The three first inning runs all came after Rodriguez retired the first 2 Cardinals. AP won't admit it - he's too much of a professional - but I'm sure he's aware of how Wandy's handcuffed him through the years (also because knuckleheads like me keep pointing it out), and the double had to be somewhat satisfying (Pujols finished 1-3 off Wandy). By the time Houston put a runner on the game was essentially over.
Two other big things out of this game:
- Mark DeRosa looked comfortable at the plate. Then again, DeRosa loves hitting at Minute Maid Park. He's hit more HR there than any ballpark he hasn't called home. If I was in the Astro front office, I might consider trying to sign him in the off-season. I thought during the Sunday night game that DeRosa had found his stroke (as I mentioned yesterday, and also why I thought the sac bunt in the ninth was a dumb play); this line in Derrick Goold's post game wrap seems to confirm that:
As Lohse altered his mechanics to compensate for his forearm, so too did DeRosa adjust his swing to protect the wrist. He tripled Friday and said that was the breakthrough swing.If he's re-discovered his stroke, this truly becomes a fearsome lineup.
- The other is Lohse's good outing. He's been fighting his mechanics ever since getting hit by a pitch waaaay back in April. I didn't realize going into this game he hadn't won a start on the road. Lohse appeared to get both monkeys off his back in this start. Now, the Astros are not very good, so a dose of caution is still in order; if Kyle can continue making strong starts like last night's from now until the end of the season, Cardinals pitching picks up some much needed flexibility and depth. Again, they become much more dangerous in the playoffs.
One other thing - the CBS Sports game recap headline refers to the Astros as the 'fading Astros'. Are they really fading at this point? They'd been completely eliminated from the playoff chase before this series started. Wouldn't 'faded' be more accurate? 'Sunk'? 'Imploded'?
Chicago clobbered Braden Looper and the Brewers last night, 10-5, so St Louis was only able to lower their magic number by one. Magic Number Watch now stands at 3. #3 has recently been a middle infielder number, much like #4 was. As you know, currently Khalil Greene wears the number. I doubt Khalil will look back fondly at his time in St Louis from a baseball perspective, but the team seems to be giving him all the support he needs to deal with his anxiety disorder, so he should remember the team as one that tried to help. Recent past wearers of 3 include Cesar Izturis (2008), Miguel Cairo (2007), and Edgar Renteria (1999-2004).