Saturday, May 5, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk - G27: Cardinals (16-9) @ Astros (12-14)

Jaime Garcia (2-1, 2.78) v.s. Bud Norris (1-1, 5.46)

The Astros fell behind early as Bud Norris got himself into trouble in the 1st, partially because of a Chris Johnson error. However Johnson would redeem himself in the bottom of the 1st with his first career Grand Slam to put the Astros up 4-1, a lead which they would never relinquish as they beat the Cardinals by an 8-2 count tonight. The Astros are within a game of .500 as they move to 13-14, while the Cardinals now sit at 16-10.

*Bud Norris had a rough first inning, but bounced back very nicely after that and turned in a solid effort in picking up the Win. His line: 6.0 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 0 ER / 4 BB / 4 K. He only threw 91 pitches. He now improves to 2-1 with a 4.58 ERA on the young season. Wright, Lopez, Carpter and Abad each got work tonight and were quite efficient in holding the Cardinals to only one additional run over the course of the game.


Observations:
*JD Martinez is slumping bad. Over his past 8 game he is an awful 2 for 26 with 2 RBI and 5 walks. The encouraging sign is that he has only struck out three times in that entire span, so he is still putting the ball in play. Every young player will go through slumps - hopefully JD will work his way out of his soon.

*With Maxwell filling in for Schafer tonight, Altuve was given the nod at the leadoff spot. He didn't respond well going 0 for 4 with a strikeout.

*The Astros now only have two players hitting over .300 - Altuve at .346 and Lowrie at .338. Justin Maxwell went 2 for 3 tonight and is now an even .300 on the year.

*The individual OBP of each Astro this year is a very impressive stat. Check out the OBP of each starter after tonights game (listed in sequence by tonights batting order):

Altuve (.389) -- Bogusevic (.344) -- Martinez (.375) -- Lee (.350) -- Lowrie (.433) -- Johnson (.333) -- Maxwell (.353) -- Castro (.297)

Where is this newfound plate discipline coming from? Not that i'm complaining. The Astros offense has been a very pleasant surprise so far this year.

*Justin Maxwell had 2 doubles in 3 at bats tonight. Very nice outing in a rare start for him.

*Jed Lowrie also stayed hot tonight with yet another homerun - a 2 run shot. He finished 2 for 3 with 2 RBI, a run and a walk.


Turning Point:
The CJ Grand Slam. The Astros were down 1-0 already and in danger of wasting a golden opportunity in their half of the 1st. CJ capitalized big time with his 2 out AB.


Man of the Match:
Chris Johnson could have easily been the goat with his error in the first, but very quickly redeemed himself with his first career Grand Slam into the Crawford Boxes in the bottom half of the inning. Game changer, and all the runs the 'Stros needed.


Goat of the Game:
Altuve, Bogusevic, JD Martinez and Castro (plus Bud Norris) all went hitless tonight. Castro left the most men onbase with 2 LOB. Altuve and Bogey each struck out once. Take your pick. I'm going with Altuve because I doubt you will see him be a Goat many times in his career - and he had his worst game so far this year from the ever important leadoff spot.

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