A win is a win, but…
It was ugly. Very ugly indeed. The Astros finally beat the Chicago White Sox with a 10-9 score, after 4 hours and 25 minutes of game time, an interference from a fan in the stands, on-again, off-again rain; and for the second day in a row, a bullpen collapse.
It seems that I’d only need to change the names to yesterday’s post, because the story was practically the same. Roy Oswalt, in front of an international TV audience (the game was broadcast across North, Central and South America), did business as usual on the mound, tossing seven solid innings in which he granted two runs, five hits and struck out 7.
The offense wasn’t quiet at all, having its peak moment with two consecutive homers by Mike Lamb and Lance Berkman in the fifth frame. Lamb keeps on his incredible offensive moment, with a .333 average, going 2-for-5 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. It’s Lamb’s sixth home run this season, and Berkman’s 22nd.
Two more Houston runs were produced by a sacrifice fly from Berkman and a single by Morgan Ensberg. A Paul Konerko dinger would mark a 9-2 score in favor of the Astros before the eighth.
Russ Springer got the relieving duties, and that was the start of something as painful to watch as Connie Chung’s infamous farewell musical number.
A three-run blast from Tadahito Iguchi would get the pale hosed even closer in the score. And in the ninth, Brad Lidge was Iguchi’s victim. The Japanese-born player went yard, and you know very well grand slams have been the trademark in this series. And that’s how we got to extra innings once again. Here’s an outrageous fuel for thought: How is it that such a stellar performance by Oswalt was wasted, with such an advantage? If you understand, please send us a comment on the box below.
Luckily for the Astros, the bullpen got itself together. Chad Qualls only gave up a hit in 2.1 innings, Trever Miller got a K in a third of a frame, and Fernando Nieve was strong in 1.1 inning, getting the win.
The Astros and its fans should be happy because, after 6 games, including 4 in last year’s World Series, they finally beat Ozzie Guillen and his crew. But you can’t help but feel odd about it. Because this was not the way it was supposed to be. In these two games, the bullpen has been responsible for making the Astros in jeopardy, facing extreme risks. It was a win, of course, but the headline should have included Oswalt’s stellar performance; instead of a fan’s interference or a group of relievers who did anything but. That’s why the upcoming series against the Tigers, one of the hottest teams in baseball, will be held with a reserved prognosis.