I’d planned on heading to the Juicebox around 5pm today for the 7pm start time because I wanted one of the team blankets. You know what they say about “the best laid plans?” Yeah, that totally applies here. Didn’t end up leaving the office until roughly 5:40, which meant we got to Minute Maid way too late to get one of the blankets. I must admit that I severely underestimated the popularity of these team blankets that don’t even cover an entire body, much less keep one warm, but I digress. Saturday is Hunter Pence bobblehead day, and I’m planning on being at the Juicebox right around 3pm to make sure I get one of those things.
Josh and I found a killer free parking spot and walked up to the ballpark. I gotta tell you, there’s nothing like a Friday afternoon in Houston where it’s 70 degrees outside and you’re walking up to the Juicebox. There is no better feeling in the world, although If I were to win the lottery I imagine my stance on that would change quite drastically. Minute Maid is such a beautiful park, and I never get tired of seeing it upon approach.
We met up with Jason, the drummer for our church worship band, and went inside. Our seats were row 12, section 111, so they were pretty much perfect. We watched a bit of Marlins batting practice and heckled Gonzo a little bit, but I think he knows we still love him, steroids or not. I decided that instead of a Super Star Dog being in my future, a Super Star Dog needed to be in my present, so I left for the concession stand, where I proceeded to pay $16 for about $3 of food. Man, I love baseball and capitalism.
My notes on the game, depressing as they are: [box score]
- It’s sad to say, but I think Roy Oswalt might be declining at a rapid rate. In my Starting Pitcher preview, I noted that I felt like Roy was going to decline this year, but he’s dropping far faster than I could have ever imagined. Yeah, he’s Roy Oswalt and he can turn stuff around in the blink of an eye, but his “stuff” just isn’t there. He’s hitting good speeds with his fastball, but nothing else is working for him, and it’s almost like the Marlins were taking batting practice last night. 4 homers and 8 runs in 2 innings? This is not the Roy Oswalt of old. This is not even the Roy Oswalt of last year. It’s going to be a tough year for the Astros unless Oswalt can turn things around and give them a chance to win.
- The bullpen is terrible. Beyond terrible, actually. I’ve come to the conclusion that our starters need to allow zero runs through about 8 innings of work and our offense needs to produce 8 runs per game in order for us to have a chance at the playoffs. Turning the ball over to Dave Borkowski or Brian Moehler or Oscar Villareal is just not a good idea. Especially Villareal. That’s 3 homers he’s given up in two games of work, and 4 bombs total in nine innings.
- Mark Loretta is a LAZY SECOND BASEMAN. Kaz Matsui, I’m sorry I ever said anything bad about you. I’m sorry I questioned the logic behind paying you 4 million bucks a year. You are clearly worth it, if only to keep Loretta from ever stepping foot near second base again. There were about 6 balls hit in Loretta’s direction that he basically allowed to go by because he didn’t try hard enough to get to them. I understand you’re getting old, Mark, but Tejada’s old and he plays the game like he’s ten years old. Plus, the new “Kaz’s Classroom” segment on the titantron was a highlight of the evening for me. Basically, Kaz teaches Astros fans how to say baseball-related things in Japanese, and then they film some fans trying to say the words. Absolutely hilarious, and kudos to the new ballpark entertainment director for coming up with that one.
- I do love how the Astros exaggerate how far the home team’s homers travel. Berkman’s homer into the Crawford boxes barely made it over the fence at the 315′ mark, yet they advertised it as 338′. Nope. It was about 316′ and not a hair more. Cantu hit a homer for the Marlins that left the ballpark and they only advertised it as 365′.
- On the bright side, at least Jeremy Hermida is on my fantasy team.