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Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Other Games

Astros 6, Braves 3

Every injury now is of enormous importance, and yesterday's Astros/Braves game felt like a Will Carroll column. Beltran took a pitch square on his ribcage and might miss game 2, Jaret Wright fielded a line drive with his shin, and Chipper Jones aggravated an injury to his right hand. The Rocket clearly felt the side effects of the flu, gutting out an ugly victory for the Astros.

Wright wasn't sharp, not at all, allowing 6 earned runs in the loss, on 6 hits, three of them homers. The big lead allowed the Astros to pitch the non-stud part of their bullpen -- i.e., Qualls and Gallo -- without fear, and neither of them gave up any ground on that big four run lead. In fact, it would be Houston that would add to their lead, scoring off ex-Cub Juan Cruz, Chris Reitsma, and another ex-Cub, Antonio Alfonseca. Clearly, the Braves are treading on ex-Cub-factor ground rather gingerly here, and with an ex-Cub factor of 2, Atlanta has twice as much to worry about as nearly ex-Cub-free Houston (who only has Jose Vizcaino to worry about).

In my postseason predictions, I thought it would be a coin flip trying to pick a winner between these two clubs, but this game changed my mind. I'm going with Houston in four.


Yankees 7, Twins 6

If yesterday's Astros/Braves game changed my mind about Houston's chances, today's game did nothing to make me think the Twins won't go down in the first round. The Yankees beat a Twins pitcher not named Johan Santana, and that's all they needed to do. The one thing that didn't go in their favor, however, was the large number of innings they had to throw from the bullpen (5.2, including an unlikely appearance by ex-Dodger Tanyon Sturtze). We'll see if that's a factor, but the fact that the Twins lost with closer Joe Nathan on the mound can't make Batgirl feel happy, and indeed, she's crying her eyes out, ovedosing on prescription painkillers, making lachrimose phone calls to Torii Hunter, and generally looking like a candidate for the Betty Ford Clinic.

What I found exceptionally annoying was that ESPN radio decided, at about 30 minutes prior to game time for the Angels/Sox game, to cut to an interview between Terry Smith and a random ESPN announcer, Kyle somebody I think, this in the middle of a tense game between the Yankees and Twins. Stupid, stupid, stupid.



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