In 2006, I finally broke a lifelong nail-biting habit. I should be thankful I didn't watch tonight's game where the Houston Astros outlasted the San Diego Padres 5-4. If I had, my nails would probably be bleeding and down to the quicks again.
Despite blowing a lead, giving up three eighth-inning runs and getting outhit 10-6, the Astros beat the Padres. Maybe it's just great late-inning heroics, or maybe Minute Maid Park is becoming the nemesis to the Catholic Converters that San Diego's old home, Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium used to be to the Space Explorers.
I am sorry that Brian Moehler's brilliant performance (seven innings, five hits, one run, and six stikeouts while walking only one hitter) went for naught. The bullpen couldn't hold the lead as journeyman pitcher LaTroy Hawkins (in his 14th season and in his second tour with the Astros) gets the blown save and the win. It's his first win of the season for the Astros and his 60th career win. (He has another 17 wins to go to get to .500 for a career).
Carlos Lee contributed at the plate by going 3 for 4 with a two-run RBI single. Miguel Tejada, who went 1 for 2, delivered the go-ahead run in the eighth inning on an RBI grounder.
The win puts Houston at 13-17 on the season, and, at the moment, they're out of the N.L Central cellar. The Pittsburgh Pirates occupy that spot at 12-18.
Tomorrow night, Houston goes for the sweep as Roy Oswalt goes for his first win of the season. Maybe he can accomplish that by using his bulldozer and threatening to tear up the Padres' dugout if they swing at any strikes...
...Perhaps Lance Berkman's struggles at the plate can be attributed to an injury. Berkman missed tonight's game (his second in a row) because a sore left wrist. It can't be attributed to signing too many autographs since Berkman (who throws left-handed and switch-hits) writes right-handed. Get well soon, Lance!...
...Call me a traitor to Astros fans, but I have no plans to vote for Astros players for the All-Star game. I see the game as too much of a popularity contest. What they should do is what the NFL does and let the managers vote on who should go. No, that's not perfect, either, but over the years I've seen too many people voted to be starters when they had no business doing so.
There were a few years in the late 80s and early 90s, for example, when Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin clearly had better numbers than St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith (especially at the plate), but since the Wizard of Oz was very popular, Barry never really got the respect he deserved. The game's now livened up with the winner hosting the World Series, but even now, I can't seem to break my 15-year drought to watch it.