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Houston Astros blog by a long time fan. Go Astros.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Adventures of Wandy and Ezequiel

I remember when Billy Wagner wen't to Philadelphia, how we received Brandon Duckworth, Taylor Buchholz, and Ezequiel Astacio in return. I was so optimistic about Brandon Duckworth joining the club. But he never really had much success. Buchholz was supposed to be like a year away from the majors, but injuries have delayed his arrival and at the beginning of this season he pitched terribly. Recently he has pitched better, however. Those two pitchers completely distracted me from Ezequiel Astacio. When we acquired him he was still in A ball. I figured I would pay attention to him when he actually had a chance of making it to the big leagues.

Spring Training 2005 was defined by the return of Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, Luke Scott's unreal offensive outburst, and Lance Berkman's retirement from flag football. But in the middle of all that was a little pitcher named Ezequiel who basically pitched his ass off. Zeqe threw a fastball, a slider, and a splitter. And he kept everything down and he really had a very successful spring. At the end of Spring Training he was sent to Round Rock where he played well enough to earn a callup against Pittsburgh fairly early in the season. But despite only allowing 4 runs to Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Texas hammered him and forced him back to Round Rock.
Enter Wandy Rodriguez. The story goes like this... The Astros needed a fifth starter. Buchholz and Carlos Hernandez had pitched poorly most of the season. wandy had above average numbers at AAA and he fit into the puzzle. Up in the big leagues he has played, adaquetely I suppose. No single start sticks out in my mind, I can't remember him getting hit really hard and I can't remember him dominating a single team. Bargain for a fifth starter both financially and performance based.

So yesterday they started a pair of games in a doubleheader, as they did in Cincinatti. And I have to say I enjoy watching those two pitch as much as i do anyone in the game. They just seem to have these antics about them. Wandy is a very little guy who shows a lot of body language. When he misses his spot he goes into some kind of stretch. He never seems to make eye contact with anyone. In that start he had against Toronto he never made eye contact with Jim Hickey. Zeqe looks as though he just picks up the ball and throws it at the glove. He is the antithesis for "the art of pitching". He has such a raw style, the way he just throws it in there.

A lot of what I just typed was wandering, rambling bullshit. But coming into today we were a losing team. As I write this we are a winning team. And that is the difference Wandy and Ezequiel made. So if this season turns into something great and these two end up in Round Rock for the rest of the year, don't forget this day. Don't forget how we were coming off an ugly sweep in St. Louis. The attitude had changed from "maybe we can compete with these guys" to "who do they want for Randy Winn?" So on a day when a couple of rookies could have faltered and put a season defining road trip in jeapordy, remember how they stepped up...

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