Death of Kile saddens former teammates
The Astros steered things back toward normalcy Sunday afternoon as those
closest to Darryl Kile returned to the lineup and, for a few hours, attempted
to dry their tears and set aside their smothering grief.
Kile, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and a former Astro himself,
died Saturday from what is believed to have been a heart attack. Astros
Jeff Bagwell, Brad Ausmus and Craig Biggio did not start Saturday, though
they all played at least part of the game.
On at least one level, they succeeded -- they played. If nothing else,
it all had a familiar look and feel.
Once more, the starting pitching dug the Astros an early hole, and the
Seattle Mariners rode seven impressive innings by Joel Piñeiro and
an array of offensive stars to a 10-5 victory over the Astros in front
of 32,584 at Minute Maid Park.
Afterward, the Astros milled around a quiet clubhouse, looking only
slightly less dazed than the day before when they learned their former
teammate had been found dead in his Chicago hotel room.
The death of former teammate and close friend Darryl Kile hit too close
to home for the Astros, many of whom had to choke back tears when speaking
of the St. Louis pitcher late Saturday night.
Some, like first baseman Jeff Bagwell, who drove in the game-winning
run in Saturday's game against the Mariners with a pinch single in the
12th inning, couldn't speak at all.
Sunday, Bagwell addressed the press in regard to respecting the memory
of his friend Kile. Things probably won't get better for a few days.
"The memories that I have, the memories that I've shared with other
people -- I loved Darryl Kile," Bagwell said.
The Astros were given the day off Monday to collect themselves before
the ball club begins a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks
By then, several players will be preparing to attend Kile's funeral,
and everyone else will still be coping with his stunning death.
The crowd of over 32,000 at Minute Maid Park saw the Mariners win the
rubber match of the inaugural Interleague series between the clubs.
With Sunday's victory, the Mariners took two games to win the series.
The first win came Friday when the Mariners shocked the Astros with an
The loss was the 13th in 20 games for the Astros dropping the team's
Almost as bad as the number of defeats recently has been the margin
of the losses.
In their last four losses, the Astros have been outscored 33-7 as the
bottom part of their 20-something starting rotation has gotten hammered
with regularity. In those four losses, starters have finished five innings
just once and compiled a 12.27 ERA.
Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell were not in the starting lineup Saturday
against the Mariners to mark the first time the long-standing duo sat out
of a game at the same time since October 1, 2000 against the Milwaukee
Brewers in the last contest of the season.
It was the 12th time since 1992 that neither Astros mainstay was in
the starting lineup.
Is Jimy Williams happy with the Astros' record? No.
But when it comes to addressing the team's overall work ethic, he has
nothing but praise for the club.
"We're fine. We're not fine in the standings, but from a work ethic,
you can't ask anymore than what we're trying to do," Williams said. "I
can't say anything bad about them except that the bottom line is we're
not winning ballgames."
Newcomer Kirk Saarloos had a mini-fan club in the stands for his start
against the Mariners Sunday. Double-A teammates from Saarloos' old team,
the Round Rock Express, came to see him play.
John Buck, Mike Rosamond and Chris Burke were in attendance at Minute
Maid Park to watch Saarloos, who was promoted to the Majors last Tuesday.
The threesome, taking time off during the Double-A All-Star break, did
their former teammate a favor by driving Saarloos' car to Houston from
The Astros will enjoy a day off Monday, their last day off before the
All-Star break begins on July 8 and the Diamondbacks visit Houston to begin
a three-game series Tuesday.
The pitching rotation will begin with right-hander Tim Redding, who
stands at 3-4 with a 5.27 ERA, facing the Diamondbacks' right-hander Curt
Schilling who holds a 12-3 record this season and has a 3.28 ERA.
Right-handed pitcher Wade Miller will pitch against Randy Johnson Wednesday.
Miller is 3-2 this season with a 5.20 ERA, while Johnson has an 11-2
record and a 2.55 ERA.
Thursday will see southpaw Carlos Hernandez battling Rick Helling in
the closing game of this week's series.
Hernandez is 5-3 for the season and holds a 4.43 ERA. Helling has a
4.58 ERA with a 7-5 record
In May, Redding compiled a 3-0 record and a 2.31 ERA in six games, but
in his four June outings, he's 0-2 with an 8.27 ERA.