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Topics - Waldo

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Talk Zone / We're launching a new forum
« on: November 27, 2019, 12:00:42 pm »
We've been on our current forum for something like 11-12 years by my best guess, but we've hit a dead end in terms of what the software can do.  Couple that with some technical issues we've come across in the last little that don't have an easy resolution and it's finally time to move on.

Beginning today, I'd encourage everyone to go to the new forum and register for an account:

Just FYI, user accounts over there work kind of like Twitter: you have a username that always stays the same (e.g. @YourUsername), but you also have a display name that can be entirely different (e.g. "Jomboy <<< Zapruder") and changed whenever you want.

Once you get registered over there, you'll find in the new TZ a post that outlines how the new forum works and what it can do.  Both forums will run in parallel for a couple of weeks, then we'll disable posting on this forum.  It wouldn't hurt to start updating your bookmarks now, though.

Unfortunately, we're unable to take our full backlog of forum content with us; for the first time since 2004 we're starting with a clean slate.  I hope you'll think it's worth the tradeoff, though.  This forum is not going away - it'll stay up like this for a while, then probably live on in some other form or fashion that can be browsed but not logged into.

Talk Zone / Postseason schedule / info compilation
« on: October 01, 2019, 09:57:19 am »
World Series - Astros vs. Nationals

Umpires: Gary Cederstrom (chief), Sam Holbrook, Lance Barksdale, Doug Eddings, James Hoye, Alan Porter, Jim Wolf

Game 1: Tuesday, October 22, 7:08pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Gerrit Cole vs. Max Scherzer

Game 2: Wednesday, October 23, 7:07pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Justin Verlander vs. Stephen Strasburg

Game 3: Friday, October 25, 7:07pm CDT @ WAS
Starters: Zack Greinke vs. Anibal Sanchez

Game 4: Saturday, October 26, 7:07pm CDT @ WAS
Starters: Jose Urquidy vs. Patrick Corbin

Game 5: Sunday, October 27, 7:07pm CDT @ WAS
Starters: Gerrit Cole vs. Max Scherzer Joe Ross

Game 6: Tuesday, October 29, 7:07pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Justin Verlander vs. Stephen Strasburg

Game 7: Wednesday, October 30, 7:08pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Zack Greinke vs. Max Scherzer

ALCS - Astros vs. Yankees

TV: FOX or FS1 (Joe Buck, John Smoltz, Ken Rosenthal, Tom Verducci)
Umpires: Jeff Nelson (chief), Bill Welke, Cory Blaser, Dan Bellino, Kerwin Danley, Mark Carlson, Marvin Hudson

Game 1: Saturday, October 12, 7:07pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Zack Greinke vs. Masahiro Tanaka

Game 2: Sunday, October 13, 7:07pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Justin Verlander vs. James Paxton

Game 3: Tuesday, October 15, 3:08pm CDT @ NYY
Starters: Gerrit Cole vs. Luis Severino

Game 4: Thursday, October 17, 7:08pm CDT @ NYY
Starters: Zack Greinke vs. Masahiro Tanaka

Game 5: Friday, October 18, 6:08pm CDT @ NYY
Starters: Justin Verlander vs. James Paxton

Game 6: Saturday, October 19, 7:08pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Brad Peacock vs. Chad Green

*Game 7: Sunday, October 20, 6:38pm CDT @ HOU

ALDS - Astros vs. Rays

Game 1: Friday, October 4, 1:05pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.58) vs. Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 1.78)
TV: FS1 (Kenny Albert, Joe Girardi, AJ Pierzynski, Jon Paul Morosi)

Game 2: Saturday, October 5, 8:07pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50)  vs. Blake Snell (6-8, 4.29)
TV: FS1 (Kenny Albert, Joe Girardi, AJ Pierzynski, Jon Paul Morosi)

Game 3: Monday, October 7, 12:05pm CDT @ TB
Starters: Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93) vs. Charlie Morton (16-6, 3.05)
TV: MLB Network (Bob Costas, Joe Girardi, Jim Kaat, Jon Paul Morosi)

Game 4: Tuesday, October 8, 6:07pm CDT @ TB
Starters: Justin Verlander vs. Diego Castillo
TV: FS1 (Kenny Albert, Joe Girardi, AJ Pierzynski, Jon Paul Morosi)

Game 5: Thursday, October 10, 6:07pm CDT @ HOU
Starters: Gerrit Cole vs. Tyler Glasnow
TV: FS1 (Kenny Albert, Joe Girardi, AJ Pierzynski, Jon Paul Morosi)

Umpires: Mark Wegner (chief), Bruce Dreckman, James Hoye, Jerry Meals, D.J. Reyburn, John Tumpane

* - if necessary

Talk Zone / MMP offseason renovations?
« on: September 08, 2019, 09:23:39 pm »

Talk Zone / Expanded netting for next homestand
« on: August 08, 2019, 11:11:28 am »
Won't go all the way to the foul poles, just the front corner of the stands before they go straight back to the pole.  They are also replacing all existing netting with knotless netting to improve visibility.

Might still get the occasional hooking/slicing line drive into the stands past the nets, but overall this is a very good move.

Game Zone 2019 / Indians @ Astros - April 28, 2019
« on: April 28, 2019, 05:58:14 pm »

Lindor SS
Martin CF
Ramirez 3B
Santana 1B
Luplow RF
Gonzalez DH
Kipnis 2B
Perez C
Bauers LF

Carrasco SP


Springer CF
Altuve 2B
Bregman 3B
Brantley DH
Correa SS
Gurriel 1B
Reddick RF
Chirinos C
Kemp LF

Miley SP

Game Zone 2019 / MOVED: Bauer Trolling Bregman
« on: April 28, 2019, 05:55:25 pm »

Talk Zone / The National League
« on: September 29, 2018, 10:52:57 pm »
NL Central: Brewers win, Cubs lose. Tied for 1st heading into Sunday.

NL West: Dodgers win, Rockies lose. Tied for 1st heading into Sunday.

Sunday should be fun. I’m rooting for the same outcome for all four teams tomorrow.

Talk Zone / Correa on MLB Tonight
« on: June 06, 2018, 12:37:31 pm »

Talk Zone / Weekly Roundup - June 4
« on: June 05, 2018, 02:44:14 pm »

Talk Zone / Weekly Roundup - May 28
« on: May 28, 2018, 11:21:08 am »

Talk Zone / Apologies for the downtime yesterday/this morning
« on: May 15, 2018, 09:04:04 am »
I have had an extraordinarily bad run of luck with technology lately.

Talk Zone / Weekly Roundup - May 7
« on: May 07, 2018, 10:13:58 am »

Talk Zone / Weekly Roundup - April 23
« on: April 23, 2018, 01:33:14 pm »

Talk Zone / Weekly Roundup - April 16-22
« on: April 16, 2018, 10:31:28 am »

Talk Zone / And finally... we're back
« on: April 13, 2018, 06:39:02 pm »
Sorry for the downtime today.

Battery backups are a necessary part of protecting computer equipment.  But when your battery backup starts to shit the bed two minutes after you board a bus for work, it will take your shit down with it and could even start tripping breakers.

Talk Zone / Week at a Glance - Opening Week 2018
« on: March 29, 2018, 01:27:13 pm »

Talk Zone / Server move done
« on: December 10, 2017, 11:53:22 pm »
I got a little restless tonight and did the server move ahead of schedule.  The site is finally running on my own hardware so I have complete control of it.  You should notice that it's much faster now (probably even faster than before the recent problems) and if you use Tapatalk on your phone/tablet you may be asked to login again, but that's all you should notice.  If you come across any other glitches please let me know ASAP.

Talk Zone / OWA downtime - Monday, December 11
« on: December 06, 2017, 11:53:47 pm »
OWA will be down for parts of Monday, December 11, hopefully mostly in the morning, while I move the site to alleviate these speed issues once and for all.  I'll probably move the forums before the front page content, so if you haven't already I would bookmark the TZ directly - when the forums first come back up you may not be able to get to them from the front page.



Springer CF
Bregman 3B
Altuve 2B
Correa SS
Gurriel 1B
McCann C
Gonzalez LF
Reddick RF
Keuchel P

Los Angeles:

Taylor CF
Turner 3B
Bellinger 1B
Puig RF
Hernandez LF
Seager SS
Forsythe 2B
Barnes C
Kershaw P

Talk Zone / AL Wild Card Game
« on: October 03, 2017, 07:20:42 pm »
Twins have taken Severino deep twice already in the 1st inning. 3-0 Twins with 1 out still in the 1st

Talk Zone / Series Preview - Mariners @ Astros
« on: September 15, 2017, 04:22:45 pm »

Talk Zone / Series Preview - Astros @ A's
« on: September 07, 2017, 09:49:24 pm »

Talk Zone / Series Preview - Astros @ Mariners
« on: September 04, 2017, 05:05:18 pm »

Talk Zone / Series Preview - Mets @ Astros
« on: September 01, 2017, 02:27:56 pm »

Talk Zone / Series Preview - Astros @ Blue Jays
« on: July 06, 2017, 12:57:08 pm »

Talk Zone / Month in Review - June
« on: July 01, 2017, 05:29:01 pm »

Talk Zone / Series Preview - Astros @ A's
« on: June 19, 2017, 04:13:51 pm »

Talk Zone / Series Preview - Angels @ Astros
« on: June 09, 2017, 05:14:33 pm »

Talk Zone / Charting the 2017 Astros record (updated daily-ish)
« on: May 17, 2017, 05:45:47 pm »
I haven't seen this done anywhere else so I figured I'd do it.  (If someone else has done it, please humor me.)

I put all of the Astros game-by-game results into a spreadsheet and can now chart the 2017 team's record against any past Astros team(s), as well as their cumulative best record at any point.  It can be entertaining to visually compare this team's success against past teams' success (or lack thereof).

Through 158 games, the Astros are 98-60.  They are one win behind the best record of 99-59, accomplished by the 1998 Astros.

Charts, just for fun:
2017 vs. cumulative best record
2017 vs. past playoff teams
2017 vs. 100-loss teams

Talk Zone / Series Preview - Astros @ Yankees
« on: May 11, 2017, 12:00:08 pm »

Talk Zone / Triple play in Boston last night
« on: May 03, 2017, 12:26:34 pm »
Situation: Red Sox have Moreland at 2B and Pedroia at 1B with nobody out.  Bradley hits a popup to shallow left, about 25 feet beyond the infield dirt.  SS Hardy drifts back, sits under it, then misses the ball.

Umpires don't call an infield fly but every Sox runner acts like they did.  Hardy throws in to second where Schoop tags Moreland off the bag for the first out.  Schoop then tags second base, forcing out Pedroia who is still standing on first.  Schoop then throws to first for the force play on Bradley who was not running.

Dickstepping by the Sox?  Bad no-call by the umps?  A little of both?

Talk Zone / Series Preview: Astros @ Mariners
« on: April 10, 2017, 04:13:23 pm »

Talk Zone / Series Preview - Mariners @ Astros
« on: April 03, 2017, 01:40:52 pm »

Talk Zone / Angels @ Astros - The Moment You've Been Waiting For
« on: July 22, 2016, 12:43:26 pm »

Talk Zone / Astros @ Mariners - Let's Poe, Astros
« on: April 25, 2016, 12:31:34 pm »

Talk Zone / Red Sox @ Astros - What Is This I Don't Even
« on: April 22, 2016, 12:54:45 pm »

Talk Zone / Astros @ Yankees - The Boys of Winter
« on: April 05, 2016, 10:39:03 am »
We're going to be better about series previews this year.

I promise.

Sort of.

Talk Zone / FYI - GZ 2016 is ready to go
« on: March 03, 2016, 11:45:39 am »
I created the first game thread of the year, but PBP can go to someone else since I'll be in and out.

Game Zone 2016 Archive / Astros @ Phillies - March 3, 2016
« on: March 03, 2016, 10:35:05 am »
12:05pm CST


1 - Jake Marisnick(R) CF
2 - George Springer(R) RF
3 - Preston Tucker(L) LF
4 - Matt Duffy(R) 3B
5 - Jon Singleton(L) 1B
6 - Tyler White(R) DH
7 - Danny Worth(R) SS
8 - Max Stassi(R) C
9 - Nolan Fontana(L) 2B
P - Doug Fister RHP


1 - Odubel Herrera(L) CF
2 - Peter Bourjos(R) LF
3 - Andrew Knapp(S) C
4 - Ryan Howard(L) 1B
5 - Carlos Ruiz(R) DH
6 - Nick Williams(L) RF
7 - Cesar Hernandez(S) 2B
8 - Freddy Galvis(S) SS
9 - Taylor Featherston(R) 3B
P - Jake Thompson RHP

Talk Zone / Yes, the site was down
« on: February 25, 2016, 08:41:04 am »
So we kind of got boned by our web host starting Sunday afternoon.  It looks like they finally got some things ironed out for us, although the front page is still down for now.  Still dealing with them on that.

Look for some more downtime here and there (hopefully of the scheduled variety) as I look to move the site before Opening Day.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

EDIT - Front page back up now as well.

Talk Zone / Milo Hamilton has passed
« on: September 17, 2015, 01:14:17 pm »

Talk Zone / SERIES PREVIEW: Astros @ Angels, May 7-10
« on: May 07, 2015, 11:15:31 am »

Talk Zone / Forum changes
« on: April 02, 2015, 12:26:17 am »
You may notice some changes to the forum.  Getting the forum upgraded to a newer software version is one thing that can be crossed off the pre-Opening Day checklist.  You can expect to see some more cosmetic changes roll out this weekend.

A couple notes about this:

1.  All of the "ignore" settings have been reset and you'll have to redo them manually.  Previously this was provided via a plugin, but the new forum has its own "ignore" feature.  There's no way to copy over the settings.  Sorry.

2.  The timezone in my account settings got messed up.  If you need to change it, you can do so at Profile -> Account Settings -> Modify Settings -> Look and Layout and find the "Time Offset" setting.  0 hours is Central time.

Please let me know if you run into any other problems.

Talk Zone / The Schedule Makers
« on: November 08, 2013, 09:39:42 am »
Pretty fascinating 30 for 30 short film on the husband and wife that created MLB's schedules for over 20 years without using computer algorithms.

Talk Zone / Astrodome recommended for renovation
« on: May 25, 2012, 08:22:33 am »

The Astrodome, a now-empty showplace that has hosted everyone from Elvis Presley to Hurricane Katrina evacuees, should be turned into a multipurpose facility that could spark fresh interest in the city of Houston, a group of consultants recommended Wednesday.

The $270 million option was one of four considered by consultants led by Dallas-based CSL. The other options included leaving the dome alone, demolishing it and building an outdoor plaza, or building a massive and expensive "renaissance" complex anchored by a luxury hotel.


The reconfigured dome would have more than 300,000 square feet available for trade shows, exhibitions and various sporting events, including basketball and football games.

If it costs $120 million to demolish it, then $270 million to turn it into something that generates revenue sounds like a good idea IMO.

Talk Zone / User registration is back open
« on: November 01, 2011, 12:35:39 pm »
If you've been reading the site for a while and haven't been able to create an account, you can now.  We had to close registration due to some spam issues, but those should be resolved and we can now welcome new Clarks into the fold.  As always, "read more, post less" and don't forget to read the forum guidelines.

Talk Zone / Planning ahead
« on: January 19, 2011, 04:07:07 pm »
Is there a way to watch the Astros online live other than MLB.TV?  Doesn't have to be free.

We're getting rid of our cable again and MLB.TV is no good thanks to the blackouts.  I've found various satellite TV things but wanted to see if anyone else has had experience with them.

Talk Zone / This satisfies my OCD
« on: November 02, 2010, 10:57:31 am »
Not sure whether to congratulate or pity, though.

Beer and Queso / Baylor... Powerhouse
« on: October 30, 2010, 09:32:26 pm »
Just wow.

Talk Zone / Express "historic announcement" on Thursday
« on: September 13, 2010, 02:02:22 pm »
Just got this in my e-mail:

You're Invited: Historic Announcement Thursday, Sept. 16

Round Rock Express fans are invited to join the Express family for an historic announcement Thursday, Sept. 16, in the United Heritage Center at The Dell Diamond. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. CDT with the program to begin at noon.

Express President/CEO Reid Ryan and Ryan Sanders Baseball Principal Owner Nolan Ryan will be on hand for the announcement along with Ryan Sanders Baseball partners Bret Sanders, Brad Sanders and Reese Ryan.

Gee, I wonder what it could be.

Talk Zone / Drayton finds twitter
« on: August 04, 2010, 09:40:55 pm »

Look, it would be really unfair to say Sean Berry was a bad hire. There was no way we could know he was holding back the offense.

