Can I call you Buck? You seem like a regular, blue collar guy so I feel a kinship with you. You remind me a little of my dad, except you smile less. Yeah that was a rough series for your guys, eh? When all is said and done it was a good matchup, and they were all hard-fought games. It was big for the Astros because after all the expectations they had coming into this season, it was only their first sweep of a series, and also their first 3-game winning streak all year. You just happened to catch the Astros as they (hopefully) are getting back on track on the mound and in the batter's box. We fans will enjoy it immensely, at least until the pitchforks come out after the next couple of losses.
One of the big stories of the series was the Astros pitchers setting an MLB record for number of strikeouts in a three game series. Now, that is not an oft quoted record. I'm not sure if I have ever even thought of it. But since it was my favorite team that did it, you got to admit it was pretty cool. Even one of the faces of your franchise, Adam Jones, brought it up post-game and was accepting of it.
"Who cares?" he said. "That doesn't matter to us. Strikeouts are strikeouts. You can have 10 strikeouts in a game and also ... look at say the first game in Anaheim, we hit [four] home runs, how many strikeouts did we have? You guys don't know, because you don't care. Because it doesn't matter, right? You take the good and bad, man. Tip your cap and move on."
Tip your cap and move on. That is classy, Buck. No excuses. No whining. You didn't just tip your cap and move on, though. You had to qualify it first. Your reasoning for the multitude of strikeouts actually made me pause. In an article by Brian McTaggart on MLB.com you said:
"You see all the strikeouts in this ballpark," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "With the change in lighting it's been tough. What did they have tonight, 13? They had 10 or 11 the other night. They get new LED lighting? It's definitely a different look for the hitters. I'll tip our hat to the pitchers, though."
Now that just sounds like an excuse. Sometimes guys just strike out...a lot! When you say "You see all the strikeouts in this ballpark", Astros fans understand more than you know. We have seen all the strikeouts in this ballpark. In fact, with some of the lineups the past few years we are still amazed that the record for strikeouts in a game is still at twenty. On many nights I have had thoughts that we could possibly see a 27 K performance.
But you are going to blame the lighting. The lighting, Buck? So they could see the ball too good? This won't fly, Buck. Did they install lighting right above Tal's Hill recently? Because Astros fans didn't even cut any slack to our beloved right fielder who complained about the lights, and he has to look DIRECTLY INTO THEM EACH TIME HE MAKES A PLAY ON A FLY BALL!
The Astros played seven series before you came to town. The most any one team struck out in those series was the Rangers who did it 30 times, followed closely by Cleveland at 29. I wouldn't call that "all the strikeouts".
The Astros pitchers had a banner series. They did what they are supposed to do, and more. The deserve credit for not only their success, but for having that success against a great hitting team like your Orioles. Your guys just had a few bad games at the plate. It happens. Chalk it up to baseball randomness if it makes you feel better. Weird things happen in baseball games and small sample sizes. Just please don't roll out an excuse that the field was too bright to swing straight. It just sounds like weak sauce.
Ernie Breakfast, TCB