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Game Hero/ WPA, 80 - 68

Brandon Backe
  • 6-2/3 IP, 6 H, 0 ER
  • 5 K and JUST ONE WALK
  • 98 pitches, 62 strikes
  • 66 Game Score is second highest of his season
Win Expectancy Chart

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Top Five Astros
Backe   0.206
Palmeiro    0.049
Ausmus   0.047
Biggio   0.045
Lane   0.038
Bottom Four Astros
Astacio 0.001
Ensberg 0.000
Lamb -0.005
Vizcaino -0.011
Top Three Brewers
Branyan   0.005
Capellan   0.001
De la Rosa   0.000

Huge and unexpected lift from the number four guy in our rotation tonight. With this win, the Astros not only stay a half game ahead of a Philadelphia team that has to be feeling rather confident, but they also succeed in their fifth attempt at going a season-high 12 over.

If we can win with Wandy tomorrow and head to Pittsburgh with Clemens, Pettitte and Oswalt set to pitch, as Philadelphia heads to Atlanta, well that would be big. I had figured Wandy had the better shot at the Brewers than Backe, so if Backe was able to grab the victory, Rodriguez--coming off a fine performance against the Marlins, who *destroy* left handers--should be able to so as well.

Also great news with the tentative return of Morgan Ensberg in a successful pinch-hitting appearance. Pinch-hit with him again tomorrow, and bring back Taveras, Ensberg and Everett all together to start the Pirates series on Monday?

Biggio led off the game with a homer, of course, and that extended his NL record for the leadoff jack to 43--one short of Brady Anderson, who is currently (a distant) second to Rickey Henderson on the major league list. The homer was also Bidge's 22nd, which puts him within three of a career high.

Not bad for an old man.