Saturday, April 25, 2009

Recap for G18, Brewers at Astros

That one got a little exciting. Michael Bourn hit a huge ol' jack. So did Carlos Lee. So, unfortunately, did Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder - twice, including a laser shot off a struggling Jose Valverde in the 9th to give the Brewers the go-ahead runs and lead 8-7 in the 9th. Pudge and Coop got ejected, and personally, I'm pleased that Coop showed a little fire. Nice work by Towles to come in and get a hit and a run about six hours after coming in from Round Rock. Hunter Pence put the ball in play and made Bill Hall do something stupid - which he obliged doing. Give the credit to Pence and Berkman to running hard. In the end, the bullpen couldn't close it out and the Astros couldn't get the big hit late.

Hampton: 6IP, 8H, 4ER, 4K:3BB
Sampson: 1IP, 1H, 2K:0BB
LaHawk: 1IP, 3H, 2ER, 1K:1BB
Valverde: 1IP, 2H, 2ER, 2K:0BB
Geary: 2IP, 3H, 1ER, 2K:2BB


The problem - once again - is the bullpen. Sampson was solid in striking out two, but LaHawk/Valverde/Geary combined for 8H, 5ER in 4IP. Hampton made it through 5.2IP, and in hindsight might have been better served to go ahead and walk Bill Hall to get to Jason Kendall. He didn't, and Hall tagged him for a three-run homer. LaHawk comes in, immediately gives up a single to Prince Fielder. Then the ejections, then a four-pitch walk to J.J. Hardy. Then a Bill Hall single, then a Jason Kendall sac fly. There you have it. Towles and Matsui give the Astros a 7-6 lead, and then Valverde comes in...Corey Hart takes a 1-1 Valverde fastball - and he was throwing all fastballs until Mike Cameron - almost deep, and Prince Fielder tattooed him.

Now whether Valverde came back too early - leaving pitches up like that makes one think that leg is not 100% - or Valverde just sucks right now is up for debate. Tonight's performance raised his ERA to 6.43. Valverde has had two perfect appearances in this young season, but it's still cause for concern. Because that means in close games, Valverde has put runners on in four of his six appearances, including three home runs. The home run vs the Reds gave the Reds the victory, and had it not been for Pence/Berkman tonight, would have blown another save.

Man of the Match:
Michael Bourn. 2x6 night with his first HR of the season, now hitting .291 and is 8 for his last 24.

Goat of the Game:
Jose Valverde. For reasons already explained.