Archive for the ‘Brocail’ Category

6/15/11: Ed Wade Throws An Excellent Pitching Coach Out On His Ear For, Uh, Disagreements

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Looks like Shawn Chacon was right.

Arnesberg, who the pitchers LIKED and wanted, was thrown out on his ear for Doug Brocail, who has never been a pitching coach at ANY level. Guess “Broakey” gonna pitch Brandon Lyon where and when Ed Wade wants him pitched.

There was a whole lot of words said about why Arnesberg is leaving, but really, it sure sounds like he strongly disagreed with SOMEthing that the FO wanted and so he got fired for insubordination.

Broakey, by the way, worked as some kind of special assistant after his shoulder finally got to Broakey to fix.

Some pitching coach.

Way to go Ed.

Mike Hampton And Doug Brocail Pitch Batting Practice To The Cubs

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Well, I turned on the game just in time to catch the Hampton starting to pitch the bottom of the first.

Here’s how it went:

- Reed Johnson singles on the 6th pitch, a FB below the knees on the outside corner.
- Riot takes a pitch CLEARLY on the plate, called a ball, then hits a cutter that didn’t into left for a double.
- DLee hits an inside FB just above the knees to Pence for a sac-fly. Pence throws home, doesn’t get the runner and Riot goes to third.

Cubs 1, Stros 0: One out

- Ramirez fouls off Ball 1, then hits a mid thigh, mid plate straight pitch to left and Riot trots home.

Cubs 2, Stros 0: one out

- Bradley takes Strike 1, ball 1, Ball 2 (which SHOULD have been Strike 2 because it CLEARLY got the upper outside corner), Ball 3 and Ball 4. Men on first and second.
- Sori hits the first pitch, a crotch high inside changeup over the fence.

Cubs 5, Stros 0: one out.
17 pitches and NOW what? No mopup man, bullpen beat to shreds, goodbye ballgame. I decide to watch just to see if Coop is gonna leave him into give up 11 runs, just as he did with Backe last year when it was obvious that Backe had zip.

- Jeff Baker walks on 4 straight pitches. And the 4th is indeed borderline, but just like yesterday, the HP umps are NOT gonna give the corners to the Astros pitchers.

Dewey trots out to the mound, tells Hampton – you are gonna Dew oe die out here and you wanna give up 30 runs, that’s yer thing. We got no pen. The ump ain’t gonna give you NUTTHIN so you best find some movement on those pitches or die trying.

- Koyie Hill comes up and Hampton gets Strike 1, then a swinging strike (yes, the FIRST one of the game), then Hampton throws a curve in the dirt which Pudge, as usual, can’t handle (he is seriously bad at getting pitches in the dirt. I miss Towles and Ausmus fer SHER) and Baker trots to second on a WP/PB. Personally, I think this should be a passed ball because I think that any ML catcher should be able to corral any pitch in the dirt. Then he hits a high FB to center for a RBI single.

Cubs 6, Stros 0: one out

Then the pitcher sac bunts (guess it is OK to have him work on his bunting, what the heck) and Johnson flies out to mercifully end this massacre.

Just a few Hampton starts ago, I listed his stats from non-Pirates games and trust me, they are unbelieveably worse after today, as he gave up a solo homer in the second and 2 more runs in the 4th - 9 ER/4 IP. And I sure remember all these people who INSISTED when we signed Hampton that we were getting this great pitcher, just look at his stats from 97-2003.

Brocail, rusty after 3 months of DL and almost no rehab, gave up Andres Blanco’s first ML home run on his very first pitch. Blanco is a guy whose SLUGGING percentage is .273. Even without the ump’s squeezing, Brocail did NOT look real too good (to be nice about it.)

Meanwhile, Randy Wells was making like Pedro 2000 and not one single Astro was even so much as trying to work counts. This team prides itself on not walking or striking out much. So I am not sure why Coop bothered to pull Hampton after the 4th with only 80 pitches thrown, but maybe Hampton begged to be pulled, youneverknow.

But don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Hampton to be DFAd. I want them to DFA MICHAELS and make Hampton the pinch hitter seing as how he can, you know, like, HIT. And I bet he can field just about any position, too.

sigh

And really, it is just the bench guys/PH who aren’t hitting for spit because the Astros are second in the NL in hits (behind LA), but are 11th in doubles and tied for 12th in homers (with LA, believe it or not) – they sure nuff ARE a low K team – 15th in Ks, and also 14th in walks(!!!!) but we lead the league in GIDPs with 99!!!!! And it WOULD have been 100 if the Cubs fielders hadn’t screwed up 2 easy DP opportunities today.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

But what makes the the absolute angriest about today’s, uh, showing is that with Oswalt out, Hawkins out, Berkman out, Pence slumping almost beyond recognition, Mike Hampton as your “#3″ and Russ Ortiz as your “#4″ and Moehler as your, uh, other pitcher, that this Organization will NOT cut its losses and re-organize. With rookie-hating Cooper as manager, no point in bringing up young players just to fail, be put in positions to fail, rot on the bench in favor of the Katas of the baseball world.

