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Game # 7 vs. Nationals 1:05 CST


John Patterson   Wandy Rodriguez
0 - 0, 9.00    1 - 0, 5.40

Of course it could be a mirage, but I just can't get past the idea that Brandon and Wandy taken together have as many wins as Roy and Andy. This fact is another Small Sample Special, but even the naysayers have to admit that Houston couldn't have asked anything more from the back end of its rotation so far.

I don't know whether Wandy's gonna be outclassed today or not. John Patterson had the breakthrough year in '05, and he was 1 - 0 in two starts with a 2.63 against Houston last year. You may recall Patterson started--and throttled the Astros during--that 14-inning affair at RFK last July where Bruntlett hit the game-winning homer.

But you also see that ugly, hyper-Wandy ERA Patterson acquired during his '06 debut vs. the Mets, and note that he departed early after only four innings with a sore right forearm. Patterson claimed the injury prevented him from throwing his slider, which is basically his out pitch.

There was some doubt (although none expressed by Patterson himself) as to whether he would make today's start, and I'm sure even Nats fans are wondering what they're going to get out of Patterson today.

Straight up: if Patterson is on his game today, I seriously doubt Wandy and his 2.20 WHIP are gonna be able to hang. This despite the fact that Wandy carries a surprisingly respectable 3.75 ERA over 12.1 innings and 2 starts against the Nationals.

Washington is hitting .300 and slugging .483 against lefties. (The Astros are by the way last in the league at .133 in both categories against southpaws.)

In other, though related, news, did anyone catch that Ezequiel Astacio threw six innings of four-hit shutout baseball in his debut for Round Rock yesterday?

Also, since I've brought up the minors, Hunter Pence had his first really good game of the season for Corpus in yesterday's loss to San Antonio, going two for 4 with a homer and three RBI. Ben Zobrist, however, is stuck at .125 without a walk through the Hooks' first four games.

And although Lexington has started off a perfect 4 - 0, Koby Clemens and Eli Iorg have combined to go 4 for their first 19, with the lone XBH between them being a double. . . .

Wandy Power!™ May the homerless streak continue.