Sep 14, 2008

Astros F*ed by Z & Bud & Ike

Carlos Zambrano just pitched a no-no on the Astros. (Full story)

Carlos Zambrano pitched the first no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs in 36 years, returning from a sore rotator cuff to shut down the Houston Astros 5-0 Sunday night in a game relocated because of Hurricane Ike."I guess I'm back!" Zambrano hollered.

Sigh. Deep breath.

My condolences for the fans and people of Houston and Galveston TX. You've been blown three times this week, and not once in a good way. First, there's that damn Ike. Then Bud "gotta' go now" Selig's gracious last second decision to host the Astros and Cubs at his daughter's Milwaukee's Brewer's Miller Park. And now you've been blanked by Z in the first of those two games.

Now I'm not an Astros fan. Some of you know that I am on record as famously NOT being an Astros fan. As a non-Astros fan, my position on this matter may confuse some of you. However, I think this gives me a unique perspective to understand their frustration with the situation.

Old news: Due to Ike, The Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros ended their Hurricane Ike hiatus and played night game Sunday and a day game tomorrow on Monday at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The two teams will play the third game, if needed, on Sept. 29 in Houston, after the regular season is over. Please. We're all adults. There won't be a third game because you've given the first two to the Cubs.

Is it a conspiracy against the Astros? Perhaps just an opportunity for the Brewers to advance over Philly? Just a coincidence that Milwaukee has a retractable roof, which would guarantee the two games while the home team was on the road? And that Bud has left the lights on for them?

Sure, the choice to take the games to Milwaukee could be attributed to the roof - that could allow games to happen no mater what... the story looks pretty, but don't kick the tires. Bud was a used car salesman, after all.

Look at how long everyone in charge shuffled their feet. The decision to play at a "neutral" site only was decided late Friday night. This storm didn't form overnight. This issue was talked about for a week. Better leadership would have solved this problem earlier, and they could have even played the entire series out. They could have sold the chairs to charity - there is precedent for this exact situation. But, you see, better leadership is not something the MLB has.

In fact, it seems that at the literal 11th hour, the final decision was made to not play the games in Houston - much to the dismay of the Astros - which will have to refund 3 sold out games. There's an insurance policy for that. But there isn't for lost hot dog and beer revenue. I'm not crying for the Astros on that one. As such, that revenue loss and protesting to switch venues probably prevented a better decision in favor of the Astros in the first place.

However, once the late decision was made, it was Milwaukee. Wrigley Field North.

Cubby blue and Brew crew finally united against one singular entity of shared hatred: a hot Astros team in the middle of September. My contention is that the late "solution" to the Ike issue has only helped two teams: the Cubs and Brewers. It helps to keep the Astros from narrowing the Brewers' deficit in the NL Central race, and it does the same in the Wild Card.

The only way Bud could have helped more would been to allow the Cubs to bat last.

As for Z? He never seemed to labor for any of his 110 pitches and only walked one.


Capn said...

Here's what they're saying, blog-wise, about Carlos Zambrano's no-hitter vs. the Astros on Sunday ...

. The Most Interesting Man In The World On Hits. No. With the city in ruins, their billionaire idiot owner was finally convinced to move the games somewhere else. But with that same hurricane dumping rain over the entire midwest, the only suitable place was a crappy little dome 90 miles north of Chicago. Filled with Cubs’ fans, it wasn’t even close to a home field for the Astros. No Astro hit the ball hard. Only two hit the ball to the outfield. Hell, Carlos didn’t even let them hit the ball near Alfonso Soriano all night. [Desipio]

• History! Cubs's Z No-Hits Astros 5-0. And the raucous Miller Park crowd — 99% Cubs fans, a handful of Brewers fans looking lost, and two or three lonely-looking Astros fans who got booed every time one of them appeared on the Jumbotron — got on its feet for every pitch of the ninth inning. There's nothing like it in a regular-season baseball game, the tension of each out of the ninth inning of a no-hitter. Carlos Zambrano made that inning look easy. Two groundouts to Ryan Theriot and his tenth K of the night — on a low, outside splitter to Darin Erstad — he had his first career no-hitter, a 5-0 win over the Astros, and in my opinion, only Kerry Wood's 20-K game ten years ago was a more dominant pitching performance by a Cub in my lifetime. [Bleed Cubbie Blue]

• Zambrano No-Hits The Astros In A 'Neutral Park'. How disheartening must it have been for the entire Houston staff to have just weathered a hurricane with their families, have to go through a logistical whirlwind of travel, and then play a game in a hostile environment in spite of MLB's claims to the contrary? I just can't help feeling that Zambrano was able to no hit the Astros because they were shell shocked. [Houston Crawfish Boxes]

• Brilliance. If there was any doubt about Z’s health, that should be gone. And don’t look now, but all the Chicken Littles should note that the Cubs have now won three in a row, and lowered the division magic number to just 7. Yes we can? [The View From The Bleachers]

• The Big Z Gets The Big No. This is the first Cubs No-No since 1972. Z did it in an almost un-Z-like 110 pitches. Not bad, considering Lou wanted to limit him to 100. But with the 100th pitch being thrown in the bottom of the 9th inning, Lou may not have made it back to the dugout if he had tried to take Z out of the game. Z may have also been helped before the ninth began, as he was scheduled to bat fourth in the inning. He didn't get a chance, as the Cubs went 1-2-3, but the fact that he had to mentall prep (and we know Z takes every AB importantly) may have allowed him to ignore the fact that he was heading into the ninth without a hit. [Towel Drills]

• Astros Facing 'Homefield Disadvantage'. The homefield disadvantage, however, was no laughing matter. The Astros took exception with how the entire situation was handled, beginning with the decision in the wake of Hurricane Ike to move the games to Milwaukee — a hop, skip and a jump north of Chicago. "This is not a home game," manager Cecil Cooper said. "This is definitely advantage Cubs. That's the bottom line." The Players Union lobbied for the games to played in Atlanta, while several other cities were considered as well. Ultimately, the Commissioner's Office insisted on the games being played under a roof. More than 23,000 showed up for Sunday's game. Loosely estimated, 22,997 were Cubs fans. In Berkman's estimation, the games "might as well be played at Wrigley Field." [Houston Astros]

Tough Shit said...

There's no crying in baseball, grow a pair and just play the game. I thought this Houston team was one of the hottest in baseball over the last month or so...FAIL. One hit over two games...sad. Wah, wah, go get some diapers Cecil Cooper. What a pud. Maybe the Astros should have played better earlier in the season. If they were 20 games under .500, these games at Miller Park would be an afterthought. At least they didn't fire their manager for no good reason like the Brewers.

Capn said...

Dear Tough Shit,

There is crying FOUL. And this whole thing has a foul stench.

That said, Brew Crew to be dispensed of after the week is out, just like their manager.

Then we can all argue how far the Cubs will go into the playoff schedule.