Memorial Day Weekend
Double-digit numbers made an unwelcome return last night to the Pirates score column, and the Craig Biggio didn't even get hit by a pitch for their troubles. After last night's 12-5 loss, the Astros have now given up 10 or more runs in 8 games. That projects out to 26 double digit opposing scores for the year, along with 820 total runs against - both would be the Astros worst since the 2000 season. But, they'll have two more against the Pirates to try to do better, and then move on to St. Louis for Memorial Day.
As though the plunk chase and the every day matters of winning and losing weren't enough reason to watch the Astros this weekend, here's one more - Craig Biggio is 8 at-bats away from 10,000. Aside from being only the 24th player to reach that milestone, and it being one of the few 5 digit milestones baseball players can reach, there's one more fun thing about 10,000 at-bats. It's the perfect time for everyone to be able to calculate his career batting average in their heads - to 4 decimal places even. Just look at his total career hits, and put a decimal point in front of it. If he doesn't get a hit in his next 8 at bats, he'll be at 2847 hits, thus making his career average 0.2847. So, I expect everyone watching his 10,000 at bat to being doing that in unison. Also, you can watch the media coverage to see who believes MLB.com's numbers, which claim he's currently at 9,994 at bats instead of the 9,992 - For the same reason they list him with 277 plunks.
Paul Maholm throws for the Pirates on Saturday, with 4 hit batters this season and 7 in his career. He has never plunked Craig Biggio, but their only previous encounter resulted in a Biggio leadoff homer and a walk. Biggio has been plunked once on May 27th, in 2001 by Darren Dreifort of the Dodgers.
Oliver Perez takes the hill for the Pirates on Sunday. He has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but he has hit 25 batters in his career at a rate of about 1 per 102 pitches. Jason Simontacchi is the only pitcher so far who has plunked Biggio on May 28th, doing so in 2003 for the Cardinals.
Monday the Astros move on to St. Louis, where Jason Marquis will greet them by throwing baseballs in their general direction. Marquis has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, and has missed batters with 12,542 career pitches. He has hit 29. Pedro Astacio is the only pitcher to plunk Biggio on May 29th, but he got two shots in on May 29, 1998.
Biggio has only been hit once on Memorial Day - in 2005, by Todd Coffey.