OK friends and neighbors and fellow Astros fans (yeah, I know who you are and all 15 of yall can take that paper bag off your heads) the home boys have now won 2 of our last 3 games in the LAST at bat.
no, I can’t believe that I am saying this, but the bullpen has pitched NINE scoreless innings over 3 games. Yes, you read that right. No, I can’t hardly believe it neither. In fact, the bullpen hasn’t blown a save/lead since May 17 when Fulchino grooved a FB to Brian McCann. Sergio Escalona is so far doing great as the LOOGY, Del Rosario has stopped throwing pitches down the middle/unmoving pitches, Valdez has hung in there, Fulchino has pretty much done well, Lopez has been solid since returning from the DL, Melancon has managed to get the outs even with putting MOB. I guess Jose Valdez will get the ax when Lyon comes back from the DL. You know that Lyon has a partially torn rotator cuff – not sure exactly how/why he would be so much better after 2 weeks when nothing is done to deal with the injury, but he’s making 5 mill a year, so he’s coming back.
No, I am NOT cynical – teams make a WHOLE lot of decisions based on who is earning how much, not merit (see Bogusevic vs Michaels).
Which reminds me – I’m glad that pinch runner Bogusevic (Brett Wallace had doubled on a drive to the Hill – woulda been a triple for anyone who could run, but hey, it turned out to be good enough) scored the winning run tonight – good memory before he was sent down for Jeff Keppinger because you can’t send down Veteran Presence Michaels. This is going to be, um, INteresting.
Check this conversation that Millsie-poo had with Brian McTaggart (of mlb.com) about the ritual benching of Brett Wallace:
“Houston manager Brad Mills said his decision to play the left-handed-hitting Wallace against southpaws is weighted against several factors, including how well he’s swung the bat against a particular pitcher” (like he’s had all these ABs against ANY ML pitcher – enough to have even a teensy bit of statistical significance ) “and if other players need some at-bats. Mills has put Carlos Lee at first base and started Jason Michaels in left field on occasion this year.
‘His whole career, coming up in the Minor Leagues, he’s hit left-handers extremely well with no problems at all, and he’s still having good at-bats up there against lefties,‘ Mills said. ‘As he progresses and gains more experience and continues to get batter, that’s not going to be an issue at all. If it is now, it’s trying to get other guys at-bats.’ “
I understand needing to play bench guys in left every now and then, but there is no excuse except for $$$ for playing Carlos Lee instead of Wallace at first.
Anyway, we’re gonna have 3 OF who are NOT gonna be benched – Clank, Bourn and Pence. We’re gonna have ALL these IF – Wallace, CJ, Sanchez, Downs, Kepp, Hill, Barmes – and of all of em, let’s be real here, only Barmes has a shortstop’s glove, even though everyone except for Wallace and CJ “can” play there. Kepp can play 3B and he’s like Brooks Robinson there compared to how he is at short – AND he hasn’t taken balls/played short since starting his minor league rehab; he’s ONLY played second base – interesting, yes? He’s getting paid about the same as Hall and Barmes, so this time, it won’t be a money question – and we all know that Fast Eddie tried his darndest to get rid of, I mean, trade Keppinger before the season – until the foot surgery (couldn’t DFA him) – so we KNOW that he’s gonna want to trade/send down/DFA someone because Bourgeois, who can play second and OF QUITE well, is gonna be ready to come off the DL pretty soon. Sanchez has no options and Downs is hitting and hitting for power (you know, what Hall and Barmes were supposed to do but aren’t) and the only thing that Barmes does better than Manzella is walk. And waste 3 mill more in salary.
Where was I?
Oh yeah – funfunfun to see what is gonna happen.
Anyway, to talk about this series: yesterday, Bill Hall made an error to load the bases and J Happ promptly threw a fastball RIGHT down the middle for a grand slam. All the runs were unearned, but he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings on 3 hits and 2 walks and a ROE. For a guy who gives up so few hits, he sure gives up a LOT of runs. The guys didn’t manage to do real too much against Billingsley, and CJ and Bill Hall went ofer, although CJ did drive in a run with a sac-fly. I’m not blaming Hall for the slam, neither – Happ threw an unmoving FB down the exact middle of the plate. Not that I’m saying that Hall made up for it in any way with the bat…
Today, Aneury threw 6 excellent innings, giving up 3 singles, 1 walk and a solo homer to Matt Kemp on a hanging slider. Aneury is turning out to be a much better starter than reliever – fine with me!!!! He had the one terrible game where he freaked out after the errors and with the HP ump refusing to call a strike a strike, but he’s come back strong these past 3 games and youneverknow, he just might could do fine the rest of the year – he WAS a starter in the minors.
