Written by Daniel Paulling
Published: 08 June 2007
The Houston Astros did not even win a game the last time these two teams hooked up in the ALDS. That was 2001, this is 2004. The ‘Stros picked up a win in the first game of the series by utterly destroyed the Braves 9-3. This makes them 2-9 vs. the Braves since 1997, quite a dubious record.
What Went Right
The Houston Astros received the offense they were expecting from their Killer B’s. Beltran, Berkman, and (Brad) Ausmus connected for long shots, as did Jason Lane. They got 13 hits, tying a franchise record for an ALDS game. For the Braves, there wasn’t really a bright spot, but the bullpen did pitch better than Jaret Wright. There were concerns about Antonio Alfonseca, but he pitched well in his inning of work.
What Went Wrong
The biggest thing for the Astros that went wrong was Carlos Beltran being hit in the ribs with a fastball. He had to leave the game and is doubtful for Game 2. Clemens also threw 117 pitches in a game that did not require him to be at that number. On the other side of the diamond, Jaret Wright was completely incinerated on the mound going 4.1 innings and allowing 6 earned runs. Those kinds of starts don’t usually win you games in the postseason.
"I know the history, but it's just history, this is a different club," Astros 1B Jeff Bagwell said. "We've got a ton of talent in our lineup, and I really feel good about this club, including our offense. We came in here on a roll and we've continued it, and that to me is the most important thing."
"This is a very good offense, we've got guys who not only get on base like Biggio, Bagwell and Berkman, but they can also hit the ball out of the park," Astros CF Carlos Beltran said. "To me, this is a very good offense. We can do a lot of things, and that's what we did today."
"The past is past," Astros LF Craig Biggio said. "That's over and done with. This is something else."
What to Expect From Game 2
The Braves will be sending Mike Hampton to the mound against youngster Roy Oswalt. This is definitely a mismatch in the terms of pitchers, and there is a big chance the Braves could go down 2-0 heading to Houston, where the ‘Stros have won 18 straight games. I definitely hope that Hampton can keep it close until the late innings and that the Braves can get Oswalt knocked out early by getting his pitch count as high as possible early on. I think that might be the only way for the Braves to win his crucial game.