What a relief for Astros in 8-0 no-hitter

Just when it couldn’t get any worse for my New York Yankees this season, the squad hit rock-bottom on Wednesday night.

Well actually, they couldn’t hit anything at all against Houston. That was the problem.

New York was no-hit for the first time in 45 years. And it wasn’t even one pitcher doing the damage.

It was six, all the more embarrassing.

Worst yet, outside of Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner, two of the premier relief pitchers in the game, the Yankees couldn’t muster any semblance of a quality at-bat against the likes of Kirk Saarloos, Pete Munro and Brad Lidge in the 8-0 loss.

That trio of pitchers has an ERA of 4.14, which isn’t awful but isn’t exactly good either.

Of course, the Yankees came back on Thursday for a 6-5 win, pounding out 12 hits in the process.

They also won the three-game series from the Astros, a team that has won 8 of 10 games and is battling for first place in the NL Central.

Houston’s no-hitter, despite New York’s series victory, was the big story in this three-game matchup.

The Astros’ six-man effort on Wednesday was the first in MLB history. On two occasions, four pitchers have worked a no-hitter, which brings me to the first topic in this week’s edition of “Barry Graham’s True/False.”

True or False?: Four or more pitchers tossing a no-hitter is easier to accomplish than a complete-game one-man effort.

What happened to the Yankees on Wednesday was embarrassing. However, the Yankees had to deal with six different pitchers attacking them six different ways.

Houston’s advantage in this game was New York only had one chance to see the same Astros’ pitcher the second time through the lineup.

Munro pitched the most of any Houston hurler going 2 2/3 innings. He faced 13 New York batters in the process.

Yes, all six Astros’ pitchers made quality throws throughout the game. However, New York couldn’t get in any kind of a rhythm at the plate when a fresh Houston pitcher took the mound in just about every inning.

It would seem logical that if a MLB team were to throw a brand new pitcher in every inning of a nine-inning affair, it would be difficult to get into a batting rhythm.

A team getting no-hit by one guy has the advantage of seeing what a pitcher has the second and third time through the batting order.

More importantly, a pitcher probably will tire in the later innings. It is at this point that he could make a mistake allowing a hitter to break up the no-hit bid.

Yes it is true that the majority of no-hitters in MLB history have been accomplished by one or two pitchers.

However, how many teams in the same situation would have employed Houston’s strategy on Wednesday night?

True or False?: The 2003 NBA Finals has been an exciting series to watch.

Competition and drama are different.

This championship series has been competitive. After all, it’s tied at 2-2.

However, the games themselves feature no real stars that draw you into them.

Tim Duncan and Jason Kidd are great NBA players. However, when it comes to charisma, both guys are pretty bland.

Outside of not having players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or even a Dennis Rodman competing, this 2003 series has been ugly from a basketball standpoint.

Games 3 and 4 were two of the lowest scoring Finals’ games in the NBA’s history.

There is no excuse for a 77-76 final score in a championship game.

Game 4 earned a rating 28 percent lower than the 2002 fourth NBA Finals’ contest.

The average ratings for this championship series is 6.3. According to Nielsen Media Research, no NBA Finals series rating since 1982 has finished in single digits.

Both teams plays great defense. But there is no excuse for missing open jumper after jumper which is a common occurrence in this year’s event.

The Spurs are shooting 41 percent from the floor through four games while New Jersey is hitting just 37 percent of its shots.

Not all of this bad shooting can be attributed to great defense.

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