And all of this, of course, overshadowed Bud Norris’ debut – and I am glad it was with the team hopelessly lost after giving up 9 runs. Norris did reasonably well, even coped well with the ump squeezing the heck out of him (guess he’d seen what happened with Hampton and wasn’t expecting any sort of honesty in the calls) and he gave up 3 hits, a walk, a “WP” and a run on a rare Michael Bourn error (he slipped and fell going after a single to center and couldn’t get the ball to second in time.)

Randy Wells has now pitched 14 scoreless innings against the Stros. He was, by the way, a 38th round pick for the Cubs in 02. Which goes to show that youneverknow and maybe the Astros shouldn’t just treat all their minor leaguers who aren’t The Pre-Ordained Ones, like so much trash. Sometimes, it makes sense to you know, like DEVELOP players.

So tomorrow, it’s fun and games seeing how much damage the Cubs can do to Russ Ortiz. We face Kevin Hart, a lefty reliever turned starter (with Ted Lilly on the DL) who, in his 3 games started, has given up 1 ER/5 IP, 2 ER/5 IP and 1 ER/5 IP. Of course, that was vs the Braves, the Nats and Cincy, but hey, we’d best not be throwin no stones.

And Hart himself was a nobody A ball guy who the Cubs got from the Orioles back in 06 for a rather crappy player named Freddy Bynum. He had been a starter in the low minors, but the Cubs decided to make a LOOGY out of him, and although he had a crappy year in the majors last year, they decided to stick him into the rotation and so far, he’s done wayyy better than expected. He may crash and burn, but sometimes, you gotta give a guy a chance. And Lou Pinella, unlike our manager, doesn’t have a problem working with young players and actually putting them in position to SUCCEED.

YOU HEAR THAT ASTROS????!!!!

4/30/09: Edinson Volquez Shuts Out The Astros On A 1 Hitter

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

What happened is that the Reds saw that there was no Lance Berkman in the lineup and were energized immediately. Yeah, no Lance. If he’s not hitting in Cincy, something is wrong and he knows it, so he asked for the night off.

Not that he would have hit anyway, as Volquez was ON tonight.

Paulino wasn’t terrible, but tonight, as he did in his last start, he seemed to lose it after 4 innings, and by lose it, I mean he left pitches up, mid plate and he got hit. Coop yanked him much more quickly than he did last time and Chris Sampson shut it down, but the guys didn’t hit and there went the ballgame.

Brocail was lousy again, having incredible trouble finding the strike zone. 32 pitches, 17 strikes, 15 balls (and he didn’t get 2 borderline calls that would have helped) - an IF single, 2 walks, a sac-fly and a K (of Alex Gonzalez on a FB that was waaaaay outside.)

Don’t know if he isn’t really healthy or if he’s just lousy – he was all over the place with both the FB (I mean, ankles to shoulder to 8″ off the plate) and the slider, so it isn’t that he has one good working pitch. Maybe Paulino could replace Brocail/Geary as he seems to be able to pitch one effective inning.

Day off tomorrow, and I’ll check out the minors and see how guys are doing.

12/3/08: Astros Don’t Offer Arb To Wolf, Brocail Or Loretta

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Best I understand, the Astros don’t want Mark Loretta back, period. He was paid 3.5 mill this year, and certainly would get an arb raise and they just don’t want to pay for a utility guy, even though they are out there looking for a cheaper one.

They haven’t offered arb to Wolf, because they are afraid he will accept and then they will be stuck having to pay him around 9-10 mill for 1 year – exactly why they think he would be paid less in a multi year contract I do not get, but, they are staying cheap this year. I also guess they think he couldn’t be traded to any of the other clubs trying to sign him neither.

shrug

Doug Brocail was re-signed. He would have gotten 3.25 mill if his option had been picked up. So he was re-signed to a 2.5 mill contract and a 250K buyout for next year if they don’t pick up his option. He is also up for incentives this year, so they actually could end up paying about the same.

This means they won’t spend the couple mill to re-acquire Russ Springer, who has been a better pitcher than Brocail over the last 2 years. The Astros threw him out on his ear a couple years back because they wanted Rick White, who they thought for some strange unknown reason could pitch more than 1 inning AND pitch bettern Springer.

I’m wondering if they are gonna re-sign Backe, then try to trade him, of if they will just non-tender him. They got 10 days to decide…

2008 Astros Free Agents

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Here is the complete list courtesty of mlbtraderumors.com:

Type A

Bobby Abreu (Yankees)
Doug Brocail (Astros)
A.J. Burnett (Blue Jays)
Pat Burrell (Phillies)
Orlando Cabrera (White Sox)
Juan Cruz (Diamondbacks)
Ryan Dempster (Cubs)
Adam Dunn (Diamondbacks)
Brian Fuentes (Rockies)
Brian Giles (Padres)
Bob Howry (Cubs)
Orlando Hudson (Diamondbacks)
Raul Ibanez (Mariners)
Jason Isringhausen (Cardinals)
Derek Lowe (Dodgers)
Damaso Marte (Yankees)
Jamie Moyer (Phillies)
Mike Mussina (Yankees)
Darren Oliver (Angels)
Oliver Perez (Mets)
Andy Pettitte (Yankees)
Manny Ramirez (Dodgers)
Edgar Renteria (Tigers)
Francisco Rodriguez (Angels)
C.C. Sabathia (Brewers)
Ben Sheets (Brewers)
Russ Springer (Cardinals)
Mark Teixeira (Angels)
Jason Varitek (Red Sox)
Kerry Wood (Cubs)

That’s 30 Type As, though Giles and Marte may have their options picked up and Mussina may retire.