Talk Zone / Express Bypass Lane
« on: July 19, 2010, 02:22:16 pm »
Just got this e-mail from the Express.  Kind of a cool idea, and will come in handy when I'm there for Dollar Dog night later this month...

Ground-Breaking Technology to Debut at The Dell Diamond

Ryan Sanders Baseball and the Round Rock Express Baseball Club announced Wednesday the introduction of a ground-breaking technology for fans at The Dell Diamond. The Bypass Lane allows fans to order and pay for concessions on their smartphones and skip the line at the concession stands. The Round Rock Express is the first franchise to offer a venue-wide solution that allows every fan from any seat in the ballpark to use the service.

"Improving the fan experience is our number-one priority," Express Owner and CEO Reid Ryan said. "Bypass is a real game-changer that allows our fans to skip long lines and remain engaged in the game, their families and the fun. I envision this service being offered at every sports and entertainment venue in the coming years."

The service is provided by Bypass Lane, an Austin-based technology company. By visiting on their iPhones, Androids, Dell phones, Palm Pres and Pixis, fans can view the full food and drink menus of four concessions stands at The Dell Diamond: Curveball Cantina, Double Play Cafe, Nolan Ryan Fireball Grill and the Hot Corner Grill.

Fans place and pay for their orders in just seconds, avoiding the long lines and hassles of regular concession stands. Bypass Lane sends fans a text message when their orders are ready for pickup from the closest Bypass Lane, thus getting them back to their seats in little time.

"At Bypass, we are passionate about fans and think long concession lines are an unnecessary obstacle to enjoying a day at the ballpark," Bypass Lane President Brandon Lloyd said. "The reaction from Ryan Sanders has been fantastic. We look forward to providing fans of the Round Rock Express the ability to skip the line, not the game."

Talk Zone / SnS was down
« on: May 26, 2010, 01:16:05 pm »
As you probably noticed.

Apparently we may have gotten to the point that we have outgrown our current web host.  The scripts that run our site had exceeded our allocated amount of CPU usage on the server, and since we share the server with various other sites, our host cut us off.  Think of it as a bunch of people using the same computer and one guy screwing it up for everyone else by downloading too much porn.  At least, that's the way our host probably thinks of us right now.

Hopefully we'll be able to take some measures to resolve the problem in the interim, but we still run the risk of it happening again.  If you ever try to access the site in the future and get that "Internal server error" message, this is likely the cause.  Ultimately we will be looking at switching web hosts, which will inevitably involve some future downtime of a couple days as things get transferred.

Thanks for your patience while we were down, and don't hit "refresh" too often for a while.


Being a Sprint customer in Austin, I am very, very excited about this.

This phone has some monster specs, including:

- First 4G WiMAX smartphone
- 4.3" screen (looks massive compared to the iPhone)
- 1.3-megapixel front camera, 8-megapixel rear camera with HD (720p) video recording
- HDMI output
- Mobile wi-fi hotspot for up to eight devices
- Flash support


Talk Zone / Astrodome's fate could be decided this year
« on: February 15, 2010, 08:55:36 pm »
Didn't see this posted (if anyone cares).  Astrodome could house technology museum

Another sports venue with an uncertain future is the aging Astrodome. Judge Emmett says the most realistic option being studied is using part of the Dome for a technology museum, and the make the rest of it usable, open space.

"Not turn it into a hotel, not do anything that costs $500 million, but bring it back to code and make it usable as part of the overall Reliant master plan," said Emmett.

Judge Emmett expects a full proposal on the Astrodome within months and says whatever the plan, a bond proposal will need to be approved by the voters.  ...  the fate of the Astrodome could lie with voters in a few months.

Talk Zone / DELETE any PMs from MannInBlackk
« on: January 27, 2010, 02:30:46 pm »
The user in question has been banned.

Beer and Queso / Google Voice
« on: September 03, 2009, 03:52:33 pm »
Just finished setting this up and it is outstanding.  Now I can finally ditch my work cell and still have separation between work and personal calls.  The voicemail transcription is great too (even though it whiffed on a few words when I tested it, but it picked up "smorgasbord").

Wish it was easier to make calls through my Google Voice phone # without an Android/iPhone but that is a small price to pay.

Beer and Queso / Uverse and Astros games on My20
« on: July 02, 2009, 03:22:12 pm »
We're about to get Uverse. Can you get My20 Astros games on Uverse?

Beer and Queso / Waldo goes to the dark side
« on: June 23, 2009, 09:24:34 pm »
Been looking for a new home theater PC ever since we retired our HD-incapable XP Media Center PC three years ago.  Not for DVR, just mostly for watching videos online, archiving our DVDs, and iTunes streaming.  Came across Plex a few days ago and was pretty impressed with its features (including the ability to play raw VIDEO_TS folders copied from a DVD without the need for transcoding).

So I went to the Domain on Saturday and bought a Mac Mini for our entertainment center.  And I like it.

Honestly, the Mac is much less frustrating with a two-button mouse.  For that reason alone, I will never buy a MacBook.  But I like OS X, Safari 4 is ridiculously fast, and Plex is pretty sweet.  Haven't hooked it up to the 52" DLP yet (need a mini-DVI->HDMI cable), so I'm hoping it looks good at that point.

To offset this atrocity, I'm pre-ordering three copies of Windows 7 on Saturday.

Beer and Queso / PSA: Conficker worm activates tomorrow
« on: March 31, 2009, 01:18:56 pm »
Time to get your Windows Updates and update your antivirus definitions.

[limey]Or get a Mac.[/limey]

Batten down the hatches

Beer and Queso / So say we all
« on: March 20, 2009, 03:07:23 pm »
Just a reminder, for those that watch, that the Battlestar Galactica series finale is tonight.  Last week's episode will air at 87pm, and the final two hours will start at 8pm (central).

Talk Zone / Childbirth: the ultimate voidbuster
« on: January 29, 2009, 04:30:26 pm »
Our son is five days overdue and, not wanting to pull a Wigginton, the missus and I are heading to the hospital at 8:30 tonight to induce labor.

If you're curious or a stalker, I'll be posting updates on our web site during the labor process, as long as my wife isn't cursing at me.

Beer and Queso / Major spam server busted
« on: November 17, 2008, 04:40:50 pm »
Noticed a decrease in your spam the last few days?  Probably because a couple of ISPs pulled the plug on a California web host's Internet access last week.  Turns out McColo Corporation's clients were responsible for 50-75% of all spam worldwide, was one of (if not the) primary control server for malware that has stolen 500,000 bank/credit accounts over the last 2.5 years, and harbored at least 40 child porn web sites.

A Washington Post tech blogger blew the whistle.

Our mail server here at work has seen a 70% decrease in spam volume since last Tuesday.

Beer and Queso / I've joined the cult
« on: November 07, 2008, 10:29:54 pm »
Posting this from my brand new 16GB iPod Touch 2G.  First MP3 player I've owned.  This thing is badass.

What are some good time wasting apps to get?

Talk Zone / Forum downtime - Sunday night (3/30)
« on: March 27, 2008, 11:49:52 pm »
I will be doing some last minute maintenance to the forum in preparation for Opening Day starting at around 10pm on Sunday night.  The TZ will be inaccessible during this time, however it will be open for business by Monday morning.

Thank you for your understanding.

Talk Zone / Non-BB: Toshiba abandons HD-DVD
« on: February 20, 2008, 12:15:31 pm »
In case you missed yesterday's news, Toshiba is calling it quits on the HD-DVD format, making Blu-Ray the winner of Format War Part Deux.

Hope you didn't buy one

Talk Zone / FYI - OWA downtime Tuesday 10/9
« on: October 08, 2007, 02:16:49 pm »
With no games scheduled for Tuesday night, I'm going to take the opportunity to install some updates.  The forums will be inaccessible during this time.

Talk Zone / BBGs alive and well in Chitown
« on: October 06, 2007, 08:23:08 pm »
Stephen Drew gets dinged, but the umpire doesn't see it.  Drew goes deep on the next pitch, putting the DBacks up 5-1 in the 9th.

Talk Zone / In the presence of TZ greatness
« on: September 14, 2007, 01:40:49 pm »
You, too, can feel the love from the comfort of your own vehicle.

Talk Zone / Bill Murray, baseball broadcaster (non-Astros)
« on: September 08, 2007, 08:26:47 am »
Once upon a time (1987 to be specific), Bill Murray filled in for Harry Caray during an early season Cubs game.  A lot of the really funny stuff happens during the pregame.  The late Eric Gregg makes an appearance as well.  There's also a mention of Mike Scott taking a no-hitter into the 9th in a recent game.

It'll take about 30-35 minutes of your time, but it's well worth it.

Game Zone 2007 Archive / MOVED: 40 man roster
« on: September 05, 2007, 08:09:20 pm »

Talk Zone / Hotels in downtown Houston
« on: June 21, 2007, 12:45:46 am »
The old lady and I are making our annual pilgrimage to Minute Maid the first week of July, and decided to make a week of it.  Thinking about staying downtown... any recommendations for hotels?  Any way to get around valet fees?  I read online that you can park in the Toyota Center garage for free.  Shuttle to and from games is a plus.

We've looked at the Hilton, Hyatt, and the Doubletree.  Inn at the Ballpark is a little out of our price range.

News Archive 2007 / Astros reel in Mariners 9-4
« on: June 17, 2007, 10:58:58 am »
June 16, 2007
Astros 9, Mariners 4

W - Williams (3-9) | L - Baek (3-3)
Pigpen watch: 2,989 (1x5)
GameZone thread
Discuss in the TalkZone

Footer's pinch-hitter at
AP recap

Woody Williams didn't have a fantastic day on the mound Saturday, but it was good enough for a win behind a 9-run offensive attack.  Four Astros turned in multi-hit games, including a 3x4 performance from Brad Ausmus.  Craig Biggio also went yard for three runs, clocking his 2,989th hit.

News Archive 2007 / Astros make it two in Chicago
« on: June 09, 2007, 10:08:08 pm »
June 9, 2007
Astros 3, White Sox 2

W - Qualls (5-3) | L - Jenks (2-2)
Pigpen watch: 2,980 (no ABs, pinch-ran in 9th)
GameZone coverage
Discuss in the TalkZone

AP recap
Alyson Footer

Normally, scoring only three runs on 12 hits might make for a frustrating loss, but the Astros managed to turn this one into a win.  Lance Berkman hit the game-winning RBI single in the top of the 9th to beat the 3-2 and notch Houston's first series victory since the Giants series on May 15-17.

Eric Munson, making his third appearance this season, homered into the first row of seats in right to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.  Mike Lamb added a bases-loaded sac fly in the top of the 8th to make it 2-0.

Jason Jennings pitched a hell of a game, going 7+ innings and striking out six.  In the end, however, he was once again denied his first win as an Astro, giving up a single to start the 8th before yielding the mound to Trever Miller, who promptly blew the lead and got the blown save.  But it was Lance who came through with the game-winner with a looping liner into left to score Adam Everett from third.  Chad Qualls, who cleaned up Miller's mess in the 8th, finished the 9th for the win.

Hunter PENCE!!! sat out the game with a strained hip flexor.  Chris Burke got the start in center and picked up right where he left off, going 0x3 and stranding three.

Houston doesn't yet have a three-game sweep this season, and will try for their first tomorrow with Wandy Rodriguez going against Mark Buehrle.  First pitch is 1:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2007 / Astros tee off on Co-ard pitching
« on: June 03, 2007, 02:35:02 pm »
June 2, 2007
Astros 8, Cardinals 3

W - Sampson (5-5) | L - Wells (2-10)
Pigpen watch: 2,978 (1x5)
GameZone thread
Discuss in the TalkZone

AP recap

Leaving town for the week, so this will be brief.

The Astros bounced back from Friday's nauseating 9th inning with a strong 8-3 effort against the Cardinals on Saturday.  Three Astros left the park with home runs, and Chris Sampson pitched eight strong innings en route to the win.  Houston is 23-32, a game behind St. Louis and 7.5 off the Brewers' pace for the division lead.

Adam Everett, Carlos Lee, and Luke Scott all went yard, highlighting an efficient offense attack that scored eight runs on only nine hits.  Lee had three RBI on the day, extending his NL-leading total to 52.  Hunter Pence added two runs and two RBI.

The Cardinals have the top (bottom?) two pitchers in losses in the NL with Kip Wells (10) and Anthony Reyes(9).

News Archive 2007 / Signs of life, but losing streak reaches seven
« on: May 27, 2007, 10:26:49 am »
May 26, 2007
Diamondbacks 5, Astros 4

W - Webb (4-3) | L - Sampson (4-5) | S - Valverde (18)
Pigpen watch: 2,972 (0x4, Golden Sombrero)
GameZone thread
Discuss in the TalkZone


At least they kept it from being another blowout.  The Astros put together a mini-rally down 5-2 but ultimately fell short against Brandon Webb & Co.  The team's seventh straight loss drops them to 21-28, 7 games out in the Central but no worse off than the rest of the crappy teams in the division.

Webb maintained his status as one of the latest Astro-Killers, holding them to a couple of runs over seven innings while fanning 8.  Four of those ponche's included one Craig Biggio, who looked absolutely lost at the plate all night.  Whether it was the down-and-away slider, the down-and-in slider, or a simple changeup from Webb in the second inning, Vornado might do well to seek an endorsement deal with the Bidge after Saturday's game.  It was his second Sombrero in as many weeks.  In seven appearances against the Astros in his career, Webb has a 1.75 ERA and has held the good guys to a .199 average.

By contrast, there were some offensive bright spots, and few have been brighter lately than Hunter PENCE!!! and Mark Loretta; each turned in multi-hit games.  Carlos Lee also had a strong night with 3 RBIs, including a 2-run dinger in the top of the 8th which cut the DBacks' lead to a run.

Chris Sampson had a decent enough night on the mound, working six innings and allowing three runs.  Qualls allowed another couple of runs in the 7th.  Wheeler and Miller split a scoreless 8th.

For the first time in what has seemed like forever, the Astros came to bat in the 9th within striking distance, but Valverde sat them down in order, including a punchout of Morgan Ensberg to end the game, for his league-leading 18th save.

Roy Oswalt has never lost to Arizona.  He will get the ball on Sunday to try to maintain that record, as well as avoid a 4-game sweep.  Livan Hernandez goes for the Snakes.  First pitch is 3:40pm CDT.

News Archive 2007 / Astros lose 4-2
« on: May 23, 2007, 10:24:33 am »
May 22, 2007
Giants 4, Astros 2
W: Lincecum (2-0) | L: Oswalt (6-3) | S: Benitez (9)
Pigpen watch: 2,971 (DNP)
GameZone thread
Discuss in the TalkZone

Alyson Footer

Borrowing a page from the book of MusicMan, this recap will be somewhat abbreviated due to my work schedule and the late game last night.

The Astros got two runs in the top of the 4th with RBI hits by Mark Loretta and Carlos Lee.  Oswalt held the Giants to just a run on three hits through the first five innings, but gave up three runs in the 6th.  Tim Lincecum went eight innings against Houston and only gave up two hits after the 4th inning.

Stay tuned for another late game tonight, featuring Matt Albers and Barry Zito.  First pitch is 9:15pm CDT.

Archive / Chuck captures the essence of ESPN
« on: May 13, 2007, 02:29:28 pm »
In a discussion about Lidge looking good on the mound despite a couple walks and a wild pitch:

"The douchebags on BBT only pointed out Brad's wild pitch and suggested he needed a change of scenery."

"Good idea. Let's trade him to the Red Sox.

Why you guys torture yourselves watching that east coast circle jerk lubed up by a coterie of corpulent, self-satisfied fuckwits I simply cannot imagine."

News Archive 2007 / Four bombs help Astros beat Snakes
« on: May 13, 2007, 01:51:04 am »
May 12, 2007
Astros 10, Diamondbacks 4
W: Roy Oswalt (6-2) | L: Livan Hernandez (3-2)
Pigpen watch: 2,964 (1x5)
GameZone thread
Discuss in the TalkZone

Jim Molony at

The roof was open and the longball was flying.  The Astros hit four dongs in support of Roy and beat back the Snakes by a 10-4 margin.  Trying to get back to .500, the team currently sits at 17-19.

The early parts of the game saw the DBacks getting a lot of traffic on Roy, who didn't seem to have the best command early on.  With one out and two on, Roy walked the bases loaded before giving up a double down the left field line to Tony Clark.  El Caballo made a good sliding play to stay behind the ball and keep it from going to the scoreboard, but two runs still scored.  After a couple of scoreless frames, the DBacks added another run on Roy in the 4th.

