On Wandy and LosAstros. And a few random thoughts.
Wandy Rodriguez was the recipient of quite a few man hugs from when he got back to the clubhouse after his complete game shutout over the Pirates on Wednesday, and who can argue? He tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts, doing so for the second time this year, and he lowered his home ERA this season to 2.21.
A couple more notes on Wandy’s outstanding start:
The Astros are 12-6 in games he has started this year.
He threw 125 pitches, a career-high.
The shutout was the second of his career and the fourth complete game thrown by an Astros pitcher this year.
The Twitter craze is a world-wide phenomenon, and count Astros En Espanol as the latest entity to jump into the social networking era. “LosAstros” is now fully functional and giving 140-character updates on all things Astros, in Spanish.
The Astros have one of the largest local Hispanic fan bases in baseball, right up there with the Dodgers and Mets. They also have a huge following internationally because of their Spanish Web site, which reaches fans in Mexico, Venezuela, Panama and Puerto Rico.
Through “LosAstros” on Twitter, the Astros hope to give fans insight into the team they wouldn’t otherwise get and also to give information about the Spanish Web site, TV show and radio broadcasts.
* Last year, I remember thinking on more than one occasion that this Michael Bourn thing wasn’t working out and they really needed to start looking for another solution in center field. Patience, of course, is one of the most important qualities in a general manager. It is not, however, one of my strong suits, which is why I’m glad Ed Wade is the GM and I’m not.
* When the Astros and Nationals game was suspended on May 5, Elijah Dukes was on first in the bottom of the 11th inning. But Dukes has since been shipped to Triple-A, so the Nationals will simply put in a pinch-runner for him when the game resumes Thursday.
* Pirates starter Charlie Morton faced the Astros only one other time before Wednesday’s game, and while his start then wasn’t memorable, the game certainly was. Morton was with the Braves on July 6, 2008, when he allowed six runs over six innings. That was the forgettable part. What was unforgettable — if you were a) playing for the Astros; b) watching the game on TV or listening on the radio; or c) covering the game as a reporter (such as myself) — was that the game was delayed by rain for more than two hours and then promptly lasted 17 innings.
What I’ll really never forget is how hungry I became around the 14th inning, to the point of desperation. I scoured the ballpark for an open concession stand and had made it almost around the entire circumference before mercifully finding one lone stand still operating. I said, “what do you have?” The lady at the stand said, “Nachos, and one hot dog.” So I bought both.
Later, I bragged to Wade that I bought the last hot dog at Turner Field. He said, “I don’t know if I’d want to eat something that had been sitting around that long,” and I said, “No worries. I gave it to McTaggart.”
* Puma, observing my furious typing after Wednesday’s win: “Twitter! Twitter!” See, I knew he’d come around. For those of you who have asked, no, Puma is not into the Twitter-Facebook thing and never will be…he likes a simpler life, even though he does travel with one of those cool electronic books. So he’s not totally living in the early 2000s.
* LaTroy Hawkins will “start” the suspended game Thursday. He was on the mound when the game was called in D.C.
Throwing out the ceremonial pitch on Wednesday was Roberto Duran, a retired boxer from Panama. Considered in boxing circles as one of the greatest of his generation, Duran is a friend of fellow Panamanian Carlos Lee, who invited Duran to visit with him at Minute Maid Park:
Alyson Footer is on Twitter