April 1st, 2013
by lisagray

OH YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

No Fernando Martinez (on the DL) and no Rick Ankiel, who, last I heard, was supposed to start (and can’t hit leftys any better than Carlos Pena) because they have decided that he and Brandon are going to platoon in right. Good idea.

Starting lineup

2B Jose Altuve
1B Brett Wallace
LF Chris Carter
DH Carlos Pena
CF Justin Maxwell
C Jason Castro
3B Matt Dominguez
RF Brandon Barnes
SS Ronny Cedeno

SP: Bud Norris

Rest of Opening Day 25 man (I’m writing this down right now because I want to be able to look back and see. If there is ever a reason I want to, don’t ask me why…) Opening Day still gives me chills like nothing else. No matter WHAT evil Bud Selig has done…

Carlos Corporan, C; Marwin Gonzalez, IF; Rick Ankiel, RF, JD Martinez, OF.
RH SP: Lucas Harrell, Phil Humber, Brad Peacock
LH SP: Erik Bedard
RH RP: Hector Ambriz, Rhiner Cruz, Edgar Gonzalez,
LH RP: Wesley Wright, Xavier Cedeno
Closer: Jose Veras

Lyle Lovett sings the anthem. Thank God. Correct tempo, nice baritone. He’s done the anthem here before and he was great.  

Last time we’ll see the Box full for a long LONG time. They SAY it’s a sellout, but it’s not – I see more than a few empty seats, especially behind home plate. Berkman got a big hand, but I hear a lot of boos, too. Everyone wants to know why Berkman gets booed when he was a loyal soldier. Well, you see, he wasn’t one of those grim Biggio type guys, and he didn’t hit as well as Barry Lamar every day and every week and every month. He’s intelligent and jokes a lot, and this irritated fans who insist that every guy be just like Biggio and Bagwell. Whatever. Looks as if most of the fans are wearing Rangers gear. Not surprised.

Some football player throws out the first pitch – looks just like Jonathan Broxton, but can’t throw a strike. Come to think of it, neither can Jonathan Broxton.

where was I?

I remember the last Opening Day we were on ESPN – Roy Oswalt vs Kirk Reuter and the Giants and Barry Lamar beat us in the 8th. Jimy wanted to pull Roy, but Roy looked at him and said, I don’t  care who is up there. And the 3rd pitch went over the RF fence. Barely, but over is over.

1st inning: Bud throws a first pitch strike to Kinsler – good sign, who then flies out to STARTING RF BRANDON BARNES!!! Andrus strikes out swinging. Lance Berkman strides to the plate – he gest a lot of boooos. sigh. Lance grounds out to short. Bud has the FB and slider under control.

Matt Harrison, LHP: Altuve hits the first pitch to left for a single. No nono today. Brett wallace goes to 1-2, then it’s a ball in the dirt which gets slightly away from the catcher. Altuve breaks for second, slides in under the tag (on the replay), but is called out. Wallace Ks swinging. Chris Carter takes a strike looking, a strike swinging and a strike looking. Looks as if Harrison, so far, is only throwing the 2 seamer as all the pitches were 91 MPH.

2nd inning: Beltre takes a strike, swings at a slider, lines a FB to 3rd; David Murphy goes to 3-2 then walks on a checked swing. The announcers keep talking about the loss of Michael Young being more significant than the loss of Josh Hamilton. How silly. Nelson Cruz up: Dominguez waaaay off the plate in the 5.5 hole ??? and Murphy tries to steal on a 2-1 and, shock de la shock, Jason Castro throws him out. Bud goes to another 3-2 count, gives up another walk. AJ Pierzinsky: fouls off 2 then he bloops a single over the head of Cedeno at short (Orel Hershiser sez that Bud/Castro shoulda thrown him another slider). Mitch Moreland up – Orel Hershiser notes that Cedeno is standing behind the runner at second, leaving an enormous hole up the middle – he’s doing a great job as a color man. Dan Schulman is also doing a good job as play by play. Not much stupid gossip.) And Bud gets a blessed swinging K on another slider. He’s up to 39 pitches already.
-  Pena, no surprise, strikes out swinging on a changeup. He woulda struck out swinging on bout anything from a lefty, but I digress. Justin maxwell lines out to third. Castro Ks swinging.

