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Archive for the ‘Valverde’ Category

10/24/12: Barry Zito Hands Verlander His Lunch And Giants Win Game 1

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

All Pablo and no Pence.

Hunter still has that scraggly ass hideous face hair and is swinging away at crap – not just sliders away, and looking seriously BAD. He took the sombrero tonight. Unlike Pablo, who hit 3 straight homers. Hope he keeps it up – unlike Uncle Albert last year, who sucked the entire Series, except for his 3 homer game. SOMEbody has gotta hit for that team, and Buster Posey looks almost as lost as Hunter.

At least this game isn’t being held in a downpour, like game 7 NCLS, in which the umps, after like 7 innings, got together and decided than any pitch within 1 foot of the strike zone would be a strike so they could all get the heck outta there as the Giants had already killt the Cards 9-0 and I have no doubt that they weren’t permitted to have any sort of rain delay in spite of the deluge. I’m just glad didn’t nobody get hurt out there.

Next question – what the EFF has happened to Jose Valverde?  He was sent in to mopup tonight in the 7th – got Lincecum (in relief) swinging and did his sillyass fist clenching little dance, then proceded to give up a double, 3 singles and 2 runs. his last 3 appearances have been, well, disasters. Maybe he’s injured, or maybe it is one of those – he has been having a run of suck – type thingys. youneverknow.

And Lincecum has been an absolute master this postseason, at long relief – AND at coming in a getting outs with MOB without allowing any inherited runs. His velocity is way WAAAYYY down from where it was a few years back, but he still got 5 Ks over 2.1 IP, which is far FAR better than anything he did as a starter this year.

And Barry Zito – the guy who was completely off the postseason roster 2 years ago, is now starting game ONE of the World Freaking Series. And through the end of 5, looked as if he was gonna get a complete game shutout – or at least a shutout. He suddenly lost control and was getting hit HARD when Bochy pulled him and sent in Timmeh, who shut it DOWN.

Barry

Freaking

Zito.

Well, if he wins 2 WS games and the Giants win another Ring, that giant (hahahaha) contract he got won’t look so bad, will it?

We’ll see if Madison Bumgardner can pitch better than he has the last few times and avoid Kyle Lohse-hood. If not, guess Timmeh will be ready and waiting.

The Giants are still thinking about who is gonna DH in Dee-troit. Hint – it shouldn’t be Aubrey Huff, who is making Pence look like Barry Lamar 2002. At least so far, the Gaints aren’t making it as easy for the Tigers to get their first Ring since 84 as Joe Uck opined. Yes, the sound got turned off then. No, I didn’t turn it back on. Yes, I was at my Mama’s. Yes, she’s still all Up Set about the Cards choking away the last 2 games. Yes, I had to get back home right quick to make sure that kids were actually IN bed because getting up time comes right quick.

Yes, it IS difficult getting in WS games without interruptions on school nights.

Ex-Stro Jose Valverde Kicks Yankees Out Of 2011 Playoffs

Friday, October 7th, 2011

As usual last night, I was ridiculously busy with kidz -

life tip: anyone who thinks that babies and toddlers take lots of time ain’t seen NOTHIN compared to when kids start school. I mean, needing time and attention and, uh, persuasion (ahem) to do stuff like everything they don’t WANNA do. Which is a lot more than not just wanting to take a nap or eat anything without gravy on it. This is not including the time it takes to take them places and get em back, neither.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

So last night was ALDS Game 5 of Tigers vs Yecchies. Because of the rainout on Game 1, neither team could use its ace to starat. Sort of like what happened to (only) the Astros in 2005 because Brad Lidge, unlike Valverde, wasn’t NAILS in NLCS Game 5. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Both teams threw very VERY good pitchers out there – Doug Fister (what a, um, difficult – ahem – name for a boy to have, hunh? My young teenage cousins – males, of course – get all Beavis/Butthead over the name – huh huh huh) vs Ivan Nova. Media was all Up Set about it because they wanted to hand in their already written stories about Verlander vs Sabathia Round 2 and they had to “settle” for having to talk about 2 young pitchers who aren’t STAHS!!! or paid much.

I absolutely hate it when the Yankees win. By the way - I know there are real Yankees fans, meaning the folks who grew up in NYC/NY/NJ whose family had been fans, or the kids were fans since they grew up watching the team. You rooted for the Yanks in like 89/90/91 when they were basically the Astros 89/90/91 with a richer, crazier owner, you are the real thing. I respect that – I do. And those folks are not who I talk about when I talk about hating Yankees fans/Yankees Organization in general. Yankees Entourage “fans” to me are kind of like the party girls/groupies who go to where the rich people hang to try to, uh, party (ahem) with the STAHS!!! – including guys they couldn’t differentiate from dried paint if they weren’t rich/famous. But they want a piece (hahahaha) of that pie (and yes, males are just as guilty of, uh, sucking up – ahem – to money/fame people).

