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Matchup/Diary Game # 105 vs. Mets

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Kaz Ishii   Roy Oswalt
3 - 9, 4.96   14 - 8, 2.33

The Astros try to close out a perfect homestand, and Roy Oswalt tries to tie Chris Carpenter again for the NL lead in victories, while New York sends Kaz Ishii to the mound today in the (hopefully futile) attempt to stop them.

Ishii has been a bit of a disappointment to the Mets, not even as good as the Steve Trachsel he was brought in to replace, but the Astros should not be lulled into a state of complacency by Ishii's for the-most-part mediocre season. 'Cause it was against the Astros back on April 13 that Ishii pitched his best game of the season.

Although Ishii did not get the decision in that game, slinging zeroes against Roger Clemens for 7.0 probably made him feel the way Ezequiel Astacio felt the other night when Zeke battled Pedro to a draw. Which is to say, pretty damned good.

But other than six innings of 4-hit no-run ball he pitched at home vs. San Diego two starts ago, it's sorta been all downhill since then for Kaz. He gave up four runs on 7 hits to lose in Colorado last time out, and recently, at least, it looks like his problem has been walks: he's given up fourteen this month.

The Astros have not only won seven straight, they have also seen their rotation post seven straight quality starts. Craig Biggio comes in with not only the four home runs in the past five games, but also had the only extra base hit against Ishii back in April.

Russ Springer might be my first guy out of the pen today, should Roy need it. Springer's got the 1.54 July ERA but hasn't worked this homestand.