It’s been a few days since I’ve watched the Astros play. A confluence of summer activities kept me away from the Rangers series. On one hand I wanted to see the Rangers given that they are THE dynamic team in the Major Leagues and they are our rivals, no?, and our soon-to-be division mates. On the other hand, having handed them several easy losses. On the third hand, there was the win on Saturday night–which I missed on account of a giant mound of crawfish on a paper plate I was consumed with consuming while a Zydeco band urged me on–sure does look like a fun one. I don’t hate the guy, but I’m glad to beat the young Brian Wilson protege Derek Holland, who has crafted himself something of the easy target for non-Ranger fans. As I think it was Tom Scharpling said about I don’t know who, guys like Holland are funny…for athletes. It’s not like they can carry any kind of segment, as Holland proved in his painful appearance on a local weather report at some point during the offseason. His approach was to quickly revert to his (middling) Harry Caray impression at the first sign of comedic trouble.
For Lucas Harrell to hold Josh Hamilton hitless is the kind of miraculous accomplishment that I don’t even want to have seen, because the reality would surely pale in comparison to the holy shining light that glows on the achievement in my imagination.
J.D. Martinez. started the year hitting like a professional hitter ready to take hold of the number three spot in the order and let Mr. Luhnow build up around him like a heavy stone column. I was prepared–the overexcited fan of professional-grade hitters that I am–to grant him that position as a given and move on to more exciting projects like finding the vegetarian food booth at Minute Maid Park or counting the giant oranges in the MMP Express when all of a sudden J.D. started swinging the bat like he had always just gotten his pupils dilated at the eye doctor. The pitcher winds and throws…the pitch is called a ball…and Martinez swings and misses. J.D. brushing them with a piece of hay as they passed. J.D. was possessed to distraction by the refrain of an LMFAO song or he couldn’t find the vegetarian food stand either. Who in the name of Purpura knows what went wrong but the head and the hands and the heart were utterly out of sync. In the games I watched against Milwaukee he could have maybe dented a He-Man lunch box with the cuts he took. I’m glad to read that he had a knock in Saturday’s game, and to his credit, he still supports an on-base average about double anything Jason Michaels’ in the last few years, so the potential to regain his Professional Hitter label is there. There are occasions in baseball when it’s so obvious that the mental side of the game has swallowed up the physical side for a particular player, and for J.D. it really is a case of the hitting yips. Not bad luck, not poor performance, but an honest breakdown of the focus/non-focus Zen state that it takes to be good on a consistent basis.
I figure once he connects with a few line drives in a row it will knock loose the dried sap that’s closed off his chakras, and he’ll be back to form at some point.
Can we say the same for the Astros? They’re sneaking away from the .500 plateau that did for a little while feel realistic. They’ve won three out of their last five and that’s pretty good against the best team in baseball and a division opponent.
In the meantime, the visions of retro splendor on Friday nights should be plenty to sustain. Bud Norris will pitch against Matt Garza and the Cubs tonight, May 21, and oh hey look see the Cubs are worse than we are! I was frankly shocked to learn that Alfonso Soriano was still a starter on that team. I’ll take El Caballo’s contract over the deal CHC made with that guy any time.
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