All told, it wasn't necessarily pretty, but it turned out to be an all-around effective performance, as Roy still ended up with seven K's (six of them swinging) in six innings.  The pen also contributed some quality innings in a relatively low-pressure situation, with reverT and Qualls each pitching scoreless innings.  Lidge worked the 8th and, despite giving up a run and throwing a wild pitch, looked pretty good.

Plenty of the bats had huge days at the plate.  Mike Lamb, who started at third base, kicked off the scoring for the Astros in the 1st with a crank into the tunnel behind the wall in right field.  That would cut the DBacks' lead to 2-1.  In the 4th with the score tied 3-3, Luke Scott extended his hitting streak to ten games with a towering 3-run blast into the upper tank in right.  With two runs already in in the 4th, that was when the game quickly turned into a blowout.  All five runs were scored with two outs.  In the 7th Lee and PENCE!!! went yard as well, solo shots each.  Thunder lacked only a triple for the cycle, if that is indicative enough of his hitting today; however, he botched a pretty simple play in the 2nd inning.  Scott had started to camp underneath a fly ball to right center, but Pence called him off only to have the ball bounce off his own glove when he got there.  Chalk that up to inexperience, and no damage was done that inning, but it should've been Luke's play.

Lastly, and I know this has been talked about, but seeing the Astros and Diamondbacks on the field at the same time will be visually confusing for the foreseeable future, at least on standard def broadcasts.  It looked like a live action Mortal Kombat mirror match tonight, and my wife resorted to shouting at the TV because she couldn't figure out whether to cheer or be pissed when something happened.  Something must be done about this.  Please.  Think of the wives.

Wandy still seeks his first win of the season, and will try again for it on Sunday against Doug Davis.  First pitch is 1:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2007 / Cards shut down by Albers, blasted 13-0
« on: May 06, 2007, 01:00:00 am »
May 5, 2007
Astros 13, Cardinals 0

W: Matt Albers (1-1) | L: Kip Wells (1-6)
Pigpen watch: 2,959 (DNP)
GameZone thread
Become a matadorph groupie in the TalkZone

Other coverage:
AP story
Alyson Footer at

Matt Albers had an outstanding day on the mound Saturday, notching the first win of his career while taking a three-hit shutout into the 8th inning.  While not necessarily overpowering, striking out only two batters, Albers was both effective and efficient, throwing 91 pitches in his 7.1 innings. 

As if that wasn't good enough, the bats bludgeoned the hell out of a hapless Redbird lineup with 13 runs on 14 hits.  Because of the noon start time, Biggio got the day off and Mark Loretta had a huge game in his place, going 4x5 with an RBI and factoring into both the Astros' 5-run 5th and 4-run 8th.  Ensberg also had a good day at the plate, collecting two hits and scoring three times... out of the leadoff spot of all places.

MoBerg in the #1 hole wasn't the only oddity in Saturday's game.  Loretta started at second base and was later reshuffled to first and then shortstop.  Might as well have had him selling hot dogs too.  Ausmus also saw a couple of innings of work at first base.

Gunther Pence made sure to pour a big ass drum of 93-octane on the debate of his callup, launching a grand slam to left center in the 8th.  Obviously, that means that the sandwich maker, Dennis Dove, had a pretty bad day at the ballpark - he had just been called up to the majors following Josh Hancock's death and was making only his third major league appearance.  Berkman, Lee, and Scott also had multi-RBI games, including a bases-loaded three run double by the Dietless Horseman in the 5th.

Chris Sampson and Braden Looper will pitch Sunday's tiebreaker.  Game time is 1:15pm CDT.

Talk Zone / Astros 2007 television/HD schedule
« on: May 03, 2007, 10:47:39 pm »
Combining information from the TV schedule, the long-winded Austin thread, and homer's HD thread, here is the remaining Astros television schedule for this season.  56 games this season will be broadcast in HD.

FSN games in HD will be broadcast on FOX Sports HD (list of affiliates at bottom).  FOX has announced that all FOX Saturday Baseball broadcasts will be in HD, so Astros games on FOX are assumed to be in HD.

All times Central.

9/21 Fri: FSN, 7:10pm @ Cardinals (HD) - also carried on ESPN
9/22 Sat: KNWS, 6:15pm @ Cardinals
9/23 Sun: KNWS, 1:15pm @ Cardinals (No TV in Austin)
9/25 Tue: FSN, 6:10pm @ Reds
9/26 Wed: FSN, 6:10pm @ Reds
9/27 Thu: FSN, 6:10pm @ Reds
9/28 Fri: FSN, 7:05pm vs Braves (HD)
9/29 Sat: KNWS, 6:05pm vs Braves
9/30 Sun: FSN, 1:05pm vs Braves (HD)

List of affiliates carrying FSN HD Astros games:
Time Warner Houston (Ch. 302)
Time Warner Austin (Ch. 1639)
Time Warner San Antonio (Ch. 150)
Time Warner Waco (Ch. 1016)
Time Warner El Paso (Ch. 994)
Time Warner Del Rio (Ch. 994)
Time Warner Port Neches (Ch. 994)
Time Warner Pharr (Ch. 894)
Time Warner Kerrville (Ch. 894)
Time Warner Laredo (Ch. 994)
Time Warner Uvalde (Ch. 994)
Time Warner Wichita Falls (Ch. 994)
DirecTV Houston DMA only (Ch. 96)
DirecTV FSN Southwest territory (Ch. 95)

Talk Zone / Hancock may have been drunk when killed
« on: May 01, 2007, 10:44:58 am »
It's just hearsay at this point, but it sounds like he might have been drinking heavily before he got behind the wheel.

Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was in a potentially serious traffic accident less than three days before the one that took his life Sunday, according to police reports.

Hancock walked away from that early Thursday morning crash uninjured, but he was late for the team's afternoon game a few hours later. The club and several teammates said he had overslept.

But sources say he was late because he was hung over.

Two nights later, after pitching in a Saturday afternoon game, Hancock spent the evening at Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood drinking to a point of impairment, according to a couple at the restaurant.


News Archive 2007 / Save some for tomorrow, guys
« on: April 28, 2007, 11:51:37 pm »
April 28, 2007
Astros 10, Brewers 1

W: Sampson (3-1) | L: Bush (2-2)
Pigpen watch: 2,953 (1x3)
GameZone thread

Other coverage:
The Foot
The Associate

The exact reasons for the summoning of top prospect Hunter Pence to the bigs are a subject of fierce debate, but if it was partially intended as a wake-up call to a lackadaisical Astros lineup, the message was received loud and clear tonight.  The Good Guys put up as many runs in Saturday's eight offensive innings as they had in their previous 51 innings, bashing thirteen hits en route to a 10-1 slumpbuster.  Additionally, Chris Sampson recovered from his Philly disaster earlier in the week and pitched a gem for 6.1 innings, striking out 8.

In addition to Pence getting the start in center over Burke, MoBerg rode the pine (save for a pinch-hitting appearance) in favor of Mark Loretta at the hot corner.  This is likely just the first reshuffling in a bid to get Loretta's hot bat some more playing time.  Loretta didn't do Ensberg any favors either, going 2x4 with two RBI singles, boosting his season average to .375.

With a 1-1 tie, the four-run 5th inning was the first game-breaking opportunity for Houston.  With runners at first and second and one out, Sampson clocked his first major league hit with a liner to center.  Adam Everett tried to score from second but was pegged at the plate.  After Bidge walked to load the bases, Loretta hit a squibbler up the third base line that pitcher Dave Bush couldn't get to quickly enough to make the out at home.  Now 2-1 and with the sacks still loaded, Twinkie singled to right and cleared the bases.  Ironically enough, the third run only scored because Berkman tried to reach second on the throw and got caught in a rundown.

The 'Stros tacked on five more in the sixth, highlighted by a two-run double by Everett, a two-run triple by Y'Know, and another RBI single by Loretta.

After Sampson left the game with one out in the 7th, Lidge and Trever Miller combined to shutout the Brewers for the remainder of the game.  Despite giving up a couple of hits, Lidge looked better on the mound with increased velocity and a little more snap to his slider.

Oh yeah, and that Pence guy went 1x3 with a single, a plunk, and a punchout.

Woody Williams still seeks his first win of the season, and he will give it another go Sunday at 1:05pm CDT.  Claudio Vargas goes for the Brewers.

News Archive 2007 / Winning streak ends at 5
« on: April 21, 2007, 11:17:04 pm »
April 21, 2007
Brewers 6, Astros 4
W: Capuano (3-0) | L: Rodriguez (0-2) | S: Cordero (6)
Pigpen watch: 2,945 (0x4)
GameZone thread
Fight about it in the TalkZone

Other coverage:
J.R. Radcliffe (who?) at
AP via Yahoo!

Wandy Rodriguez pitched his first sub-standard game of the young 2007 season, giving up six runs in six innings as the Astros lost 6-4.

Wandy sported pretty good pitch location in his first two innings, but was touched up for a two-run homer by J.J. Hardy in the third and things went downhill from there.  After another run in the 4th, Hardy went deep again to lead off the 5th, the first of three runs to cross the plate.  Wandy stayed in for a scoreless 6th before leaving the game.

After a MoBerg solo blast in the 1st inning, the offense went dormant, seeming to be gearing up for some more late-inning magic... and it almost happened.  Houston loaded the bags with nobody out, and after Bidge struck out on the ol' down-and-away, Chris Burke hit a hotshot back to the mound that caromed off Carlos Villanueva's glove for an infield hit and a run, cutting the lead to 6-2.  Then Berkman damn near went Biggio all over Miller Park less than 24 hours later, driving one down the right field line and having it go slightly foul.  He then watched strike three, but Lee picked him up with a 2-run single.  Still, it wasn't enough, and despite getting two runners on in the 9th, Lee grounded out to end the game.

The enigmatic Brian Moehler resurfaced again and actually turned in a couple of respectable innings in relief of Wandy, giving up just one hit.  Overall, the pen is shaping up to be pretty nice so far.

Roy O looks to go 4-0 on Sunday as the Astros and Beermakers play the rubber game.  First pitch is 1:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2007 / Phils rock Woody, Astros lose 8-6
« on: April 14, 2007, 11:43:02 pm »
April 14, 2007
Astros 9, Phillies 6

W: Hamels (1-0) | L: Williams (0-2) | S: Gordon (2)
Pigpen watch: 2,940 (1x5)
GameZone thread
Fight about it in the TalkZone

Other coverage:
Joseph Santoquilito at

Woody Williams' second loss of 2007 was pretty similar to his first.  The Phillies dropped five earnies on him in 5+, contributing to an 8-5 Houston loss.  The Astros are 4-6.

Houston actually held a 4-1 advantage in the 4th inning after a 3-run crank by Jason Lane, but the Phillies answered with a 3-spot of their own in the bottom half of the 4th.  After trading blows and reaching a 5-5 tie, Williams left the game in the bottom of the 6th with Jimmy Rollins on first and one out.  Trever Miller was brought in to give up the lead on a double after getting a second out, and the Astros elected to intentionally walk Ryan Howard to eliminate the open base.  Brad Lidge then came on and resumed his struggles, giving up another run and then walking the bases loaded before getting out of the inning.

Despite a 3x5 day at the plate, it was not a particularly good mental day (is there such a thing?) for MoBerg.  In the 2nd inning, he was doubled off second with 1 out after taking off on a fly ball to center by Lane.  He was already crossing the plate when the ball was caught, and his out ended the inning.  He also botched a throw to first on a 2-out grounder by Pat Burrell.  The ball got by Fatty at first, allowing Burrell to get to second.  Abraham Nunez then knocked him in on the next play, accounting for Woody's one unearned run.

With Jason Jennings taking a breather for his elbow, the rotation has been mixed up somewhat, and Wandy Rodriguez will pitch on Sunday (provided the game is not postponed due to weather).  If they do play, Freddy Garcia will go for the Phils.  First pitch is 12:35pm CT.

News Archive 2007 / Roy goes distance in 5-hit effort, Astros win 5-1
« on: April 07, 2007, 09:45:22 pm »
April 7, 2007
Astros 5, Cardinals 1

W: Roy Oswalt | L: Anthony Reyes
Pigpen watch: 2,936 (1x5)
Gamezone thread
Rejoice about it in the TalkZone

Other resources:
Alyson Footer

The Astro bats followed Roy O's strong performance this time, leading to Houston's first victory this season with a 5-1 win over the Deadbirds.  Oswalt pitched a complete game on only 96 pitches and kept the StL lineup in check for much of the game.

Perhaps the best indicator of the Wizard's mastery of the Cardinal hitters is the 20 ground ball outs.  The ground ball came in handy at least a few times, including double plays hit into by Edmonds, Eckstein, and the Poo.  It also worked Roy out of a 2nd-and-3rd no-out jam in the 5th inning when, with the Astros leading 3-1 at the time, Gary Bennett hit a chopper in front of the plate that didn't advance the Soul Patch from third.  Reyes then got embarrassed by Oswalt on three pitches, and Eckstein bounced out to first to end the threat.

Biggio and Flapjack each had two RBI on the night.  Lee scored Ensberg from third on a sac fly in the 1st, then popped one into the second row of the Crawford Boxes in the 6th inning.  Bidge just missed a homer of his own in the second, his shot bouncing off the wall in left center.  Instead, he settled for a two-run double, scoring Everett and Ausmus.  Tubby also awoke from his early season slumber, hitting a blast to the cheap seats in right field in the 7th.  LaRussa demanded after the game that Berkman be tested for a high BFC (blood funnel cake) content.

The game was the coldest game ever played at Minute Maid, with temperatures in the mid/high 30s by the end of the game.  At least MMPUS is fully equipped with a state-of-the-art heating system whiskey hot chocolate natural gas.  Reports on the effectiveness of Sheriff Blalock's nachos in that regard are still coming in.

Jason Jennings will pitch against Kip Wells on Sunday in the rubber match.  First pitch will be at 1:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2007 / Astros drop season opener 4-2
« on: April 03, 2007, 12:18:31 am »
April 2, 2007
Pirates 4, Astros 2
(10 innings)
W: Matt Capps | L: Chad Qualls | S: Solomon Torres
BS: Brad Lidge
Pigpen watch: 2,931 (1x4)
GameZone thread
Fight about it in the TalkZone

Other coverage:
AP story
Alyson Footer

In 1969, Larry Dierker pitched 20 complete games.

Would that be too much to ask of Roy O?  Hook him up to another DieHard if you have to, but the bullpen already seems little improved over the 2006 version.  The Wiz and his counterparts are gonna need to eat some serious innings this year.

After struggling to find the strike zone in the first inning, Oswalt picked up steam quickly.  While he wasn't necessarily overpowering hitters, he worked quickly and efficiently.  The pace of the game was so fast that Lidge took the mound in the top of the 9th at just over the two hour mark.  Any hopes of an early end to the Opening Day win were attached to the ball that sailed off of Xavier Nady's bat and into the facade above the Crawford Boxes.  The boo-birds in attendance showed that they do not have a very short memory.  At least, we're pretty sure they were booing, since Luke Scott was just standing in right field and not really doing anything worthy of praise at the moment.  After the Astros went in order in the bottom half, Qualls' two-run gopherball in the first extra frame did not help matters much.

The offensive side was not much better.  Chances are you're having a bad day on the base paths if the opposing center fielder gets two outfield assists.  Chris Duffy pegged Scott at second on a greedy double attempt, and later gunned down Chris Burke trying to score from second on a liner by Oswalt.  Duffy's throw even drew the catcher Paulino to his right, but he still had time to come back and tag Burke as he slid.  Instant replay was inconclusive as to whether or not Burke actually touched the plate with his hand, but he was a goner either way.  Scott provided the only run-scoring offense for the good guys, with a two-run blast to deep right-center just to the right of the hill.

Here's hoping Jason Jennings can channel the spirit of the Wrangler in his Astro debut tomorrow at 7:05pm CDT.

Talk Zone / Features you would like to see in the new TZ
« on: March 30, 2007, 10:09:02 pm »
Other than smilies of Yvette Casares' bazombas or integrated support for USB-powered beer paraphernalia, what kind of technical stuff would you like to see added to the new TalkZone?  There were several things mentioned in the "this place is wonderful" thread, and I have addressed some of them, but I thought I'd open up the floor to any ideas.

Suggestions from the other thread:
- Previous/next topic links: done
- Within thread, jump to first new post: to-do
- Fix link text color: done
- Link to show all posts in thread: done
- Show replied-to user: to-do (maybe)
- UBD error: don't know what that is?
- Truncate URLs: done
- More orange: to-do

Other things I'm planning:
- Get the RSS working again
- Bring back current division standings at the top of the page (it's been a long time since we had that)
- Show latest game score at the top of the page

Talk Zone / OWA will be offline Sunday 3/25
« on: March 23, 2007, 05:24:19 pm »

In an effort to provide the best service possible, we will be changing web hosting providers on Sunday, March 25.  We have finally outgrown our current provider (as evidenced by slower response times in recent months) and with Opening Day approaching, we feel like the time is right to make a change.

