Holding on

The ‘Stros flirt with disaster in the bottom of the 8th. Facing the 2-3-4 hitters, Miller gives up a hit and a walk to start the inning. Ryan Howard smacks a 3-0 fastball into right field and Luke Scott throws out Victorino at the plate. Questionable decision to try to score on the play, since there were no outs and the Phillies were trailing by 2, but it took a very good throw and a tough play by Ausmus to nail him at the plate. Qualls entered the game with runners on the corners and on his first pitch gets a chopper to 3rd for a 5-4-3 double play.

A note on Biggio: It’s conventional wisdom that Biggio is hurting the team as a regular starter. His offensive production has dropped and the consensus is that he is a subpar defensive player now. I think that’s probably true, but I still agree with how the Astros have handled him the past couple of years. Once you committed to him several years ago, there isn’t really a way to shove him aside without really creating a public-relations disaster. It’s not the optimum strategy to win the most games, but Drayton has to sell tickets as well. All that being said, the one area where I really have noticed a drop-off for Biggio is his throwing. He probably has never had a great arm, but over the last several years his throws have become more of an adventure. This year, I hold my breath every time he lets go of the ball. Routine throws to first force Berkman to stretch or jump and on double plays he seems to be shot-putting the ball. Every relay throw has a huge hump in it and seems like it takes about 2 days to get to first base. It probably costs us a few outs over the course of the season.

As I was writing this post, Carlos Lee drills a bomb to dead center-field for his third HR of the game. It’s the first time he’s hit three in a game. 9-6 good guys going into the bottom of the ninth.

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