Type B

Jeremy Affeldt (Reds)
Moises Alou (Mets)
Garret Anderson (Angels)
Joe Beimel (Dodgers)
Casey Blake (Dodgers)
Hank Blalock (Rangers)
Milton Bradley (Rangers)
Paul Byrd (Red Sox)
Mike Cameron (Brewers)
Alan Embree (Athletics)
Eric Gagne (Brewers)
Jon Garland (Angels)
Luis Gonzalez (Marlins)
Ken Griffey Jr. (White Sox)
Mark Grudzielanek (Royals)
Trevor Hoffman (Padres)
Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks)
Jeff Kent (Dodgers)
Paul Lo Duca (Marlins)
Braden Looper (Cardinals)
Mark Loretta (Astros)
Brandon Lyon (Diamondbacks)
Greg Maddux (Dodgers)
Trever Miller (Rays)
Miguel Olivo (Royals)
Brad Penny (Dodgers)
Dennys Reyes (Twins)
Ivan Rodriguez (Yankees)
Brian Shouse (Brewers)
John Smoltz (Braves)
Frank Thomas (Athletics)
Salomon Torres (Brewers)
Juan Uribe (White Sox)
David Weathers (Reds)
Randy Wolf (Astros)
Gregg Zaun (Blue Jays)

Interesting that Brocail is  Type-A. I didn’t think he was that good. I would guess that the Astros will try to re-sign all 3 guys. At the very least, they will again offer arb to Loretta and certainly to Wolf, who they want to keep anyway. I am reasonably certain they will re-sign Brocail.

6/25/08: Lance Rediscovers His Stroke To Help Moehler Beat Rangers

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Well, I got to be the first to say that I never thought Brian Moehler would turn out to be a more reliable starting pitcher than Roy Oswalt. He had another excellent outing – giving up 5 hits, 2 BB, 1 run, and 2 GIDP. I had a bad feeling when he started out – a double off the LF bullpen, then a fly to deep center, then a single – translation – pitches in the middle of the plate, but then Josh Hamilton helpfully GIDP. After that, Moehler had a 1,2,3 2nd and 3rd, a walk and another GIDP in the 4th, a 1,2,3 5th, then he tired in the 6th, giving up 2 singles and a walk to load the bases before escaping.

In the 7th, with one out and a man on second and several leftys coming up, Coop pulled Moehler, who sent in Wesley Wright, who gave up a walk, but got the outs without allowing a run. And he got Milton Bradley out, too – yes, the best hitter in the AL this year not named A-Rod.

Brocail came in to work the 8th – he got 2 outs, then gave up a walk and a single, so he pulled Byrd and sent in Valverde to face Marlon Byrd, who Kd. In the 9th, he walked Salty, then sent a FB down the middle of the plate thigh high and Vasquez hit it just over the RF fence. He then struck out the last 2 guys.

I think they both Brocail and Valverde are looking a bit tired, especially Brocail, who is, after all 41 years old. Both of them threw more pitches out of the zone than in it – and yeah, Brocail got beat the other night because a couple of guys got hits on balls.

sigh

I hope Coop isn’t gonna pull a Ned Yost with Brocail and totally wear him out until he’s useless, as Yost did to Turnbow last year. Geary needs to be used more and hopefully, Chacon won’t be, um, too sulky to use too.

And I also thought that Hurley did a good job too – 6 hits, 3 BB, one CS (even though the ump was wrong) and 2 ER/6 IP. Watch the Rangers trade him for some old guy like Brett Tomko or something…

- By the way, McTaggart reports that Cassel has missed his last 3 starts with a sore back.

6/22/08: Man Bites Dog: Backe Beats Kazmir

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Husband and I went to an out of town wedding last night, and I come back to find that the Astros lost when they should have won and won when they should have lost…

Today, Brandon Backe decided that it is better to walk a guy than throw him something good to hit and really, his only mistake was a FB up to Evan Longoria (first rounder in the 06 draft, brought up in mid-May, has 12 homers already, is NOW age 22 – unlike anyone in the Astros system, you know what I’m sayin…) What is really amazing is that Brandon only threw 85 pitches over 6.2 innings AND this includes 4 walks. What is the absolutely most incredibly amazing is that the Astros struck out TWELVE times, had only 6 hits and 4 walks and they weren’t able, as usual to manufacture any runs except for a solo homer and a 2 run homer. And this time, the bullpen held.