Unfortunately, this means that, during the transfer to our new host, OWA will likely be offline for the majority of the day on Sunday.  I will be locking down the forums at around 12-1am on Sunday morning so I can transfer everything over to the new host.  Depending on your ISP, it may be Sunday night or Monday morning until you have access to OWA again.

At the same time that this is happening, we are also making some changes to our forums again.  Things will look and work a little different, but your user accounts and all existing forum posts will remain intact.  You will NOT need to re-register; all you will need to do is login like normal.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

-The admins

Game Zone 2007 Archive / GameZone will return for Spring Training 2007
« on: October 31, 2006, 02:21:55 pm »

Talk Zone / Site was down - apologies
« on: September 30, 2006, 12:07:16 pm »
Things should be back to normal... at least, as normal as it gets around here.

News Archive 2006 / Lidge happens again, Astros fall in 12
« on: July 10, 2006, 01:05:21 pm »
The Astros enter the All-Star Break on a pretty low note, as yet another winnable game got away from them.  After tying the score in the bottom of the 9th and getting plenty of opportunities to score, they ended up getting burned in the 13th as the Cardinals got a couple runs off Brad Lidge to win.  Houston enters the break at 43-46, 6 games out of first place.

Pooholes drew first blood in the top of the 1st with an RBI single off Andy Pettitte.  Following that, it was a pitcher's duel for the better part of six innings as Andy Pettitte and Chris Carpenter only allowed a combined six baserunners through the top of the 6th.  The Astros finally got to Carpenter in the bottom of the 6th, with Mike Lamb tripling past Juan Encarnacion in right-center to score Pettitte and tie the game.  Lamb then scored when Chris Burke doubled to left-center, giving the Astros the lead.

Pettitte found himself in trouble early in the 8th, with runners at first and third and nobody out.  Dan Wheeler was brought in for relief, and Lamb booted a Pujols chopper at third, allowing David Eckstein to score from third.  Scott Rolen then blasted a Wheeler offering into the concourse behind the Crawford Boxes, giving the Cards a 5-2 lead.

Burke answered again in the bottom of the 8th with a two-run bomb to left, cutting the Cards' lead to 5-4.  In the bottom of the 9th, after Carpenter allowed Preston Wilson to reach to lead off the inning, Jason Isringhausen came in to preserve the win.  Jason Lane singled through the right side, advancing Wilson to third.  Craig Biggio, pinch-hitting for Adam Everett, then hit a fly ball to center field, allowing Wilson to score and tie the game.

In extra frames, the Astros had their best scoring opportunity in the 10th, when they loaded the bases with one out.  Wilson and Lane both fanned to end the inning.  In the 12th, Roy Oswalt pinch-hit for Chad Qualls and laced a two-out double down the left field line.  However, he missed the bag while rounding first, and the Cards sniffed it out, throwing to first for the forceout.

Lidge came in for the bottom of the 12th and you can probably guess what happened.  Eckstein was plunked to leadoff the inning, and So Taguchi singled to right, bringing Pujols to the plate.  Lidge got Pujols on a lazy fly, and then got Rolen on strikes.  Only the .257-hitting pinch-hitter Aaron Miles stood between Lidge and keeping the game tied.  One wild pitch and a line-drive double later, the .257-hitting Miles had beaten Lidge and knocked in both runners, who had advanced to second and third on the wild pitch.  The Astros went in order in the bottom of the 12th.

So, the Astros lost two straight extra-inning games they could have won, and are two games lower in the standings than they were before the Cards series.  One can only hope the second half sees an improvement in the Astros' play as well as a continued lackluster showing from the rest of the NL.

Houston won't play again until Thursday at 6:05pm CDT, when they travel to Miami for a four-game set against the Marlins.  Roy Oswalt is scheduled to pitch against Dontrelle Willis.

News Archive 2006 / 7-run 4th seals series for Astros
« on: July 03, 2006, 11:02:43 am »
The Silver Boot, in all its meaningless glory, remains in Houston this year.  The Astros took it to the Rangers by a score of 9-5 on Sunday night, bagging them the weekend series win as well as the entire interleague series between the Rangers.

Houston got on the board first in the 1st inning with a two-out two-run single from Eric Munson.  However, Texas answered with a four-run 2nd inning consisting of four consecutive two-out run-scoring hits, three of which were doubles.  That would be the hardest inning Wandy Rodriguez was hit; he went into the sixth inning, giving up five runs on seven hits.

The Astros lineup exploded in the 4th, batting around and notching seven runs on seven hits.  Willy Taveras had a two-run double, Craig Biggio and Morgan Ensberg each drove in a run of their own, and Munson hit a three-run double to give him five RBI on the day.  Rangers starter Kevin Millwood had to leave in the middle of the inning with a strained bicep.

The Astros find themselves at 40-42 heading into a three-game set with the Cubs at Minute Maid.  Roger Clemens will try again for his first win of the season on Monday night, while Carlos Marmol goes for the Cubs.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT.

Total meltdown was narrowly avoided on Sunday night.  Holding onto a 9-2 lead going into the 8th inning, and riding in the wake of Roy Oswalt's fine game, Russ Springer and Brad Lidge combined to give up seven runs to Tadahito Iguchi and send the game to extras.  However, Houston finally broke through in the top of the 13th and held on for the win, avoiding the sweep at the hands of the White Sox.  The Pale Hose had won nine straight games.

This was a game that the Astros and Oswalt had control of from the 1st inning on.  Preston Wilson had a two-run double in the 1st, and Mike Lamb and Lance Berkman each hit two-run homers in the 5th, giving the Astros a 6-1 lead at the time.  They tacked on three more in the 7th to extend their lead to 9-1.

Paul Konerko homered in the bottom of the 7th to make it 9-2, and Roy pitched the remaining inning before ending his evening.  However, Springer gave up a three-run blast to Iguchi in the 8th.  Brad Lidge took the mound in the 9th, hoping to close out the game.  With two on and two out, Lidge walked Scott Podsednik to load the bases to face Iguchi, who creamed a fat pitch from Lidge into left-center to tie the game at 9-9.  It was the Sox's third grand slam in as many games.

From there, the game went to extra innings, during which both bullpens held until the 13th inning.  With Adam Everett leading off, he hit a blooper down the right field line.  Right fielder Ross Gload dove for the ball and it caromed off his body into foul territory, where it was picked up by a fan.  Everett had already rounded first by the time the ball was interfered with, and he was awarded third base.  Willy Taveras then lined a single to left to score Everett and put the Astros back in the lead.

Fernando Nieve, who had come in to pitch with two outs in the 12th, pitched a mercifully scoreless 13th to end the game and get the win.

Everett led the team with three hits, while four others had two hits.  Brad Ausmus was the only Astro to go hitless.  On the other side of the box score, Jim Thome took home the golden sombrero while going 0x6.

The good guys head to Detroit on Monday to face the Tigers, who currently own the best record in baseball.  Wandy Rodriguez will face Zach Miner at 7:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Big innings lead to series win over Bandwagon
« on: June 12, 2006, 01:16:09 pm »
The Houston lineup stepped on the ATL's throat early and never let up Sunday.  The Astros led 9-3 after only three innings, and eventually won 14-4 behind some big hits from Eric Munson and Jason Lane.  The win pulled them back to .500 at 32-32.

The fireworks began in the 1st, when Preston Wilson drove in a run on a groundout.  Jason Lane then launched a homer to right field to make the score 4-0.  Atlanta got a run back in the 2nd, but Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman answered with a run-scoring double and single, respectively.  Biggio's double scored Wandy Rodriguez from first, and Berkman's single scored two.

The Braves got their fair share of hits off Rodriguez, including two solo homers in the 3rd and another in the 5th, but Houston's offense was too overwhelming.  Eric Munson went yard in the 3rd for a run, and then again with a three-run blast in the 6th.

Lane led the Astros with three hits and five RBI, pulling his average above the Mendoza line for the first time since May 27.  Biggio also had three hits.  Munson was 2x5 with four RBI.  Wandy lasted six innings, and the rest of the cleanup duty was split between Chris Sampson, Trever Miller, Philip Barzilla, and Dave Borkowski.

The Astros have a day off on Monday before the start of a three game series at Wrigley against the Cubs.  Here's hoping they do better this time.  Andy Pettitte will face Sean Marshall at 7:05pm CDT.

Talk Zone / Texas Motor Vehicle Accident Commission? (non-bb)
« on: June 06, 2006, 02:44:51 pm »
I was in a wreck on Friday afternoon (not my fault), and I was just contacted by someone claiming to be from this organization. They want me to go to a doctor for a checkup tomorrow to make sure I'm not injured and such. He said they were formed a year ago to protect people who have been in accidents.

 A Google search didn't seem to turn up anything relevant.  Is this for real? Why do I feel like I've just been had?

News Archive 2006 / Astros blown out, one-hit in 8-0 embarrassment
« on: June 06, 2006, 01:16:22 am »
Just add this one to the growing list of ridiculous losses.  Carlos Zambrano took a no-hitter into the 8th inning and glanced a three-run homer off the yellow line in right center.

You probably don't want to read the details, and I don't really want to write them.  Suffice it to say, the only positive things that happened were Preston Wilson's 1-out single to break up the no-no and Dave Borkowski's four scoreless innings of relief work.  Taylor Buchholz gave up all eight runs, including three bombs.  Astros pitching has surrendered 10 longballs in their last four games.

Houston will try to break their four-game skid tomorrow, with Wandy Rodriguez pitching against Kerry Wood.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Astros pitching gives up 4 HRs, Reds sweep
« on: June 05, 2006, 01:01:35 pm »
The Astros surrendered their fourth straight loss (and 10th of their last 12) on Sunday afternoon as the Reds swept the 'Stros in Houston, winning 6-4 in 11 innings.

Roy Oswalt, the scheduled starter for this game, was unable to go due to pain in his back.  Oswalt had had the condition since Friday but it acted up during his pre-game warmups.  He was such a late scratch that the TV broadcast opened with Bill and Jim talking about Oswalt's start.  Fernando Nieve was forced to start in Roy's stead, and the game was delayed to give him extra time to warmup.

All things considered, Nieve turned in a pretty good outing, working five innings and giving up only a couple of solo homers.  The first was a weak pop by Ryan Freel in the 3rd that reached the first row of the Crawford Boxes in left, tying the score at 1-1.  Austin Kearns gave the Reds the lead in the next inning with an opposite field bomb to right.

Morgan Ensberg had given the Astros an early lead with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 2nd.  After the Reds took the lead on Kearns' homer, Brad Ausmus led off the bottom of the 5th with a triple to right field.  Kearns tried to make a diving catch of Ausmus' line drive, but it went under his glove and dribbled to the corner.  Ausmus was already rounding second base by the time Kearns got to the ball.  After walks to Jason Lane and pinch hitter Orlando Palmeiro, Craig Biggio hit a line drive to the gap in deep left center which was caught by Junior Griffey with a diving catch.  Ausmus scored to tie the game, and Chris Burke watched strike three to end the inning.

Trever Miller took over for Nieve in the 6th, and gave up another home run to Kearns, this time to the concourse behind the Crawford Boxes, giving the Reds a 3-2 lead.  That lead stood up until the bottom of the 8th, when Burke blooped a single into shallow right center with Mike Lamb on second.  Doug Mansolino gambled by sending Lamb home, and it paid off since Kearns was unable to get a grip on the ball to make a throw.  Both teams went scoreless in the 9th inning to force extras.

Dan Wheeler took the mound in the 10th and gave the Reds a lead after only two batters.  Freel walked to lead off the inning, and a double by Felipe Lopez into the left field corner.  Wheeler got out of the inning, and back-to-back 2-out doubles by Biggio and Burke in the bottom  of the 10th tied the score again.

After a one-out walk in the 11th, Wheeler was relieved by Russ Springer, who gave up another, slightly more legitimate two-run homer to Freel.  Pinch hitter Eric Munson grounded into a game-ending double play in the bottom of the inning.

Freel entered Sunday's game with only one home run.  Ausmus went 3x5 and is hitting .306 on the season; his average is the highest of all the regulars on the team.

The Cubs come to town on Monday, with Taylor Buchholz facing Carlos Zambrano.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Poo happens, Cards win 3-1
« on: May 30, 2006, 12:56:59 am »
The Astros failed to capitalize on early struggles by Jason Marquis, and eventually fell victim to Albert Pujols once again.  With two on and two outs, Pooholes hit a three-run homer to left field in the 7th to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead, which they would protect.  The loss drops Houston back to .500 at 26-26.

Marquis battled control problems in the early innings, missing the strike zone and hitting the batters instead.  Willy Taveras and Craig Biggio were plunked back-to-back with one out in the third inning.  After Lance Berkman popped out, Morgan Ensberg walked to load the bases, and Preston Wilson hit a sharp grounder to third that bounced off Scott Rolen's glove.  The ball kicked back in shortstop David Eckstein's direction, but by then there was no play.  Berkman later singled in the 5th inning for his 1,000th career hit.

Roy Oswalt had pitched a scoreless game through six innings, allowing seven hits and a walk while striking out five.  Unfortunately, he had to leave the game with tightness in his hammy, and that's when things fell apart.  Trever Miller took the mound in the bottom of the 7th, and despite getting two outs, he also allowed two to reach base.  That included a walk of John Rodriguez which brought Pujols to the plate.  Miller was yanked for Chad Qualls, who gave up the bomb which just cleared the left field wall.  Houston went in order in the 8th and got only a leadoff single by Chris Burke in the 9th.

The lineup only managed four hits, all singles, the entire game.  Miller took the loss, with Qualls getting a blown save.

Andy Pettitte pitches against Anthony Reyes Tuesday night at 7:10pm CDT.

After not scoring for eight innings, the Astros lineup arose from its slumber and put a stunning beatdown on a sweep-seeking Pirates club.  Down 4-0 going into the 9th, Houston scored four runs in the top of the 9th to force extra innings, and then went ahead in the 10th to win 5-4.  It was the second straight extra inning game, following Saturday's 18-inning affair.

The only Pirates runs came on two home runs, a solo shot by Jason Bay in the 4th and a 3-run blast by Jose Bautista in the 7th.  Up until that point, the Astros had managed only three hits, all singles, and never got a runner past second.

Pirates starter Odalis Perez remained in the game for the 9th, attempting to lock up the complete game.  However, Morgan Ensberg started the 9th inning rally with a single through the left side.  Mike Lamb followed with a bloop single down the left field line, and Perez was lifted for reliever Mike Gonzalez.  Preston Wilson blooped in another single, this time in front of Jeromy Burnitz in right center.  Jason Lane walked on four pitches with the bases loaded, and Eric Bruntlett lined a single to right to cut the lead to 4-2.  After Craig Biggio flew out, another bases loaded walk of Willy Taveras made it 4-3, and Solomon Torres was brought in to replace Gonzalez.  Brad Ausmus then tied the game with a sac fly.  Chad Qualls pitched a perfect bottom of the 9th to force extra innings.

In the 10th, Ensberg, Lamb, and Wilson started the inning with three straight singles, Ensberg scoring on the third single.  A sac bunt by Lane pushed the runners over to second and third.  At this time the Astros put the suicide squeeze on, with Lamb breaking to the plate on Torres' pitch to Bruntlett.  Unfortunately, the pitch went straight for Bruntlett's head and he hit the deck, making Lamb dead in the water.  Brad Lidge sealed the win with a scoreless 10th, getting his 13th save.

Houston starter Fernando Nieve didn't have an altogether bad outing, save for the two homers.  He pitched in to the 7th inning and only allowed six hits while striking out five.  Qualls got the win, improving to 3-1.  Chad has only allowed one run in his last 17 innings, dating back to April 30.  His ERA has dropped nearly four runs in that span.

Roy Oswalt opposes Jason Marquis as the Astros play the Cardinals for the first time in new Busch Stadium.  Monday's game begins at 3:15pm CDT.

We here at wish all our readers a safe and happy Memorial Day.

News Archive 2006 / Houston takes opener 10-3
« on: May 23, 2006, 03:43:02 am »
On Monday night, Wandy Rodriguez became the 5th NL pitcher to reach six wins as the Astros toppled the Nationals 10-3 at RFK.

Before Wandy even took the mound, the lineup gave him a lead to work with.  Nats starter Zach Day walked Willy Taveras to open the game.  Willy T swiped second base, then advanced to third on a poor throw by catcher Wiki Gonzalez.  After walking Craig Biggio, Day threw a wild pitch to Lance Berkman, allowing Taveras to score.  Maybelline then unleashed a ridiculous blast to straightaway center three pitches later, hitting the ball into the mezzanine.  Biggio's RBI double down the left field line in the top of the 3rd scored Taveras again.

