What follows is a little experiment that David, Evan, and I tried out today. We had an open Google Doc throughout the game and we used it as a running diary. If we could do it everyday- we would. You can argue with a perfect 1.00 correlation for this idea and Astros victories.
This game was absurdly ridiculous. It's clear that the baseball gods have a wicked sense of humor and today they were feeling saucy. Blum, Michaels, and Moehler were the keys to success. If someone would have told me that the game would swing on their performance before the game I would have scoffed at them.
The only way to explain it that baseball gods just wanted to have a good belly laugh on a Sunday afternoon and the WPA graph serves as proof:
I'll save the running game diary for after the jump. But I'll keep the song of the day above the jump for your listening pleasure:
(Evan) I know he's due to make $5 million this season, but I'm starting to wonder about Kaz Matsui. Geoff Blum is an organizational favorite and with Lance hopefully returning sometime soon the infield gets even more crowded. Chris Johnson getting sent down would theoretically help his cause, bu I don't know how much.
As far as today's game, I have to agree with Stephen. It will be tough to win this one. Wandy is on the road, but more than that, his velocity is down so far in 2010 and his shoulder isn't 100%, per Will Carroll. This could be a huge game from that standpoint. If nothing else, this is what I'm looking at in today's game. Can Wandy perform up to his 2009 standards?
(E)- Sunday afternoons are great this time of year. If you're in Texas, it's usually sunny or at least warm outside, and baseball is on. Our Astros first and foremost, but fantasy scores and happenings are fun to check up on during breaks in the action. Today I find myself rooting for the Boston Red Sox, something I don't enjoy. I have Jon Lester on the mound and Kevin Youkilis at bat.
I was also reading the Rangers' game day thread over at Lone Star Ball. Those are some funny guys for sure. Rich Harden struggled for the Arlingtons today and their fans were none too pleased. Despite his talent, Harden hasn't really put it all together yet. He has ace stuff but doesn't have the control or the mentality it would appear of a true ace. In that vein, let us never say an ill word about Roy Oswalt again.
(E)- Every time Manzo gets two strikes I clench up and prepare for a strikeout...and I'm pleasantly surprised when he manages to foul pitches off....and there's the K
(E)- I will defend Ed Wade more often than not, because frankly, my criticisms would be just a drop in the bucket. But I have to wonder what he was thinking when he started piecing together this offensive roster. Yes, it wasn't all his doing and most of these players are either major leaguers before he arrived or draftees of another regime, but the unwillingness to show even a modicum of patience at the plate irks me to no end....Off topic, but: What the hell has happened to Brian Moehler? Anybody seen him on a milk carton?
(E)- Bourn walks, and the Earth stops spinning for a brief moment. Also, Craig Counsell has hit a grand slam for Milwaukee today. Maybe the Earth has stopped spinning altogether?
(E)- Pitch out my ass. MB pegged out at second. Of course, Keppy follows with a solid single up the middle. Pedro Feliz, much to my chagrin, swings like David Eckstein and grounds out meekly to shortstop. Inning over. He was supposed to hit 20 home runs this season?? I say we're lucky if he hits 10.
Bottom of the Third
(E)- I'll give the Astros organization this- gone are the days when 29 year old first basemen, Matt Kata and the random middle reliever were the featured minor league stars of the week. We actually have some interesting prospects to pay attention to for the first time since we were in the playoffs.
Speaking of 2005, Andy Pettitte is pitching like he's five years younger. Prediction for this inning: Cubs score two runs. Prove me wrong, Wandy.
(E)- Wandy is extremely concerned with the former 300 lb'er Marlon Byrd on first base. Meanwhile, Derrek Lee works the count from 0-2 to 2-2. I don't know beans- Lee strikes out to end the inning. Cubs strike with...gasp! Two runs. Called that one, sadly.
Top of the Fourth
(E)- As of now, I feel that this lead is insurmountable. So far in 2010, a two run deficit has been insurmountable for the Astros. I don't think a NL team could come up with a worse 6-8 than the Astros have. We're disturbingly weak.
Bottom of the Fourth
(E)- Denis Leary wrote a book about how dumb Americans are. Now he does commercials for Ford trucks that defends the honor of the truck-driving-hard-working-gas guzzling-American male. Money talks, methinks.
(E)- Aflac Trivia question asks top four SLG% all time for the Bear Children. I'd guess Hack Wilson, Sammy Sosa, Derrek Lee and Ernie Banks. Bah. 3/4. That's a solid C, right? Through four, same score.
Top of the Fifth
Bottom of the Fifth
(S) - Word on the twitter is that Lance Berkman hit an RBI double, and the brought home by an RBI single by Bogusevic. This is the most positive development of the Astros entire 2010 season.
Top of the Sixth
(E)-He's gotten no run support (again), but Wandy has gotten some breaks defensively. He has has to strand Byrd here. Got to. Nice positioning by Manzo there to stop a hard hit ball by Xavier Nady and flip to second base for the third out.
