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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 116 vs. Padres

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Jake Peavy Jason Hirsh
5 - 11, 4.69 0 - 0, 0.00

Something of an anticipated first start tonight, I think. Not to disrespect Chris Sampson or Taylor Buchholz or even Roy Oswalt, but it's been quite some time since an Astro prospect had created quite the same buzz about himself as he enters his first major league start.

Jason Hirsh is almost a phenomenon.

Considered the Astros' top prospect as we entered 2006, Hirsh's stock has only risen after a simply phenomenal year at Round Rock. When the news of his recall was delivered rather dramatically to him at Salt Lake City Tuesday, Hirsh:

1) led the PCL in wins
2) was second in the circuit in ERA
3) was fourth in WHIP, and
4) was fourth in strikeouts

This after being named Texas League Pitcher of the Year in 2005 while leading the TL in strikeouts and finishing second in ERA.

His minor league splits tell you some more nice things about Hirsh, who by the way supplants Lidge and Qualls to become the tallest Astro with his callup. For example, Hirsh had held opponents to a .191 BAA and a .547 OPS. More remarkably, those numbers went down when he had runners in scoring position. That's right, just when opposing teams had Jason where they thought they wanted him, he dropped the BAA to .179 and the OPS against to .497.

****
OK, OK, I'll try to calm down now. Everyone knows Hirsh is a stud. Tonight is still his first start, and I'm sure even Jim Hickey and Bert Hooton aren't anticipating a no-hitter for Jason in his initial outing. Odds are he'll give up a few runs. Fact is, he might even lose.

Which kind of sucks. But in the rather delicious lead-up to this game, it's kind of fun to imagine that Jason might end up with a first start like Chris Sampson's. Or like Darryl Kile's. Or even like JR Richard's, in which the legendary righthander with the 90 mile an hour slider tied a 17-year old record for strikeouts in a major league debut.

Not every Astro debut has gone well. But more than a few have, and let's hope we can add some good numbers to the bottom of this chart at the end of the night, those, and the letter "W":

First Major League Starts In An Astro Uniform

A brief selection

Pitcher Date IP H R ER BB K Dec.
Larry Dierker 9/22/64 2.2 5 4 2 3 3 L
JR Richard 9/5/71 9.0 7 3 2 3 15 W
Joaquin Andujar 4/18/76 4.0 7 5 5 5 3 L
Mike Madden 5/25/83 6.0 1 0 0 5 4 W
Darryl Kile 4/24/91 6.0 0 0 0 2 5 ND
Roy Oswalt 6/2/01 6.0 2 1 1 0 4 W
Carlos Hernandez 8/18/01 7.0 2 0 0 1 7 W
Kirk Saarloos 6/18/02 4.2 6 6 6 3 4 L
Jeriome Robertson 9/2/02 2.2 6 2 2 1 1 L
Brandon Backe 8/21/04 7.0 4 0 0 3 4 ND
Zeke Astacio 5/3/05 6.0 7 4 4 1 6 ND
Wandy Rodriguez 5/23/05 5.2 6 4 4 1 6 L
Taylor Buchholz 4/17/06 6.0 2 3 2 3 4 ND
Chris Sampson 6/7/06 7.0 3 0 0 1 0 W
Jason Hirsh 8/12/06 4.0 7 4 4 2 4 L

Update [2006-8-12 22:14:54 by rastronomicals]:
Punched in the Hirsh info after the fact, although it starkly renders all my optimistic pregame babble as so much hot air. . .