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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 46 at Nationals

Fernando Nieve Ramon Ortiz
1 - 2, 5.94 1 - 4, 6.15
With both Garner and Springer returning tonight, it's interesting to note that the Astros--in the midst of playing literally the most abysmal three-game series in team history when Russ Springer's inside pitch sailed into Barry Bonds' back--went on to win three of four during Springer's suspension, and have even flexed a little offensive muscle over the past two games.

Lest someone argue that Roy and Andy and Wandy should start throwing at guys whenever the bats start going cold, I have to say that I'd be hesitant to draw any kind of cause/effect relationship.

But it's interesting, let's say that.

Couldn't help but notice, as well, that San Francisco trounced St. Louis 9 - 2 last night, either. We may or may not have been wrong on these aged Giants, but they are clearly in a groove with the bat and with the pitching right now.

This realization doesn't excuse the worst three-game performance in Astros history, but it does ameliorate some of the panic you were feeling last Wednesday, maybe.

And seeing the Cardinals lose has gotten me greedy: can't help but say it'd sure be nice to go into St. Louis within three of the Cards, where a series victory gets you back within two games.

And you know, if it took # 715 from Mr. Barroids to take the Cardinals down, well, I might just be able to live with that.

But regardless of any ongoing negotiations to sell my soul to the devil, it's clear that gaining ground on the Cards is going to be a slow and painstaking process. And that's why Mr. Nieve needs to come up with the groceries this evening. Our rather shaky fifth starter gave up 2 runs in 1-2/3 innings of relief back on April 8th against the Nationals in Houston, striking out three but giving up a walk and two hits, including a tater to Jose Vidro.

This Ortiz character was with the Reds in 2005, which was when everyone except Lamb saw the guy for the first time. Perhaps Ensberg has the best line against Ortiz with an 1.194 OPS; Big Mo has homered off the guy, and so have Berkman and OP(P). Overall, Ortiz was 1 - 2 last year with a 5.55 against Houston.