Wanted: wins. Gall saves the day.

Prior to Saturday’s game, manager Cecil Cooper was fuming about the Astros being shut out two times in eight games. As I watched the ninth inning between the Astros and Cardinals later that afternoon, I wondered how Coop would react to the Astros being shut out three times in nine games, which, if an historical account of Grapefruit League stats actually existed, could very well have proven to be a record.

Thanks to John Gall, we don’t have to pretend to research that little factoid. With two outs in the ninth, Gall doubled home Chris Johnson, which allowed the Astros to lose 5-1 instead of 5-0. It’s the little things that keep us going, no?

So even though the Astros haven’t won since their first game of the Grapefruit League season — save for their win over Panama, which doesn’t count as a win in the league standings — there are a few positives to draw from this game. Mike Hampton looked OK, and he said he feels like he’s getting better every time out. Hampton allowed two runs over three innings, but he breezed through his first two frames, retiring six consecutive batters.

Russ Ortiz, my pick to be the fifth starter, didn’t do so well. He allowed three runs over 2 2/3 innings and admitted later he didn’t feel comfortable for very much of this outing.

“I was just off,” he said. “Timing-wise, I was just late. I was trying to force everything, trying to catch up.

“The first inning, I was fine. I came out the second inning and I was just off, from the get-go. You get frustrated and start thinking too much, at least that’s what I did. You’re almost kind of thinking when you want to throw [inside], I tell myself,

‘Make sure it’s in,’ instead of just, ‘OK, fastball in, here it is.’ With those thoughts in your head, you’re fighting an uphill battle.”

The next time through the rotation, Ortiz can expect to start a game, rather than enter in the middle as he has his first three spring outings.

I know it’s only Spring Training, but the Astros could really, really use a win right about now. Sunday in Bradenton would be a good time to start.


I was commenting on Ortiz in my blog. I watched him pitch against the Astros back at Candlestick back in 1999. The Astros pitcher was Chris Holt (thanks to roundrock15 for that factoid) and Ortiz had his best stuff that day. I know he’s not the same pitcher today, but I was hoping Ortiz could reach back and grab a little of that mojo he once had. http://stonebutch99.mlblogs.com/

Yeah, though it’s early and I know it’s far too soon to be reading too much into things, I have to admit it’d be a lot more fun if our guys would win one every once in a while.

Still, it’s nice to see John Gall make a case for himself to finally be a big league player, and to see Johnson and Sutton hitting so well. And Abercrombie striking out less. The boys are making the positives harder to spot, but they are still out there.


So what do you think Alyson? The four Astros catchers have combined for, what, one hit? Pudge is still out there, and anyone that watched the WBC on Saturday can see he can still swing it. Could Drayton be convinced that something must happen? The catching situation has gone from depressing to downright terrifying pretty quickly.

Hey, Alyson – The Astros haven’t played against the Blue Jays yet, but did you notice who’s hitting the cover off the ball there? JASON LANE! Leading the team with 20 at bats, he’s batting .500 with 3 HR and an OPS of 1.524. I periodically check out Astros alumni to see who’s doing better or worse with their new teams. Glad to see Lane is having a great spring.

So who is John Gall? I haven’t heard anything about him. What positions does he play?

Maybe Coop should think about taking his regulars tomorrow. Enough double-digit road losses!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: