Full speed ahead

Capt7cd6da9581f6413ca3873bef75847e6eastrIf you told us a week ago that the Astros would sweep the Cubs at Wrigley Field, we would have told you "you’re nuts". Carlos Zambrano handcuffed the Astros at Minute Maid Park and the outlook wasn’t that bright for Phil Garner and his troops.

Things are different now, and Houston had a great mini-roadtrip in which they swept the Cubbies. It wasn’t the best outing ever for Roy Oswalt, but we have to keep in mind the fact he was returning from a short stint on the DL. He allowed five hits without walks and fanning 2, granting three runs in six frames. It wasn’t "Razor-sharp" Roy O this time, but being honest, we’re used to evaluate Oswalt on a higher standard. He was convincing nonetheless and took his sixth win this season, with a 5-4 final. We saw a decisive second inning in which the Astros scored three runs.

Capt383b1fabeb5c4efcbf1e535befe3645bastrPreston Wilson had two RBI, and he has improved his offensive pace for sure. We know it’s not easy to adapt to the fact he brings a lot of strikeouts with him, but it’s also true he has seen his BA grow steadily.

It was a great start for Fernando Nieve too. He allowed two runs and 5 hits in 5.2 innings; but Zambrano, his Cubs rival and Caribes de Anzoategui teammate showed once again his worth, granting a run in seven frames.

Brad Ausmus made the difference though, with a two-run single off reliever Bob Howry, turning the tables and sealing an Astros victory 3-2, in a game filled with suspense.

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Nieve was efficient, relief was top-notch, and it was so nice to see that two of the three outs gotten by Brad Lidge in the ninth were strikeouts.

It’s true: there’s no reason why Garner should sit Chris Burke, who played first base today, going 2-for-3 and with a .339 batting average; Mike Lamb went blank but he keeps a .339 BA; and Willy Taveras went 1-for-5 with an RBI. Who`s going to the bench and who’s going to start? Aren’t those exactly the kind of problems managers love to have?

Is Morgan Ensberg a streaky player? Last year he kept his average constant for most of the tournament (.298 in May, .287 in June, .300 in July, .295 in September and .286 in October), lowering it a bit in August (.264). Ensberg appeared in today’s matchup without getting a legal at-bat, he was hit by a pitch in the seventh,

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Now the Astros return home: three games against the Royals, and then a series facing the Twins, with Roger Clemens returning to the rotation. I took this bit from the Internet: "This team is no stranger to mid-season runs either. They fell behind 10 games last year only to rally to win the wild card and proceed to the World Series.  With the Cubs, the Royals and the Twins awaiting the Astros, I expect Houston to make a nice run and get back in contention in the NL Central".

Amen.

1 Comment

Amen Brotha! Think you said it all.. great game.. well after the 8th it was a great game..

Lidge has pitched 12 innings giving up only 2 runs and I think those were both in the same game which was a blowout(correct me if I’m wrong). He’s returning to form…

http://strosbro.mlblogs.com

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