Dealt a 4-0 early lead, Wandy was dealing early on.  Five of the first six batters to face him fanned, three of them swinging.  The shutout ended when Damian Jackson led off the bottom of the 3rd with a solo blast to left field.  Bidge hit a 2-run single in the top of the 4th to extend Houston's lead to 6-1.

In the bottom of the 5th, Wandy began having trouble finding the strike zone.  After getting the leadoff guy, he walked Jackson and Gonzalez, threw a wild pitch that advanced Jackson to 3rd, and then gave up an RBI single by Matt LeCroy that scored Jackson.  Two straight walks later, the score was 6-3 with the bases loaded, 1 out, and Jose Vidro at the plate.  Vidro hit into a 4-6-3 double play that ended the threat.  Wandy tossed a 1-2-3 6th before leaving the game with three hits, three runs, five walks, and seven K's.  Dave Borkowski, Trever Miller, and Dan Wheeler each threw a scoreless inning in relief.

Eric Munson and Preston Wilson drove in a couple more runs in the top of the 6th to make it 8-3.  Berkman hit a sac fly that scored Taveras in the 7th, and Munson added a second RBI single in the 9th.

Biggio went 4x5 with 3 RBI.  Munson and Taveras each went 3x5, with Taveras also scoring four runs.  Berkman's homer ties him with Morgan Ensberg for the club lead with 14.

Fernando Nieve will face Ramon Ortiz on Tuesday night.  First pitch is 6:05pm CDT.

After getting rocked by the Giants last week, Taylor Buchholz helped the Astros hand the Rangers a little payback.  After getting shutout on Saturday, Houston and Buchholz returned the favor on Sunday with a 5-0 shutout.  Buchholz went the distance in the win, completing the first shutout of his career.  The Astros won the series 2-1 and improved to 24-20 on the year.

Taylor scattered only five hits throughout the game.  A runner only reached third base once, due in part to a wild pitch in the previous at-bat that allowed Rod Barajas to take second base.  Overall, Buchholz struck out six batters, didn't give up any walks, and tossed 102 pitches.

Preston Wilson hit an RBI single to center in the bottom of the 1st, scoring Craig Biggio as the first run.  Morgan Ensberg launched his 14th homer, a two-run bomb, of the season in the 6th inning, and Jason Lane followed in the 8th with his 9th homer of the year, also a two-run job.  Ensberg's homer ties him for 3rd-most in the league and puts him past Lance Berkman for the team lead.

Willy Taveras sat out of Sunday's lineup, and Brad Ausmus went 0x4 with two strikeouts in the #2 spot.  Eric Bruntlett played in center and went 1x4.

The Astros head to DC on Monday for a four-game series against the Nationals.  Wandy Rodriguez and Zach Day are the starters.  First pitch is 6:05pm CDT.

Talk Zone / 714
« on: May 20, 2006, 06:56:04 pm »
Haven't seen it posted yet.

The Link

The good thing about Monday night's game against the Giants?  713.  Despite his team's offensive explosion, Barry Bonds had to settle for just an RBI double.  Taylor Buchholz was hit hard early and often as the Astros fell to the Giants 10-1 at Minute Maid.

There isn't much good to recap.  Randy Winn led off the game with a bomb to right, and everything went downhill from there.  After another run scored in the 1st, a Mike Matheny sac fly in the 2nd made it 3-0.  The 3rd inning proved to be Buchholz's undoing when, after Bonds' double to make it 4-0, Mike Sweeney was intentionally walked with one out to load the bases.  Scraps and Buchholz got burned in the worst possible way with the move, as Pedro Feliz went yard to left field for a grand slam.  Down 8-0 after three innings, Buchholz was done, his ERA climbing from 2.16 to 5.31 in one night.  Maybe we all saw Taylor's hot streak coming to end at some point, but nobody probably expected it to be this bad.

The only (rather inconsequential) run the Astros scored was a 5th-inning Mike Lamb RBI double, scoring Willy Taveras from first.

Dave Borkowski gave up a couple of runs you care nothing about.  Mike Gallo, Russ Springer, and Brad Lidge each pitched 3-up 3-down innings in the 7th, 8th, and 9th.  In a game where "the guys were looking to have some fun" (Jim Deshaies, speculating on how the players feel in games like this), Andy Pettitte pinch-hit and Brad Ausmus played second base.  Awesome.

Wandy Rodriguez and Jamey Wright match up on Tuesday night at 7:05pm CDT.

Talk Zone / Holy crap
« on: May 15, 2006, 10:36:45 pm »
I found out today that I won Chuy's Broadcaster for a Night contest for the Round Rock Express, and will be in the booth with Mike Capps for a game sometime this summer.

I think it's only for an inning, but I am approximately scared to death.

News Archive 2006 / AP's 3-hitter lifts Astros over Rockies 3-0
« on: May 15, 2006, 01:15:05 am »
Andy Pettitte turned in probably his finest start as an Astro on Sunday, going the distance in a three-hit shutout of the Rockies as the Astros won 3-0.

Pettitte scattered three hits and a walk across his nine innings, and Colorado never posed a very serious threat.  The closest they came to scoring was in the 4th when Luis Gonzalez (not Gonzo) hit a leadoff double and advanced to third on a groundout.  Pettitte got the next two hitters, and nobody from the Rockies would even reach second base for the rest of the game.  He finished with 7 K's, a high mark for the season, and improved to 3-4.

On the offensive side, Lance Berkman and Morgan Ensberg each went yard in the 1st and 4th innings, respectively.  Brad Ausmus contributed a 2-out RBI single later in the 4th.  Every starting position player except Willy Taveras and Adam Everett had a hit.

The Bonds circus rolls into town on Monday as the Astros continue their homestand against the Giants.  Taylor Buchholz and Brad Hennessey will start at 7:05pm CDT.

Talk Zone / Forum upgrade complete
« on: May 13, 2006, 03:32:51 am »
Things should be running smoothly.  However, if you experience any odd behavior, please let me know via e-mail ([email protected]) ASAP.  Thanks.

Talk Zone / FORUM DOWNTIME: Tonight at 12am
« on: May 12, 2006, 01:42:24 pm »
I will be performing an upgrade of the site no earlier than midnight tonight, provided the Astros game does not last forever.

During this time, the site will be unavailable to everyone - you will not be able to read or write any posts, browse any forums, or access your profile information.  I expect the upgrade to last about an hour, possibly longer.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Talk Zone / Everyone should delete their cookies
« on: May 10, 2006, 12:25:37 pm »
In the wake of this recent attack, malicious cookies may have been placed on your computer.  For your own security, it would be wise to delete all of your cookies.

The procedure for this:
- Internet Explorer: Tools -> Internet Options -> Delete Cookies... -> OK
- Firefox: Tools -> Options -> Privacy -> Cookies -> Clear cookies now
- Opera: Tools -> Delete Private Data -> Delete All Cookies -> OK
- Safari: Safari -> Preferences -> Security -> Show Cookies -> Remove All -> Remove All

The advertising code was placed in at least 12 separate files on the site.  I think I have found and removed all instances of it, but if you discover another, please let me know via e-mail ([email protected]) immediately, and include on which page you found the code.  It is relatively easy to spot; if the site looks like it has been loaded completely, but the progress bar at the bottom is still visible (probably close to 100%), it's a pretty safe bet that page has the code.

I am VERY sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

News Archive 2006 / Oswalt bombed in makeup game, Giants win 7-5
« on: May 09, 2006, 02:49:27 am »
Roy Oswalt suffered his shortest outing of the season - just 4-1/3 innings - as the Barry-less Giants popped the Astros 7-5.  Oswalt gave up a total of seven runs (six earned) as his record fell to 5-2.

Both teams traded RBI singles - by Preston Wilson and Pedro Feliz - in the 1st.  A throwing error by Oswalt allowed another Jint run to cross the plate in the bottom of the 2nd, but Wilson tied it up again in the top of the 3rd with an RBI triple.  Things really unraveled for Roy in the bottom of the 5th, though, as the Giants scored five runs on a groundout, a two-run home run, an RBI triple, and an RBI single.  Oswalt left the game at that point, and Russ Springer finished the inning without further damage.

With two outs in the 9th, Orlando Palmeiro singled to start a would-be three run rally that would make things interesting.  With Craig Biggio at bat, OP took second on fielder's indifference and then scored on a double to the left field corner by Bidge.  Pinch-hitter Mike Lamb then crushed his first home run of the season to straightaway center field, cutting the score to 7-5.  Lance Berkman grounded out to first base to end the game.

Houston has lost a season-high four straight, their record falling to 19-13.  They will take a turn to the south for three games against the Dodgers in the Chavez Ravine.  Andy Pettitte and Jae Sao are the projected starters for Tuesday night.  First pitch is 9:10pm CDT.

Houston got shut down in Coors again Sunday, following up a Saturday shutout with a 5-3 loss to the Rockies.  The Astros were held to one run in the first eight innings, and found themselves on the wrong end of a sweep for the first time this season.

Jason Lane provided the only scoring for most of the game, leading off the top of the 2nd with a homer.  After that, it was all Rockies.  The big blow came on a three-run bomb by Todd Helton off Fernando Nieve in the 5th.  Nieve worked into the 6th inning, giving up five ER on nine hits.  Mike Gallo finished the remainder of the 6th and Dave Borkowski maintained his spotless ERA with two shutout innings in relief.

Rockies starter Aaron Cook lasted into the 9th, trying to complete the first back-to-back complete games by Rockies starters since 1998.  That notion died quickly when Morgan Ensberg and Lane reached base to begin the inning, and Cook was pulled.  After a GIDP by Brad Ausmus, a triple by Adam Everett and an Eric Bruntlett single cut the Rockies lead to 5-3.  However, Craig Biggio, pinch hitting for Borkowski, struck out to end the game.

The Astros will travel to San Francisco on Monday to make up last month's rained out game.  Roy Oswalt looks to improve to 6-1 against Noah Lowry.  First pitch is 9:15pm CDT.

Defensive lapses and another poor outing by Brad Lidge doomed the Astros on Friday night, turning a 4-2 lead after seven innings into a 5-4 loss to the Rockies.

Preston Wilson provided most of Houston's offense, going 3x4 with 3 RBI.  His RBI single in the 1st scored Lance Berkman, and another single in the 3rd scored two.  Craig Biggio added an RBI single of his own in the 4th, putting the Astros out to a 4-0 lead.

With two runners on and nobody out in the bottom of the 4th, Berkman fielded a grounder and attempted to turn the double play.  However, his throw sailed into left field, allowing Brad Hawpe to score from second and advancing Matt Holliday to third.  Holliday scored on the following play, a grounder to short.  Garrett Atkins added an RBI GIDP in the 8th off Chad Qualls to cut the lead to 4-3.  The run was charged to Taylor Buchholz, who had started the inning.

Lidge did not have a very promising start in the 9th, giving up a leadoff double to left-center by Hawpe.  Clint Barmes then put down a sac bunt down the third base line, and Morgan Ensberg threw the ball past Berkman at first.  Hawpe scored from second, to which Barmes also advanced.  After another sac bunt and a walk to Eli Marrero, Lidge was yanked in favor of Dan Wheeler.  When Marrero stole second, Wheels intentionally walked Cory Sullivan to load the bases, and then walked Jamey Carroll on a full count to force in the winning run.

Buchholz's strong outing (7+ IP, 6 H, 2 ER) was apparently not good enough to earn the win tonight.  Lidge took the loss (his second) and the blown save (his third).  Berkman's error was his first of the season, while Ensberg's was his 7th.  Mo also struck out three times.  Wilson's 3 RBI game was a new high for him this season.

At the time of this writing, Wandy Rodriguez, who has been suffering from cold sores in his mouth, is still expected to make his Saturday night start.  However, stay tuned for any changes.  Jason Jennings pitches for Colorado.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Late rally by Brewers sinks Astros 4-2
« on: May 02, 2006, 03:55:03 am »
A good game by Wandy Rodriguez was not enough to get him to a 5-0 start on the season.  With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 8th, the Brewers got two runs on consecutive sac flies to win 4-2.

Brewers starter Tomo Ohka helped contribute to the Astros' first run in the top of the 1st.  With Craig Biggio on first, Willy Taveras tapped a bunt in front of home plate.  Despite probably not having a play on Willy, Ohka tried to make the play and ended up throwing the ball way past first, allowing both runners to advance a base.  Lance Berkman then grounded out to short, scoring Biggio.

Milwaukee tied the game and then took the lead on two solo homers, one by Carlos Lee in the 3rd and the other by Bill Hall in the 6th.  Hall's bomb went to the deepest part of the park, landing above the tall wall just left of straightaway center.  Eric Munson responded with a solo shot of his own - his first of the season - in the 7th, tying the score.

Wandy faced only one batter in the 7th - and allowed a single - before being taken out of the game.  He pitched a fine game, allowing eight baserunners over 6+ with four K's.  Dan Wheeler took over and finished the 7th, but Wheels ran into trouble in the 8th.  He walked the leadoff hitter and then Hall doubled to left, putting two runners in scoring position with nobody out.  Damian Miller hit a sacrifice fly to right, deep enough to allow Hall to advance to third.  Brady Clark then hit a sac fly of his own to extend the Brewers' lead to 4-2.

Things looked promising in the 9th when a Berkman fly ball to deep left was dropped by Lee, but it didn't matter.  Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow struck out Morgan Ensberg, Preston Wilson, and Jason Lane in sequence.

Ensberg, after his hot start that included seven homers in six games, is only 5x34 (.147) in the nine games since that streak ended.  Houston managed only four hits all night, two of which were Bidge's.  On one of those, he tried to stretch a 1-out double to right into a triple, but he didn't see third base coach Doug Mansolino's stop sign as he approached second.  The throw beat him to the bag and he was tagged as he slid in.

Fernando Nieve goes against ace Ben Sheets tomorrow night at 7:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Sweep averted by HRs, Buchholz solid in 3-2 win
« on: May 01, 2006, 02:23:17 am »
The Astros managed not to turn their first series loss of the season into their first sweep of the season.  In a game in which the only scoring was on home runs, Lance Berkman and Jason Lane drove in a total of three runs to give Houston the 3-2 victory.  The win busted up Cincy's six-game winning streak.

Chris Burke filled in for Craig Biggio at second base, but he also filled Bidge's shoes at the plate.  Burke led off the game with a plunking, and advanced to second on a slow chopper by Willy Taveras.  Maybelline then crushed a 1-1 offering by Elizardo Ramirez over the head of Adam Dunn and into the LF seats.  Lane homered in the 4th with nobody on and his ball landed about 20 yards left of Berkman's in left field.

Taylor Buchholz continued his pretty good rookie run, pitching into the 7th and allowing only two earned runs.  Those runs came on a Dunn blast to right-center in the bottom of the 6th.  Taylor left the game after walking two straight batters with one out in the bottom of the 7th.  Chad Qualls got out of the inning and pitched a 1-2-3 8th.  Brad Lidge struck out the side in the 9th, earning his 8th save.  The save was not without at least a little drama, however - after whiffing the first two hitters, Lidge gave up a single and a walk.

Berkman's homer gave him 29 RBI, setting a new Astros record for RBI in the month of April.  His ten homers also ties a club record.  Buchholz improved to 2-1, and his ERA of 2.05 leads all Astros starters.

Monday makes the season a little more interesting, as it is the first day the Astros may negotiate a contract with Roger Clemens.  You can, of course, stay tuned to OWA and the TalkZone for all the latest scuttlebutt.  Monday also brings another stop on the Astros' road trip as they head to Milwaukee for a two-game series.  Wandy Rodriguez and Tomo Ohka are your starters.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT with television coverage by KNWS 51.

News Archive 2006 / Zing! Lidge serves salami in 9th, Astros fall 6-2
« on: April 25, 2006, 01:49:21 am »
Despite Brad Lidge's perfect 7x7 record in save opportunities this season, plenty would argue that he hasn't quite been himself.  A string of shaky outings finally caught up to that save record on Monday night, with Nomar Hamm crushing a Lidge fastball off the facade above left-center for a game-winning grand slam.  The Dodgers, who had been no-hit into the 7th inning, won the game by a 6-2 final, dropping the Astros to 13-6 on the season.

Andy Pettitte's masterful outing was a breath of fresh air following his early struggles.  Despite walking three batters, he completely shut down the Dodgers for 6-1/3 innings.  The no-no was broken up in a painful way, the first LA hit coming on a game-tying crank by JD Drew that just reached the first row of seating in right field.  Pettitte struck out five and induced 13 groundball outs, including two double plays.

