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G73: Rangers blast way to win, 11-3

I was at this game. Ever since Interleague play started, I wanted the Astros to play here. And some years ago a regular series was added (although at the expense of a move to the AL Central – THANKS HICKS). I enjoy Interleague anyway, and I usually make at least one of the games each year. I like the Astros too, but I don’t follow them as closely as I do the Rangers, but I know enough to say I’m a casual fan of the Astros, so its’ a cool thing when they play. I don’t think it’s the “rivalry” that other natural rivals (Cubs/ChiSox, Yanks/Mets) are, but I don’t want it to go away, either.
I parked my backside in my seat, which was right up against the foul pole in right field – I was right up against the fence. Heck, you could see me on TV in the coverage of the Wilkerson & Sosa home runs in the fifth inning. :) I kind of like sitting there, it’s a cool spot, even if the bottom most part of the Jumbotron is not visible. Chatted with some guys I didn’t know – had a lot of fun with them.
The game itself started off with the Rangers behind, after a solo home run to Lance Berkman. No shame there, he hits a lot of them. We did however, pick it right up in the bottom of the first when Ian Kinsler doubled down the line, and Mike Young singled him home. We got another in the second when Lofton doubled down the right field line – it was cool because I could look over the rail and look straight down and see the play below me. Luke Scott had some troubles with the ball, and I thought that a younger Lofton would have had a triple easy on that when Scott slightly misplayed it. Still, it gave us the lead.
Houston took the lead back in the fifth when Biggio got hit #2,993, and was doubled home by Houston phenom Hunter Pence (who I have on several fantasy teams). Also saw a “Welcome home Hunter” sign in the outfield, that was nice. Pence himself scored when he was singled home by Lance Berkman which gave the Astros the lead again.
And then the floodgates opened. The Rangers put up an 8 spot in the bottom of the fifth. We sent 13 men to the plate that inning. The inning went like this: single, home run, home run, walk, strikeout, home run, double, single, walk, walk, single, fly out, strike out. The home run by Sosa was another thing that happened right below me. I had a fantastic view of the ball skipping on top of the wall in front of the wedgie and bouncing up into the seats. I missed #600 the other night, but did see #601. :) Then Marlon Byrd destroyed another ball way up into the bleachers in left center. Nice to see back to back jacks. Wilkkkkkkkkkerson also had a home run that passed me in right and went about 10 rows up in the seats, not too far away from where Raffy hit #500 if I remember that correctly. It was a great inning. In fact, Sosa had two hits and four RBI’s in this inning.
I have to say, while I’ve been screaming for Botts (as have most fans), Sosa’s production is hard to argue with. I’ve seen a few people suggest that he might stay here all season, and possibly beyond. While his average is not great (242 I think), he’s on a pace for 120RBI in a season, and I think around 25 home runs or so. If people had said that’s what Sosa would have after 2007 was over when we signed him, we’d all be jumping up and down happy. There’s no doubt he’s blocking Botts, but if Sosa ends up with a decent average and sustains the power numbers, it might be hard to argue against keeping him. Steroids talk be damned, as I sit here writing, I have to say the 600 thing was fun to see. Yeah, it seems to contradict my previous statements about Botts & Sosa, but this is how I feel right now.
Millwood had a decent outing. Not stellar, he went six innings on 102 pitches, giving up three earned runs. It earned him his fourth win of the year, and lowered his ERA to 7.31 – yikes. Far cry from the year he lead the league in ERA with Cleveland. Jack Benoit & Frank Francisco followed up with three innings of perfect relief. The coolest part about the Ranger pitching staff this night is that they gave up NO walks at all. That’s quite unusual. Zero walks. Houston on the other hand, gave up 9 walks. Including Houston reliever Stephen Randolph who gave up four walks in two innings (with 5ER).
All in all, it was quite a fun night to be out at the ballpark.

Comments

  1. I was at the game, too, and was really glad that Millwood made a second good start — although there were moments….I don’t want to be too optimistic, but it has looked pretty good for the last 3 games. Just have to remember that this is a “soft” place in our schedule with a really tough segment coming up with the Tigers, R-Sox, and Angels.

  2. ItByrnesWhenIPeavy says:

    It’s interesting that, overall, Sosa’s non-RBI stats don’t seem that great, but the guy’s hitting something like .340 with runners in scoring position. Not too bad at all.

  3. Jeffster says:

    Can you elaborate on the part about “the expense of a move to the AL central”? I don’t understand that part.