b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Monday, July 19, 2004

Astros-Dodgers 7/19 

Are the Astros finally getting a few breaks? For weeks I bemoaned Lady Luck's cruel lack of favor toward the boys in Brick. But the 3-spot Houston just put on Dodger's starter Wilson Alvarez makes me wonder if fortunes are starting to even out.
Morgan Ensberg's heady bunt single loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 2nd. But that unfortunately brought the eight hitter, Raul Chavez, to the plate. You'd expect Chavez to either ground into a double play or strike out, leaving spot starter Brandon Duckworth to strand all three baserunners.
Sure enough, Chavez hit a slow-roller to second. But Alex Cora opted not to turn the double play. Instead he tried to tag Ensberg, and when Morgan just stopped running, Cora hurried his throw to first and skipped one into the Astros dugout. Kent and Bagwell scored, and Brandon Duckworth's subsequent grounder drove in Ensberg (who moved to third on the error). 3-1 Houston.
Oh, and to make it better, Cesar Izturis' lead-off double in the 3rd was erased by Adam Everett's heads-up decision to go to third instead of first.

Ducky's line tonight: 4.2 IP, 6H, 1ER, 4BB, 1K. For a guy that had pitched fewer than 30 innings in the bigs this season, that's not a bad night. Houston's defense assisted Brandon with three twin-killings.
Despite getting some breaks tonight, I'd like to see the Stros add a few more runs. A two-run cushion and four innings for the Houston bullpen don't exactly go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Morgan comes up clutch!
Something is definitely up with this club right now. Sure, the bullpen blew a 3-1 lead, giving up four runs in the 6th. But normally that's when they fold. Instead, Kent and Baggy come up with two-out singles, and Morgan Ensberg, the hero of the 2nd-inning rally, launches a three-run bomb into the Crawford Boxes. 6-5 Houston.
Help on the way?
Brown and Worrell say that Carlos Hernandez could make his way to the bigs soon. He struck out 10 in his most recent AAA start, and last I heard, his velocity was back up to the mid-to-upper-80s. With Wade Miller out for who knows how long, Carlos could make an impact at the bottom of the rotation.
f Milton Bradley
First he ties the game in the 8th (right before Shawn Green put them ahead for good with another one), then he shushes the crowd after catching a 400-foot bomb from Morgan Ensberg. Ensberg put a good lick on a Eric Gagne fast ball, but he made the mistake of hitting it into Minute Maid's cavernous left-center field. Still, Bradley should shut up and play the game.
Another loss
What can you say about tonight's game? The Stros delivered clutch hits, they got a solid start from Brandon Duckworth, and they put themselves in position to win the game. LA just had their number. Houston now falls to 5.5 games back in the wild card standings, and though I refuse to give up hope, every passing day lenghtens the odds a little more. They have to start winning games, they have to start winning series, and they have to start winning them soon.


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