So far, we haven’t seen Nolan Ryan’s sour puss. Or Selig, neither. ESPN is broadcasting this like an actual baseball game. Will wonders never cease.

3rd inning: Bud gets 1,2,3 out – and the last one, Andrus fly to left center is trapped by Maxwell (GREAT catch) but it was really trapped.
- Harrison breezes – Dominguez grounds out, Barnes Ks swinging and Cedeno lines out to third. I’m glad Altuve led off with a hit.

4th inning: Lance singles – the ESPN commentators are praising him – actually say right out that he don’t get no respeck – he has a higher lifetime SLG than Chipper Jones, is a grossly underrated hitter, Beltre has high fly near the CBoxes; Murphy goes to 3-2, Bud suddenly starts throwing over to first, but Murphy flies out to left – nice easy fly that Carter doesn’t have to chase. Nelson Cruz swings and misses 2 sliders, then flies out to left center – Maxwell barely moves.
- Harrison is at only 38 pitches. Altuve flies out, Brett Wallace goes to 0-2, then singles up the middle. Carter Ks looking again – he’s a guy who strikes out at least 1 of 3 ABs but the Organization doesn’t care because he hits home runs. Pena hits a pitch thru the 5.5 hole – shock deluxe. Got men on first and second, 2 out. Maxwell takes a ball, then hits a hanger high off the scoreboard which takes weird bounces – it’s a standup triple, 2 runs in.

Porter out, wants the umps to find out if it was over the line, but it hit under the blue banner under the yellow line, and it’s not out. Orel shows how Maxwell jogged to first, then turned on the jets. Castro grounds out

Astros 2 Rangers 0

Where is Nolie Poo’s stick up butt look when you want to see it?

5th inning –  Bud has a lead and he’s cruising. AJ Ks on a high FB, Moreland lofts an easy FB to left and Leonys Martin (their new CF now that Hamilton is gone) grounds out to third – it was a lousy throw, too – and Dominguez is supposed to be this great fielder. Brandon Laird looks better, to me. Bud is at 78 pitches.
-  Dominguez Ks, then Brandon Barnes takes a 4 pitch walk!!!!! Cedeno up swings at a neck high FB, hits it to right, where Cruz boots it, throws in to the cutoff man, who also boots the throw, Barnes trots in and Cedeno goes to third on the 2 base error. Altuve up. And DAMMED if he doesn’t do the exact same thing – hits a neck high FB into right for an RBI single.

Harrison can’t believe this. Here he is losing to this crappy AAA team. Reliever already up and throwing. Can you believe this? Wallace up, goes to 2-0, but swings 3 straight times. Carter actually manages to make contact!!! popping out to second. He sure reminds me of Preston Wilson. That’s not good, by the way.

Astros 4 Rangers 0

6th inning: John Kruk has joined Hershiser and Schulman. I like the Krukker – so sue me. Kinsler up for the third time and he walks on 3-1. Bud has given up more walks than hits tonight. So far. Andrus Ks on a vicious slider. Orel mentions that the Astros are keeping close tabs on a starter the third time thru the lineup. Well goodness gracious. Lance back up. And he singles to right as Kinsler goes to third. Erik Bedard is up and throwing – they’re using him as a long reliever while he’s the 5th starter because he won’t start for like 2 weeks.

Beltre lines the first pitch right back at Bud. Kewl.  Murphy back up – and Murphy looked to me like he was seeing the ball pretty well the last time. Yep. Murphy takes a couple balls, then lines a single to right and Kinsler trots home. Orel says that they got Rhiner Cruz up a little too late. Bud had better get Cruz out. Cruz swings at a slider, stares at a slider, then hits the next slider to left and Berkman scores. Men on second and third.

