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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 43 vs. Rangers

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Kevin Millwood Andy Pettitte
4 - 3, 9.00 3 - 4, 4.76
Darrell Pittman over at Astrosdaily makes a point of calling this whole Silver Boot Series thing "laughable," but I wouldn't go nearly that far. While I'm sure that Adam Everett counts very low on his personal list the boost that last night's clutch double gave the Astros in the 2006 Lone Star series, it's hard to argue that from an attendance standpoint anyway, the yearly home and home series with Texas hasn't been a success.

But Pittman's right if he is suggesting that this ain't no Yankees-Red Sox. This isn't even Astros-Cubs.

Teixeira? Good young hitter. Michael Young? Something of an Astrokillah, but give him credit: he's gonna hit .300 for a long time to come. Hank Blalock? Funky tattoos, man.

There's no wellspring of hatred in this series, no lingering animosity. It's all based on an accident of geography and familiarity; the Dallas media outlets kind of have to pay attention to what's going on with the other team in Texas, and vice versa for the Houston MSM.

So your average Astros fan has heard of Teixeira or Blalock, where he might have some trouble naming the corner infielders for the Twins, let's say. So when the Rangers come into town, the ticket's a slightly easier sell than it would be for the Royals, to name another team that the Astros always seem to be playing in interleague.

So if there's any fan antipathy in this series, it certainly isn't for any member of the Rangers' talented core of young hitters.

But there might be a little among those Astro fans with a bit of a memory for tonight's starting pitcher for the Rangers.

If the heated rivalries, and the basis for the fan antipathy, is born of pain, Kevin Millwood would certainly qualify. His smackdown of the Astros in game two of the 1999 NLDS after Shane Reynolds had beaten Greg Maddux in the opener still smarts seven years later.

Complete game one-hitter, for those who have successfully blotted out the memory.

Ouch.

Turned the fucking series around, it did. Reynolds' victory was huge, and Millwood, in nine innings of Astro bafflement, completely erased all its positive effects. There wasn't much left after that, and any Astro fans who thought that Shaner's game one victory signalled any kind of change in the postseason course of events with Atlanta had to quickly adjust their views.

Millwood is 4 - 2 with a 2.98 during regular season games against the Astros, but even most of a decade later, it's the game where he pretty much humiliated the Astros hitters on one of your larger stages that still sticks in the craw.

In conclusion, then: I respect the Rangers, but It might be kind of nice to see the Astros smack Millwood's ass around more than a little bit tonight.