Brad Ausmus had given the Astros their early lead in the 2nd, hitting a double over the head of Kenny Lofton that reached Tal's Hill.  Jason Lane had walked before him and scored from first.  In the 8th, with the score now tied, Lance Berkman went opposite field on Takashi Saito, blasting off with a 415 footer to the deepest part of left-center.

Lidge's 9th inning started off well enough, getting Furcal to ground out to Berkman.  Lofton then drilled the first pitch he saw to the base of the wall in deep right-center, making it to third without a throw.  Lidge then struggled with his control, bouncing sliders and missing his spots, leading to walks of Drew and Jeff Kent to load the bases.  After falling behind 2-0 to Garciaparra, Lidge battled back to 2-2 before grooving the pitch Nomar deposited about 380 feet away.  Lidge stayed in for one more batter, and the Dodgers tacked on another run off Mike Gallo.

The Astros tried to make it interesting against Lance Carter in the 9th, with Preston Wilson and Lane reaching base to start the inning.  Danys Baez was brought in, Ausmus flied out, and Adam Everett grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

Saito got the win.  Despite the four-run deficit, Baez was credited with the save, since Everett represented the potential tying run.  Ausmus went 3x4 and is hitting .333.  Morgan Ensberg went 0x4 with two whiffs, ending his hitting streak at ten games.

Houston tries to even the series Tuesday night at 7:05pm CDT, as Fernando Nieve makes the second start of his career.  Brad Penny goes for the Dojers.

News Archive 2006 / Astros sweep Pirates with 7-2 win
« on: April 23, 2006, 07:01:03 pm »
The Astros notched their first series sweep of the young season Sunday, thanks to more big hitting and a good outing by Roy Oswalt.  With the 7-2 victory, the Astros improve to an NL-best 13-5.

Craig Biggio didn't waste any time getting Houston in front, driving Paul Maholm's first pitch of the game into the Crawford Boxes.  Three batters later, with Lance Berkman on first after a single, Morgan Ensberg blasted another Maholm offering to the Conoco pump in left-center.  Ensberg has a ten-game hitting streak and has hit eight bombs in his last eight games.  Chris Burke later added another run with an RBI double, staking the Astros to a 4-0 lead.

Sparky pitched a great game, lasting seven innings and giving up only an RBI single to Jack Wilson in the 5th.  He also fanned seven Buccos.  This is the first time in Oswalt's career that he has started a season 4-0.  Extra insurance runs came on two sac flies, by Biggio in the 4th and Brad Ausmus in the 7th.  Mike Gallo allowed a solo poke by Freddy Sanchez in the 8th, but that would be the end of the scoring.

Chad Qualls and Russ Springer also contributed scoreless outings to the game.  Pigpen has been on fire lately, going 4x4 with a walk today.

The homestand continues as the Dodgers come to town Monday night, with Andy Pettitte going against Derek Lowe.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT.

Talk Zone / Nitro Miller
« on: April 19, 2006, 12:15:49 am »
Cut him NOW.

News Archive 2006 / 14 hits, Lane's 3-run blast top Brewers 8-7
« on: April 18, 2006, 02:55:45 am »
The Astros and Brewers put on a wild show in Monday's series opener, featuring four lead changes.  It also featured another dramatic comeback by the home team.  One day removed from putting up an eight-run inning against the DBacks on Sunday, the Good Guys dropped a 5-spot on the Brewers in the bottom of the 7th inning to reclaim the lead and eventually lift them to victory 8-7.  With the win, the Astros improved to 9-4 on the season and possess the second best record in the National League.

Taylor Buchholz, making his first major league start, pitched pretty well and really made only two mistakes.  Unfortunately, both came in the form of taters, the first of which Carlos Lee launched in the top of the 2nd to make it 1-0 Brewers.  However, the Astros scratched out a couple in the bottom of the 2nd, on an RBI single by Adam Everett and an RBI groundout by Craig Biggio.

With 1 out in the 6th, J.J. Hardy hit a grounder to third, but a throwing error by Morgan Ensberg allowed him to reach first.  Geoff Jenkins followed with a longball of his own, putting the Brewers back on top 3-2.  After Lee walked, Buchholz got out of the inning with a 6-3 double play.  In the bottom of the 6th, MoBerg led off the inning with a homer to left field to tie the score.

Chad Qualls took over for Buchholz in the 7th and quickly exploded, walking Richie Weeks, plunking Chad Moeller, and then serving up a meatball for pinch-hitter Gabe Gross.  After walking Brady Clark and striking out Hardy, he was sent to the showers.  Trever Miller continued to suck, having been brought in to face Jenkins and giving him a free pass as well.  Miller was pulled, and Zeke Astacio got out of the inning with two pitches.

Bidge hit a double to get things rolling in the 7th, and Willy Taveras got on base on an error by third baseman Koskie.  Lance Berkman and Ensberg then each drove in runs with back-to-back RBI singles to center to cut the Brewers' lead to 6-5.  Two batters later, Jason Lane blasted off Matt Wise with a towering shot to the Crawford Boxes, completing the five-run rally and putting Houston back on top.

Milwaukee got another run off Dan Wheeler in the 8th, but that's all they could get.  Brad Lidge allowed only a single to Jenkins in the 9th, earning his 4th save.

Willy T extended his hitting streak to ten games, and nearly made a great diving play in the 8th.  He caught a sinking liner off Koskie's bat in shallow center, but the ball popped out of his glove as he landed.  Lane, in addition to his game-winning poke, also made the defensive highlight reel, making a nice sliding catch of a looping liner by Moeller in right-center in the 8th.  Berkman and Ensberg continue to have monster games, hitting a combined .500 with 4 bombs and 13 RBI in the last four games.

And, last but not least, history was made tonight as Preston Wilson had the most awesome day of anybody in baseball, going 0x5 and pulling off the rare platinum sombrero.  His five punchouts set an Astros record and tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a single nine-inning game.  Props to you, Rainman, for coming through in the clutch with two outs in the 8th and not settling for only four ponche's.  Somebody get him a game ball.

Roy Oswalt will pitch against Doug Davis Tuesday night at 7:05pm CDT.  TV coverage will be provided by FSN.

News Archive 2006 / Astros' 7-spot leads to 8-5 punking of Snakes
« on: April 17, 2006, 01:55:03 am »
The Astros improved to 8-4 on the season and claimed the series against the D-Backs with an 8-5 win Sunday in Phoenix.  The highlight of the game was the 7-run top of the 6th, which was capped by a three-run poke by Morgan Ensberg.

The teams traded one-run innings in the 3rd, with RBIs provided by a Lance Berkman double and a Jeff DaVanon single.  The DBacks went on top 2-1 in the bottom of the 4th when Luis Gonzalez went yard.  Fernando Nieve, making his first major league start, gave up two runs on four hits and two walks with 4 K's.  He was pulled from the game after the leadoff hitter reached base in the bottom of the 5th.  Mike Gallo and Russ Springer both completed the inning.

To this point, Snakes pitcher El Duque had not really struggled much.  However, with two outs and runners at second and third, Arizona chose to walk pinch-hitter Mike Lamb to load the bases for RBI-less Willy Taveras.  Willy T singled to left center to score two runs and get back the lead.  After Orlando Palmeiro was plunked to again load the bases, Jason Grimsley took over for El Duque and all hell broke loose.  Berkman added another couple of RBIs with a single before Ensberg's three-run blast which broke the game open.

Trever Miller allowed his token run in the 7th.  The usually reliable Dan Wheeler was tagged for a couple more in the 9th before Brad Lidge relieved him and got the last three outs on only six pitches.

Berkman, Ensberg, and Adam Everett all had multi-hit games.  Everett, along with Taveras and Chris Burke, also whiffed three times.  Ensberg's homer was his third of the season, and he is hitting an even .400.

The Astros come back home Monday for a nine-game homestand, starting with the 7-5 Brewers.  Taylor Buchholz, rained out of his first MLB start in San Francisco, will get a second chance against Dave Bush.  Game time is 7:05pm CDT.  TV coverage will be provided by KNWS-51.

Tuesday night's game between the Astros and Giants was rained out, and will be made up on Thursday at 10:05pm CDT as part of a day-night doubleheader.

According to, the starting rotation will remain on schedule, with Brandon Backe and Roy Oswalt making their scheduled starts on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.  Taylor Buchholz, originally scheduled to start Tuesday's game, will pitch in Thursday's nightcap.

The Astros elevated their record to 5-2 Monday by outlasting the Nationals 5-4 in a 12-inning contest.  Eric Bruntlett was the hero today, hitting a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to win the game and the series.  

We may be seeing the likes of a friendly competition between Lance Berkman and Preston Wilson, as both homered in their first at-bat of the game to give the Astros an early 2-0 lead after two innings.  Each has four home runs, and they have hit all of their bombs in the same games.  Maybelline also has a six-game hitting streak, while Rainman has a five-game streak.

Wandy Rodriguez turned in a pretty good outing, giving up three runs over seven innings.  Jose Vidro, who hit 7x19 with 8 RBI in the series, had an RBI single in the top of the 4th inning to cut the Astros' lead to 2-1.  After Eric Munson made it 3-1 with a sac fly to left-center in the bottom of the 4th, the Nats tied the score at 3-3 in the 5th.  Marlon Byrd grounded into a bases-loaded 5-4-3 double play with nobody out, scoring Marlon Byrd.  Then Vidro added another RBI single.

Neither team scored again in regulation.  The Astros nearly pushed one across in the bottom of the 8th as Berkman tried to score from third on a grounder hit by Jason Lane.  The ball went to second and Vidro threw home, and Berkman was caught in a rundown.

In the 10th, former Astro Daryle Ward lined a homer off Brad Lidge which reached the right field seats in about two seconds.  But Morgan Ensberg answered in the bottom of the inning with his first bomb of the year, a shot to right-center off Chad Cordero which tied the ballgame.

Craig Biggio nearly ended it all by himself in the bottom of the 12th, missing a homer into the Crawford Boxes by a few feet.  Instead, he settled for a double off the wall, and moved over to third on a sac bunt by Willy Taveras.  Berkman and Ensberg then were both intentionally walked to get to pinch-hitter Bruntlett.  Eric The Great then made the Nationals pay, hitting a fly ball to shallow center that allowed Bidge to score from home.  A slow throw by center fielder Brandon Watson also helped.

Chad Qualls picked up the win, pitching scoreless 11th and 12th innings.  Mike Stanton got the loss.  Dan Wheeler also pitched two scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th.  This was the second time Bruntlett has hurt the Nationals in extra innings, the first being his huge three-run homer in the 14th inning at RFK last July.

The Astros head to San Francisco to start a six-game road trip Tuesday night.  Taylor Buchholz will make his first MLB start against Matt Morris and the Giants at 9:15pm CDT.  TV coverage will be provided by FSN.

News Archive 2006 / Everett leads offense in 7-3 win Sunday
« on: April 10, 2006, 12:12:06 am »
Adam Everett was the offensive star of Sunday's game, driving in three runs in the Astros' 7-3 win over the Nats.  Andy Pettitte also earned the W after his brief 2006 debut last Tuesday.

Things didn't look good early for AP though, thanks to a leadoff bomb by Marlon Byrd to open the game.  Andy continued to put a lot of runners on, but most of them never hit the pay station.  Probably one of those highlights was an unusual 1-3-5 double play the Astros turned in the top of the 2nd.  With one out and Alfonso Soriano on 3rd, Ryan Zimmerman hit a come-backer to Pettitte, who then threw to first for the forceout.  However, Soriano had never committed to breaking for home, and was doubled off the bag thanks to a bullet thrown across the diamond by Lance Berkman.

The Astros notched three runs in the bottom of the 3rd thanks to a defensive collapse by the Nationals.  Everett led off with a grounder to short, and Royce Clayton threw the ball over first baseman Matt LeCroy's head, allowing Everett to advance to second.  He then advanced to third on a wild pitch by Ryan Drese and scored on a single to right by Pettitte.  Two outs later, with runners at the corners, Morgan Ensberg doubled down the left field line, and the ball rolled under Soriano's glove.  Pettitte scored from third, and Willy Taveras came around from first to score as well.  All three runs were unearned.  Everett later added an RBI single in the 3rd, and plated two more runs on a two out, bases loaded single in the 5th.

Pettitte pitched into the 7th inning, the only other scoring blemish coming in the form of a two-run homer to the Crawford Boxes by Soriano in the 6th.  In total, Andy allowed three runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out four.

Pinch-hitter Chris Burke increased the Astros' lead to 7-3 with a solo blast off of Chad Cordero in the 8th.

Trever Miller, Chad Qualls, and Brad Lidge combined for 2.2 scoreless innings in relief.  Lidge gave up two hits in the 9th but struck out the side.  Berkman and Preston Wilson each had a hit in today's game, and both are nursing hitting streaks of five and four games, respectively.  Jason Lane was the only starter without a hit, although he walked three times and scored twice.

Wandy Rodriguez will face John Patterson Monday night at 7:05pm CDT as the Good Guys finish up their opening homestand.  TV coverage will be provided by FSN.

Talk Zone / Wilson's bomb
« on: April 08, 2006, 02:14:58 am »
Man, he clobbered that pitch.

May he clobber many more this season.

Talk Zone / Introducing OWA's RSS feed
« on: April 06, 2006, 09:14:58 pm »
Several have requested this feature before, and now we have it.  You can now access OWA content through our new RSS feed, located at:

The feed is updated twice hourly (:00 and :30).

What the feed contains:
- Astros news and features, including Series Previews
- Minor league news and features
- All editorial content

What the feed does NOT contain:
- Any discussion forums, including TalkZone, GameZone, and the Minors Discussion Forum

If you are familiar with RSS feeds, you may subscribe to the feed now.  If you are not, here is a quick introduction to it.

What is RSS? - RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication, and it provides a way for web sites to "syndicate" their content.  The major news sites like CNN, and sports sites like ESPN and Yahoo, provide RSS feeds.

Why is it useful to me? - An RSS feed will allow you to read all of the site's content in one place, without having to navigate to the various different forums.

How do I use it? - By itself, the RSS file doesn't do anything.  It needs to be "subscribed" to with an RSS reader (also known as an "aggregator") for the content to make sense.

Popular RSS readers include web sites such as NewsGator, My Yahoo, and Google Reader.  Downloadable reader programs, such as GreatNews, are also available.  The web browser Firefox also supports RSS through its Live Bookmarks feature, and the upcoming Version 7 of Internet Explorer has a built-in RSS reader.

Once you decide on a reader, just copy and paste the URL above into the reader to subscribe to the feed.

If you have any questions, feel free to reply in this thread or send me a PM or e-mail.

Talk Zone / Astros / Toys-R-Us Autograph Opportunities
« on: April 04, 2006, 02:23:01 pm »
We received this e-mail this morning that might be of interest for those in the Houston area:


Not sure if you got this info. already - thought you and your readers might be interested.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks!
Special Events Manager
Toys "R" Us, Inc.



WHO: Toys ?R? Us Houston Galleria and Toys ?R? Us Pasadena invite Houston Astros fans to step up to the plate by attending special autograph signing appearances with Adam Everett and Willy Taveras. Everett, the team?s shortstop was on fire last year, scoring six career highs. Taveras, the Astros Rookie of the Year, was one of the team?s most versatile players, committing only three errors over 147 games while playing in center field.

WHAT: Beginning March 10, the first 225 customers who purchase Major League Baseball products totaling $30 or more from the Toys ?R? Us Houston Galleria MLB feature shop will receive a ticket to meet Adam Everett on April 8. The first 225 shoppers who spend $30 or more in the MLB feature shop at Toys ?R? Us Pasadena between March 10 and April 22 will receive a ticket to meet Willy Taveras.*
Mr. Everett and Mr. Taveras will autograph either an official baseball or player photograph for ticket holders. No other memorabilia will be signed.

From action figures and baseball cards to apparel and baseball gloves, the Major League Baseball Shops at Toys ?R? Us stores feature everything needed to get on deck for the upcoming baseball season. Even the youngest sluggers in training can hit it out of the ballpark with a selection of MLB licensed T-Ball sets, baseball bats, and Rawlings official baseballs.

Appearance by Adam Everett         
WHEN: Saturday, April 8, 12 noon ? 1:30 pm
WHERE: Toys ?R? Us Houston Galleria         
6145 Westheimer Road               
Houston, TX 77057            

Appearance by Willy Taveras
WHEN: Saturday, April 22, 12 noon ? 1:30 pm
WHERE: Toys ?R? Us Pasadena
5651 Fairmont Parkway
Pasadena, TX 77505

PLEASE NOTE: *Only 225 tickets are available for each event on a first come basis. Limit one ticket per customer per store. Adam Everett and Willy Taveras will only sign an official baseball or MLB provided photograph. No other memorabilia will be signed. Tickets are available from March 10 until the day of the event, or while supplies last. This event is subject to change or cancellation.  