It’s so funny – this team was supposed to be hitting 5-6 runs a game. Here in June, over 19 games, this team has scored 66 runs (3.47 runs/game) and given up 100. Of course, the problem is that not enough hitting has been done with men on base…

Take the Saturday untelevised game: Lance Berkman plays small ball – advances to second on a swinging K and an error, then steals third, then comes home on a grounder to give the Astros the go-ahead run in the 8th. Then, in the 9th, out comes our old friend Dan Wheeler, the guy with the 1.96 ERA in the AL – meaning facing Yankee and Red Sox lineups, and gets Ausmus and Bourn – oh, all yall wanted pinch hitters. Like WHO??? And then in comes Broakey (which is what Milo keeps calling him – one of the many reasons I hope HOPE Milo retires at the end of the year) and Cliff Floyd singles on an outside FB, Hinske singles on another FB waaay outside the strike zone (I should mention here that Brocail was all OVAH the place with his FB) and then on an 0-2 count, hits Navarro with an inside FB. Then Gabe Gross, Astros killer, doubles on a soft liner inside the LF line that Erstad can’t get to (so we can’t blame Carlos this time) and there goes the ball game. And yeah, there was some bad luck there – but Brocail was NOT locating very well.

But then again, let me run through a few points on the game – some bad luck, some bad swings:
First inning, 2 on 2 out, Carlos Lee hits a ball to deep center which Upton makes a GREAT running catch on. 4th inning, Carlos homers – wrong inning, unfortunately, then Blum singles and Pence strands him. The Rays tie it on a double, then a Carl Crawford triple – and of course there is no tape, so I have no idea whether or not Bourn mis-played that ball or not. But then in the 5th Ruggiano wins a 12 pitch at bat with Wandy and sends it to left – can’t tell if that would have been into the Crawford Boxes of just off the scoreboard at home, but hey, what can you do.  In the 6th, Wandy got 2 out while loading the bases with 2 soft singles and a walk, and Geary came in and got the third out.

Have all yall noticed I haven’t been talking about the Astros hitting? Well, it’s because they were going down 1,2,3 in every inning except for the 4th. Now here we are in the 7th – Lee singles, Blum doubles, no outs. Pence lines out, Erstad IBB, Loretta walks in the tying run. Bases loaded one out. Bourn strikes out swinging on 2 curves and Kaz flies out. And there, my friends, is the story of the problems with the 08 Astros since June 1 – when they DO get runners on, they don’t get runners IN (not to mention all the GIDPs and the CS.)

AND the bullpen has been blowing the few leads this team has had. So let’s take a look at Brocail: He’s appeared in 37 of the 75 games this year, pitched 37.2 innings. In April, he appeared 15 times, gave up 5 runs†over 2 of them – totalled 15 hits, 2 BB – 15.2 innings, 2.87 ERA. In May, he appeared 14 times over 14.1 innings – 11 H, 3 BB, 4 ER. In June, he had 4 perfect innings in 4 appearances until June 13 – He gave up the game losing homer. On June 17, he gave up the game losing 2 runs. On June 18th, he pitched a 1 single, scoreless 9th. June 20, he threw 1 pitch and got out of the inning. June 21, he gave up 3 hits, 2 ER and lost the game. Is he tired? hurt?

Maybe this is why – or, at least ONE reason why Chacon is being sent to the bullpen. He has stated in absolutely NO uncertain terms that he is, um, not happy about that. The Astros are calling up – NOT Jack Cassel and his 6-1 2.05 ERA (because Coop OBVIOUSLY hates him – maybe Dewey does too, who knows), but Runelvys Hernandez and his 3.65 ERA. Runelvys, by the way, has a career major league ERA 5.38, WHIP 1.58, 1.18 HR/9, 3.66 BB/9, 4.18 K/9. And he’s being sent in to face the Red Sox.

Peachy.

The Red Sox win by getting pitchers to not throw strikes, getting ahead in the count, then hammering strikes. You know, what the Astros never do. But hey, youneverknow – it is baseball and if the Astros can knock out Scott Kazmir in the 6th inning after 110 pitches, maybe ol Runelvys will throw low unhittable strikes.

Of course, Coop has not yet announced who will be sent down/DFA when Hernandez comes up. Here are the choices:
Backe, Brocail, Byrdak, Chacon, Geary, Moehler, Oswalt, Rodriguez, Sampson, Villareal, Valverde, Wright

Let’s eliminate the obvious (Backe, Brocail, Byrdak, Oswalt, Rodriguez, Valverde, Wright)
That leaves Chacon (who can refuse an assignment to the minors and I would be shocked beyond belief if he didn’t choose to be released instead), Moehler (I doubt it – he’s had only one BAD start and can be counted on for 5-6 IP with 3-4 ER given up), Sampson (I wouldn’t be surprised – and if he goes down, I would bet he never gets back up until Sept, unless someone is hurt) and Villareal (who is the one who SHOULD go, but he also can refuse an assignment to the minors, so we’ll see.)

They could, of course, send down Reggie Abercrombie and be short a bat. Against the Rangers – well, it ain’t their pitchers who are scary. Against the Red Sox – well, don’t guess it matters real too much because neother Reggie Abercrombie nor any other position player in the Astros sorry ass farm is going to do anything with them.

