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The Daily Six Shooter July 19, 2011

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1. Jordan Lyles has to feel like he’s never going to win a game in this league. Ever. Last night, the Houston Astros rookie tossed eight innings of solid ball and all it got him to that point was a no-decision because he’d allowed two runs and that was equal to the support he’d gotten from the offense. Skipper Brad Mills, no doubt wanting to get one for the kid, sent him back out for the 9th inning even though the move with such a young arm was to pull him from the game.

I loved the move, though. He’d pitched pretty well up to that point and deserved the win. “Let’s see if he can crank one more out and see if we can get the win for him.” Sadly, the three batters he faced manufactured a run, he lost his shot at a win and got pulled before Houston ultimately lost 5-2. The record shows that he pitched 8.1 innings and gave up four runs, but this was a quality start extended to try and get his first major league victory.

The tough part is that it was looking like he was going to get it as he was on his game and was getting some quality defense to back him up. He’s not an overpowering pitcher. I don’t recall a fastball of his registering any faster than 91 mph. Most of his heaters were 88-90, but he did a good job of mixing up his pitches and getting hitters to swing at balls in the dirt. In his first eight innings, he allowed just five hits, never allowing a runner to advance passed first base. The two runs were scored on solo homers. Through the first six innings, he only faced 19 hitters, allowing one walk and one hit.

This kid is showing great potential. Now if only he could just notch that frustratingly elusive first victory.

As I mentioned, there was some nice defense in this game from Houston. Chris Johnson made a great diving stop for a put out in the 3rd inning and Angel Sanchez started a great double play with a snag and a flip in the 4th inning. Carlos Lee made a great play to make the out on the Johnson play. It’s good to see he’s not gun shy about leaving the bag after Sunday’s collision with Andrew McCutchen.

2. In a sudden bit of scary news, Nolan Ryan was admitted to a hospital in Houston for a recurrence of a heart condition he’s suffered from for a few years and which runs in his family. Luckily, Ryan is going to be all right after a couple of nights in the hospital for observation.

Ryan is engrained as a Texas legend forever and no one’s going to be forgetting him any time soon now that the Rangers have reached the World Series in his short tenure as the owner of a team in which he is the only member of the Hall of Fame sporting it’s cap. His arm and his game were known to me only through baseball cards and stories my father would tell me about him because as a kid Rangers games weren’t on TV all the time. It wasn’t until I was older and saw footage that I realized how electric he was, the athlete that was in my personal pantheon only joined by David Robinson.

Owning the team just makes it that much more awesome to be a fan of the Texas Rangers because of how much he loves the games. Remember when he threw out those first pitches during the playoffs last year? He made the big kick and fired them to home plate like he was warming up to go for his 8th no-hitter. Of course, the crowd went nuts each time. They can officially say that they saw a Hall of Fame pitcher throw from the mound in Arlington.

3. In searching for video clips to use for that previous story, I came across this clip from MLB.com of the Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura fight that turned into a bench-clearing brawl. Every time they show this highlight, it cuts off right as the Chicago White Sox bench engulfs Ryan and Ventura, but it’s quite incredible to watch.

Let’s break this down.

– Ryan executes a perfect rope-a-dope. Doesn’t react at all to Ventura until he’s just a few feet in front of him. With Jedi-like speed, his glove comes off, he gets Ventura into the headlock and starts pummeling him. If he really wanted to beat him down, he could’ve, but that was his throwing hand. Ventura eventually emerges apparently unscathed, but the images were forever forged as soon as Ryan had him.

– You can see Rafael Palmeiro trying to talk down Ventura. “Listen buddy, I know all about ‘roid ra… ugh… anger management issues… just calm down.”

– Uh oh, Bo Jackson is starting things up. Wouldn’t you want to avoid him like the plague in this situation? “Crap, there’s Bo. I gotta get outta here. ‘Hey Steve Sax! Bring it on, old man!'”

– Who’s that emerging from the pile with a bloody temple? Mickey Hatcher? Naw, we all know better. It’s Kenny Powers! Just discovered the plot of the next season of “Eastbound and Down.” Kenny gets a time machine, goes back to the early 90’s, becomes a pitching coach for Texas, and encourages Nolan Ryan to throw high and inside to Ventura.

– Somehow, cooler heads prevail despite the presence of nutjobs Kenny Rogers and Ozzie Guillen in this melee.

– Gene Lamont finds out that Ventura is getting tossed while Ryan gets to stay in the game and proceeds to go ballistic at the umpires. “Hey! My guy charged the mound specifically so we wouldn’t HAVE to face Ryan anymore! What’s the point if he gets to stay in because of a fight he didn’t start, but thoroughly won!?”

– Guillen takes notes for the future.

4. Lawyers for Lance Armstrong are once again, getting really upset about the fact that grand jury testimony is being leaked to the press. Armstrong’s team has filed a motion with the judge overseeing the case to find out who’s doing it and put a stop to it.

What’s crazy is that whoever is leaking it seems to be doing so to make Lance look guilty based on the stories that have been published, particularly by 60 minutes. If the person providing the leaks is in any way associated with the federal grand jury, then they’ll be found in contempt of court and could have the case thrown out in a similar way to how Roger Clemens won his case because of a mistake by the prosecution.

5. Arian Foster’s credentials have gotten better and more impressive even in the offseason. A few weeks ago, he was named the NFL’s 25th best player and now we found out that he did all that while hiding a torn meniscus from the team the entire season.

On that bum knee, he ran for over 1600 yards and 16 touchdowns. I can’t wait to see what he does on two good knees this upcoming season.

6. I’ve loved Community since the very first episode, even though it’s not very good and pales in comparison to every other episode in the series. Something about it just worked. We’ve seen ensemble casts before. We’ve even seen these stereotypes before, but the chemistry is there and it’s funny and creative without being lame or exploitative.

And oh yeah, secondary, there are two girls that are main characters that are really attractive. It’s pretty cool that this awesome GQ photo shoot exists, but it’s even better when you consider that we wouldn’t know who Allison Brie or Gillian Jacobs are if they weren’t funny and if they weren’t on a really good TV show.

In the words of Shirley from Community: “Ooh. That’s nice.”

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About Javi Perez

Javi Perez is a contributing editor with Playmaker Magazine heading up the sports desk, as well as covering the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Texas Longhorns, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, film, and TV. He currently lives in San Antonio.