Steve Sparks officially joined my eternal good graces tonight for his call on Matt Dominguez' grand slam. It was perfect. Silence as the ball was hit, then the jubilant shout of "Grand Slam!" followed by the perfectly descriptive, "a roof-scraper."
I felt like I was there. For someone who doesn't get Astros games on TV, it was perfect and perfectly timed.
That's sort of like tonight's victory. Lots of fitting timing in this one, from Jordan Lyles' timing to face the Brewers on a night when he didn't have his best stuff. Milwaukee has struggled to a 28-41 record this season, so it's not like that's surprising. But, if Lyles is truly making a jump to be the staff ace, he needs to win and to hold bad teams down like he did tonight, even when his pitches weren't breaking perfectly.
Also, the timing of those two home runs. I mean, if Carlos Pena's three-run bomb wasn't great enough, Matt Dominguez was money once again with men on base. Two swings of the bat brought in seven runs for Houston. That's a hard hurdle for any team to overcome, and is usually something the Astros have happen to them rather than dish out.
Cool sub-note on the Pena homer. Houston's analytics Twitter feed came out with the info shortly after that Pena's ball left his bat at 109 mph.
Pena's HR was 109 mph at a launch angle of 28 degrees. That works.— Astros Analysis (@AstrosAnalysis) June 19, 2013
Chris Carter hit a homer at 111 mph earlier this season, but I doubt many have tied into one like that in a while. It's good to see Pena getting into a groove, isn't it? If he can provide some pop to the middle of the order for a while, Houston could enjoy some success with their pitching.
And, again, Jordan Lyles was great. Maybe not, "I'm facing the Seattle Mariners and Mike Zunino is prominently involved" good, but he was good enough to shut down the Brew Crew. Lyles is on a great run right now, whether it's due to his fastball command or his increased changeup usage or just his maturation as a pitcher. Whatever the reason, he's growing up before our eyes.
That's the real fun of seasons like this. Wins like this, where we see young players, like Matty D and Lyles perform well and the team wins the game. Amid all the losing, these games stand out.