Thursday, September 16, 2010

From the Office of the County Clerk - G146: Astros v. Brewers

It's hard to know what to think of this game, what to take personally, and what to just chalk up to the ebb and flow of baseball. Astros lose 8-6 in ten innings.

*The Astros are now 7-6 in extra-inning games. But they're 2-4 in extra-inning games since August.

*Things got rough right from the top of the 1st for J.A. Happ. Happ went 4.1IP, 7H/5ER, 5K:2BB, 2HR. In addition to the 2HR he allowed, he also gave up three doubles - two to Corey Haim Hart and one to Rickie Weeks.

*That's Happ's worst start since the August 4 game against the Cardinals, where he allowed seven runs to 12 batters, getting three outs.

*Happ had given up five homers in 12 starts coming into G146. That's now seven homers, and four of those have come in his last three starts. Three of those four homers have been to center (or left-center), and the other one has gone to left. All of those four have been over 400-foot homers.

*Happ's first four batters were as such: Homer, Ground-rule double, Homer, Walk.

*So with the off-day on Thursday, the bullpen got opened up. Brad Mills used eight relievers for the second time in five games (also eight relievers on Sept 11, the 11-inning loss to the Dodgers).

*Notable among these were Henry Villar's 2H/0ER outing to clean up Happ's 5th inning, Felipe Paulino's return (15 pitches, three outs, 1K:1BB, no runs). And then we get to Lyon and Lindstrom.

*Brandon Lyon came in for the top of the 9th with the Astros up 6-5. Rickie Weeks struck out swinging, Corey Hart hit yet another ground-rule double, Ryan Braun doubled him in, tying the game. Fielder and McGehee got out to send the game to the bottom of the 9th.

*In his last four games, Lyon has thown 3IP, allowing 4H/4ER, 2K:1BB. Coming into last night, his OPS-against was .958. So yeah, that's going to go up.

*And then Matt Lindstrom came in for the 10th. Carlos Gomez reached on a bunt single, then stole second, and got to third thanks to Castro's throwing error. Mat Gamel continued the Ground-Rule Double party, and then got to third on Lindstrom's wild pitch. He came in on Jonathan Lucroy's single. And that was Lindstrom's day: 3H/2ER, no outs. To be fair, two of the hits were singles - one a bunt single.

*Anyhow, the manner in which the Astros sent it to extra-innings was pretty incredible, as well. The Astros had only scored six runs in an inning once this season, and that's exactly what they did in the 5th inning. Dave Bush had been rolling - he was perfect through four innings. Carlos Lee led off with a single, Chris Johnson singled, Brett Wallace was safe on an error, and Angel Sanchez reached on an infield single. Four batters, four baserunners. Jason Castro walked to load the bases (now 5-2 MIL). Brian Bogusevic singled to center to get his first two Major League RBIs (5-4 MIL), and Bourn grounded into a fielder's choice, stealing second one batter later. Keppinger singled to left to score Castro as the tying run, and that was Bush's day.

*Let's recap: Astros against Bush through four innings: 0x12. Astros in the 5th against Bush: 5x6, BB, ROE.

*Pence singled to center to score Bourn, and Lee - in his second AB of the inning - GIDPd to end the inning. That held up until Lyon and Lindstrom came in to dry-hump it to the loss.

*Amazingly, the Astros scored six runs on six hits - all singles. It's the 35th time the Astros have scored 6+ runs in a game (as opposed to "in a week," like in April), they're now 27-8. However, it's the first time they've scored 6+ runs without any extra-base hits.

*Hunter Pence's RBI was his 85th, extending his career-high, previously 83 (2008). His 93Ks put him on pace to have his lowest K/game rate of his career (0.66, as opposed to 0.68 in 2009, and 0.79 in 2008).

*Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (0x4, BB) - 27 pitches in five PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Brett Wallace (0x4) - 11 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Seeing as how this was a team effort, the offense gets the Man of the Match, collectively.

*Goat of the Game: And continuing this hokey theme, the pitching staff gets the goat. Except Felipe Paulino - good to have you back.