Twas A “Bronx” Cheer

Altuve has been the lone bright spot for the Astros recently. Photo Courtesy: Darryl Briggs
Altuve has been the lone bright spot for the Astros recently. Photo Courtesy: Darryl Briggs

By Will Martin

You know you’re in for an evening that gets interesting when the game you are presently attending takes longer than the team (you watched play the night prior) up the road whose game started an hour later and still finishes before the game you are attending.

April 20th is a night that 19,904 fans in Houston were to witness:

1. An Indian team that would bat around in both the 1st and 2nd innings.

2. Tribe player Mark Reynolds making a plate appearance in EACH of the first five innings. Five plate appearances in five innings. Pat Listach had this distinction back in 1992.

3. Two ex Yankees-Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi-going a combined 6 for 7 through the first 4 innings.

4. Philip Humber-1 day removed from a Perfect Game 1 year and 1 day ago-entered Saturday night’s game with an ERA of 2.89 and 0-3. He would not get past the 1st inning allowing three singles, four doubles, a homerun, and eight earned runs which shot his ERA to 6.62

5. A pitching staff that would allow 19 runs in a 19-6 defeat at Minute Maid Park.

Go back to 1987 for the most runs ever allowed by an Astros team-22 at Wrigley Field to the Chicago Cubs. Tonight’s outpouring of Tribe runs ended a five game skid for Cleveland (6-10) while the Astros fell to 5-12.

Bo Porter was pretty matter of fact in the post-game.

“It’s always tough when you fall behind early, but at the same time, you don’t want to concede anything,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “I’ve seen some crazy things happen in this game. We had a 9-0 lead against the Braves last year in Washington and ended up losing the game, because you never know. The same way they had three consecutive big innings, that could happen on your end, and before you know it, you’ve got a ballgame. You have to play out the string.”

Philip Humber joined Erik Bedard and Bud Norris for consecutive stints that didn’t get past the first inning. Humber acknowledges the test that places before the bullpen.

“It’s hard on the bullpen,” Humber said. “We haven’t exactly held up our end of the bargain the last week or so. We have to pick it up as starters, but I’m really proud of the guys for just battling. It would have been easy to lie down after the first inning, but the hitters kept going out there and having good at-bats and kept playing hard. That’s all you can ask for.”

On the brighter side Jose Altuve leads all second baseman in double plays turned with 16 while possessing the best batting average among second basemen hitting .379 through 17 games.

Tonight you also had the law firm of Brandon and Brandon (Barnes and Laird) go deep while Laird and Altuve had multiple hit games.

The month of April has been good for the Astros in the Home Run department. Having hit 19 in 17 games. This is an improvement over 2012 when only 14 taters were had in 23 games.

In Friday night’s 3-2 win over the Indians J.D. Martinez and Rick Ankiel would hit the first pair of of back-to-back home runs since 9/30/12 in Milwaukee (Jed Lowrie-Matt Dominguez).

Sunday will be a 1pm Matinee start for Erik Bedard (0-1 7.04) against Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2 11.25) as the Astros will try to take the rubber game of a series for a second time.

Seattle and King Felix kick off a three game set next in Houston. That’s the other team Houston took in a series with a 24-run salute at Safeco 1 week ago.

My thanks to the people of Houston who made this road trip possible. Kudos also to the Houston Astros who have set up a center to collect donations to assist in the West, Texas Relief Fund. Items in most need at this time are new diapers/wipes, gift cards for grocery stores, travel size toiletries, powdered sports drinks, clean sheets or towels and non-perishable canned or boxed food items. Cash donations also accepted.