It Only Took Three Months

The Astros are going through some growing pains this season. Photo Courtesy: Tom Hagerty
The Astros are going through some growing pains this season. Photo Courtesy: Tom Hagerty

By Will Martin

Lo and Behold another Independence Day weekend comes to an end. With Sunday’s start start by Astros pitcher Erik Bedard one is reminded of the fickle fate of numbers on a day where a tennis players gets a Wimbledon win 77 years after the last player from Great Britain earned that distinction.

Only July 7th no less! 77 on 7-7…

Go back six years ago to a date of 07-07-07. Speaking for myself that’s a trip to Vegas and a hope for the number of perfection on the craps table or playing a little Texas Hold ‘Em.

That date holds a different memory for the aforementioned name due to a heroic pitching performance.

Erik Bedard with a 15 strikeout game as an Oriole in a win at Arlington. When asked about that on Opening Day 2013 Erik also remembered.

This day is one that Erik Bedard would like to forget. Getting tagged for numerous home runs, namely a three run jack by A.J. Pierzynski in the first inning that proved to give the Texas Rangers they wouldn’t relinquish. The home run came after two walks to start the day.

“I just didn’t throw strikes early and they capitalized on it,” Bedard said.

Despite an afternoon that read 6 and a third innings, five runs, five walks, and four whiffs Erik Bedard would fall to 3-5 and a 4.67 ERA in a 5-4 defeat of the Houston Astros. Losers of 9 of 11 and 11 of 15 after a great month to the start of June and a 14 win month. Houston heads into Missouri with a 32-57 record for the season.

“The two walks in the first definitely hurt,” manager Bo Porter said. “I thought that Erik did a great job just battling through all the conditions in which he battled through to go 6 1/3 and give us the outing that he gave us.”

Bo Porter has been preaching a mantra for pitching, defense, and occasional aggression on the basepaths and at the plate. Two hit and runs went for naught while Astros runners were caught stealing in the 2nd, 4th, and 5th frames.

“We are an aggressive ballclub, and I’m never going to have our guys feel like they can’t be aggressive,” Porter said. “It’s one of those things … if the ball’s put in play, great, if not, the guy’s probably going to be out. It’s one of those things where you push the envelope because you’re looking to ignite the offense.”

The 5th inning would prove to be costly for Houston when the normally sure-handed Jose Altuve would let an Ian Kinsler grounder get through his legs. Kinsler would come around to score on a hit by Nelson Cruz. The error didn’t go unnoticed by Ron Washington.

“Altuve, who has some of the surest hands in the game, let him get one through him and we end up scoring a run in that inning that ended up being the winning run,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Justin Grimm was your Ranger starter and although less than fluid in his performance he did just enough to help get Texas a win. The return of Joakim Soria also a welcome arm to the Texas rotation as newbie Cory Burns was credited with the win.

Credit Joe Nathan with his 29th save of the 2013 season. If Joe can double that total look for the save record set by Francisco Rodriguez in 2008 (62) to be surpassed. You never know in baseball.

Congratulations to Marc Krauss as he collected his first home run of the season as an Astro one day after a three hit performance and a Jake Elmore home run to give the Astros a 9-5 victory Saturday and their first win against the Rangers since Opening Day 2013.

“I’ve hit a few home runs in my career, but this obviously is the biggest one being the first one in the Majors,” Krauss said. “I’m excited to get that one out of the way. Unfortunately it didn’t come in a winning effort … but I’ll still never forget that moment.”

Houston now finishes out a forgettable road trip with a visit St. Louis (after an off day July 8th) followed by Tampa Bay before the All-Star break in New York City at Citifield.

If you’re keeping track in the Battle Of The Boot the Rangers have a 7-2 advantage in games with ten more to play. Texas has held the Boot for the last six years. One day Houston will reclaim the bragging rights to that Silver Boot. Let’s hope they don’t choose to go home and bronze it in their excitement on that day.

*Dallas Keuchel (KYK-ill) pitched well enough for a victory on Saturday night. The middle relief made things tough after a 4-0 lead was squandered before the Astros pulled away for a 9-5 victory in Arlington.

Among catchers, Jason Castro ranks first for exra base hits in the AL (34), second in doubles, second in home runs, and fourth for runs scored. One reason he was hand picked by Jim Leyland to be a part of the 1st team at the 2013 All-Star Game. The 1st Astro to do so as an American Leaguer and the 1st Astros catcher since Craig Biggio in 1989 and 1991!

The preceding Silver Boot meeting was the first in pitting the Ryan family against one another. Reid Ryan named Astros President back on May 17th.

With two stolen bases on Sunday 2B Jose Altuve leap frogged four other ballplayers out of an 8th place tie for 7th (21) in the Majors and fourth in the AL.

Upcoming Schedule
7/9    @ Cardinals   7:15 PM
7/10  @ Cardinals  7:15 PM
7/12   @ Rays           6:10 PM
7/13   @ Rays           3:10 PM
7/14   @ Rays         12:40 PM