Nationals 4, Astros 3
W: Gonzales (14-6 3.32)
L: Galarraga (0-2 5.38)
by Sphinx Drummond
Once again the Astros had to face a team with a better win-loss ratio (this cycle will continue until it doesn‘t…maybe next year or the year after) and once again they proved why every team they face has a better win-loss ratio. The numbers don’t lie. It’s the ninth of August, and there is only one team with under 40 wins. One would hope a young team would get better as the season progresses but the Astros are making an exception.
If the Astros had their own show on TLC it would be of the Extreme Makeover variety. If it was about the 143 or so fans that still follow this team it would be one of the Strange Obsessions or Crazy Addictions variety.
Against the team with the best record in all of the MLB, the Astros actually did pretty good. They’ve lost three of the first four in this series but each game has been close, with arguably a chance to win in the 9th. After falling behind early last night, Galarraga pitched well enough to keep it close and Cedeno, Fick, and Cruz pitched well enough in relief that the Astros were only down 2 runs going into the home half of the night.
Corporan grounded out to start the frame and Brandon Barnes followed with his first major league hit. Marwin grounded out for the 2nd out but Barnes advanced to second base. Ben Francisco singled to drive in Barnes and make it a one run game with two outs. Jose Altuve followed with another single, Bogey, running for Francisco, made it to third and Altuve advanced to second on the throw.
So Mills, who must hate to be second guessed and always goes by the book when it comes to lefty-righty match-ups, leaves the ice-cold Downs in to bat for himself instead of maybe going to someone like Wallace (who has hit lefties better than Downs this year, FWIW). Anyway, Gonzales struck out Downs on four pitches, the last one–a curve ball in the dirt, and the Nationals harvested another win with Gio Gonzales earning a complete game victory.
Anyway, like Reuben, even if they ripped us off on the Rusty Staub deal, I miss those pesky Expos. I loved some of the great names they had like Coco Laboy, John Boccabella, or Pepe Mangual. I might have warmed up to the Washington DC team if they would have reused the Senators or any name that relates to the area but there’s a degree of arrogance in assuming the National namesake. It irks me in the same way the DFW team does in Arlington calling themselves the “Texas” Rangers.
Later tonight, it’s Zimmermann against Harrell. The overachieving Lucas Harrell gives the Astros their best chance to not get swept but Zimmermann is good and the Nationals are so fucking great the have the best record in all of major league baseball, so it’s a fat chance.