I can't remember the last time I watched an Astros game and they managed to beat a good team while making it look easy. Maybe that's just because nothing seems to ever really come easy for this team, in my mind, but tonight was one of those rare occasions where my blood pressure remained steady throughout the game.
After an improbable three run two out rally in the first against Chad Billingsley, things felt like they were headed in the right direction for the Astros, and my inkling that the baseball gods decided to smile on the Astros for the night held true. So thanks baseball gods, you have allowed to move into a three way tie in the NL Central and ensure that we split this series with the NL leading Dodgers. Not a bad way to start back from the All Star Break at all.
- Roy Oswalt went the distance, but tonight he relied pretty heavily on his fielders. His final line was: 9IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 5K, OBB, needing a scant 105 pitches (73 for strikes) to get it all done. Roy and the fielders converted an astounding 16 GB outs during the process.
- Every Astros starter reached base in some form or fashion, with Roy being the only one not to collect a hit.
- Ivan Rodriguez had a monster night at the plate going 4/5 with a HR. I'd venture to guess that five days off probably did him a world of good (Cecil Cooper, please tell me you're thinking the same thing).
- With the exception of Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee, the rest of the Astros starters all had multi-hit games as well.
- Hunter Pence, Geoff Blum, and Michael Bourn all had doubles.
- I did the Astros a favor and decided to bench Miguel Tejada tonight because his lack of extra base pop has been killing my OPS in fantasy, so he of course hit a home run. I'll keep him on the bench for the rest of the season now.
- With as many balls in play and as many ground ball outs that were converted, there was, of course, smorgasbord of glittering defensive plays that will likely not make Sports Center unless they involve Manny Ramirez's three non-strike out outs.
- Roy's complete game provides an extra day of rest for the back end of the bull pen that will have to solider on without Chris Sampson—probably the most important takeaway of tonight's game.
NL Central Standings