Monday, May 26, 2008

29 - 23

Went to a couple of games this weekend, including this gem that ended with a walk-off 7 - 2 double play. I've been watching the replay over and over again, it just amazes me. It also helps make up for Sunday's crappy 15 - 6 loss, in which our two worst relievers gave up 11 runs over two innings. When Nieve came out, I figured we were done, even though we had a two-run lead. After he gave up 5 runs and they replaced him with Borkowski, I just left. Which means that I thankfully got to miss the 6 runs given up by Borks. He was decent in '06, but this year he pretty much guarantees a loss when he's in a game. Amazingly, Oscar Villareal didn't give up any, as he finished out the game. Good for him, I guess, although it only seems to emphasize that he can't pitch well when there's any pressure.

Overall, still, I'm just amazed by how well the team is playing. I wasn't there Friday, but Jose Valverde won over even more fans with his performance that night. Thankfully he was okay after getting hit, as was the umpire that got hit on Sunday. A commenter to a blog at the Houston Chronicle summed up this team's vibe the best:
The vocal leadership of Miggy Tejada,the boyish enthusiam of Hunter Pence,the personality and talent of the Big Puma,the toughness of Brocail and Valverde,the speed and defense of Bourn and Matsui,the consistency of Carlos Lee, the professionalism of the Wise men [our bench calls themselves the five Wise Men] and the patience of Cecial [sic] Cooper make this one of my favorite and most enjoyable Astro teams in my over 40 years of being an Astro fan.

Well said!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Almost three months since I've posted anything.

Opening Day came and went. The Astros have played 36 games and are 19 - 17, 3 games back of the division-leading Cardinals (meh. Who saw that coming?). The 'Stros haven't been at or above .500 in a year, so obviously a "winning" record is welcome.

What's really welcome is how they've played--which is to say, like they actually give a crap. I'm amazed, honestly. The last two seasons have been agonizing, and not just because of all the losses (although losing certainly wears on us fans). For two years, it seems that my favorite team has just been going through the motions--show up, take the field, stand in the batter's box, maybe swing at stuff, try to field stuff, jog some on the basepaths, lose, shower, go home. Really difficult to justify all the money it costs to attend games when watching was so frustrating.

But this year, I don't know--it's just fun.

Even when they lose.

Miguel Tejada has been a revelation--his defense is better than advertised, his bat is just as good as advertised, and the dude just gets excited. He plays like he's ten, only with a better attention span. Michael Bourn has a woeful .274 OBP, yet he has 16 SB. He's incredibly fast--watching his acceleration in center field is amazing, and defensively he reads the ball very well. And Lance Berkman--man, what an amazing start that guy's having. I've always criticized Puma for what I considered a lackadaisical attitude, but this year he obviously came to play. Is it Tejada's influence? Or is Berkman finally blossoming into his full potential on the field and in the clubhouse since Bagwell and Biggio are both gone? Who knows. Maybe he's just lucky or blessed, but whatever it is, Berkman currently leads all of baseball in SLG and OPS, and is second in HR, RBI, and AVG, and third in OBP. In-freakin'-credible.

I hope this play continues. If it does, I think the team can be competitive this year. With our pitching, we need every tangible and intangible we can get!

Here's to a fun year at Minute Maid Park--cheers!