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Astros-Cubs: Shawn Chacon Breaks His No-Decision Streak, While Hunter Pence Decides to Date a Very Attractive Woman

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Shawn Chacon finally got a victory last night. His first decision of the season. He looked like crap, but he got the win, and the Astros won the game 5-3.

Somebody tell me, how in the hell is this team winning games? The pitching sucks. The defense is awful, especially if the ball is hit around third base or into left field. I haven’t seen much to impress me about Cecil Cooper’s managing. So how are they winning games? Is Miguel Tejada injecting the rest of the team with his supply of steroids?

Who knows? But the Astros won two of the three games against the Chicago Cubs and in so doing improved their record to 27-21. The Phillies are in town, and Roy Oswalt is going to try to pitch tonight, injured or not.

The Phillies Ryan Howard has been a season-long slump. Which might be a good thing for Astros pitching. Of course, Astros pitching could be exactly what Howard is waiting for to break out of his slump – let’s just hope that Oscar Villarreal isn’t stuck pitching to this guy.


I’ve got some advice for opposing teams. Do you want an easy way to score runs on the Astros? It’s simple. Just hit the ball down the left field line. By the time Carlos Lee gets to the ball you should be standing on second base. And if it bounces for just a bit, by the time Lee picks it up, you should have the rarest of all rarities – an inside-the-park homer.

While I’m on managerial theory, can someone please explain to me why Hunter Pence was hitting behind Geoff Blum last night? Blum’s average is down there in Ty Wigginton territory, which is close to Morgan Ensberg territory, yet Cecil Cooper stuck one of the team’s hottest batters behind Blum. I don’t get it. I don’t.

And speaking of hot hitters, you guys should remember how huge a Hunter Pence fan I am. Well, if this Web site is correct, I’m an even bigger Hunter fan because they appear to have found some photos of Hunter’s girlfriend. And she is damn attractive. Of course, Lance Berkman, being the good Christian he is, probably doesn’t approve, but it’s not like she’s a Penthouse Pet like the girlfriend of Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz.

****************** Now, I missed Tuesday night’s game because I was enjoying myself up at The Woodlands listening to a blistering and way too short set from Elvis Costello. But it’s my understanding that Chris Sampson started the game by throwing a pitch behind Alfonso Soriano. The pitch was deliberate; he was sending a message for the Cubs supposedly having thrown at Carlos Lee three times on Monday night.

Now, I didn’t see all of Monday’s game, but I saw one of the so-called Carlos Lee pitches. And it was a pitch where the catcher was set up outside but the pitch came high inside. To me, it looked like a mistake. But then again, I’ve noticed Carlos Lee, and hey, Carlos, if you don’t want them throwing at you, don’t stand on the damn plate. It’s just that simple.

And I know Mr. Richard Justice was offended by the whole thing with Carlos Lee, and yesterday he celebrated Sampson’s throw, calling it old-time baseball and sticking up for your teammates. He even pointed to a stupid example where Daryl Kile was celebrated for throwing at a batter and being ejected from the game, despite the fact that he had had a bad season and really needed a win. And he celebrated Sampson despite the fact that it was the first pitch of the game, and if Samspon had been kicked out, the bullpen would have been forced to pitch for nine innings – then again, I’ve learned not to expect Justice to think that far ahead.

But here’s the thing that really bugs me about Justice’s comments. If the situation had been reversed, and one of the Astros had been thrown at for retaliation, Justice would have been crying and whining about the bad sportsmanship involved, and about how the Cubs were out of bounds.

But this is Richard Justice, and like I don’t expect him to think ahead, I’ve also learned not to expect him to use logic as part of his thinking process. And this once again points to why Jim Deshaies is so damn good, because listening to him during Wednesday’s game, he was positive that the Monday pitches to Carlos Lee were not intentional.

****************** Our Jim Deshaies quote of the night comes in his response to a major league mandate to speed up games: “How can the game possibly be fast-paced when one of the plays is called a walk?”

But MLB has once again asked the players and umpires to try to speed up the games. I welcome some of these moves. Like getting the batters in the box quicker, and having the pitchers work quicker, but the biggest culprits are television and the owners. Drayton has the MMP crew running advertising until the absolute last millisecond. And how many times has play been held up because Fox Sports had to stop things so Patti Smith can conduct an idiotic interview with a fan in the Crawford Boxes?

***************** The Jose Lima Home Run Watch Update (48 HR in 196.1 innings in 2000):

1. Roy Oswalt – 14 HR in 63 innings. 2. Oscar Villarreal – 10 HR in 22.1 innings. 3. Brandon Backe – 10 HR in 55 innings. 4. Shawn Chacon – 10 HR in 61.1 innings.

***************** The Philadelphia Phillies are here for the next four games. And as much as I wanted Brad Lidge traded, it still appears he was a nice guy, so come on, don’t treat him like he’s Carlos Beltran. And for what it’s worth, grow up already and start treating Carlos Beltran better. I mean, if you people can so eagerly embrace a steroid-cheat in Miguel Tejada, then you really need to grow up and leave Beltran alone. – John Royal

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