AND, last but not least, before we head off to Dallas – which team has more sac-bunts, the Rangers or Astros? (hint – one has 19, the other has 26…)

5/23/08: Backe Done Eaton Up The Phillies

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Brandon Backe Backe brought his A game fer SHER. He gave up a 335′ pop-up into the Crawford Boxes, a double off the LF bullpen wall and 3 singles and a walk and 6 K over 7.1 innings. He threw 105 pitches, 72 strikes. Of those 72 strikes, 16 were looking, 16 were swinging, 19 were fouls, 15 were GO/FO and 6 went for hits. That is 2 really well hit balls and one went for an out. Even the singles were 2 bloops and a single off the pitcher’s leg. Absolutely stellar outing. No other word for it. Brandon had his FB located, his curve curving and that slider was a thing of cruelty.

Actually, I was just a bit surprised to see that Coop let him go out to start the 8th with the Astros leading 3-1. But I see that Coop, unlike Garner, doesn’t strongly adhere to The Book of What Managers Are Supposed To Do These Days with the “set-up guy” pitching the entire 8th and the “closer” pitching the entire 9th and no extra or broken up innings. Coop also isn’t particularly a devotee of the leftylefty/rightyrighty thing neither. I’m starting to like Coop, I surely am.

After Brandon got Ruiz out, Dobbs doubled and Rollins singled and Brocail came in with runners on first and third. Rollins took off for second on the first pitch, Towles threw a perfect strike to Miggy and Rollins was out, except the ump called him safe.

shrug

Brocail struck out Victorino, then there was a big ol confab on the mound – I guess wondering whether or not to pitch around Utley or just put him on. In the end, they did both. Lance then made a GREAT play on a smash by Howard and Phils left bases loaded.

As for the hit parade, well, Hitter Pence hit an opposite field homer just over the bullpen fence just to the left of the foul pole to tie the game at 1-1 in the 5th, then in the 7th he hit a mammoth smash off the RR tracks above the ‘97 pennant flag†to put the Astros ahead for good.

Wiggy, I see, has been reading my blog and he has been showing me up for 2 days straight now. On May 19, he was hitting .217/.286/.319 and he sat out a couple days for Blum. So yesterday, he went 3/4 with 2 doubles and a run scored and today he went 2/3 with another double to raise his average to .263 – AND he made a play I’ve never seen him make, a fantastic stop and throw of a hard smash down the line. He moved FAST, something he doesn’t usually do. I like this Wig-man!!!!!

Towles laid down a beautiful sac-bunt, hit a long fly ball to the bullpen, then singled in the 7th, went to second on a sac-bunt, then scored a run, sliding in juuuuust ahead of the tag. He called a great game, blocked everything and it is obvious that Backe likes throwing to him. I hope HOPE this is the turnaround he NEEDS.

Bourn, well, his night didn’t go quiiiiite as well – he made an error on Burrell’s fly ball in the 9th, which went for a single and an extra base, instead of an out AND he grounded into a DP 4-6-3. Actually, I didn’t think that was possible with his speed, but hey. However, he DID catch Utley’s fly ball right at the base of that stupid hill (one of the little ironies of this ballpark – you hit a baseball 430′ to dead center, all it is is out but, you hit a popup 320′ by the foul pole and it’s a homer. Ah well, the ballpark giveth and the ballpark taketh away…) AND, his second time up with 2 outs and RISP, he hit a ball through the right side, allowing Towles to score to put the Astros ahead 3-1.

Matsui was ofer, Miggy singled, but was stranded. Lance walked, and he had just one hit, but the boy he sure made the most of it. He smacked an inside thigh high slider into the RF corner, which rattled around, and he turned on the jets and beat Jenkins’ throw into third. I swear that boy hasn’t run like this since the year he played center. Which was a good thing, because Carlos, who hadn’t managed to get Miggy home in the 4th or Lance home in the 6th, hit a FB to the RF corner and Lance slid in ahead of the tag with his patented behind the bag touching the plate with his hand slide. Dude is putting on a base running clinic this year. And a glove clinic at first, too.

- grinning

Guess he is ganging up with Wiggy to make me look like a dam fool because I hadn’t disagreed with more than a few negative assessments of his glove at first based on his past few years’ performance. He looks like a different guy out there – in the Lee/Pujols class with the glove. (Yeah, Uncle is a great glove man. I hate that guy.)

And there were the Astros leading 4-1 with Valverde coming on to shut the door.

And things got a little, um, interesting. He hadn’t blown a save since April 22 in San Diego and hadn’t given up a run since April 17th in, um, Philly.

Well, he went to 3-1 on Burrell, who hit a mid thigh, outer third FB to center and he wound up on second. Geoff Jenkins gounded out. Then Pedro Feliz hit a comebacker off Valverde’s glove which deflected onto his FACE and he hit the ground. But he’s all macho and after the trainers check him out and he gets back up and he stayed in the game (hope he’s OK) to face Ruiz. He went to 1-2, then Ruiz singled and Burrell scored.

