H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Game 4 Diary

In a half-hearted attempt to distract myself from the ominous clouds of doom hovering over my chair prior to Game 4, I decided to keep a running diary while I watched:

6:59 - Has anyone ever seen Fox 26's anchor Jan Jeffcoat and ex-Dallas OL Jim Jeffcoat out together? I'm not saying that Jan's manly, but I think I caught a whiff of Bea Arthur's cologne emanating from my TV set.

7:02 - Joe Buck and Tim McCarver seemed unashamedly bored during Game 3, and the TV ratings are apparently in the toilet. Should the Sox take an early lead tonight, I wonder if Fox will cut away to Prison Break. Also, I'm thinking that if I'm in a bar on the South Side tonight with my car parked on the street and the Sox are ahead after seven innings, I'm making an early exit for safety reasons.

7:06 - Ms. Zelasko, Prince is on the phone. He wants his bathrobe back.

7:08 - Just thought of a new poll for the blog. This week's most stunning revelation: Jordan liked to gamble? Romanowski used steroids? A WNBA player is gay? Black athletes are generally faster than white athletes? The Astros can't hit with RISP?

7:10 - I expect Fox's TV ratings to skyrocket tonight based on the sexy irony of the Blum/Backe deal and its effect on the Series.

7:11 - I demand that FSN mike Brandon Backe for all 162 games in 2006. The expressions on Backe's "conversation partner" in the dugout throughout the postseason have been absolute money. Watching Orlando Palmeiro as the victim of Backe's incessant babbling during Game 3 about his approach for pitching in Game 4 made me think that Fox must have had an armed gunman hidden directly behind OP just off camera preventing Palmeiro's escape.

7:15 - Maybe I'm alone on this one, but I'm not buying Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash.

7:19 - Let me get this straight one last time. Alex Rodriguez was born in NYC and attended U of Miami (FL). Yet he's playing for the Republic of the Dominican in the World Cup and is now a member of the "Latino Legends Team". I guess that means Mark McGwire would be the captain for the Irish Icons Team to be announced in spring training.

7:26 - Maybe I'm alone on this one too, but every tape I see of Roberto Clemente reminds me vividly of Vlad Guerrero.

7:29 - Seems like someone with MLB would have given this Jon Secada clown a tape of "The Star-Spangled Banner" so that he would at least know the tune. Not only that, but it appears Secada's been overcome by Goat Boy, if disrespecting the melody was not enough.

7:31 - Boy, these Habitat PSA's sure are inspiring. The same guy with a gun on OP's back must have kidnapped Tommy Lee Jones and Michael Douglas and forced them to record a 5 second piece.

7:34 - Tim McCarver's allegation that the 2005 White Sox may be the best team of all time just brought an uncontrollable smirk to Joe Buck's face. Buck will likely give Troy Aikman a bear hug upon reuniting with him on Sunday in the booth, safe from McCarver for several months.

7:40 - I hope that at some point Fox utilizes its gratuitous coverage of the Minute Maid Park train conductor to ask him my burning question: Why is it Minute Maid Park, but the train's hauling pumpkins?

7:41 - McCarver's first deep thought of Game 4: "I don't know if hope springs eternal, but hope springs eternal for at least one more night."

7:43 - Let's see: Pierzynski > Ausmus, Crede > Ensberg, Uribe > Everett, Iguchi = Biggio, Konerko > Lamb, Berkman > Podsednik, Rowand > Taveras and Dye > Lane. Why is anyone suprised that the Astros are down 3-0?

7:50 - Backe looked pretty solid in the first. Not surprising to see that he's a little jacked up, but he made some big pitches when he needed to. If he can throw strikes and stay ahead in the count, the Astros may have a chance tonight.

7:54 - For the record, if I were manager of the Astros, Chris Burke would be in my starting lineup tonight.

7:56 - Wily T(errible) pops up yet another bunt attempt. I still don't blame Scrap for not squeezing with WT in the 9th inning of Game 3. (Pinch-hitting for him? Now that's another story). Wily may be a fast bunter, but he is not yet a good bunter.