For more information, customers can log onto or they can call Toys "R" Us Houston Galleria at 713-785-8697 or Toys ?R? Us Pasadena at 281-998-3009.

The Houston Business Journal apparently did a story on this about a week ago.

While other Opening Day run totals climbed into the 20s, the Astros/Marlins contest proved to be on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Roy Oswalt and Dontrelle Willis each pitched great games, but in the end it came down to one run.  The defending National League Champions scored the winning run on a wild pitch by Joe Borowski in the 7th inning, beating the Marlins 1-0 on Monday night in Houston.

The highlight of the pregame festivities included the unveiling of the 2005 National League Championship banner, the raising of the NL championship flag on one of the center field flag poles, and the honoring of past Astro playoff teams.  Nolan Ryan and Jose Cruz represented the 1980 and 1986 teams, respectively.  Larry Dierker represented the 1997 team.  Craig Biggio was a fitting choice as the 1998 representative, with 1998 being the best year of his career (.325, 20 HR, 88 RBI, 51 2B, 50 SB).  Shane Reynolds received a warm welcome as the 1999 representative.  Lance Berkman represented the 2001 team.  As the 2004 representative, Jeff Bagwell was given an extended ovation by the crowd of 43,666.  Andy Pettitte represented the NL champion 2005 team.  Bagwell was given another standing O during the player introductions.

Now, onto the game.  The D-Train struggled early on in the game, loading the bases in the 1st inning, partially due to two walks.  Willis racked up 32 pitches in the 1st inning alone.  Houston was unable to capitalize on that opportunity.  Willis then settled down and carried a no-hitter through two outs in the 5th inning, when a single by Willy Taveras broke up the bid.  Despite pitching five innings of one-hit ball, Willis had already thrown 107 pitches and was done for the night.

Roy Oswalt pitched a masterful game and never really struggled at any point.  The closest he ever got to being in a jam was in the 2nd inning, when he induced a double play that moved Mike Jacobs to third base.  He pitched eight innings and only gave up five hits and a walk, while striking out eight.  Sparky was painting the corners with ease all evening, as seven of those strikeouts were of the looking variety.  He was also efficient, throwing only 91 pitches.

In the 7th inning, reliever Josh Johnson took the mound for his second inning of work.  After getting two quick outs in Adam Everett and Oswalt, Craig Biggio lined a double into the left field corner for the game's only extra-base hit.  Lance Berkman followed with his second walk of the game.  Former Cub closer Joe Borowski was brought in to face Ensberg, and his third pitch skipped away from catcher Miguel Olivo, allowing Biggio to score on the rally he started.

Brad Lidge was brought in in the 9th to nail down the win.  Lights Out struggled early, falling behind to and walking Jeremy Hermida to start the inning.  He then fell behind Miguel Cabrera, but battled back and struck him out on a check-swing slider in the dirt.  Mike Jacobs then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to seal the win.

Oswalt got the win, Lidge the save.  Johnson took the loss. Taveras had the best night at the plate, going 2x4.  Fish shortstop Hanley Ramirez probably had the worst overall night of anybody, striking out three times and booting two relatively simple plays in the field.  He also made an ill-advised throw to third in the 7th.  It was a slow grounder hit by Taveras, meaning Ramirez had no chance at first, so he tried to nail Biggio at third when he was probably already safe.  Cabrera lost his grip on the catch, and had the ball gotten too far away from him, Biggio could have taken a shot at home.  The run scored anyway, but it was a risky play to try.

In other news, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria attended the game with several members of the group trying to move the Marlins to San Antonio.

The Astros will receive their NL Champion rings before Tuesday night's game at 7:05pm CDT.  Andy Pettitte takes the mound for the Good Guys, while the Astro hitters will face Sergio Mitre from the Marlins.  TV coverage will be provided by KNWS-51.

Talk Zone / Sorry for the "Internal Server Error" / downtime
« on: April 03, 2006, 04:29:29 pm »
Our server hiccuped, and was taken offline for maintenance/repairs.  It is now working again.

News Archive 2006 / Buchholz carries Astros to 6-4 victory
« on: April 01, 2006, 10:53:26 pm »
The Astros won their final spring tuneup Saturday, beating the Royals 6-4 at Minute Maid in Houston.

Taylor Buchholz continued to look sharp on the mound, pitching seven shutout innings.  He managed to work himself out of two jams - one with the bases loaded in the 4th, and another jam in the 7th.  He also struck out the side in the 5th and retired eight in a row at one point.

The Astros jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings, thanks in part to a two-run double by Willy Taveras.  Another double off the LF wall scored Chris Burke from second to make the lead 5-0.  Eric Munson continued to make some noise of his own as well, launching his team-leading 5th solo homer of the spring in the bottom of the 6th.

Fernando Nieve struggled with his control in the top of the 8th, breaking the shutout and allowing four runs to cross the plate.  But a nice diving play by Chris Burke at second base prevented further damage.  The Astros got a double play with one out in the 9th to seal the victory.

The team has Sunday off, and will then invite the Marlins to town for the start of the 2006 season.  Roy Oswalt, looking for his third straight 20-win season, will take the mound against fellow 20-game winner Dontrelle Willis.  First pitch will be 6:05pm CDT.  TV coverage is provided on FSN.

Talk Zone / GameZone now open
« on: March 02, 2006, 11:58:24 pm »
Sorry for those who tried to use the GameZone today.  After the World Series I disabled it, and have been too busy at work this week to realize that spring games started today.

GZ is now open for business.

Talk Zone / Water is wet
« on: October 26, 2005, 01:37:11 pm »
And Tom Verducci is a prick.

The Link

News Archive 2006 / Game 2 slips away, Astros lose 7-6
« on: October 24, 2005, 12:53:33 pm »
The hitters cashed in on several scoring opportunities, but Sunday it was the bullpen that would cost the Astros the game.  Chad Qualls and Brad Lidge gave up a 7th-inning grand slam and the walk-off blast, respectively, to give the White Sox a 7-6 victory and a 2-0 series lead as the teams head back to Houston.

The beginning of the game was a repeat of Saturday's back-and-forth act, this time with the Astros getting in front first with a 2nd-inning leadoff dong.  A couple of defensive miscues in the bottom of the 2nd would let the Sox go on top 2-1.  Chris Burke misplayed a fly ball in left with a runner on, and then Craig Biggio dropped a popup in shallow right to allow Aaron Rowand to score.  A fielder's choice to second Juan Uribe then allowed AJ Pierzynski to score.

The Astros bounced back in the top of the 3rd when Willy Taveras hit a 1-out triple, and scored on a sac fly by Lance Berkman.  Berkman would later add two 2-out RBIs in the top of the 5th on a double to left, giving the Astros a 4-2 lead.

The Astros held that lead until Dan Wheeler relieved Andy Pettitte in the bottom of the 7th.  For some reason, Wheels had trouble finding the zone, and the Sox hitters took advantage of it.   Uribe knocked a 1-out double, and after striking out Podsednik, walked Taduhito Iguchi.  Then, on a 3-2 pitch to Jermaine Dye, Dye checked his swing on an up-and-in pitch.  Replays showed that the ball glanced off Dye's bat, but he was awarded first base with an apparent HBP.  Garner decided he had seen enough of Wheeler and went to Qualls, who served up a meatball grand slam on his first pitch to Paul Konerko.  Just like that, the Astros were down 6-4.

The Astros came back in the 9th against fireballer Bobby Jenks.  The rally was started by Jeff Bagwell who singled to center for the first hit of the series.  After Jason Lane struck out, Burke walked on four pitches.  A Brad Ausmus dribbler to the right side advanced the runners but made it two outs.  Garner then decided to pinch hit for Adam Everett with Jose Vizcaino instead of the power threat Mike Lamb.  The decision paid off, and Viz laced the first pitch he saw through the left side.  Bagwell scored easily, and Burke rounded third base before the throw came in and made an excellent slide at the plate to avoid Pierzynski's tag and tie the game.  Pinch-hitting for Biggio, Lamb ended the inning with a fly ball to left.

Brad Lidge was then brought in to send the game to extras, but for whatever reason, he suffered the same fate as Wheeler and Qualls.  His first out was a long fly ball to center.  Then Podsednik turned on a 2-1 pitch and deposited it over the wall in right-center.  It was only his second homer of the entire season.

Game 3 at Minute Maid Park will get underway at around 7pm central time on Tuesday.

Talk Zone / Dell Diamond open to watch the game next Tuesday
« on: October 20, 2005, 12:48:06 pm »
For the fans in the Austin area:


From: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Date: Oct 20, 2005 10:43 AM
Subject: Watch Party @ Dell Diamond - Tues. Oct. 25

(Round Rock, TX) ? Make plans to come out to The Dell Diamond on Tuesday, October 25 to watch Game Three of the World Series on the 17? x 22? LED Video Board. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 PM CST and gates will open at 6:30 PM. Admission is free and concession stands will be open.

Talk Zone / Anybody else...
« on: October 19, 2005, 05:06:19 pm »
...have an increase in spam since registering for the World Series lottery?

Lidge MLB.

Archive / Greg in Minneapolis after game 5
« on: October 18, 2005, 10:10:10 am »
Now I love them even more...
      #40965 - 10/18/05 01:47 AM

I didn't think I could care any more about this crazy, unlikely, beautifully flawed team than I already did.

There is no imaginable scenario that could be any sweeter than advancing to their first Fall Classic in franchise history after sucking down a sphincter-puckering, ball-swallowing, heart-rending bad beat like that-there motherfucker.

It doesn't mean shit if it isn't hard, and that's as hard as it gets. Rocky always has to get his grill planted in the canvas at least once. Then he has to get up, smear the blood across his face, and finish the fucking job.

I was 13 years old in 1980, and I bled orange for those guys like only a kid really can. I was the center of the universe, and I didn't really believe they could lose. At the end of Game 5, the Baseball Gods looked down at me and said, "Guess what, kid? Life ain't fair, and in some things, you don't call the shots."

In 1986, I was starting my sophomore year in college, and I'd learned the lesson well. I knew the universe and the fickle, uncaring Baseball Gods didn't owe me or "my team" a goddamned thing. But I figured this time, even the gods couldn't hit Mike Scott's splitter once they took it to Game 7. "Sorry kid, we're going to take this one from you, too. We might give you another taste in a couple decades."

Now I'm 38, and you know what I wish? I just wish my aunt, who held season tickets in the second row behind home plate since the Dome opened, who sat right in front of the scouts every game, knew them all by name, knew how to talk baseball with them, and cared enough about the game and the team to teach her nephew what she'd learned from four decades with her ass planted in those seats -- I wish she could have seen this fucking team play baseball.

Win or lose, hanging slider or strike three swinging, I wish she could have seen this. She would have loved this fucking team, just as much as I do.

-- Heya to all you old timers who remember me from back in the day.

Talk Zone / Scorecard scan from game 4
« on: October 10, 2005, 07:54:10 pm »
Thanks Pete, Pete's dad, and Jacksonian.


News Archive 2006 / Sweep avoided - Astros beat Cards 6-4
« on: June 05, 2005, 06:44:08 pm »
The Mark Mulder/Roger Clemens faceoff wasn't necessarily all it was cracked up to be, but it still paid off for the Astros.  With 6 runs in the first three innings, they were able to hang on for a 6-4 win over the Cardinals and avoid a sweep.

Clemens had a rocky first inning, allowing the first three hitters to reach base, the last of which was a Pooholes RBI single which scored David Eckstein and put runners at 2nd and 3rd.  Mark Grudzielanek then hit a double to left which scored two, giving the Cards a 3-0 lead.

Mulder's first inning was even worse, and the Cards never recovered.  Willy Taveras and Chris Burke both reached base to start the game, and put runners at 2nd and 3rd for Craig Biggio, who hit a sac fly to center to bring in Taveras.  Burke advanced to third on the throw, which proved critical.  Lance Berkman grounded to third, and Burke broke for home.  He was able to avoid the tag and home and score, bringing the Astros to within a run.  Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane then went back-to-back on Mulder, each to the Crawford boxes.  The Astros emerged from the inning with a 5-3 lead.

A leadoff triple by Yadier Molina and a sac fly by Mulder let the Cards get a run back, but the Astros got it back in the 3rd when Lane drove in Ensberg from 2nd with a single to left.  That would be it for the scoring in the game.

Mulder only lasted three innings, and Clemens only five.  Russ Springer, Dan Wheeler, and Brad Lidge pitched 1-hit shutout ball the rest of the way, with Lidge getting his 13th save of the season.  Lane and Ensberg tied for the best offensive performances, each getting two hits and two RBI.

The Astros get another day off Monday before packing up and heading to Shea for a three-game series with the Mets.  Roy Oswalt pitches against Pedro Martinez Tuesday night at 6:10pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Swept in Arlington: Rangers top Astros 2-0
« on: May 23, 2005, 02:26:17 am »
This just in: interleague road games aren't any different.  Houston was unable to avoid its fourth road sweep against the Rangers, and closed out the weekend in Arlington with a 2-0 loss.

Not a whole lot to cover in this game.  Roy Oswalt turned in a pretty good outing, pitching well into the 8th inning and giving up only 2 runs and striking out 6.  The runs came on an RBI groundout by Michael Young in the 1st and an upper-deck solo bomb by Mark Teixeira (his second in as many days) in the 6th.  Unfortunately, that was good enough to make Sparky the loser, as the Astros made a disgustingly average-at-best Chan Ho Park look golden.  Ho pitched seven shutout innings en route to the victory.  The closest the Astros ever came was a 1-out fielder's choice by Lance Berkman in the 1st which resulted in Orlando Palmeiro being thrown out at the plate.

It was the team's 7th shutout of the season.  Houston is a lame 6-15 so far in the month of May, an eerie parallel to the Astros' 2000 season.  The team heads to the north side of Chicago on Monday to face the Cubs.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT, with Andy Pettitte facing Glendon Rusch.

The Astros have their first two-game winning streak in almost two weeks thanks to an outstanding effort from Brandon Backe.  He notched his first complete game shutout of his career while only giving up four hits and two walks, and that along with the bats led the team to a 9-0 victory over the Giants.  That was good enough to earn a 2-2 series split with SF.

Rice-A-Roni starter Jeff Fassero didn't last very long, pitching only three innings.  It was long enough to get the Astros started on a good day at the plate.  Morgan Ensberg plated the first three runs with a two-out three-run homer in the bottom of the first, and Craig Biggio continued his hot hitting with another homer of his own, a two-run shot to make it 5-0 Astros.  He also beat out a potential inning-ending DP to score Backe from 3rd and make it 6-0.

Morgan led off the bottom of the 5th with another homer, and Backe added a run-scoring single in the same inning to make it 8-0.  Ensberg then hit another blast, his third of the day, in the bottom of the 7th.

The Giants only got one runner past third the entire evening.  Willy Taveras got his 14th stolen base of the season and is on pace for 61.  Tonight's win was Backe's third of the season, putting his record at 3-2.  The Astros get Monday off before the Diamondbacks come to MMPUS, with Roy Oswalt and Javier Vazquez set to start on Tuesday night at 7:05pm CDT.

In other news, the Astros announced today that Jeff Bagwell will undergo surgery on his right shoulder in early June.  He is expected to be out until September at the earliest.  From the sounds of it, the procedure sounds like a last-ditch effort to save Baggy's career.

The Astros' pathetic road record took another shot to the pills Sunday as the Braves completed a four-game sweep of the good guys, blasting off for 16 runs while Mike Hampton held them to only two singles.  The Astros fell to 11-19 with their 6th straight loss and 11th straight road loss.

The only good thing about today's game is that nobody on the Astros' 25-man died.  Although I guess using only three pitchers is a good thing.  Zeke Astacio lasted five innings but gave up eight runs, including homers to Ryan Langerhans and Eddie Perez.  Brandon Duckworth followed up with two innings and 5 runs, including homers to Langerhans (again) and Andruw Jones.  Chad Harville gave up another three runs in the 8th, and the day wouldn't have been complete without Hampton going yard as well, so he did.

Hampton had a one-hitter going thru 8 innings, and almost faced the minimum of 27 hitters before Orlando Palmeiro narrowly beat out an infield single in the 9th.  (Mike Lamb singled in the 2nd inning but was erased on a GIDP by Jose Vizcaino.)

