Taylor Buchholz has justifiable confidence in his hard curveball. He threw it 3 - 2 to get the K looking, he threw it behind in the count to get even, he threw it out of the zone as a purpose pitch when ahead. His control of the pitch seemed remarkable tonight.
I know that for a 24-year old rookie, not every start is going to go his way the way this one did. But just in case anyone had forgotten that final preseason start against the Royals, Buchholz showed again tonight that he's got the tools to compete and even excel in the National League.
Buchholz came in with a 14:18 groundball to flyball ratio, and was even more air-oriented in this one, throwing 13 for the most part lazily hit flyball outs and only 8 groundballs to go with the five K's. I guess you kinda have to understand that when he's off some balls are gonna leave the park, but that'll be A-OK if he keeps dropping gems like this on the days when he's on.
It was primarilly the bullpen I was thinking of, but also Taylor, today when I saw that the Brewers homered five times in one inning off Brandon Claussen and Chris Hammond. Ironically, the two guys who hit the moonshots off Taylor on Monday, Carlos Lee and Geoff Jenkins, were the ones who didn't homer in that fourth inning today. But it does reinforce what we had all suspected: that Buchholz had successfully circumnavigated a pretty powerful lineup, with only a couple mistakes of only limited damage.
I wish that Taylor had gotten the complete game one-hitter. I wish Craig had gotten his second cycle. I wish Morgan had gotten that homer. And Christ, I wish Preston had come close to getting a base hit.
But as we hit the sack tonight, no team anywhere in baseball has a better record than Houston. No team has thrown more combined shutouts than Houston, and no team in Astros history has has ever had a better record through 17 games.
With all the things that didn't happen in tonight's game, what did was pretty good all by itself.