Astros 4 Phils 2

Then Valverde struck out PH Coste. 2 out. Jimmy Rollins up. He swings and misses at 2 splitters, then fouls off a splitter, then doubles on the very next splitter and Feliz scores.

Astros 4 Phils 3

Gulp.

Men on second and third, Victorino up. Three straight balls. Valverde  KNOWS that Utley is on deck and he can’t be wantin ANY part of him because if he walks him, ain’t no place to put Utley. So he throws 2 FB for called strikes, Victorino fouls the next one off, then hits one to center where Bourn waits patiently and game OVAH.

Backe gets his very well deserved win and Valverde had to work VERY hard for that save.

And tomorrow, it’s Brett “Wifebeater” Myers vs Brian Moehler.

Ol Wifey pitched well against the Astros in Philly, giving up only a run (solo homer) in 7 IP. Overall, he’s 3-2 in 7 GS: 44 IP – 36 H, 8 HR, 16 BB, 36 K.

This year, he’s 2-5 in 10 GS over 59.1 IP – 74 H, 15 HR, 21 BB, 50 K (you know, I keep hearing all the media crowing about how homers are down – heck, Roy and Myers are both on pace to cough up more than 50 EACH this year, and Brandon is on pace for 45.) 5.76 ERA, 1.70 WHIP and a .307 BAA

Moehler has gone 5 innings in his last 3 starts, giving up 0, 3 and 3 runs. Lifetime vs the Phils, he’s 1-3 in 6 GS and 4 in relief over 36.1 IP – 51 H, 8 HR, 9 BB and 24 K: 6.94 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and a .332 BAA (yecccccch)

Wandy, by the way, made his rehab start and may be ready to rejoin the rotation next week…

4/20/08: Ain’t The Rockies That Are Groggy

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Well, last night, Husband took me out on a date. Date night with your own Husband is great as long as you FIRST tell your kids that they GET to go play with their cousins at Nana’s.

The ballpark was a little more full than it had been for the last homestand, maybe 3/4 full (yes I know all about “official attendence” and I don’t believe it any more than I believe that certain ballplayers are 6′ tall…) I think that perhaps a lot of folks came on in because Wandy Wins At Home and at least so far, this is not a winning team, you know what I’m sayin…

And when you’re not winning, you don’t get the breaks. Not sure why. The umps won’t give your pitcher borderline strikes, the umps won’t give your runners borderline calls and grounders go juuuuuuuust past a diving Tejada. But even when you know your team simply sucks, even when winning is an unexpected pleasant surprise, there is STILL something about going to the ballpark that never ceases to thrill me. And oh, what a BEAUTIFUL night for a ballgame, nice and warm, but not too hot, unless you are sitting on the first base side looking into the setting sun.

And the first thing I noticed was that Wandy didn’t seem to be throwing quite as fast as usual and that he wasn’t using his changeup and that his curve wasn’t near as lethal as usual, even though Wandy seemed to be throwing it at least a third of the time. And he was walking guys, something he hasn’t had a problem with in a few years. He threw a FB down the middle to the pitcher to get strike 3 and the pitcher, Cook, hit it up the middle to score the run. He seemed to be a little better in the 3rd, but still, he hung a curve to Holiday, who hit it to deep left center, just in front of the Hill, where Michael Bourn made yet ANOTHER spectacular catch (more on him later.) He managed to come back and K Atkins on a curve that broke jusssst inside the inside corner. He looked as if he was fighting for his life. Not good.

In the 4th, he walks Barmes on 4 straight FB (NOT like him) then Tejada screws up a tailor made 6-4-3 grounder and both Barmes AND Ianetta are safe – and it wasn’t completely his fault because for some reason I do NOT get, Matsui hadn’t gotten his butt over to second to get the throw (where is this superb fielder we heard ALL about???) After Cook Ks, Spilborghs singles to center, driving home Barmes – Bourn had grabbed the ball, fired a bullet and Tejada cut off the throw. Yes, plays NOT made CAN in fact, determine the outcome of a ballgame, can’t they?

Anyway, Wandy then walks Tulo on 4 straight pitches after getting a first called strike, to load the bases. Todd effing Helton is up – the guy who knew enough to send a fly ball to left where it wouldn’t be fielded, the guy who hit a single to left juuuuust past a diving Tejada, the guy who has, in 95 AB at the Box: .385/.451/.695/1.146 with 7 homers. Dewey Robinson and the entire team trot out to the mound, talk about what to buy Millie and Jimmie for their wedding and FINALLY the ump breaks it up.

Wandy bounces 2 curves in the dirt. Then Helton juuuust misses a good swing on a nothing FB down the pike, fouls it off into the upper deck. He then fouls off a FB almost at his knees, then Ks on a curve a foot outside. Wandy can’t believe his luck and slowly trudges off the mound. I looked at Husband. He looked at me. We both knew something was seriously wrong with Wandy and we weren’t surprised to see him not come out for the 5th.

