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Zambrano No Hits the Astros in a "Neutral Park": The Ramifications for the Astros Wild Card Odds (9/15/08)

I must confess that I didn't watch last nights game due to an innundation of homework, but from everything I read when I finally got a chance to catch my breath, the Big Z was his usual Astros killing self. I talked to HLP after the game and came away somewhat OK with the loss. As he pointed out, rightfully, Zambrano post cortisone shot and extended rest vs. Wolf was never going to be an easy game to win, but I still can't find it in me to burry the hatchet at MLB for forcing this series to basically be in the Cubs backyard. I did watch the top half of the 5th inning and it was ridiculous to even have us be the home team. How disheartening must it have been for the entire Houston staff to have just weathered a hurricane with their families, have to go through a logistical whirlwind of travel, and then play a game in a hostile environment in spite of MLB's claims to the contrary? I just can't help feeling that Zambrano was able to no hit the Astros because they were shell shocked.

National League Wild Card Standings

Milwaukee 83 67 .553 0 Lost 4
Philadelphia 83 67 .553 0 Won 4
Houston 80 68 .540 2 Lost 1
2 games

(updated 9.15.2008 at 2:47 AM CDT)

While the baseball gods obviously couldn't alter the designs of Bud Selig -- who probably likes to think of himself as God -- they did help the Astros from falling two games in the elimination column due yet another Brewers loss. So here we stand, 12 games of either a Brewers/Phillies victory and/or an Astros loss away from being able to free up October on our calendars. While I shouldn't feel like this would be a loss or blow, the tenacity with which the Astros were playing prior to Ike has inspired so much hope in me that it really would be a disappointment to have to say good bye to the 2008 Astros on September 28. The thrill of playing with house money, as I learned recently in Vegas, comes with the risk of being reduced to going home with what you brought, which sucks even though you beat the odds.

Anyway, enough of my waxing mournful after a single loss, let's look at the returns:

Report Wild Card
BPro Unadjusted
BPro Schedule Adjusted
Cool Standings
SCS Weighted
SCS 50/50

We took a hit all across the board. Something that shouldn't be unexpected, but after a week in which we upped our odds by 3 to 5 times, it's a bit of a let down. The good news is that we're still being given a 1/10 shot at the Wild Card, which aren't bad odds at all -- especially for this team. The average wins for a Wild Card winner, by any of the models, within fractions of 90 W. The Astros have their work cut out for them, needing to go 10-4 for here on out. An impossible task we'd think, but the Astros simply would have to take tonight's game from the Cubs and merely win their last four series (perhaps simply wasn't the best word). So, in theory, we can all breathe a little easier after last night's loss.

We have Jason Marquis on the slate tonight, facing off against Brian Moehler. This is both a winnable and must win game. The Astros are going to need something to smile about as they take a evening flight out of Milwaukee to Miami. Even though it just began, they need to stymie the bleeding.