Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Recap for G8 - Houston @ Pittsburgh

So one of four things happened:
(a) Mike Hampton did what Ed Wade signed him to do
(b) The Astros offense did what the Astros offense does (or, score four runs)
(c) Cecil Cooper's voodoo doll worked
(d) The law of averages caught up with the Astros

Any of the four, I don't care. Hampton was downright money: 6IP, 4H, 0ER, 8K:1BB (and lowering his ERA to 2.45)
Geary: 1IP, 2H, 0ER, 0K:1BB
LaHawk: 1IP, 1H

Hampton100/6565%22/1881.2% 4/5/8

It was mentioned that this lineup managed to get some runs early. By the 2nd inning, the Astros had doubled the number of innings in which they led. Can I make another point? The last time Hampton struck out 8+ batters in an outing was July 26, 2003.

The Law Offices of Tejada, Berkman and Lee went 6x11, with Lee coming in with a 2-run double and a sac fly, accounting for three of the Astros four runs. Your extra-base hits came from Keppinger, Berkman, Lee and Tejada. And sac flies from the aforementioned Lee and Hunter Pence. In a departure from the previous seven games, the Astros only left runners in scoring position in four ABs: Blum, Pence, Hampton, and Bourn (who broke his season-long hitting streak at 6G).

Basically, the Astros did what they needed to do: jump on Ohlendorf early. They scored four runs. By the end of the 2nd inning, the Astros had led in the same number of innings they had to this point in the season. Pudge did manage to GIDP.

Hampton allowed a leadoff baserunner in the 5th and 6th innings, but got the leadoff man in the first four (obviously). That's what I'm talking about. I do not appreciate Valverde giving up a leadoff homer in the 9th to Adam LaRoche, but it's what it is. A win is a win.

Man of the Match:
This is tough. But for a different reason. Because Hampton and Lee are equally deserving. But because Carlos Lee went 3x4 with 3 RBI, I'll give it to Lee.

Goat of the Game:
Valverde. Blew a shutout. Which would have been very helpful.

May I make a prediction? Thanks. I think Russ Ortiz will do very well tomorrow, because of what I imagine is an era of good feelings in the clubhouse. And it's an afternoon game. Astros pitchers allowed one run on nine hits, and that's huge. God bless the Houston Astros. And God bless Astros County.


Anonymous said...

I sort of understand your frustration about not getting the shutout, but I don't think it's that big a deal. I'd rather have Valverde get beat over the wall there than nibble and put a guy on base with a walk to start the inning. You've got a four-run lead, make them hit it.

In short, I like that Valverde didn't get cute there. Just throw strikes and deal with the consequences.

The Constable. said...

I'll agree with that. A solo HR is better than a 2-run HR. +1 to Anonymous.

Spruce said...

I think all of us expected the bullpen to get quite a work-out this year with a larger number of poor outings by our mediocre starters. Last night, it occurred to me that our bullpen is going to get used a lot even when our guys are pitching well.

Hampton looked great but he hit 100 pitches in the 6th. I know it's early in the season but it makes me wonder how many of our guys can actually go out and throw 7 or 8 innings on a semi-regular basis to take pressure off the pen.

I haven't heard any talk of this but do we have a set 7th, 8th, 9th set-up for the bullpen like we did back in the Lidge, Dotel, Wagner days?

jphelps said...

7th- Geary
8th- Brocail
9th- Valverde

When healthy, this is the plan. With Brocail out, I think Coop is looking more at matchups. Plus, you have to have the lead for this plan to come into play. Not exacty Dotel, Lidge and Wagner.