I was really REALLY surprised to see Millsie-poo let Brett Wallace face lefty Ted Lilly – I was expecting to see Sanchez or Matt Downs or Bill Hall at first, in left, who knows. But lefty Bourn led off with a homer – his first of the year – juuuust inside the fence just to the right of the RF bullpen (how kewl is that!!!!). He’s started 46 of the Astros 50 games so far and only failed to reach base in 4 of them. Hard to believe that his OBP is only .344.
Where was I? Oh yeah – Brett Wallace. Anyway, in the 6th, with Clank on second, CJ was IBB so that Lilly could face Wallace and he got him out. Guess this means that Millsie-poo benching him against leftys is a sound idea. Except that I’ve seen him K or GO or FO vs rightys with 2 out MOB. I’m so confused. Just like Millsie-poo.
The 7th was exciting – Towles was on 3rd with 2 out and tried to score (game tied 1-1) on a WP – and after watching the replay umpty times, I’m still not sure he was actually out. But he made up for it by hitting the walkoff single in the 9th. Yeah, I know I’m rooting for the guy, just as I’m rooting for CJ, who went ofer 3 with a IBB. But they’re young guys and learning to deal with ML pitching and there’s hope – unlike the Old Guys.
Pence went 1 fer 4 – singled with Sanchez on first (Sanchez was playing SS today and didn’t mess up with the glove) but Clank LODP to 3rd to end the inning. Sanchez wasn’t THAT far off second, but he’s slow as molasses and couldn’t get back. It wasn’t really a messup – the ball easily looked as if it could have been a single to left.
Brownie and Deshaeis said that this is the Astros 8th walk-off win this year. Amazing – this team is so BAD and yet they’ve rallied in the 9th EIGHT times of the 19 victories we have. And yes, I AM thinking about where this team would be if the bullpen hadn’t blown 12 of 18 saves. We’ve only been shut out once this year.
And if I hear one more time how some baseball “analyst” writer/BBTN guy says how the Astros “have” to trade Hitter Pence, I’m gonna SCREAM. Seeing as how the big media teams already have all the best players, I’d think we should be allowed to keep ours.
Day off tomorrow, then the DBax for the weekend. Last time they were here, I actually saw a couple of people in DBbax tshirts/caps/jerseys. They aren’t worried about getting beat up, like Brian Stow – Stros fans aren’t like that. That is one thing I have to say about the Box – you don’t get that Dodger “fans” crap here – no one is threatening opposing fans (even C*bs/Yecchs/RedSux), no drunk, obnoxious, obscenity screaming people allowed. Actually, I’ve never even heard Astros fans “taunting” opposition players with endless screams of “you suck” let alone inappropriate comments about family members. Which is, far as I’m concerned, great. Even if there are now only around 10K fans, MAYBE, in the actual stands.
And speaking of Brian Stow – last month, That Evulllll Barry Lamar made a PRIVATE visit to Brian Stow and pledged to pay all college bills for his 2 children. Not do a fund raiser and get some OTHER people to pay. Not play golf/give a dinner party/sign memorabilia to be sold. nope. He’s paying out of HIS OWN MONEY. Himself. And we are not talking about a small amount of money here. Barry Lamar didn’t put any limit on where the kids could go to college – which means that if they get into Stanford or Harvard (not cheap) Barry Lamar is paying. Barry Lamar’s people didn’t tell the media – Brian Stow’s attorney did, don’t ask me why, seeing as how Baarry Lamar wasn’t seeking any publicity from this.
He’s paid for more than a few things out of HIS OWN POCKET (especially with the Childrens’ Hospital) which is a HECK of a lot more than the supposedly Better People Who Are Not Uppity Youknowwhats Do. (What Those Other People did is to make media people happy by not telling them in no uncertain terms that they are insulting them by asking moronic questions, demonstrating their massive ignorance of the sport they are covering…)
I know he’s supposed to be The Villain, but you know, people are complicated….