Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ok. So Lidge blew another save. So we continued to fail with runners in scoring position, missing easy opportunities to win a game. What matters is, we did enough to eke out a victory. It sure wasn't pretty — two of our runs came on errors — but the only important stat is the W. In fact, the two newest Astros, P-Dub and D-Bork, had great games. Preston needed a good game to right his funk, and Borkowksi showed that he can play with the big boys. A week after being called up to replace the injured Trevor Miller, he threw four shoutout innings while allowing only a bunt single by Lofton.

Preston had a pair of singles that led to runs — he drove in Willy T in the first and scored on a wild pitch after leading off the seventh wth a hit. On those at-bats, he toned down his home-run stroke a little and simply got a nice, solid stroke on the ball. And good things happened. He also stole a pair of bases. So despite the recent struggles, he's still a valuable commodity in left field.

Lidge was wild again today, walking the bases loaded and allowing a Kent sac fly to tie the game in the ninth. He seems reluctant to throw the slider anywhere but down in the dirt (Is he afraid of leaving one up like he did to Pujols?). He has fooled hitters to swing at the slider down (see the PIrates' Jose Castillo), but more and more are laying off it. And then there's his fastball. Like they say, a 98-mph heater is nothing if you can't locate it. Lidge needs to be able to go down and away consistently. This heart-of-the-plate stuff isn't cutting it.

Look, I'm not down on Lidge. The guy's usually lights out. Hitters will still tell you that he has some of the nastiest stuff in baseball. I don't think he's having mental problems — it's just a matter of his control. Every pitcher goes through these phases, and hopefully Lidge can work his way out of his.

Wandy makes his first start against the Dodgers, who counter with Odalis Perez tomorrow. Win it and we'll have won (or tied) every series in '06. Biggio is 4-for-11, all doubles, against Perez. Berkman 3-for-6. Nomar is 5-for-8 against Wandy in the battle of the troublesome groins.

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