Tagged: José Valverde

Closing in on a dilemma

311xInlineGallery.jpgEarly today, everyone who greeted me, called me, even those who sent me SMS or emails, said hi to me with two words.

José Valverde.

I believe everyone remembered me about what happened at Philly on Tuesday. A friend of mine said he could only think of my face watching that meltdown. Why describe it, right? The ballgame was going 3-0 Astros. Shawn Chacon pitched one heck of a ballgame. Obviously, Cecil Cooper relied on his closer to finish things off.

But finishing things off was the least thing for Valverde. The Phils took advantage and ended up with a walk-off victory, leaving the ‘Stros looking for answers.

Talk radio was almost explosive today. Many people trying to make sense of what happened. Many will tell you Valverde’s amazing 2007 was a fluke, so he’s returning to his usual, iffy self.

Tonight, Roy Oswalt did what he’s expected of him. Pitched wonders. Cooper went this time with Doug Brocail. A perfect excuse: Valverde threw too much last night, the guy’s arm must be tired. The experiment ended up nicely. Brocail got his first save in approximately 3 years. Astros win.

Tuesday was Valverde’s second blown save this season. Let’s be clear about this. This is just beginning. There’s a lot of baseball left to be played. Valverde will bounce back. I can almost assure you that.

But it is also true that if Valverde keeps on failing, now the Astros have something they haven’t had in ages: Options. Cooper has chips to gamble this time around. That makes me breathe a bit easier tonight.

So bad that talking and worrying so much about Valverde will make us stop thinking about what a great ballplayer Michael Bourn is, and how great starting pitching for this team has become, instead of being that huge burden they were supposed to carry.

Welcome home

r1901214050.jpgWe’ve heard a lot about the Astros’ initial woes. That’s our topic for a feature at astrosdehouston.com, the official Spanish-language website of your Houston Astros. For those of you already swearing to tune in to Grey’s Anatomy or whatever else is on TV, I have a message for you:

Don’t panic yet. There’s a very long way to go.

In fact, this isn’t the Houston team that was destined for the cellars last year; not even the 2005 team which rode all the way to the World Series, with pitching so good they could bear a lack of hitting so bad I wouldn’t even want to think about it again. And they were NL champs with that.

You can see all Astros starters have had at least very decent outings. Some even could be considered brilliant. That was the case tonight. Wandy Rodriguez was again at home, and you could feel it. Heck, he has even pitched great on the road.

7.1 solid innings, and he had his teammates’ support to back him up this time. Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and J.R. Towles went yard. All Astros runs were scored courtesy of the good old homerun.

Jose Valverde’s missteps were erased with a Miguel Tejada walkoff homer. Yes, you read that right. The Dominican-born player couldn’t have dreamt with a better welcome to Minute Maid Park, turning the tables for good against the Cardinals.

Fans can’t say they didn’t get their money’s worth tonight. It was a very entertaining ballgame to watch, defined in the most dramatic way possible. They have not won the World Series, very far from it. They’re celebrating their season is starting to show different shades and colors, instead of gray.