Villareal came out, the score tied 2 all and we both said – well, there goes the ballgame. Sure enough, he gives up a 4 pitch walk, a single to left, an RBI single to right, then Dewey Robinson comes running out as fast as his legs can take him. Sorta reminds me of those Benny Hill skits where they speed up the reel – and Benny comes running up to the Little Old Man (who never talks) and kicks him in the butt a few times. Anyway, it seems to work because he gets Barmes to popup and Ianetta and Cook to K. And even though he has a 1,2,3 6th except for hitting Helton with a breaker, that was the losing run. He did seem to be a lot sharper than I had seen him in previous outings, I must say.
Geary pitched the 7th, giving up only a single up the middle.

Cooper had got his self tossed in the bottom of the 7th (more on that later) and Jackie Moore was managing. He sent Brocail out – figuring, I guess, that Geary couldn’t pitch 2, and that Bork and Moehler were tired from yesterday.

Brocail had a, um, little trouble with the HP ump, who, I think, was taking it out on the Astros because of his, um, little – ahem – discussion with Coop the inning before. Brocail CLEARLY struck out Spilborghs on an inside FB (yes, I checked on the replay and on gameday) and it was called a ball 3. Brocail wasn’t happy, tried not to show up the ump and Towles, being a rook and all, really couldn’t ask the crew chief – now WHERE was that pitch, or they’d never have gotten a call all night. Anyway, it takes him another 2 pitches to get a groundout, then Tulo grounds out too.

I don’t guess I was surprised to see Brocail go back out for the 9th – Valverde was warming up, but hey, with the 3,4,5 hitter coming up in the bottom of the 9th, Jackie had to “show confidence” in the closer that he could hold a lead if we managed to tie it up.

yep

The 9th was a real interesting time for Brocail, it surely was, let’s call it that. First up, Helton hits a mid-plate mid thigh FB to left for a clean single. He stops after rounding first, but Pence bobbles the ball, Helton turns on the burners, dives into second, where the throw from Pence, who has FINALLY gotten hold of the ball, is offline and late. The scorer credits Helton with a “double.” Remember making plays is, you know, important??? Holiday makes it an exciting duel, fouling off 9 FB and sliders before striking out on a curve – not that Brocail throws it very often, but it was just the ticket here.

Then Atkins is up – Brocail is tiring and Atkins is also fouling off pitches and Brocail is throwing a few balls. But he CLEARLY strikes out Atkins on a nice pitch at the knees on the outside corner (yes, I checked the replay AND gameday) and again, the HP ump calls it a ball. Brocail is LIVID. He says something to the HP ump like – might could you be the ump in the TSO commercial on the jumbotron??? Lance Berkman trots over to calm Brocail down, but Brocail is too pissed to talk and he goes back up on the mound, fire in his eyes. Hawpe and Barmes both flyout and Bourn makes great catches on both, especially Hawpe’s as he had to adjust at the last second.

I swear I heard Brocail tell the HP ump to – eat THAT – as he strolled off the mound. But that was 47 pitches, which means that no way is Brocail coming into this afternoon’s game, which means that IF we are ahead, we are stuck with Valverde. Which is, um, depressing.

And speaking of depressing, Lane and Clank are ofer Rockies.

And speaking of even more depressing, Wandy was indeed hurting – he has a strained groin – no word on what will happen. If he has to go on the DL, we’ll have to call up SOMEone. Cassel is the ONLY AAA starter not sucking (trust me on this) – has a 1.11 WHIP and a 2.50 ERA over 18 IP and 3 GS.

But all in all, it was a fun night. Just watching Michael Bourn is worth the price of admission. For the second time this YEAR, he stole second ON A PITCHOUT. I mean, except for driving in the game winner in the bottom of the 9th, what could POSSIBLY be cooler??? And as for his fielding? Spectacular – well, that is the absolute minimum I can say. Unlike some commentators, I certainly am not going to fault the guy for playing deeper that you might could like when power hitters are up – you prefer singles to doubles/triples, and almost no balls hit to the power alleys have fallen in for hits as Velcro is Right There.

And watching Lance throw a tantrum after he ran full steam to just barely beat out an IF chopper to the mound and get called out was worth the price of a ticket. Lance hardly ever argues calls, let alone throws a fit, but when he does, he’s usually right and from our seats right over first, it sure looked to all of us as if he had beaten the throw. Coop was out there in a second, arguing with the ump, but, naturally, the ruling stood.

But of course, the REAL prize fight was in the 8th. Geoff Blum hit a drive to deep right center right in front of the bullpen and Spilborghs appeared to make a spectacular snowcone catch, but the ball popped out of his glove as he hit the ground, but he muffled it under his body and held it up for the ump to see and Blum was called out. The bullpen guys were screaming even BEFORE he held the ball up, but the ump missed it. Blum was standing on second, but Coop was out of the dugout fastern Clank on the post game buffet and was out to talk with the umps, who, for once, agreed to confer. Unfortunately, no one had a better sight line on the play, so the ruling had to stand. Coop went absolutely Lou Pinella (sorry, but he IS the master, followed closely by Bobby Cox) on Rick Reed, got tossed and the 3rd base coach had to come running over and grab Coop. The fans in the RF stands, who had seen the whole thing, were all screaming and booing – I checked with one of my Mama’s friends, who was sitting just above the bullpen and she had a great view and she said the ball DEFINITELY came out of his glove, she SAW it.

