I had already typed most of the post, a comment to Zam, a die-hard Astro fan, congratulating her and the Astros for finally making the Series. For she had called it earlier in the day. When Lance Berkman hit his 3-run job in the 7th, I thought to myself, must be women’s intuition. Then it happened and a sudden hush came over Astro-nation.
Needing just one strike to get that last out, suddenly things changed. I was ready to publish my comment as Eckstein batted. There were two outs, no one on and David Eckstein was in a 1-2 hole and I thought it was over. Eckstein’s a good contact hitter, so I wasn’t thinking strikeout here, but probably a defensive swing resulting in a ground out somewhere… except the ground out found a hole on the left side. No biggie right? Then Jim Edmonds almost gets plunked and I’m thinking you really don’t wanna face Albert Pujols as the go ahead run. You had to know Edmonds might be taking at 2-1 and then for sure at 3-1 and Brad Lidge just couldn’t throw the strike he needed. He really hadn’t look that sharp even in getting the first two outs. Jimmy takes the walk and the raucous crowd quieted a little, almost as if they new something bad was going to happen.
So here comes Fat Albert. The man you don’t want to face in this situation if you’re the Astros. Pujols is going to be the NL MVP, probably should have already won it at least once before. He’s batting .429 in the series entering the game but was 0-4 on the night. Hmm, think he’s due? Lidge makes a good first pitch and gets Albert to miss on a very good splitter in the dirt to get ahead 0-1. Maybe the best pitch he threw all night… followed by the worst pitch. Lidge hung one right in the wheelhouse and Pujols hit it as far as I’ve seen a ball hit in Minute Maid Park. I swear that ball was still going up when it hit up in the rafters above the tracks in left field. Talk about hushing a stadium. They were ready to celebrate, time to pop the corks. Then everything changed. Jason Isringhausen closed out the ninth in easy fashion, and you have to wonder if in the back of Houston’s mind they are thinking about last year when they went back to St. Louis in need of just one win and came up empty as the Cards went on to the Series. Are the Astros thinking here we go again? For Zam and all of Astro-nation’s sake, lets hope not.