8:00 - One inning in the books, and the Astros are 0-2 with RISP with 1 K and a check swing grounder to the pitcher.

8:05 - Here comes the first AB in my bet for the evening: Total Bases - Crede (-140) v. Everett. Pop-up for Crede. I'm banking on Crede getting a couple of meaningless hits in an Astros' victory to give me the best of both worlds. My prop bets have gone 3-0-1 thus far in the postseason.

8:14 - Lane K's with Lamb on 2nd base. 0-3 with RISP with 2 K's.

8:17 - -Ausmus K's looking. Make it 0-4 with RISP and 3 K's. What's Gary Gaetti's job again? How is he still employed? Signs that the Astros are not going to score: "2 outs with a runner on second, and it's up to Everett." 0-14 with RISP thus far in the postseason for the Hitless Wonder.

8:18 - Last pitcher to throw a CG in the World Series? I say Josh Beckett.

8:19 - I'm really glad that the Rockets brought Jon Barry back. Also, where can I put money on Deron Williams being an NBA All-Star within three years?

8:38 - I'll admit it. I had no idea that Jermaine Dye was this freaking good.

8:41 - Biggest pitch of the night: Backe whiffs Konerko on a nasty off-speed pitch inside.

8:43 - Maybe I'm alone on this one, but it sure is nice to not hear incessant grumbling about "pitch counts" in the postseason.

8:45 - A.J. Pierzynski is to "annoying" what George Costanza is to "paranoid".

8:46 - Watching Backe change speeds makes me wonder about how much better Roy O could be with a solid change-up. Also, the difference in "quality" between the White Sox at-bats and the Astros at-bats, even when they K like Pierzynski and Rowand just did, is staggering.

8:51 - If I'm Ozzie Guillen, I'm not throwing Berkman another strike for the remainder of the Series. Morgan Ensberg could not hit a slider with an oversized oar.

9:00 - Lane's broken-bat, two-hopper to SS just drew a pleading roar from the crowd. "Sad" does not even begin to describe this.

9:02 - Faith Hill just made a sincere pitch for Habitat. Someone pass me a hammer.

9:06 - Five straight K's for Backe! Buck and McCarver just jinxed it though - the WS record is 7 and the pitcher's up to bat. Backe's stalking the mound like a crazed fighter right now. I'm fired up!

9:10 - ESPN News just reported that Brian Cashman signed a 3 year, $6M contract with the Yankees, and Theo Epstein was offered $500K per year from the Red Sox. You're kidding, right? Now their offer's up to $1.3M, but still, I'm with Theo. Pay me Cashman $ or I'm out.

9:12 - Holy crap, it's a hit! Fortunately for my bet, Everett is now set up to sac bunt. Never mind, Scrap let the Hitless Wonder swing away and it's a 5-4-3 double play (with a hit-and-run on). If Everett's on the field Opening Day 2006, Purpura should be sent into exile.

9:17 - As a Texans fan, I don't appreciate Vegas installing the Texans as a favorite over Cleveland on Sunday. Not only does it make no sense, it should only serve to severely piss off Romeo's Browns. That bodes well for Houston...

9:21 - Tim McCarver just described Adam Everett's outstanding play on Iguchi's slow roller to short as "gamey". I'm confused. I thought it was a great play. By the way, I don't have the stats, but Backe seems to have gone to a three-ball count very rarely tonight. If I'm Drayton, I'm offering Backe a $5M incentive clause (and Jim Hickey a $1M incentive clause) if Backe produces 25+ starts like this in 2006. Just lock Ol' Hot Rocks up in the locker room and tell him that the other team stole his girlfriend or something. When he gets pumped, he is flat-out nails.

9:29 - Ensberg's slump has reached such depths that in a 0-0 potentially clinching Series game, opposing manager Oz Guillen has walked Berkman to move the go-ahead runner to second base ahead of Ensberg. Ouch.

9:34 - It's 9:34 and Ensberg still sucks. 0-6 now with RISP with 4 K's for the Astros. Good to see Ensberg swinging out of his shoes (again) with 2 strikes and RISP.