But, unfortunately, what the ump sez goes, so it was up to Pence who Kd on a (3 guesses) slider and Towles, who flewout to left. Pence had better get himself together because any pitcher who can throw a slider has exactly ZERO reason to throw him anything else and he is gonna get any hits – IF he can get any hits – on any other pitch. And Towles is a dead pull hitter, and the ML pitchers are going to adjust – he’d better get ready to adjust too or learn to take pitches the other way.

Anyhow, this afternoon, it is gonna be Shawn Chacon vs Ubaldo Jiminez, RHP

Jiminez is 24 years old, had a cup of coffee in 06, was called up last year and started 15 games. He went 4-4 over 15 games – 82 IP, 70 H, 10 HR, 37 BB, 68 K, a 4.28 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and a .228 BAA
Meaning he gave up homers with MOB.

Chacon had best be ready to pitch a complete game. Maybe with all the relievers all tired out, Coop will get off his idiotic – no guys can finish games because we have a closer – schtick. Either that or he best be taking ulcer medicine and tranks when Valverde goes out there…

By the way, is this a good time to mention that Luke Scott is 22/57 with 9 BB, 9 doubles and a homer and 6 RS – .386/.470/.596/1.066 or that Mo Ensberg is .375/.375/.563/.938 – yeah, in 16 AB… Or that Albers has given up 1 R/ER in 12.1 IP? Or that Chad Qualls has given up 4 hits and 6 BB in 9.2 IP and 2 UER and still has a 0 ERA?

4/16/08: Bourn Hits Game Winner And Brocail Saves Oswalt’s Win

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Roy FINALLY pitched like ROY. He pitched 7 innings, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 1R/ER, 27B, 65K, 92 pitches – lowers his ERA to 6.65.

His first inning was a little shaky, he gave up 3 singles and a run, taking 19 pitches to finish. After that, it was gravy. He located the FB very well, helped by the fact that the HP ump was calling strikes about 2″ outside. The slider worked fine from the getgo and in the 3rd inning, suddenly he started locating his curve – hadn’t seen that baby all year long. He started throwing it for a strike and the Phils started swinging and missing em. Especially Pat Burrell missing on a bew-tiffel wicked deuce for big strike 3 with 2 on and 2 out

A beautiful sight.

And in the 5th, oh baby, he got both Utley and Burrell swinging helplessly at big strike 3. Dangerous curves ahead.

I got a bit worried in the 6th after Pat Burrell singled, GEoff Jenkins hit the ball to Berkman, who didn’t first try to get Burrell, who runs like Carlos Lee, at second before getting the out. But Roy didn’t care, just got Ruiz to FO on another wicked curve.

yesssssssssssssssssssssssss

Roy mowed down his 3 hitters in the 7th with just 8 pitches, but I had a feeling that Cecil wouldn’t let him finish either.

correctamundo.

Wesley Wright came in in the 8th and struck out the side. I love me some lil DUDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then I told Husband we should just shut off the TV because I couldn’t deal with Valverde blowing Roy’s win and lo and behold, what appeared before our wondering eyes
Not only did Cooper do a double switch, pulling Clank Lee for Darin Erstad, but he sent Doug Brocail out to do the job. Not that I have tons of faith in Brocail, but right about now, I have more faith in my granma in a wheelchair closing games than I do Valverde
And sure enough, Burrell Ks, Jenkins grounds out, but then Jimmy Rollins, on the DL with a twisted ankle, is sent up to PH. He hobbles to the plate and I have nightmare visions of Kirk Gibson facing the Eck and sure enough, to the delight of the crowd, he sends a grounder past a diving Loretta. But Brocail shrugs it off and strikes out PH Greg Dobbs.

All these close games, low scoring. Whoda thunk it??? And some people think that baseball isn’t exciting!!!!!!!!

Gotta give props to Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick. Dude was awesome. Gave up an infield single to Michael Bourn and a 2 out RBI double to Carlos Lee. Gave up a harmless infield single to Berkman. And he gave up a homer to Michael Bourn that hit the foul pole. And those 3 lil ol hits lost him the ballgame. But I was VERY impressed – nice crisp fastball, good slider.

Yep, it was Michael’s night – he beat out the infield hit in the first because Utley rushed the throw and pulled Howard off the bag. He stole a base ON A PITCHOUT in the 4th because Ruiz rushed the throw. He just got the homer – 330′ but it counts. And he made a few nice catches, as usual.
I guess he bound and determined to rub it in to his old team. Kewl.

Sampson is missing his usual start – hopefully, the extra time will allow him to FULLY recover from the flu as he looked as if he could hardly stand on the mound last time out.

Tomorrow it will be Brandon Backe vs Wifebeater Myers. I would guess that Quintero is going to catch, as Brad has caught 2 days in a row and Towles is still out with his bruised hand.

Amazing how many people point to Quintero’s good ST numbers and insist on calling him a “good hitting catcher” in spite of the fact that he hasn’t hit worth spit – has a lifetime ML .581 OPS.