Thursday, October 20, 2005

Long Climb

The World Series teams are set and it's good to see some new faces in there. I'm usually an American League backer but I have family in Houston so I suppose I should cheer for the Astros, for what it's worth.

This summer at several games, I assumed I was seeing the 2005 National League champs in action. But at the time I assumed it was the three games involving the Cardinals. When I saw the Astros, they were at their much-publicized 15 games under .500.

It turns out I was there when the Astros started to dig themselves out of that huge hole. On May 27, they were 16-31 after dropping the first game of a series against Milwaukee. I saw the next two games that last weekend in May at Miller Park, with the Astros winning an atypical 9-6 slugfest on Saturday, then taking a more characteristic 2-1 win on Sunday with a quality start from Andy Pettitte and a heart-attack save (two on, nobody out) from Brad Lidge.

From May 28 to July 31, the Astros went 41-17 to climb from sixth place in the division to leading the Wild Card race. Next week the World Series comes to the State of Texas for the first time. My useless bit of trivia regarding that is there is now only one early-1960's expansion team that has not been in a World Series – the second incarnation of the Washington Senators, now known as the Texas Rangers. With all the curse-breaking that has been going on in recent seasons, maybe it will be Rangers-Cubs next year...nah, probably not.

Andy Pettitte hurled six shutout innings May 29.

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