were talking about astronaut Wally Schirra. I’m honestly not sure of what started this tangent. And to tell the truth, I kind of stopped paying attention at about this time, so I’m not sure of how they got back on the right path of talking baseball. But it is things like this that make baseball fun.

This is why I recommend that you, today, find a way to listen to the WGN radio feed of the Astros/Cubs game. Pat Hughes is a serviceable play-by-play guy, but Ron Santo is a scream as a color analyst. And I do mean scream as he often screams in joy whenever the Cubs do something good. And he wails in agony whenever they do something bad – which, being the Cubs, is quite often. Honestly, with these guys, it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on with the game, which normally bugs the hell out of me, but damn, it’s just such a laugh listening to them.

And when it’s the Astros involved in a game, I need every laugh I can get – well, every laugh I can get that’s not caused by bad play. – John Royal

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