Monday, April 10, 2006

Holy Toledo what a win!

Last July, Eric Bruntlett hit a 3-run homer in the top of the 14th inning to give the Astros a much-needed win in Washington. The starters of that game? John Patterson and Wandy Rodriguez. This afternoon, in creepy, deja vu fashion, Bruntlett did it again. Patterson and Wandy both started and allowed three runs before handing it over to the bullpen. Both closers hiccuped and gave up a solo shot — ex-Astro Daryle Ward took Lidge deep in the top of the 10th, and Morgan Ensberg went opposite-field off Chad Cordero to extend the game in the bottom half of the inning. That set up Bruntlett, who has a penchance for heroics when the game is on the line. Sure, maybe not as much as Chris Burke... but he's a player all the same.

After Biggio doubled off Mike Stanton, Taveras bunted him over and Berkman and Mo were intentionally walked. Bruntlett hit a shallow fly to right-center that centerfielder Brandon Watson caught flat-footed. Biggio saw that he'd have to deliver a perfect strike, and took off for the home. The throw was high and late, and the Astros finished their homestand with a 5-2 record. Not bad for being outscored 36-35 in those seven games.

Chad Qualls deserves some credit for getting back on track. After blowing up in Saturday's loss to the Nats, he pitched 2 scoreless innings to get the win. We'll need Qualls at his best to stay in the playoff race.

So it's off to the West Coast where we'll face the Giants and the D-Backs. Buchholz gets his first start tomorrow against veteran Matt Morris, who's 9-10 with a 3.53 ERA against the Astros. The matchups:

Tuesday: T. Buchholz v. M. Morris
Wednesday: B. Backe vs. M. Cain
Thursday: R. Oswalt vs. J. Wright

Last year we started hot at home (5-1, I think?), before collapsing on the road (2-21 to start the year!). Let's hope we get off on the right foot against the G-men.

4 comments:

Jack said...

I watched the last few innings of the game on MLB.TV - a sweet victory indeed! Man, what a beautiful HR by Ensberg off Cordero in the 10th. Going opposite field for style points. Qualls looked good, getting ground balls and K's, just what you want from a reliever. Lidge still makes me nervous - his control seems pretty spotty at the moment. I like that Garner is generally playing his starters (only Munson has received a start so far out of the bench players) but I wouldn't mind seeing Biggio getting a day off. He's older than Ausmus and plays a tough defensive position too. I'm sure taking a day off a week won't stop him from getting to 3,000 hits.

Dad said...

We were only 4-3 after the opening homestand last year, not so hot as you remember. Of course, staying ahead of last season's pace will hopefully be really easy for the next coupla months now, so starting this week, it's a meaningless issue.

The sidebar column in the Chronicle this morning told how Lidge is not locating his fastball properly, & so to solve the mechanics problem, he's going to start throwing from the stretch all the time, no windups. He says all his bad pitches since the World Series have come on windup pitches. Let's hope it pans out.

Daniel said...

Hey I've never posted on your site before, but I read it all the time. I was just correcting both you and your dad on the home stretch. We took 2 of 3 from St. Louis and then Swept Cinci giving us a 5-1 opening home stand. We followed that up by being swept by the Mets. I got all of this from ESPN's records. We always had a great record at home and even after the great 74-43 run we still had a losing record on the road

Jeff said...

Hello, I was just checking out different Astros blogs and saw this one. I talk some sports and pro wrestling at http://justjefftexas.blogspot.com and have an Astros blog on my employer's Web site at http://lufkindailymuse.com/?p=91.

I'll link to your blog on mine.