Bud lasts 5.2 innings, 2 runs in on 5 H, 3 BB, 3 K. Only 1 hard hit ball, though, which is good. No extra base hits, no homers.

Erik Bedard coming in to get AJ out. And he does – flies out to center.

Astros 4 Rangers 2

bottom of the 6th: Pena fouls off a bunch, then Ks on a check swing. Maxwell walks on 4 straight. Meetup on the mound. Castro up – doubt Maxwell will be trying to steal because Harrison was the best in the majors last year at preventing steals – only one all year, says Orel. Castro flies out. Dominguez goes to 3-1, then walks.

Harrison only lasts 5.2 also. In comes Derek Lowe, back to relieving. Are you kidding me? How the heck did he make a ML roster? And they are bringing him in in a high leverage situation??? Ankiel comes in to PH for Brandon Barnes. And Ankiel blasts the 3-1 pitch upper deck RF for a 3 run homer. Whoa. Cedeno Ks on 3 straight.

Astros 7 Rangers 2

- guess they’re really missing Michael Young and all his veterany goodness leadershipness. Orel and Kruk are really into leadership. Luhnow says he signed Carlos pena and Erik Bedard and Rick Ankiel with the understanding (ahem) that their role was to teach young players for the low low salary…

7th inning – Bedard back out. Moreland grounds out, Leonys Martin Ks swinging. Kinsler grounds out to short. Wonder if they’ll let him finish up. youneverknow. The stars at night are big n bright – wonder if they’ll keep playing that. Sundays, you have to get in GBA (I really REALLY wish they’d get rid of that) as well as gettin took out to the ballpark. Makes me sad to think I’ll never get to go to a major league baseball game again.
- New pitcher, Jason Frasor, RHP. Altuve grounds out first pitch, Wallace Ks staring, Chris Carter again manages to make contact, grounding out.

8th inning:  Erik Bedard still in. Andrus hits a hard grounder to third and Dominguez goes to his right and makes a great throw. Lance Ks on a 3-2 curve and Beltre pops out to short. Bedard is looking really sharp – wonder what on earth went wrong last year. He was the Opening Day starter for the Pirates, remember?

AHA – news about Nolan Ryan – Buster Olney says that Nolan Ryan “Sulking about his underlings getting better titles or something. Guess that’s why we haven’t seen him skulking about.

- new pitcher LHP Joe Ortiz: Carlos Pena Ks staring. Maxwell hits a bullet into the RF corner and cruises into third, standing. Awesome. Jason Castro grounds weakly to short and maxwell can’t score. Dominguez hits an infield single – pitcher can’t catch it and Kinsler can’t get it fast enough. Ankiel Ks on 3 pitches. Looks like this Ortiz guy is bound for LOOGYhood.

Astros 8 Rangers 2

9th inning – Bedard gonna finish out. Kewl. Murphy goes to 3-2, then hits a ball all the way to the LF bullpen and Maxwell makes a fabulous catch. Cruz singles to right. AJ flies out to left. Looks as if they’ve decided that Carter won’t move from in front of the scoreboard, and Maxwell is going to get everything else. Splitting most of the OF between Maxwell and Barnes/Ankiel is smart. Moreland grounds out and Altuve makes a nice play.

Bedard gets a 3.1 inning save. That’s something you almost never see these days.

Luhnow has announced that for the first few months, starting pitchers in the minors are gonna be pitching in tandems – there will be 4 pairs. One guy will start and go 75 pitches and his tandem partner will pitch the next 75, assuming that both pitch well. Next start his partner will begin the game. Why on earth they are gonna do this with Mike Foltynewicz I don’t get.

sigh

Why is it that they couldn’t win on Opening Day back when I actually cared?

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