Oh, those Astros

“Houston, we have a problem.”

No, it doesn’t involve NASA astronauts.  It is a problem the Phillies have with the Astros, beating that baseball club.

Houston has been in the post-season each of the last two years mainly because they are 12-0 against the Phillies.  Yes, 12-0. 

Well, it is time to turn the tables.  It all starts on Labor Day afternoon when the Astros visit Citizens Bank Park.  Time for a commercial: 3:05 start, the last Hatfield Phillies Franks Dollar Dog Day; final Modell’s Sporting Goods Run the Bases for kids post-game; tickets are available online on this website.

The Phillies’ last win over the Astros came on Sunday night (ESPN telecast), May 18, 2003.  Kevin Millwood (6-1) pitched a complete-game six-hitter, 3-1, in downtown Houston.  The last time the Phillies won in Philadelphia was May 10 of the same season, a Randy Wolf 2-0, five-hit shutout at Veterans Stadium.

What has happened since May 18, 2003?

**The Phillies will have played 579 games (barring Ernesto this weekend).

**Placido Polanco, Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu, David Bell and Marlon Byrd, all in the May 18 Phillies lineup, are “Outta Here!”  All five were traded.

**From the same game, Geoff Blum, Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent, Orlando Merced, Tim Redding and Jose Vizcaino are no longer in Houston uniforms.

**Billy Wagner left the Astros for the Phillies and left the Phillies for the Mets.

**Millwood has been with the Indians and now the Rangers.

**Pat Burrell tripled in the win and has had five more triples since that game. 

**The Expos moved to Washington and became the Nationals.

**The Red Sox and White Sox have won World Series, breaking long dry spells.

**Get this.  CNN.com reported on October 12, 2003, the price of gas dropped four cents to $1.58 per gallon.  Wow!

Perhaps the 12-0 run by Houston is just a case of the “Baseball Gods” getting even with the Phillies.  When the Colt 45s joined the National League in 1962, the Phillies were 17-1 against the new Houston ball club, winning the first 17 meetings. 

Phillies Chairman Bill Giles was a young promotional character with the Colt 45s back then.  After losing the first 15 games to the Phillies, Giles decided he needed to some something extra to break the streak when the teams met for a twi-night double-header on September 3 in Colt Stadium.

In his book of memoirs that will be on the market next spring, Giles writes: “I hired an Indian witch doctor to sprinkle good luck dust at home plate and a local character named ‘One-Eyed’ Kelly to sit by the Phillies dugout.  Kelly claimed that if he stared at the Phillies pitchers they would pitch poorly.  Neither the good luck dust or the one-eyed stare worked, as we lost both games of a twi-night doubleheader.”

Should “One-Eyed” Kelly get a second chance?

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