The Astros jumped all over elderly Padre's starter David Wells last night, like something out of the Dr. Seuss horror novel "Hop on Pop", scoring 7 runs in just three innings against Wells, and winning 7-1. It was the first time since July 2nd the that Astros scored 7 runs, and the scoring featured Craig Biggio's 288th career homer.
That's a nice 288, but not the 288 we're hoping for. Despite the poor pitching early, the Padres were still careful enough not to throw Craig Biggio anything he could get hit by.
Tonight, the Astros face Padres starter Jake Peavy, who hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on August 31, 2003. Also, Jake Peavy's first name is Jake - the other three pitchers who have plunked Biggio this season are named Jorge, Josh and Joe. This could be the first time Biggio records 4 consecutive plunks against different pitchers with the same first initial. (Though he was plunked by Jorge Julio, Jamey Wright, and then 3 times by Jason Jennings in 2005).
Peavy has hit 38 batters in his career, including 5 this season. Peavy leads the Padres in plunkings, but the Padres are only 23rd in the league, having hit only 29 batters.
Biggio has been hit 4 times before on July 27th, but not since 1998 when Brian Meadows threw plunk 138. Prior to that, Biggio was hit in three consecutive years on July 27th - in 1992 by John Smoltz, 1993 by Tom Browning and 1994 by Tim Fortugno.
In other news, the 2007 Major League plunk leader, Chase Utley, was hit for the 17th time this season - and finished the game, even though post game x-rays showed his hand was broken. Even more interestingly, he did this one day after someone started a Plunk blog about him. This whole story just illustrates how amazing it is for Craig Biggio to get hit 285 times without one of them causing an injury that caused him to miss a game.
And more importantly, it just goes to show that if you're going to start a blog about people getting hit by pitches, you need to add a disclaimer to your site to make sure that people know you don't support or endorse intentionally hitting [insert name here] with pitches. I'm happy to see anyone taking an interest in chronicling their favorite player's personal HBP records, but be sure to add a disclaimer - to make sure young pitchers like John Lannan don't get the idea that hitting batters with pitches is "cool". (Utley, by the way, has a career high 17 plunks this season, and he'll need another 17 plunks every year from now until he's 42 years old to catch Biggio.)