Baseball looks so easy when you're watching on TV. Give the Astros and Padres credit Sunday for keeping it real for us. This baseball looked as easy as boxing blindfolded.
I don't blame President Bush for leaving before it was over.
Fortunately, Heath Bell was on the job. I don't know about you, but if there's another Padre who's more entertaining than Bell right now, I can't think of him.
This guy is some pitcher. The hot fastball and goofy comments bring him attention, but he knows what he's doing. Best of all, he never flinches.
With so many things going wrong, I guess that Bell's save streak, which dates to last May, probably should've come to an end. A one-hopper went under his glove for a leadoff single. His fastball was riding high, putting another Astro on with a walk, and when Will Venable clanged a sun-ball for a one-out error, the bases were loaded and a two-run lead was looking small.
The fans were out of their stupor by now. The Astros looked peppier, too.
Bell never stopped pitching. That's the thing. Some guys just start throwing when things unravel.
Yeah, umpire Greg Gibson helped him, calling a 3-1 strike on a belt-high fastball that looked inside. (But TV also makes umpiring look a lot easier than it is.)
So what? The count was full, and Bell was losing speed on his fastball. The hitter, Matt Downs, had seen five consecutive fastballs, most of them up and in. At some point, a big league hitter is supposed to adjust, right?
Bell didn't back down. He threw a sixth consecutive fastball, again up and in. This one was 91 mph, slowish for Bell. But the pitch tied up Downs, who struck out on a foul tip to Nick Hundley. Downs was batting over .400 on the young season.
Still laboring, Bell had to get past Jason Bourgeois, who was 4-for-10. He fed him fastballs but couldn't put him away. So what does Bell throw with the count full and 28 pitches behind him? A curveball.
It was probably inside. But Bourgeois, appearing jumpy, tapped a groundball that Chase Headley turned into the final out and Bell's 38th consecutive save.