The Astros will head to Florida for a 3-game set to try to break their current losing streaks.  Roger Clemens faces AJ Burnett on Monday evening at 6:05pm CDT.

Houston had its second-highest offensive output of the season Sunday, blasting nine runs -- eight off Mark Prior -- in their 9-3 win at Minute Maid.  The Astros improve to 10-13 on the season and move within 5 games of the division-leading Cardinals.

Small ball produced the first run for the Astros, when Willy Taveras led off the 1st with a single, stole second on a Craig Biggio strikeout, and then came into score on a Jeff Bagwell single.  Unfortunately, Roy Oswalt did not have his best game, and in the 2nd inning quickly gave up the lead on a 2-run shot by Derrek Lee.  The Cubs then extended their lead to 3-1 in the 4th on an Adam Everett error.  Everett had a rough day in the field with two errors.

The Astros blasted off on Prior in the bottom of the 5th.  With the bases loaded, two outs, and an 0-2 count, Mike Lamb hit a rocket shot 10 feet inside the right-field foul pole for his first career grand slam, putting the Astros ahead 5-3.  Jason Lane and Morgan Ensberg followed with back-to-back walks, and then Everett hit a 3-run Crawford Box bomb of his own to make it 8-3.  Prior was yanked after the inning.

Sparky gave up a single and double to start the top of the 6th, and then left the game with a sprained right foot.  His line is a perfect indicator of how off his performance was - 10 hits, 2 walks, and only one strikeout in five innings.  He is day-to-day.  Russ Springer came in and got three straight outs to end the threat.

Glendon Rusch relieved Prior in the bottom of the 6th, and after getting two outs, gave up a triple to left center by Biggio.  Then the Cubs intentionally walked Bagwell to get to Lamb, who responded with a single to right-center that scored Biggio.  Oops.  The Astros almost tacked on another run with a single by Lane, but Bagwell was thrown out by a mile at the plate.

The bullpens took it the rest of the way from there.  Dan Wheeler pitched a scoreless 7th, and Chad Harville, working his second inning, allowed the first three hitters in the 9th to reach base and was then pulled with one out.  John Franco got the remaining two outs to end the game.

Biggio's 2x5 game broke is 0x15 slump and tied him with Nellie Fox on the all-time hit list.  Taveras saved Oswalt a run in the top of the 3rd, nailing Aramis Ramirez at the plate after a single by Jeremy Burnitz.  It was his third straight game with an outfield assist.

The Pirates come to Houston for the first time Monday, with Josh Fogg pitching against Andy Pettitte.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT.

The Astros came into Sunday with hopes of staying above .500 while taking their second straight series from the Mets.  Unfortunately, neither of those took place as the Reds downed the Good Guys 6-5.  The Reds improved to 6-5, while the Astros fell to a 4th-place 5-6.

Aside from two longballs, Brandon Duckworth pitched an admirable game for his first start of the season.  However, those homers not being of the solo variety hurt the Astros pretty bad.  The first was in the bottom of the 1st - after getting two outs, a single by Sean Casey and then a bomb to left-center by Joe Randa put the Reds up 2-0.  Duckworth then retired the side in order in the 2nd and 3rd.

The Astros took a brief lead in the top of the 4th, started by a leadoff double by Jose Vizcaino, who gave Adam Everett the day off.  Jeff Bagwell followed him with a long single down the third base line, allowing Viz to score easily.  Three batters later, with Bagwell still at first, Jason Lane launched his 4th homer into the front row in right-center, putting the Astros in front 3-2.

The Dickities came back in the bottom half, though.  Randa started it with a one-out walk, and then Aaron Dunn was given first base on a questionable HBP call.  The ball was in the dirt, and replays showed Dunn may have gotten his back foot out of the way in time, but home plate blue Jim Wolf told him to take his base.  Wily Mo Pena then aired out the entire park with an upper tank blast to left-center that put Houston right back into a two-run deficit.

Duckworth lasted five innings before being relieved by Russ Springer, who worked a scoreless 6th.  Reds starter Aaron Harang worked six, then was relieved by Joe Valentine.  He was given the hook after walking Luke Scott and then giving up a double to Raul Chavez.  Kent Mercker then entered the game and gave up singles to pinch-hitter Craig Biggio and Chris Burke.  Burke's single scored Chavez and tied the game at 5-5.  Mercker was given a blown save.

Chad Qualls took over the reins from Springer in the 7th and remained in the game for the 8th.  With one out, he gave up a single to Randa and then got Dunn to fly out.  However, Pena then burned the Astros again, driving a ball to the wall in right-center to score Randa and give the Reds another lead.  The Astros tried to mount a thread in the top of the 9th, but it fizzled.  Lane led off the inning with a double and later advanced to third on a wild pitch by Danny Graves, but after a two-out walk by pinch-hitter Adam Everett, Burke lined out to Pena in right to end it.

Ryan Wagner had pitched a scoreless 8th and picked up the win, while Graves notched the shaky save.  Qualls got the loss.  Biggio's pinch-hit single in the 7th pulled him even with Ted Williams at 63rd on the all-time hit list with 2654.  Lane and Vizcaino each went 2x4 today, and Lane's homer was already his third against the Reds this season.  Morgan Ensberg picked up the hat-trick today, going 0x4 with three punchouts.

The Braves come to Houston Monday night as Tim Hudson pitches against Roger Clemens.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Pettitte dominates Cardinals in 4-1 win
« on: April 07, 2005, 10:38:40 am »
The short season-opening series with the Cardinals ended better than the way it started.  Although he didn't get the win, Andy Pettitte pitched six solid innings to keep the Jakes at bay as the Astros won it 4-1 in the late innings.

An RBI single off Jason Marquis by Jeff Bagwell scored Craig Biggio in the bottom of the 3rd, putting the Astros in front.  Reggie Sanders notched his second bomb in as many days, going yard to left in the 5th to tie the game.  Pettitte worked through the 6th, allowing four hits, no walks, and three strikeouts.  He also had a wild pitch in the 6th inning.

Houston finally broke through with the winning runs in the bottom of the 8th.  With memorable smokestack Julian Tavarez on the mound, Morgan Ensberg walked and Jason Lane, setting up a Mike Lamb triple to center field which scored both runners.  Willy Taveras then singled to drive in Lamb, chasing Switchboard from the game and giving the Astros a 4-1 lead.  Brad Lidge cleaned up the 9th inning for his first save of the season.

Chad Qualls picked up the win, working perfect 7th and 8th innings.  Five Astros had multi-hit games: Lane (3x4), Ensberg (3x3), Brad Ausmus (2x3), Taveras (2x4), and Adam Everett (2x5).  The Astros get a day off on Thursday before the Reds come to town.  Friday's matchup features Roger Clemens against Ramon Ortiz.  First pitch is 7:05pm CDT.

Roy Oswalt didn't bring his best game to Minute Maid on Tuesday evening, and it was too much for the Astros to overcome.  Sparky worked six innings but also gave up six runs, helping the Cardinals to a 7-3 victory over the Good Guys in both teams' inaugural game of the 2005 campaign.

It didn't take long for Jim Edmonds to dig up some ugly memories for Astros fans, as he connected for a three-run homer to the Crawford Boxes and put the Astros in a hole in the top of the 1st inning.  Willy Taveras, making his first MLB start, started a rally in the bottom of the 3rd and eventually came around to score on a single by Craig Biggio.

Edmonds brought another run in for the Jakes in the 6th with a sac fly to make it 4-1, and then with two outs, Reggie Sanders went yard to the 4th row in right field to make it 6-1.  Catpiss Walker later teed off Russ Springer for a solo job to extend the lead further to 7-1.  Biggio drove in another pair in the 8th to cut the lead to 7-3, and the Astros loaded the bases with two outs against Jason Isringhausen in the 9th.  However, Adam Everett grounded out to end the game.

Biggio was 3x4 with 3 RBI.  Only two other Astro starters had hits - Taveras went 2x4 and Jason Lane went 1x4.  In addition to Springer, Chad Harville and Dan Wheeler each pitched an inning in relief.  Wednesday's game is a 4:05pm CDT first pitch, and will feature Andy Pettitte making his first start since August 12 of last year.  Jason Marquis will toss for the Cards.

Maybe surprising him IS the only way to go.  After Andy Pettitte was nixed from Saturday's starting spot due to a minor sprained ankle, Tim Redding filled in and pitched four scoreless innings.  The Astros went on to win 7-3 and have themselves a fledgling two-game winning streak.

While Redding kept the Wahoos at bay through four, Kevin Millwood did the same with the Astro lineup for three innings.  Houston got on the board first with two runs in the 5th, highlighted by a solo homer by Carlos Rivera.  The Indians got back two in the 5th off Mark McLemore and one (unearned) off Brandon Duckworth in the 6th to tie it at 3-3.  The score remained as such until the top of the 8th, when Houston put up a four-spot, started by Barry Wesson's first homer, a solo shot, of the spring.  Duckworth and Wandy Rodriguez finished the job from there.

Wait a minute... Redding and Duckworth combined for no earned runs in 7.2 innings today?  Hope you people have fire insurance, because the apocalypse is upon us.

The Astros will play the Yankees at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday at 12:05pm CDT.  Dave Burba is scheduled to start, with Mike Gallo, Chad Harville, Phil Norton and Travis Driskill also slated to get some mound work in.

News Archive 2006 / Two big innings sink Braves, Astros win 8-7
« on: March 12, 2005, 01:34:18 pm »
The Astros overcame 3-0 and 6-4 deficits to beat the Braves 8-7 Friday at Osceola County Stadium.  The Astros improved to 2-6 in Grapefruit League play this spring.

Roy Oswalt struggled for the first time this spring, allowing two runs in the 2nd and a bases loaded walk in the 3rd.  John Smoltz kept the Astros lineup in check for the first three innings, not allowing any baserunners and striking out two.  However, Houston was able to get it in gear in the 4th, scoring four runs off Dan Kolb.  The rally was keyed by a three-run donk by Jason Lane.

Russ Springer continued to suck in the 5th inning, letting the Braves reclaim the lead with three runs on four hits.  The Astros answered again in the 6th, led by a two-run shibby by Lane, giving him five RBI on the day and putting the Astros back in the lead 8-6.  Dan Wheeler gave up a run in the top of the 8th to make it a one-run game, but Chad Qualls shut down the Bravos in the 9th to seal the victory and the save.

Turk Wendell, of all people, picked up the win after pitching a scoreless 6th.  John Franco and Brad Lidge pitched perfect 2nd and 7th innings, respectively.  Besides Lane, Carlos Rivera contributed two RBI to the victory, while Morgan Ensberg added one.

The Astros will go back to Winter Haven to play the friggin' Indians again Saturday.  Andy Pettitte, who was scheduled to start the game, threw a bullpen session instead due to a sprained ankle.  First pitch is 12:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Astros-Braves rained out, not rescheduled
« on: March 10, 2005, 02:08:00 am »
Heavy rain in the Kissimmee area prevented the Astros and Braves game from being played Wednesday night.

Roger Clemens, who was slated to pitch, will stay on his regular rotation.  Brandon Backe will start against the Cardinals in Jupiter on Thursday.  First pitch is 12:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Split-squad Nationals take down Astros 9-4
« on: March 06, 2005, 10:50:07 pm »
The Astros fell to 1-3 in Grapefruit League play Sunday, as the home portion of the Washington Nationals beat Houston 9-4 at Space Coast Stadium in Viera.

Brandon Backe got the start for the Astros and pitched two scoreless innings.  His teammates got him out to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning, when Jason Lane and Luke Scott each hit solo bombs off Nationals starter Zach Day.  Brandon Duckworth surrendered that lead and let DC tie the game in the 4th, which included a solo homer by Brad Wilkerson.

Chad Harville came unglued in the bottom of the 5th, allowing four runs (three earned).  The unearned run came on a throwing error by Harville.  The Nationals added three more runs in the bottom of the 6th with a couple of RBI singles off Mike Gallo.

Willy Taveras scored in the top of the 6th on a double by Jose Vizcaino.  Chris Burke also hit a solo homer in the top of the 7th, the third Astro homer of the day.

Burke played at second base while Craig Biggio got the day off.  Vizcaino also spelled Jeff Bagwell at first.  The Astros will head to Clearwater on Monday afternoon to play the Phillies, with Carlos Hernandez starting the game for Houston.  First pitch is 12:05pm CDT.

News Archive 2006 / Astros win spring home opener, beat Indians 5-4
« on: March 04, 2005, 06:50:53 pm »
In a reversal of Thursday's fortunes, the Astros retaliated against the Indians on Friday, winning their first spring game at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee 5-4.  The Astros had been down 4-2 going into the bottom of the 9th before breaking off a 3-spot against Fernando Cabrera.

Roger Clemens and former Astro Scott Elarton traded two innings of scoreless baseball to start the game.  Dave Burba, who is battling for a position on the big club in 2005, gave up four runs, including two homers, in the 4th to give Cleveland a solid lead.  Burba pitched a scoreless 5th.

A bases-loaded two-run double by Willy Taveras in the 7th cut the Tribe's lead in half, and Charlton Jimerson's RBI ground-rule double in the 9th started the winning rally.  With two on and one out, Chris Burke, who also has something to prove this spring, drove in two runs with a double to win the game.  This evens the Astros' spring record at 1-1.

Jared Gothreaux picked up the win after pitching a perfect 9th.  John Franco, Russ Springer, Brad Lidge, and Brandon Duckworth each turned in a scoreless inning in relief.  Burke and Craig Biggio shared time at second base, combining for a 2x5 day with 2 RBI.  Jeff Bagwell made his spring debut, going 1x3 from the DH.

The Astros stay in Kissimmee on Saturday to play the ATL at 12:05pm CST.  Roy Oswalt is expected to get the starting nod.

Talk Zone / Links and other online resources
« on: January 28, 2005, 03:46:52 am »
Sites around the web (some non-baseball related) that you may find of value.  If you have a link to add, let me know.

Official Site of the Houston Astros

Astros Minor League Affiliates - compiled by Jacksonian

Media coverage

  • Houston Chronicle - Houston's fishwrap online.  Registration required for archived articles.
  • Chronicle Astros coverage - Gleam what you want from the articles, columns and blogs and avoid the clap!  "Hey!  That's great advice!"
  • BugMeNot - Avoid having to register to read articles.  Fight the Man!
  • 740AM KTRH - Flagship station of the Astros Radio Network.  Astros games are blacked out online.
  • 1560 The Game - Sports Radio in Houston, one that somehow thought it would be a good idea to give us a show!
  • 790 The Sports Animal - take a listen to Sports Radio that manages to make you feel quite intelligent because nobody can be dumber than some of these guys (Pallilo and Dalati being the exceptions of course).
  • Fox Sports / Sporting News
  • USA Today - Registration required
  • Yahoo

General baseball links

Other fan sites and forums

Computer- and Internet-related resources - Improving your general online experience

  • Symantec Security Response - From the makers of Norton Antivirus.  Help stop the spread of e-mail viruses through the TZ and other sites.  Free virus removal tools.
  • Lavasoft AdAware - Detect and remove adware and spyware on your computer.  Free download.
  • Spybot Search & Destroy - Detect and remove adware and spyware on your computer.  Free download.
  • SpywareBlaster - Provide advanced protection against adware, spyware, and other malicious software.  Free download.
  • Windows Update - Download the latest security patches and service packs for Windows, Internet Explorer, and other Microsoft software.
  • Firefox 3.0 - Customizeable web browser with built-in popup blocker and many other features.  Free download.

In order to post on the new TZ, you will need to re-register your account.  Your old login information - both for the old TZ/GZ and for the old main site - will not work, although you may re-register the same name as before.  If you have any problems, please e-mail me at [email protected]

News Archive 2006 / Astros re-up with Clemens, Franco added to club
« on: January 24, 2005, 07:34:51 pm »
The starting rotation immediately looked better last Friday as the Astros announced that Roger Clemens, 18-game winner and 2004 NL Cy Young award winner, would be coming back to the Astros for the 2005 season.  The contract was for $18 million.  Clemens only made in the neighborhood of $6.25 million last season.

Clemens rejoins a rotation armed with Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte (who is still recovering from surgery), and Brandon Backe.  The #5 spot on the staff is still up for grabs.

The rotation also got a new face Saturday as John Franco was signed to a one-year, $700,000 deal with Houston.  The 44-year-old lefthander was 2-7 with a 5.28 ERA with the Mets in 2004, but figures to be playing a situational lefty role with the club this year.  The Astros are hoping that at least one of their recent bullpen acquisitions - Franco and minor-league-signed Turk Wendell and Dave Burba - will be able to contribute to an otherwise young bullpen.

Pitchers and catchers report to Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, FL on Thursday, February 17, with all players expected to be there by February 24.

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