It wasn't pretty, it wasn't good news, but it was a win that saw the Astros battle all night long for 11-6 win. The Astros never trailed in this game, but it sure didn't feel like it, especially after Coop left Wesley Wright out to dry - and was lucky to limit the damage - after he replaced Roy, who left the game in the 2nd with a lower back strain.
But I want to focus on Wesley Wright for a second, who threw 51 pitches. On June 18, he threw 41 pitches at Texas. And that was the most pitches he had thrown in a game since May 16, 2008 (also at Texas), when he threw 39 pitches. It was irresponsible on Coop's part. McTaggart pointed out that at one point Wright threw 11 straight balls. Wright had nothing left, and to his credit, he battled through it, but that was completely reckless. I also understand that you're relying on your bullpen for 7.1 innings the day after needing the bullpen for six innings, but Wright clearly was out of gas. Which is amplified in light of this ESPN report that Wright was taken to the hospital after the game with dehydration.
Let's just do the thing:
Oswalt: 1.2IP, 1H, 2K, 3/5 first-pitch strikes, 8/15 non-contact strikes (5 called:3 swinging)
Wright: 2.1IP, 1H/3ER, 2K:5BB, 5/13 FPS, 9/23 NCS (7c:2s)
Fulchino: 3IP, 3H/3ER, 3K:2BB, 4/14 FPS, 16/35 NCS (8c:8s)
Byrdak: 1IP, 1K:1BB, 3/4 FPS, 5/8 NCS (3c:2s)
Valverde: 1IP, 1K:2BB, 4/5 FPS, 8/12 NCS (6c:2s)
Oswalt had it going, and while it was hard to see from the previous pitches exactly where it happened. But Bob Brenly noted on WGN - in between singing arias regaling Cubs fans with brave tales of Fukudome - that Oswalt, when he walked, looked like a jacknifed truck. But let's point out that the bullpen threw 145 pitches, 67 of them for balls - with 10 walks.
Offensively, the top half of the order provided some serious firepower, rapping out 17 hits, nine of them coming from Bourn (3x5), Keppinger (4x5), and Tejada (2x4). The only Astros without a hit was Pudge, who was 0x5 and only saw 11 pitches, and that includes one AB with a strikeout - now hitting .254 with an OBP of .285. And of MLB catchers with 250+ plate appearances, Pudge has the 4th-worst OBP, and 2nd-worst in the NL. Tejada provided 5RBI, Keppinger 3RBI, and Blum's solo homer in the 7th gave the Astros the margin to win tha game.
Man of the Match: Could be either Keppinger or Tejada, but I'm going to give it to Keppinger. 4 hits, 3RBI, and 3 runs scored.
Goat of the Game: I've made a concerted effort to keep Coop out of this column, since the players have to perform on the field. So he's exempt from this exercise, but it should be pointed out that he completely nutted the Wright outing. That said, Pudge gets the Goat after his performance.