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Astros-Phillies: Brad Lidge Gets the Save

The Astros lost to the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 7-5 last night. But the major news flash is that Astros reliever Oscar Villarreal made it through an inning without giving up a run. And that, if anything, should tell you how sucky the Astros pitching staff is.

But he was about the only one who didn’t get beat up on last night. Roy Oswalt went six innings while giving up 11 hits and five earned runs, including a home run. Wesley Wright went an inning, and he gave up a home run. Fernando Nieve went a third of an inning and gave up a hit and a run, and Tom Byrdak went two-thirds of an inning without giving up anything.

If you spend anytime over at Chron.com, then you’ve probably read the comments to the writers’ blogs. And it never fails to amaze me that there are people out there who think the Astros can win a pennant with this crappy pitching. Once again: It doesn’t matter how many runs you score if you can’t stop the other team from scoring.

And I’ll tell you, I’m wondering what’s going on with Roy Oswalt. You can’t blame the injury against the Rangers last week, because he’s sucked all year. There’s got to be something wrong, and I wish Jose de Jesus Ortiz would spend a little time digging into that, instead of hanging out with Wandy Rodriguez.

Seriously, when Shawn Chacon has the best ERA among the starting staff, your starting staff is bad.

The loss drops the Astros record to 27-22. And Brandon Backe gets the start tonight, going up against Adam Eaton.


In case you missed it, Wandy Rodriguez conducted an Internet chat over at Chron.com yesterday. This was, of course, as big a disaster as it sounds. First, since Wandy doesn’t exactly speak English, Jose de Jesus Ortiz was translating – and Ortiz’s knowledge of English is rather lacking as well. Second, they were driving in a car as they conducted the session, and finally, they had to stop the session because Wandy wanted to take a nap.

What were the great minds over at the Chron thinking? Nothing against Wandy, but he’s not exactly number one on the list of people with whom I’d want to have an Internet chat session. It’s not like he’s going to answer any really difficult questions, like why he went by the name Eny Cabreja to start his career. Or whether Miguel Tejada is keeping the team supplied with steroids. One of the funny things, besides cutting the chat short so Wandy could get some sleep, was when he said one of his all-time favorite players was Atlanta Braves second baseman Terry Pendleton. The problem being that Pendleton never played second base. He might have played a couple of the games in the outfield at one point, but for his entire career, Pendleton played third base. I can almost forgive Wandy this – I mean, come on, dude, you really should know what position your favorite player played – but I’m convinced that Ortiz screwed up the translation.

So, Chron, come on. If you’re going to do one of these things with a player, do it with someone worth speaking to. Try Brad Ausmus. The guy’s a Dartmouth graduate, and I’ve heard the guy speak, and he’s pretty damn intelligent. Put him on and let him explain the different approaches a catcher has to take when he’s going from Roy Oswalt to Andy Pettitte to Roger Clemens to Wandy Rodriguez. The baseball fans might even learn something.

******************* I’ve been doing some thinking, and I don’t think Hunter Pence should be batting behind Carlos Lee. Pence should be batting in front of Lee. It makes sense. Pence is good on the bases, and he can go from first to third on a single. Lee can’t go from first to third on a triple. It makes absolutely no sense to waste Pence’s speed just because of Lee’s pride. If Lee doesn’t want to get into shape, and if he doesn’t want to hustle, then the guys who are in shape, who do hustle, who do have speed, shouldn’t be punished.

******************* Bill Brown tells us that Brad Lidge was met with some boos as he came trotting out from the Phillies bullpen last night. Way to stay classy, Astros fan. So, Ortiz, tell me again about how Astros fan are among the best in baseball?

I was hard on Brad Lidge last year. And I thought the best thing that could happen to him was to trade him to another team where he could get away from some of the baggage here in Houston. So I am pleased that he’s having success with the Phillies. And I’m sure he really enjoyed getting the save last night, especially since it involved getting Lance Berkman to pop up to shallow left field for the final out.

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

1. Roy Oswalt – 15 HR in 69 innings. 2. Oscar Villarreal – 10 HR in 23.1 innings. 3. Brandon Backe – 10 HR in 55 innings. 4. Shawn Chacon – 10 HR in 61.1 innings.

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****************** And finally, a brief Rocket update…

Mindy McCready has shocked the world because she’s not going to try cashing in on her Rocket-fame by writing a tell-all book. Nope. Not Mindy. She’s taking a little different route. Since she’s currently making a documentary about her comeback in the music biz, she’s decided to spice things up a bit and tell all in the movie. So, yep, Mindy, maybe he’ll notice you now.

-- John Royal

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