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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 64 vs. Braves

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Horacio Ramirez Wandy Rodriguez
2 - 1, 3.24 7 - 3, 4.36

So, pretty big game today in a matchup of lefties. After the Astros got a reprieve Saturday as both the Cards and the Reds lost, today's game represents the difference between winning a second consecutive series, and failing (again) to take a series against a down opponent. Hudson's handcuffing yesterday will be seen either as no great shame, or as having thrown us back into the offensive doldrums.

The homestand has pretty much qualified itself as a disappointment no matter what, but a win today would garner at least the .500 record before the Astros head to Chicago.

Congratulations to Lance Berkman, of course, on the birth of Katie Mae Berkman yesterday. Now get back in that freaking lineup!

Ramirez makes his fourth start since coming off the DL today, and he was effective in each of his first three.No-one on the team has more than 8 at bats against him. Biggio stands out especially against Horacio: Bidge is 4 for 8 off the Braves lefty, with two homers, a double and a walk, good for a 1.931 OPS. I wouldn't expect Ensberg today, but he's 3 for 6 with 3 walks. Eric Bruntlett has a hit in his only at bat aganst Ramirez, but that's not why I'd start Eric B. today. I'd start him coz of what he's been doing to lefties in general:

vs. Lefthanders
Astro BA OPS
Morgan Ensberg .304 1.250
Eric Bruntlett .529 1.218
Chris Burke .455 1.115
Eric Munson .375 1.000
Brad Ausmus .395 .993
Craig Biggio .319 .985
Lance Berkman .304 .911
Mike Lamb .278 .850
Jason Lane .209 .789
Preston Wilson .240 .664
Adam Everett .219 .663
Willy Taveras .229 .545
Orlando Palmeiro .000 .000
Lamb is 0 for 3 off Ramirez and doesn't have the most spectacular average or OPS off southpaws, but keep in mind also that he's hitting .408 since May 26.

Wandy--who has never faced Atlanta in the regular season--tries to keep the run of good pitching up, as going back to and including Sr. Rodriguez' last start, the Astros starters have posted a 2.04 ERA. After walking four in his first start against Florida, Wandy walked no more than two during his nbext five starts. Snce then, however, he was walked at least four in four of six. So watch the free passes.

Brian McCann--who the Braves list as day-to-day for whatever reason--had the homer off Wandy in the Chris Burke Game.