Anyway, I turned on the game (while trying to get kidz to do stuff like homework and pick up their stuff ) it’s at the New Hideous – If You Ask How Much Tickets Cost To See Like A Royals Game, You Are Poor Trash – Stadium. Little Boys – well, actually, not exactly little no mo, suddenly remember that they are HUGE baseball fans and really REALLY wanna watch with Mami. Seriously, these are kids who would watch golf, or soccer, or paint dry if it got them out of having to submit to massive Gitmo-type torture perpetrated by their Mean Mami consisting of making them get their clothes out of the drier and put them away where they belong (drawers/closets – not floor, bed, counters, table, etc) than finishing homework.

Number 2 son announces – hey, no Suck-Stros, hahaha. Number 1 son says – hey, the Yankees, yeah!!! I hit the off button, looked at kids with THAT Look, told them, the other team is the Detroit Tigers and any person in this house not rooting for the Tigers can just go right NOW and do homework. Yankees are better, announces Number One Son, as he sulks his way back to the homework table (where I can keep an eye on kids and watch the game without missing a beat); Number 2 Son isn’t quick to be so mouthy – says, are there any Astros? Yeah, I told him – Jose Valverde, the closer with the gut who did all that dancing and fist shoving on the mound if he closed the game out. Number 2 son picks up the cue, pretends he remembers. ANYthing is better than spelling lists and vocabulary tests.

Meanwhile, the game – Ivan Nova, who is actually a product of the Yankees farm system who wasn’t given/thrown away because he had ANY difficulty in any game EVER (see, for example, Ian Kennedy) and a rookie who had an outstanding year, given the team he pitches for and the enormous burden of expectation of perfection, is pitching. He gets (ex-Yankee) Austin Jackson swinging on 4 pitches, then 31 year old utility guy Don Kelly (never heard of him before, but then again, I seldom watch DH-tainted pretending to be Real Baseball type games) takes an impossible strike, then hammers the next one, a hanging curve, over the RF wall. Hardly a moon shot, but hey, it’s a good sign all right. Very next pitch is a nice high FB and Delmon Young (more on him in a sec) hammers it to the upper deck in left.

7 pitches, 2-0 Tigers.

WOW, says #2 son. Number 1 son has already run over from his homework (any excuse will do, I told you) and number 3 son even comes over to check it out. Is he an Astro asks #3.

Nope, I told him. He was a big shot and he KNEW it – first guy picked the year you were born (03). He was 18, thought his excrement had no odor (translation for G-rating) and had additude all though the minors, and was kept there an extra year so as he might could learn to not act like a complete, uh, jerk. He came up when you were 3, hit pretty well, and the next year, in spite of not hitting or fielding well for a left fielder (91 OPS+) was second in the ROY voting. But he was 21, acting like 13, wasn’t a real too particular good fielder and he mouthed off too much to coaches trying to help him, so his whining ass got traded to Minnesota for a decent pitcher, Matt Garza. Minnesota had plenty of pitchers, they thought – although it really is true that you can’t really never have too much pitching, and they wanted an outfield bat. But Delmon was not even average for his first 2 years, then had his first good year hitting last year. And when he didn’t do well this year, and his team didn’t do well because their 2 best hitters were out sick almost all year, he got traded to Detroit for a couple of minor leaguers. Sort of a kick in the pants, you feelin me here?

Like Hunter Pence to the Phillies, only Hunter was a GOOD ballplayer and Delmon was not (the kids liked Hunter, and like most Astros fans, were ANGRY when Pence and Bourn were given away – I mean traded).

Anyway, Delmon did OK after the trade, so maybe he had grown up enough to understand that this was his Last Chance to behave.

Said calmly, not pointedly – just kind of offhand so as they could pretend they didn’t really hear even though they sure nuff did

After the inning was over, I shut the TV off – told the kidz they HAD to do homework first, Which was true, but a whole lot of me was afraid that Fister would go all Brett Myers in his half of the inning. I mean, with the baseball (hahaha). Yes, I love puns.

Went back to sneak a peek at the top of the 3rd, saw the score was still 2-0 and was really surprised to see Phil Hughes pitching. Checked out Gameday quickly, and Nova gave up a double, a groundout to second, a groundout to third and a 3-2 K – 10 pitches. I figured he must have been hurt, although the announcers didn’t say (and I try to keep the mute on as much as possible because I’ve been too spoiled by Brownie and JD to descend to the level of what passes for network announcers) but I considered it a very good omen. Not that I want someone to be injured, but that maybe guys who weren’t relievers would not do well relieving. No Scott Proctering though.

Fister lasted through 5 – had runners on in every inning but the second, included bases loaded 1 out in the 4th – but got the next 2 outs to strand em all. Gave up only a solo homer to Cano, now the best hitter on the Yankees, Jeter Worshippers notwithstanding.

