Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rockies may be ideal opponent for Biggio

Batting average vs. Colorado best against any NL club

MILWAUKEE — There's a whirlwind of emotions inside Craig Biggio. He's increasingly excited the closer he gets to reaching 3,000 hits, but the Astros' awful play tempers the enthusiasm.

"It's a lot better when we are winning," Biggio said Wednesday after the Astros were swept by first-place Milwaukee with a 6-3 loss in 11 innings.

Biggio wasn't in the starting lineup in the final game of the road trip, but he pinch-hit in the 11th against Brewers reliever Dave Bush and popped out trying to put down a sacrifice bunt.

Biggio remains at 2,997 hits as the Astros open an 11-game homestand tonight at Minute Maid Park against Colorado. The Astros expect standing-room-only crowds for all four games of the Rockies series.

"I'm excited about it," Biggio, 41, said. "I don't know what the number (of career hits) was before we left (on the road trip), but we had a nice little homestand and swung the bats well, and the fans started getting energized.

"I went home one night and felt a little giddy because they were getting me excited and pumped about it. I think it's going to be a pretty nice little atmosphere going on."

Biggio's career .347 batting average against Colorado is his highest against any National League team. He's 3-for-9 in his career against Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook (4-5, 4.93 ERA), who will start tonight.

"He has been a great player, and it is a great milestone that says so much about not only his ability but his durability and determination," Cook told the Rocky Mountain News. "I would just as soon have him wait a few days (to reach 3,000), but it will be a special moment when the hit does come."

Biggio's immediate family was with him during the road trip, and he's expecting more family and friends in Houston tonight. But Biggio is letting wife Patty handle all those details, and he wants to know as little as possible about the Astros' plans for a ceremony.

"The wife is doing it all," he said. "She's doing a pretty good job. I think everybody understands the situation, and she's got it all worked out. We'll go home and see what happens."

Rockies outfielder Willy Taveras, who was traded from the Astros to Colorado along with pitchers Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz last offseason, admires Biggio.

"You think of his career — an All-Star catcher and second baseman, and he also started in center field," Taveras said. "That shows you how good he was and how much he meant for the team. He worked hard, learned new positions, and played them well. When you were a young player, Biggio and (Jeff) Bagwell were the guys who made sure you understood the game."

Biggio has six three-hit games this year, including three in June. If he doesn't reach the 3,000-hit milestone tonight, he'll try Friday against Rockies pitcher Josh Fogg, against whom Biggio is 8-for-33 (.242).

"What's amazing is how hard he has played for 20 years and how durable he has been," Fogg said. "When I was a kid, I was watching him, and he was a great player. Now I'm getting older, and he's still going."

Hopefully we are going to the game tomorrow night!! - Marc

No comments: