I get an alert on my phone whenever the final score of every Astros game is posted. Since it comes from the ESPN app, I get this cheery fucking SportsCenter sound when the alert arrives. That “dadadun-dadadun” has become the bane of my existence this year. Every time it goes off, I know I’ve got a one in four chance of seeing a winning score. It’s like Chris Berman is personally punching me in the nuts every time I hear that sound.
Plenty of ink has already been spilled bemoaning the awfulness of this particular Astros team, and I can’t say much more here that hasn’t already been said better (or more profanely) elsewhere. So what I’ll add is that it has actually been refreshing to truly and completely stop caring about wins. And not in that “hey, they’re just out there to have fun” way. More like a “I can’t even bear to watch this time implode in real time, but I’m glad that baseball is still being played in Houston” way. For half of each month this summer, if the fancy strikes me, I can walk up to any of the ticket windows on Texas Ave. and get good seats, plop my skinny jeaned-ass down in a comfy seat with a St. Arnolds, and watch some fucking terrible baseball. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Little resets like this allow us to see what it is we like about baseball in the first place. Unfortunately, I like good defense, base running and wily pitching. Shit, what else is on?
Friday, August 3rd
6:35 CT, Turner Classic Movies Field
Armando Galarraga (0-0, 3.60) v. Tim Hudson (10-4, 3.68)
Galarraga goes for his first decision since joining the major league team. If this rotation were a shady used car dealer’s inventory, Galarraga would be the C4 Corvette: good at one time, but woefully overmatched compared to the current competition. Due to his AL servicetime, only two Braves have ever faced him.
Hudson, who I can only assume has a deleted scene in the Moneyball DVD where he shows everyone why Art Howe wasn’t an asshole, and how building a winning team is easy when your pitching is unbelievably good an young, is having another solid season in his mid-late career revival in Atlanta. Only Ben Fransisco and Chris Snyder have more than a couple AB’s against him, and Fransisco is 4-for-6 in their matchups.
Saturday, August 4th
6:10 CT, truTV (formerly Court TV) Field
Lucas Harrell (8-7, 4.03) v. Paul Maholm (9-6, 3.74)
The erstwhile ace of the staff is one game over .500 and flirting with a 4 ERA like it’s junior prom. Yah-fucking-hoo. The good news is that the Braves have a collective .000 batting average against him. The bad news is that’s over 3 at-bats.
Maholm came over in a trade from the FTC’s this week, and is making his first start for the Braves. That’s like dropping your girlfriend with herpes and getting one with 20,000 redneck children whose names all rhyme with “aden”. Snyder hits him well, as does Downs. Collectively, the team is .205 against him, which sounds about right.
Sunday, August 5th
12:35 CT, TNT We Know Drama Field
Bud Norris (5-8, 5.02) v. Kris Medlen (2-1, 2.43)
The 2013 closer has had a rough year, and facing the Bravos is probably not the best antidote. Several players (Uggla, Heyward, McCann, Janish) are all batting better than .500 against him. Ugh.
Don’t let the low ERA fool you about Medlen; he’s a converted reliever. Oh who am I kidding: pitchers put on a Braves uni and it automatically drops their ERA by a full point, gives their breaking balls more bite, and increases their capability to bitch about even the most generous strike zones. Pearce, Downs, Martinez and Schafer all hit him well.
Castro: Right knee effusion. I had one of these at Uchi last week. A bit gamey.
Escalona: Still the season, so he’s still out for it.
Lowrie: Might be back this month.
Weiland: Didn’t know you could get the clap in your shoulder, didja?
Fanbase: Moved from day-to-day to extended DL.
Brandon Beachy: TJ surgery. Out for season.
Matt Diaz: Right thumb injury. Well, if you wouldn’t put it up Larry’s butt, that wouldn’t happen, would it?
Robert Fish: tendinitis. 15-Day.
Tommy Hanson: lower back strain.
Jair Jurrjens: Excess J’s.
Peter Moylan: Out indefinitely, like Gore Vidal.
Andrelton Simmons: fractured pinky. Undying sympathy of the entire duguout. Sure.
Jack Wilson: dislocated pinky. EVERYONE PROTECT YOUR FUCKING PINKIES OUT THERE!
Friday Night Fireworks. How original.
STAR WARS NIGHT! The Astros will be playing the part of the Bothans and the little kid Jedis.
Big Night Out: Celebrity chefs! Suites! Oooh!
Fan of 1,000 Chops “Chop Off”: unfortunately, Chop Off doesn’t mean what you think it means.
Kids Run the Bases. Only if we get some hits off Medlen.
What to watch for:
Your fingers covering your eyes.
Talk about it in the Game Zone!