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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Astros: Keep on Trucking 

9-3. Sure it's just one game, but let's take a closer look at today's Astros win, comparing it to series past.

1997 v. Atlanta

Gm1: L 1-2
Gm2: L 3-13
Gm3: L 1-4
HR: Chuck Carr

1999 v. Atlanta

Gm1: W 6-1
Gm2: L 1-5
Gm3: L 3-5
Gm4: L 5-7
HR: Caminiti (3), Ward, Eusebio

2001 v. Atlanta

Gm1: L 4-7
Gm2: L 0-1
Gm3: L 2-6
HR: Ausmus, Castilla, Ward

Ignore, for a moment, the 1999 series; you'll see that in six losses during the 97 and 01 sweeps, Houston scored a total of eleven runs. They also went deep just four times. Today the Astros homered four times and put up nine runs.

No, this is not the same Houston team that cowered in fear at the sight of a tomahawk in years past. The Stros pounded out thirteen hits in all, and they looked like a team ready to give their critics -- as well as their past failures -- a big middle finger.

Other thoughts from today's game:

- I realize that no one outside of Texas and Georgia cares about this series. But can we do just a little bit better than Jeff Brantley and David Justice in the broadcast booth? Brantley was a fromer Astros rival, and Justice -- a former Braves all-star -- showed his pro-Atlanta bias about as subtley as Chris Matthews shows his Democratic party affiliation.

- Juan Cruz blatantly beaned Carlos Beltran. Don't try to convince me that a pitch right into Carlos' ribs just "got away" from Cruz. He didn't have a difficult time spotting the next three pitches on the outside corner against Bags. If Houston jumps out big tomorrow, Larry Jones better get a fastball in the middle of his back. I'm sure Dan Wheeler would be happy to deliver it.

- Again, the lack of national interest dooms this series to non-primetime broadcasts. But couldn't they at least start an hour later or something? The ridiculous shadow that engulfs the infield wreaks havoc on the hitters during the early part of these games. If no one is watching on tv anyway, then what does it matter if it overlaps the Fox broadcast.

- 1300 The Zone in Austin actually pre-empted their crappy (and originally named) "Afternoon Show" to give the Stros some playoff radio coverage. God forbid the show's twelve hardcore fans miss Chad Hastings doing his annoying voices. That has to stick in the craw of co-host Kevin Dunn (yeah, the guy from Real World: New York that kept blowing off the brunette with the thin hair), who is a noted Cubbies fan.

- I'm not 100% sure that Astros play-by-play man Milo Hamilton would survive a Houston series win.

- When Brad Ausmus goes deep to spark a rally, it's impossible not to think that the Stros are destined to have some postseason success.

Let's git'er done again tomorrow.


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