Saturday, April 10, 2004

A terrible day for Houston fans.

We lost 6-1 to the Brewers. More importantly, though, the team placed Pettitte on the 15-day DL retroactive to Wednesday. Apparently he strained his elbow on a check swing during BP. Things don't look too serious, but this injury might have some lingering effects. He'll likely only miss 2 starts, meaning Hernandez, Fernandez, Saarloos or Buchholz will start in his stead.

In this afternoon's game, Ben Sheets did all the talking, striking out 10 in six incredible innings. Palmeiro, Lamb and Viz all started, going a combined 1-11.

Redding's first start was reminiscent of his 2003 campaign: decent, unspectacular, helpless. Redding escaped jams in nearly every inning, allowing 5 hits, 3 walks and 3 runs in 5 innings.

Ricky Stone was not good. The Brewers nibbled at him for 3 more runs in the sixth on a string of singles. Duckworth looked a little better than last night, pitching a perfect eighth inning.

As bad as the Houston pitchers were, our batters were worse. Brad Ausmus had the only decent day, which just about says it all. He had 3 hits, including a triple (!) in the eighth, later scoring on Ensberg's pinch hit sac fly. Bagwell had a pair of hits, Lamb singled, and that was all. Palmeiro, Vizcaino, Kent, Berkman and Hidalgo all put up oh-fers on the day.

Berkman's fourth inning at-bat epitomized Sheets' dominace. Lance worked the count full, then fouled off about 6 tough pitches from Sheets. Sheets never backed down, blowing Berkman away with a 97 mph fastball right down the middle on the 13th pitch of the at-bat. Lance watched the perfect pitch, and walked immediately back to the dugout. It was a bad day for Astros hitters.

Here's hoping Jimy's "experiment" with getting his bench involved doesn't last. I don't think Biggio, Everett or Ensberg are in any way tired or hurt, so there's no reason why they shouldn't be playing. And the 1-2 punch of Palmeiro and Vizcaino is... not good. Ensberg has not started 2 of the Astros' first 5 games, which is slightly alarming.

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