PrintPrint © 2004 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

Astros short hops
10/06/2004 7:55 PM ET
ATLANTA -- The Astros insisted that they did their job in Atlanta, splitting two games and heading home to continue the National League Division Series.

But if they are going to finally win a postseason series, Houston could use some manufactured offense. The team has scored 11 runs in the first two games, eight of which (73 percent) scored via the long ball.

In Thursday's 4-2, 11-inning loss to the Braves in Game 2, both Astros runs scored on solo homers. Jeff Bagwell went deep for the first time in 51 career postseason at-bats and Raul Chavez -- who was homerless during the regular season -- did the same two innings later, on his first career postseason plate appearance.

Chavez became the 10th player to accomplish that feat and the second Astro in as many days. Jason Lane hit a solo home run in his first playoff opportunity on Wednesday evening.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 2 of the NLDS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 2.75 Eight outs from victory, Brad Lidge blinked first
BA .233 Only four hits Thursday to Atlanta's 14
BA w/ RISP .000 (0-for-4) Few chances, no results
Runs 2 John Smoltz led Atlanta's late-inning charge by shutting the door on Houston
Fldg % .980 Chavez's error made for a seventh-inning jam

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Chavez .667 BA (2-for-3), 1 HR, 1 RBI Made the most of his first postseason chance

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Jose Vizcaino 0-for-7 Paging Adam Everett
Craig Biggio .125 Career .130 postseason hitter off to another slow start

Behind the numbers
Struggling to locate his off-speed pitches, Roy Oswalt was in a jam in the third inning, when the Braves had runners at first and second and one out with J.D. Drew and Chipper Jones due to bat. Oswalt worked out of it, getting Drew to fan at a 71 mph breaker in the dirt, then getting Jones to ground out on a 96 mph fastball. Oswalt needed 22 pitches to get through that inning and was at 51 pitches through three frames; he then breezed through the fourth in eight pitches and the fifth inning in seven.

Frozen moment
Leading off the game, Biggio launched a 1-1 pitch from Mike Hampton just a few feet to the wrong side of the foul pole before popping out on the next pitch. Biggio hit seven leadoff home runs in the regular season, tied for sixth-most in National League history. He is the NL career leader with 41 leadoff homers.

Second guess
Lidge threw 39 pitches, but this is not exactly uncharted territory. He was a setup man before the Astros traded Octavio Dotel, and has some experience coming back after racking up big pitch counts. Count on him to be available, if needed, in Saturday's Game 3.

Swinging for the fences
Year Opp. Series Homers
2004 Atlanta NLDS 6
1999 Atlanta NLDS 5
1986 N.Y. Mets NLCS 5
2001 Atlanta NLDS 3
1981 Los Angeles NLDS 2
1998 San Diego NLDS 1
1997 Atlanta NLDS 1
1980 Philadelphia NLCS 0
Numbers game
6: The number of Astros home runs in the first two games of the series, setting a franchise postseason record. The team clubbed five homers in the 1980 National League Championship Series and matched that total in the 1999 NL Division Series.

When it counts
Through two games, Astros pitchers have held the Braves to three hits in 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position, a .150 batting average. In the regular season, the Braves ranked sixth in the NL with a .264 average with runners in scoring position. Houston led the league in that category with a .274 average.

Last word
"That showed a lot that their manager brought him in, in the seventh inning. They had a couple of nails in the coffin and I think basically he was trying to bury us. Lidge, I don't know what he has left in his arm, but I know he's got a ton of strikeouts and a ton of innings. -- Braves closer John Smoltz on his Astros counterpart, Lidge

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Astros Homepage   |  MLB.com