Astros 3, Mets 2

Much will be made of the Mets’ inability to score more than two runs off Houston’s Ezequiel Astacio, he of the 8.24 big league ERA entering Thursday’s game, but it is worth noting that Astacio won 5 games for Round Rock this past June, posting an an ERA under 1.00 during that month in earning his second call-up of the year.

Astros fans and members of the McLane family will recall Houston going 36-10 over their final 46 games last season to claim the NL Wild Card. By comparison, the Astros are a mere 32-14 over their last 46 games this season. Nothing for the Mets to worry about, then.

Though the Mets were felled by Astros C Brad Ausmus’ squeeze bunt in the 7th and game-winning double off Roberto Hernandez in the 9th, questions remain about manager Willie Randolph’s inaction. With the winning run on 2nd and first base open, Randolph had Hernandez pitch to Ausmus rather than walk the Astros catcher with the pitcher’s spot coming up next. Houston’s 2nd run was set up nicely by PR Eric Brunlett stealing 2nd — one of 3 steals against Mike Piazza on the evening. If ever there were an occasion to pull Piazza in favor of Ramon Castro, you’d think it would be with the Mets protecting a slim lead in a game where the opposition has made their intent to run pretty obvious.

Minute Maid was packed to the rafters with beer enthusiasts doning anti-Beltran shirts, Houston radio abuzz with accusations of “selling out”. How many of these geniuses wouldn’t switch jobs for an extra 2 grand let alone 20 million, is besides the point because it is unlikely they’ll be offered a raise of either amount in the near future.

Says David Roth, “Who knew anyone — let alone an entire fan base — could build up so much resentment towards a guy who was with them for all of 70 or so days?”

When Jose Offerman was introduced as a pinch-hitter in the top of the 9th, the gentleman sitting to my left asked “is he still beating his wife?”

“You must be thinking of Julio Lugo,” I replied, though I was still impressed. It is hard to answer when someone stopped beating their wife.

The local comedian in charge of the “Kiss-Cam” chose to focus on Chris Woodward and Doug Mientkiewicz. To their credit, the platonic couple fell into each other’s arms, almost on cue.

Showing that he’s not just sitting around groping Chris Woodward, Mientkiewicz warmed up Pedro Martinez prior to the home 8th inning. That he wore no protective gear whatsoever while doing so was either very brave or very stupid, but we’ll let Woodward hassle him about that when they get back to the hotel.