Man, did you see that game?? The ball just rolled off Greene to give the US the game tying goal, and possibly cost England primacy in Group C. I thought once Crouch . . . Oh. Right. The Astros “played” today.
There is more structure to BP’s approach at capping the oil spill than Wandy’s approach to the Yankee’s hitters. Starting off the game with a solo shot to Jeter showed that we were going to see more of 2010 Wandy than the WanRod of last year that was dazzling. The lack of control in Rodriguez’s game has been his downfall. Case and point: the bottom of the third. Wandy walked Jeter to start off the inning, and regardless to whom is batting, you do not, I repeat, DO NOT WALK OFF THE LEADOFF BATTER. Though he could have been thrown out at second during the next at bat on his first steal of the year, Kepp mishandled a Q throw down, and Jeter ended up on third. Swisher knocked Jeter in on the next at bat, and I can live with that. What cannot handle is that Teixeira was walked in the next at bat on 4 pitches. Give your defense the opportunity to flip the double play at least before giving out what is essentially a free pass. One infield single and grand slam later, the ‘Stros are down 6-2, and the game is looking out of reach. 5 runs on 3 hits. Walks kill.
Wandy is now a pathetic 3-9 on the year while posting an ERA of 5.60. At this point last year, Wandy had an ERA of 2.82 and only 2 starts in which he surrendered more than three runs. In two of Wandy’s past four starts, he has surrendered 8 ER. You cannot win games by having disastrous starts that lack damage control. His problem is the one which we thought he solved last year: blow up innings. Wandy has had 7 innings this year where he has allowed 3 or more runs. These setbacks are harder for the offense to handle since 3 runs can turn a hole into a bottomless pit.
Offensively, it was nice to see Pence and Lee connect for solo shots in the second and sixth respectively. Keppinger turned in 3 hits on the day to bring his average up to .299, but failed to be on base for either of the homers. Timely hitting wins ball games, and its upsetting to have your 2 hitter on base three different times, but not the two times your 4 and 5 hitter jack one out.
Bourn is 0-11 in the past three games while also being fanned 6 times in those plate appearances with no walks. Bourn’s inability to walk is starting to hurt his productivity since he doesn’t have a secondary game during slumps of this nature. Walks keep you in rhythm for the practicality of being on base at some point during a stretch of bad hitting games. If you are constantly getting out and not reaching first on walks, it becomes overwhelming to get that one hit, and the pressure mounts up. Look for Bourn to have a different approach at the plate in the next few games.
Tomorrow’s game “features” Moehler against the promising Hughes of New York. Moehler is coming off of a quality start against Colorado that ended in a 4-3 victory for the good guys, but he allowed 12 hits and walks combined in 6 innings. The Yankees use their bandbox stadium to capitalize on runners being on base, so Brian will need to keep the free pases and seeing eye singles to a minimum if he expects to lead the Astros to a sweep salvaging game. First pitch is at noon:05.