October 15, 2004

How did the Astros blow it last night? Let me count the ways:

- Biggio hacks at a 1-0 pitch after Matt Morris walked the pitcher to load the bases. Would it have killed you to take a strike, Craig?

- Bagwell and Beltran get confused over the steal sign, turning Jeff Kent's 3-2 strikeout into an easy double play.

- Speaking of double plays, Ensberg and Kent fail to turn one in the fifth, which would have gotten Pete Munro out of the inning. Instead, Larry Walker homers, then so does Scott Rolen. Bye bye, 3-0 lead.

- Eric Bruntlett's botched sacrifice after (mirabile dictu!) Vizcaino and Ausmus both single to lead off the sixth.

It was like watching a football team roll up 500 yards of offense but turn the ball over six times. How else do you explain eighteen baserunners and only four runs? Argh.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 15, 2004 to Baseball | TrackBack

I think Miceli's two homers in five pitches might rank up there as well.

At least, it was a playoff first.

Posted by: Charles M on October 15, 2004 10:08 AM

Bottom line is, this team can't waste opportunities if the starters can't go 7-8 innings. Middle relief is brutal right now; there seems to be no one who can protect a slim lead (or even a tie game) until they can get the ball to Lidge.

I think the 'Stros will have to win some pretty major blowouts (like Monday night's clincher over the Braves) if they're to have any chance unless middle relief finally rises to the occasion. The Astros have had no problems winning the relative blowouts in the playoffs; they've lost all the close ones. That points squarely to the pen.

Posted by: Tim on October 15, 2004 10:26 AM

The announcers should say that runners are in stranding position, not scoring position.

The moment Miceli took the mound, I said "Home run, first pitch."

I was right, and I was not surprised by the second.

Along with Meatbag Miceli, Dangling Chad Qualls should be strung up by his balls... hey, that rhymes!

Posted by: Laurence Simon on October 15, 2004 10:37 AM

I love it when Miceli comes in. Rolen has shown us the cure for a postseason batting slump: Astros middle relief.

Posted by: Pete on October 15, 2004 11:33 AM

I love it when Miceli comes in. Rolen has shown us the cure for a postseason batting slump: Astros middle relief.

Pretty much. Aside from Lidge, who in the pen has pitched well? Wheeler comes to mind, but he doesn't really have the resume to imply trust in a "hold the lead until Lidge" role. Though with the others melting down, if I'm Garner, maybe I figure he can't do much worse than the Pre-Lidge Lead Protection Committee has done so far and give him a chance to work the 7th.

At this point, I think it's obvious: Tied or holding a slim lead in the 8th, you MUST bring in Lidge for two innings. Heck, maybe even if you're down a run to give you a reasonable *chance* to come back. There ain't many tomorrows to save him for when you're down 2-0 in a best of seven.

Posted by: Tim on October 15, 2004 1:08 PM