Top of the Seventh
(E)- I think there were some of us who wanted the Astros to try to sign Jeff Baker last season. Seems like eons ago.
Top of the Eighth
(E)- Tommy got a hit here, but I'll say he gets another 20 games to show the Astros something offensively. His defense has not been great, his range appears to be average and his bat is needless to say been bad.
Humberto Quintero, you're lucky you can squat.
There's the Moehl-man! I don't think the Cubs lineup will feast on his off speed stuff, considering how Brian hasn't pitched in nine days....
Why is Pinella even worried? He should leave Dempster in and save Marmol the trouble using up a few pitches to induce this Jeff Keppinger pop up.
(E)- Color me surprised. Kepp comes through. Let it be known that the only Astro hitters worth a damn to this point have been Bourn and Kepp. If Dave Clark had held Manzo there, I would have crapped myself.
(S) - KEPP DID IT!!!! ONE RUN ON THE BOARD. First pitch was down the pipe, and Kepp just lined it right up the middle. Also, a special thanks to Dave Clark for not holding Manzella at 3rd base. I fully expected that to happen.
(E)- Feliz was just over matched there. That should be Lance taking those swings though, so you can't really blame Feliz.
(S) - Damnit. Feliz K's looking on a full count.
Bottom of the Eighth
(E)- This will be a challenge for the veteran pitcher, Moehler.
(E)- Right now, it looks like Byrd can be gotten out with high fastballs. I don't know if Moehler has the stuff to accomplish this.....These guys are professionals, right? Keppinger muffs a pop up by Marlon Byrd.
(E)- Amazing. Moehler escapes with an around the horn double play. Best part? No Woody Paige in this around the horn.
Top of the Ninth
(E)- Carlos Lee spares us the suspense and pops up on the first pitch. Hunter has his first two hit day of the season though. We have life! Wow. Geoff Blum. Thanks for playing...strike one.
(S) - Alas. It does not. Pence gets lucky on a blooper/error for single, though. I refuse to get excited, though, because Geoff Blum is now charged with not botching that bat.
(E)- There's a break! Hunter in scoring position with the steal. Cubs' catcher, Hill, can't handle the pitch and makes no throw.
(E)- BLLLLLLUUUMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!! Rock your body, right....Geoff Blum's back, all right! (Blum has been listening to the Backstreet Boys this week to get his mojo back.) Manzo is fighting off a tough pitcher. Guarantee the Marmols of the AAA world are few and far between.
(E)- I had to, um....Google them really quickly...yea...that's it...
(E) - I owe it all to mentioning either Barry Bonds or Carlos Lee and something to do with him being fat
(E) - Great call, Skip! We had confidence in you the whole time!
(E)- Damn you, Tim. Do NOT get two down with ease and then give up a run.
(S) - To put my nerves in context. I have spent most of this inning cleaning out my freezer rather the focus on the game. I just can't shake the feeling of an impending train wreck...and I don't want to watch it happen...but I have to at the same time.
(E)- Mills has so much dead weight on his roster. Takes some getting used to after years in Boston.
(E)- Hahaha. I hope so. He should use a hit stick on Hill, in that case. Stros need to get out of this, go the 10th score some quick runs and then send the Cubs down in order because I want to watch the end of the Thunder/Lakers game....thank you Tim. I heard the best nickname ever yesterday for Kevin Durant: The Durantula. Thunder have moved within 8 at the end of the third, in a 64-56 slugfest.
(S) - Awesome, after Arnsberg's visit to the mound Byrdak misses by an easy three feet.
(E)- Bill Simmons style.
Top of the Tenth
(E)- Michaels has two of the hardest hit balls by the Astros all season. Leadoff double. Let's play for one!
(E)- Every little leaguer has fielded that ball and then thrown to third out of habit. I wish Aramis would have done that there.
(E)- I fear this situation so very, very much. How many ground balls have the Astros hit so far this season? 100? 150?
(E)- Feliz had played for a winning team for so long, he apparently remembers how to execute. I don't know if there's any merit to that statement, but it feels good to write it. Now I know how Richard Justice feels..
Bottom of the Tenth
(E)- Pinch Hitter, Cajun, and Byrd to hit for Chi Cubs...I fear Derrek Lee in a situation like this so best to send these guys down in order, Matt
(E)- Lindstrom, wearing number 22, trying to pitch like the former wearer of that jersey number, Roger Clemens...Time to stop trying to get him to chase. Throw a heater. Piyyaaaaaaa! Two outs! A double delight as he strikes out both Cajuns!
(E) - The Walgreens' pharmacy down the street from the ballpark already has...
(E)- Dear Lord, please let this happen. We are one strike away. Brace yourselves for jubilation or sadness...Sadness. My worst fear has come to fruition. Derrek Lee approaches home plate...
(E)- Haaaaaa! Take that!!!! Game over! Series win! Comeback win! To paraphrase Frank Sinatra: Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin' town...Chicago, Chicago, Lindstrom will mow you down, I love it!