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Why the Astros Lost Game Two of This Series

That'd be Lance Berkman, folks   And this'd be Chad Qualls
Thing 1 Thing 2
As I was getting at yesterday, the absence of Morgan Ensberg creates the opportunity for new heroes. Lamb came close tonight, as did Wandy Rodriguez.

But if no-one can break through, you would hope that the acknowledged Best Player on Your Team can at least avoid helping the opposition.

The fact that Berkman failed to get the ball out of the infield tonight against Josh Beckett and Todd Jones is not by itself so terrible. But the fact that he grounded out three times on the first pitch is.

It was good to hear Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton; they do a good job for the Marlins, and being busy with the Astros, I don't get to hear them ply their trade enough. One of the points they made together during the game was that it was very beneficial to the Marlins for Beckett to be working with a low pitch count. It would enable the Fish, they said, to go from the starter Beckett to the closer Jones, which is of course an obvious advantage.

Since Lance saved Beckett at least ten pitches, I just hope that McKeon does the right thing, and sends Lance a box of cigars or something for his help. Maybe Antonio Alfonseca ought to send a box, too.

Lance: If you're not seeing the ball well, take a pitch. Then take another. If you're not getting a good swing, take a third. Maybe the pitcher will make a mistake. Maybe he'll hit you. If you cannot make things happen, maybe good things will happen TO you. If you allow them to.


And Chad Qualls. What do you say, I've already said it. Why do you throw LoDuca a strike there? I'm sure Wandy's a nice guy and would never do such a thing, but Wandy would have been more than justified in slapping Qualls upside the head after that particular brainfart. And I'm also sure that Wandy prefers to lose his games himself, rather than having it done for him.

Although I will hasten to add that I had no problem with Garner's move in removing Wandy and bringing in Qualls. I had full confidence in Chad's ability to finish the Marlins off there.

So did Garner, and we were both wrong.

I wouldn't feel so bad about tomorrow being a must-win, except we have Roger Clemens going. . . .