9:38 - Joe Buck's description of the pressure on Jason Lane here with the bases loaded, 2 outs in a 0-0 elimination game just certainly caused at least five Astros' fans to leap from the Ship Channel Bridge.

9:40 - George #41 and Barbara are standing up. This is big. And Lane strikes out on a pitch that nearly decapitated him. Make it 0-7 with RISP with 5 K's.

9:54 - Moments after McCarver rips Berkman's clever decoy on Crede's double off the LF wall, replays clearly indicate that lead runner Aaron Rowand hesitated rounding first base as a direct result of Berkman's theatrics, probably preventing the Sox from going ahead 1-0. Not surprisingly, McCarver the Narcissist fails to acknowledge this. (By the way, perfect scenario for me in that Crede's double puts him 2 total bases ahead of Everett, but no runs resulted!)

9:55 - God Bless Brandon Backe, and God Bless Lyle Lovett. Now that's how you sing an anthem.

10:12 - Great stat (!) from McCarver. Backe retired the first two hitters in all of his seven innings except for the fourth. For 172 games, Astros' fans breathed a sigh of relief when Brad Lidge entered the game. For the last six games, Lidge's entrance has been accompanied by an eerie, nervous silence from the crowd.

10:17 - All right, I'll say it. My vote for Series MVP will be split between Morgan Ensberg and Brad Lidge. Something tells me that the armchair management crowd will be second guessing Garner's removal of Backe and selection of Lidge in the 8th. For the record, I think Backe was running out of gas, but I'd have gone with Qualls or Wheeler here.

10:22 - Contrary to Joaquin Phoenix, I'll buy any character that Jamie Foxx is portraying.

10:29 - While I am surprised that Cotts is not bring summoned to face Berkman, it's likely moot (as is Politte's wild pitch) because Ensberg is on deck, so Berkman's not going to see a strike regardless. Politte will retire Ensberg, and then Cotts will come on to face Lamb, I imagine.

10:32 - Moral victory for Ensberg: fly out. 0-8 with RIPS with 5 K's. As Cotts comes in to face Lamb, I'll be the first to suggest pinch-hitting Chris Burke for Lamb and moving Berkman to 1B.

10:36 - It's Viz, who's 1-8 in the postseason.

10:37 - Uribe has a Furcal-like arm.

10:42 - Man, I HATE AJ Pierzynski. That said, I'd sign him to my roster in a heartbeat.

10:44 - Rowand's bunting with 2 strikes? That's got to be his call. The Astros need whatever break that they can muster at this point though.

10:48 - Lane, Ausmus and Everett coming up in the 9th. Wonder if Ozzie'd consider bringing in Pablo Ozuna to pitch to Everett just for laughs.

10:49 - It would take at least $10K to get me into the box against Fat Boy Jenks. Lane just swung at ball 3, but came back with a bloop single. RALLY!

10: 50 - If Ausmus get the bunt down (done), we'd better see a pinch-hitter for Everett (Palmeiro?) Even better - it's Burke! Hopefully, that's a sign of things to come in 2006.

10:51 - Chavez was just shown with a bat in his hands. That's hilarious! Chavez...batting in the World Series! HAHAHAHAH! Oh wait, he's on our roster...

10:53 - That catch by Uribe on Burke's foul ball will be an all-timer. And where the hell is Houston's Bartman? Oh the irony of Chicago's "other team" not being victimized by Bartman when the situation arose. Make it 0-10 with RISP. As for those Astros fans (me included) who have been touting that it could have easily been 3-0 Astros after three games, I take that back. That's ludicrous. The Sox have made every single play that was required for them to win a game, while the Astros have made one or two at best.

10:55 - Fittingly, the game ends with (a) the Astros making a harmless out with RISP, (B) the Sox making a spectacular defensive play and (c) a close call for the umpire.


Blogger Tim said...

You're no Bill Simmons.

Thu Oct 27, 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

That's high praise in my opinion.

Thu Oct 27, 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I wasn't trying to praise you. Maybe I should have been clearer--You're no Bill Simmons, back when Bill Simmons wasn't impressed with being Bill Simmons.

Thu Oct 27, 06:15:00 PM  

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