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Matchup/Thread Game # 79 at Reds (Doubleheader Game Two)

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Has us crossing our fingers
Crosses himself in the batter's box
Ezequiel Astacio   Ramon Ortiz
0 - 3, 10.98 3 - 6, 6.58

The back end of this emergency doubleheader thing sorta looks like the front. Zeke Astacio--called up by Houston especially for this game--has never faced Cincinnati, and Ramon Ortiz--moved up from a July 4 matinee by the Reds--has faced the 'Stros twice.

Ortiz pitched well in Roger Clemens' first win April 8, but got the no decision when he gave up one over 5 in the Astros 3 - 2 victory. He wasn't quite so good, though, on June 1, when, facing Oswalt, he gave up four over 6-1/3, and took the loss. Ortiz' ERA after that April game was 1.80, and after the June first game, it stood at 5.23. As shown above, it's now at 6.58. So you can see the prevailing trend.

The fact that Ezequiel Astacio is starting this game for Houston gives me quite frankly, little hope. Astacio was obviously rushed to the majors when Duckworth flunked out of the five slot, and he struggled about as bad as you can imagine. His stuff is good, but his location is still lacking; that and his game-confidence.

It is all well and good that Astacio is 4 -0 over his last four starts in AAA, and it's really good that his ERA over that span is 0.99. I still think we should have left him alone, and let him make his start for Round Rock this weekend. Astacio is unlikely to do that much better than Duckworth would have, and Astacio's development is infinitely more precious than Duckworth's.

Astacio'll probably get taken to school, but maybe we can score some runs against Ortiz.

A split today with Clemens going tomorrow would make me ecstatic; so if Wandy pitches smart in the first game, it may not matter all that much what happens in this one.