Astros can’t catch a break
Things could have been so much different for the Astros on Wednesday. Had Wandy Rodriguez been able to get an inning-ending double play in the first — instead of having to settle for a fielder’s choice — the Cubs wouldn’t have later erupted for five runs in the inning.
Had Brett Wallace been able to clearly see Bill Hall’s blooper drop in right field and been able to get to second base, he wouldn’t have been forced out and perhaps would have scored on Matt Downs’ ensuing home run.
The Cubs scored three times in the ninth against the Astros bullpen to break the game open and win 9-5, but you couldn’t help but wonder what if?
“We fought at the plate and bounced back,” Downs said. “I feel like we fight to the end every night. We just haven’t caught some breaks here and there.”
Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez (0-2) nearly got an inning-ending double play in the first when he coerced Marlon Byrd to hit a one-out comebacker to the mound. Rodriguez threw to second for a force out, but shortstop Angel Sanchez’s relay throw to first base was late to keep the inning alive. The Cubs went on to score five two-out runs to take a 5-0 lead.
The Astros scored five times in the sixth to get within a run, 6-5, and could have pushed another run across the plate in the sixth and possibly tied the game. But first baseman Brett Wallace was an easy force out at second base after retreating to first on a blooper by Hall that fell between right fielder Tyler Colvin and second baseman Darwin Barney.
Wallace thought Colvin caught the ball and went back to first, where he was greeted by Hall urging him to scurry to second. The Cubs gladly took the force out as Carlos Lee crossed the plate to make it 6-3. Downs followed with a two-run homer that could have been a three-run homer.
“Just from that angle with the second baseman going back, you’re basically blocked out,” Wallace said. “It was just a ball that I have to be far enough to get to second if he doesn’t catch it, but in the same sense if he catches it and throws me out at first there’s point to being off. It was really just judgment. I couldn’t see the baseball and it looked like Colvin scooped it up.”
After watching the replay, Wallace thought he would have been thrown out at second anyway had he seen the ball drop.
“[Darwin] scooped it pretty cleanly and made a pretty good throw to second,” he said, “but it definitely would have looked a lot better if was making the out at second.”