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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 112 vs. Pirates

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Paul Maholm Brandon Backe
4 - 9, 4.33 2 - 1, 4.38

Since I was incommunicado for most of Sunday, don't know how much anyone had made of Lance's 30th homer. With it, Berkman becomes only the second player in Houston history after Jeff Bagwell to hit 30 homers in a season four times.

Bagwell did it nine times, 1994, 1996 - 2003.

Here's the complete list of all those who hit 30 dingers in a season for the Astros:

  Name           30-Homer 
Jeff  Bagwell        9
Lance Berkman        4
Glenn Davis          3
Moises Alou          2
Jim Wynn             2
Morgan Ensberg       1
Richard Hidalgo      1

Seeing Wynn's name there made me think as it always does about the cavernous 'Dome, the pitching-dominated '60's, and statistics normalization. Fortunately, my Astros Statistical Engine (as I prefer to call it) normalizes at the click of a checkbox.

Here's what it tells me, and let the appreciation for the Toy Cannon flow:

  Single Season Normalized 
    Home Run Leaders
Year  Name                 HR
1967 Jim Wynn              44 
1989 Glenn Davis           40 
1968 Jim Wynn              39 
1988 Glenn Davis           37 
1997 Jeff Bagwell          37 
1969 Jim Wynn              36 
2002 Lance Berkman         35 
1994 Jeff Bagwell          34 
1986 Glenn Davis           33 
1974 Cesar Cedeno          33 
2000 Jeff Bagwell          33 
1972 Lee May               32 
1974 Lee May               31 
1999 Jeff Bagwell          31 
2003 Jeff Bagwell          31 
2005 Morgan Ensberg        31 
2000 Richard Hidalgo       31 
1998 Moises Alou           31 

We live in an age of inflated statistics. Only one of Lance's previous three 30-homer seasons makes the cut here.

'Course Lance is on a pace for a career-high 44 right now, and THAT would make the list, normalized or no.

Backe is 11 - 3 at Minute Maid all-time, and 2 - 1 with a 3.32 overall against Pittsburgh. Furthermore, he was 2 - 0 with a 1.38 in two starts last year. Bay has a homer but four strikeouts against him in 7 AB's.

The Pirates' other major hitting threat now plays in Yankee Stadium.

But did you see that thing on the official site about how the whole sprained elbow thing has cost Backe velocity on his fastball?

What the fuck is that? Can he get it back? Or is the condition terminal?

Hearing that kind of stuff worries me.