I have to do something I don’t like to do, which is admit maybe I was wrong.
The vaunted Astros offense scored 11 runs on 15 hits last night while defeating the Padres 11-7. That’s 11 runs off of the San Diego Padres who, last night, started Jake Peavy, one of the game’s best pitchers. And for the two-game series with the Padres, the Astros scored 21 runs. So maybe I was wrong about the Astros offense. Maybe it will amount to something.
Now, that said, I’ve seen nothing to indicate the Astros pitching has improved. Sure, Roy Oswalt is beginning to pitch like he’s supposed to pitch, but do seeing any of these other bozos come out to start make you feel confident? Huh? Anyone?
Brandon Backe continues to struggle once he gets past the fifth inning, and with the Astros having a seemingly safe 7-3 lead going into the eighth inning, the bullpen once again imploded, surrendering four runs to the Padres, letting them tie the game. Brocail was the pitcher hit with the runs on his ERA, but it was Valverde who came into put out the fire and instead let the tying run score for his third blown save of the season.
But let’s forget about that, for now. The Astros got to Jake Peavy last night for four earned runs. I think that deserves some applause. Well done, sirs. Well done. Which brings me to the whole ESPN / Miguel Tejada thing. Am I the only one who has noticed that since ESPN hit Tejada with the age story that the offense has come to life? I’m kind of wondering if maybe this somehow woke the team up? If so, instead of being mad at ESPN, maybe the Astros send them some flowers and a thank you note.
The Astros have won now won three straight games, which is their best stretch of baseball this young season. Their record is 9-12, and they have moved into a tie with the Cincinnati Reds for fifth place. Which won’t last long seeing as how the Astros will be in Cincinnati for three games starting tonight.
The bad news: Chris Sampson gets the start. The good news: I don’t think it’s possible for Sampson to do any worse tonight than he did last Friday night against the Rockies.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS BASEBALL NOTES:
With his four hits last night, Miguel Tejada became the first Astro since Jeff Bagwell in 1995 to have four hits in back-to-back games.
And speaking of Tejada, the ESPN story on his age imbroglio hit the airwaves last night. The story wasn’t really about his age, or the fact his name is really spelled Tejeda, and it only became like that when Tejada stormed off of the set last week. ESPN was investigating Tejada’s truth-telling abilities in light of the Mitchell Report. And, as I hinted at last week, the whole essence of the thing is that this guy is under investigation for perjury, and if he’s lying about his age, then what else has he been lying about?
This is a problem because if Tejada is found to have taken illegal drugs (steroids and HGH), he can be found to be in violation of the terms of his residency papers and he can be deported and refused reentry into the States.
Now, could ESPN have handled this matter better? Yes. But they were actually working on a valid story. And it’s a valid story that the likes of Jose de Jesus Ortiz should be working, but which he can’t because he’s too busy being Tejada’s PR guy.
I also found it interesting that, according to ESPN, the Astros had copies of all of Tejada’s legal documents, and they say that the information on those documents is correct. So, if the Astros have had this information, then why was the brass so shocked and angry about the whole thing last week?
****************** The Astros did have some bad news yesterday as centerfielder Michael Bourn tweaked his left groin. The Astros claim Bourn will only miss a few games. But if I may go to my experiences covering the Aeros, I’d like to note that Aeros goalie Nolan Schaefer tweaked his groin in mid-February and wasn’t able to return to the ice until just a couple of weeks ago.
****************** Maybe this will make Astros fans feel better about Jose Valverde’s blown save last night: Yesterday, Milwaukee Brewers closer Eric Gagne blew his fourth save in ten tries – maybe they should be putting him back on the juice.
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But the Brewers are dealing with more bad news in that ace starter Ben Sheets (their version of Mike Hampton) will be missing his next start, this after he came out of his last start early. The Brewers can’t take Gagne blowing save after save, but they especially can’t handle Sheets being injured, once again.
******************* The Chron actually had a good baseball story yesterday. Yes, you read that right, I liked something in the Chron that wasn’t written by Brian McTaggart. It’s an excellent story on the increase in Tommy John surgeries for high school pitchers. The doctors claim this is the result of the youngsters being overworked. The high school coaches blame it all on the parents who force the kids to play in all different kinds of leagues year around.
******************* Just three quick notes to finish up: Hall-of-Fame pitcher to be, Atlanta’s John Smoltz, became the 16th pitcher in major league history to get 3,000 strike outs as he struck out seven Washington Nationals last night….And the St. Louis Cardinals were at a loss for players in yesterday’s extra inning game with the Brewers and had to play Albert Pujols at second base….Finally, you will be pleased to note that Morgan Ensberg is now the starting third baseman for the New York Yankees. Of course, that’s only because Alex Rodriguez is injured, but you never know, maybe Ensberg is going to go to nuts and win the job.
Now I’ve got to go, it’s time for me to go take my meds. – John Royal