Phil Hughes pitched 2 innings, then “ace” CC Sabathia came in to pitch the 5th with the score 2-1. He gave up a double to Jackson, the leadoff guy, got 2 swinging Ks, then, to my utter shock, he was told to IBB Miguel Cabrera to pitch to Victor Martinez. I mean, it was like watching Millsie-poo. WHY??? WHY!!!!! would your ace – your ACE, who is not tired, be instructed to intentionally walk a batter in his FIRST inning of work with 2 outs, man on second??? Cabrera is a great hitter, but Martinez isn’t exactly Mendoza. It’s one thing to IBB Cabrera to face a really tough lefty hitter, but another good righty? Your ACE??? Could it be deciding based on small sample size matchups of 5 fer 26 vs 9 fer 16? I think that throwing pitches out of the strike zone on purpose when the pitcher is going to be facing a GOOD hitter isn’t the smartest, and sure enough, Victor Martinez hits a single to center, scoring the run – Jackson was almost to third before the ball landed and no one could have thrown him out. Los Tigres 3 – 1.

Turned the TV off, made the kids go to bed – skool tomorrow, bus comes early, and it’s not the Astros.

Don Kelly, you know, the nobody utility guy who hit the first homer int he 1st, was switched to right, and in the 8th, he caught His Jeteriness’ long fly ball to the warning track. “Captain Clutch” and His Intangibles didn’t show up tonight – in fact, the Greatest Yankee EVAH!!!, well, except for The Great Mariano and His 600 saves- and yes, I am certainly including Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle who played Back Then when nobody realized that closer are far more important to the team that any guy who plays every day, had a .572 OPS for the 5 game series, 5 singles, 1 walk, a double, 2 RBIs – both in Game 4 with the 10-1 score, 1 stolen base and a grand total of 6 runs scored.

Anyway, Valverde comes in to close out the 3-2 game in the 9th as Husband and I sit to rootrootroot for the Ex-Stro and he mows down the heart of the Yankee lineup – Granderson, Cano and Alex Rodriguez, who hasn’t played a full year’s game since 07, and it’s 6 more years of 32 mill a year, too. And I keep yelling about the Clank deal…

So the Two Pimped Teams (yeah, I know the RedSux got eliminated on the last day of the season) are already out of it and all the network guys are screaming in agony. You spend all your airtime pimping pretty much only The Two Teams That Matter and after they are gone, mainstream fans are like – well, if the other series go to gave 7, we’ll tune in, maybe, to watch the Game 7 between the iforgetwhos. I mean, I know youse Network guys mention some other teams now and then so there must be some others and guess they hafta play SOMEone.

So Husband looks at me – says – you look like the cat who got into the cream (more on that later) and you know that Detroit got a BIG payroll, too. I said – yeah, but they play in like the 3rd most economically depressed city in the country – you talk about a bad market, and their owner spends money and puts a good team on the field. And somehow, they pack the place. So you gotta tip your cap.

I know all yall gonna ask if I’m gonna root for the Nolan Ryans vs the Tigers and I’m gonna tell you that I don’t care, really. Me, I’m pulling for the NL team and deciding which one (before tonight’s game) is tough. I would dearly love to see Lance get a Ring, but that means rooting for Uncle and TLR (shudder). I would dearly love to see Pence and Oswalt get a Ring – yeah, Roy is just about done for, but still, after all those years of ace-hood here, I’d still like it – in spite of having to root for The Big Money Team NL version. I’m kind of torn about the Brewers – I LUUUUVVVV Da Prince when he’s not facing us, but then again, I’d rather they or the Dbax move to the AL instead of us, and if one of em win a WS, gonna be tougher to have any leg to stand on, especially as the Astros now look like Pirates after 92 version 2.0…

The cat. Gotta tell all yall bout that (especially remembering Phat Stuff Dog and his incredible effect on the Astros run to the finish line 6 weeks before the end of the 04 season…)

I don’t like cats, never did, but my not like was seriously re-enforced bout the time I was 10 and was over at a friend’s and their cat jumped out from under a table as I was walking by and bit me on the ankle. I screamed so loud you coulda heard me in Pasadena and of course, I had to take icky medicine and get a shot. Since then, I get shut of cats. But the day before yesterday, I was sitting outside at a table with a couple of gf and suddenly, like out of nowhere, this cat materialized out of thin air (it’s what they do) and jumped up on the table.

He was a biggish tom, looked like a Siamese, only instead of light brown fur with dark brown ears and tail, I swear to God he had red, yes, red edges to his ears and tail (must have had some ancestor who is a ginger cat or something). We’d finished eating, so there wasn’t much of anything left except a few scraps of bread and fries, and in spite of the fact that he’s pretty scrawny, no collar or tag, he ignored the food, picked his way across the table, sat down in front of me and started with all this miaowing, caterwauling. I never heard a cat make so much noise, but I guess it’s the Siamese Cat way of life.

He’s sitting right in front of me, staring at me, and for some reason, instead of, I don’t know, just getting up before I got jumped on or scratched or whatever, I said, right to him, and don’t ask me why I was talking to a cat like he’s a Dog, because I don’t know why - I said, “I don’t like cats so GO AWAY!!!!”. But he didn’t move, just started up with a few miaows. So I glared at the cat and said – like, what, are you a Yankees fan or something? And he gave me one of those cat hisses showing his teeth, got up, jumped down and stalked away. It was to laugh.

So I took that as a good sign for the Tigers, you know what I’m sayin.

And in case you’re curious bout what happened to that cat, well, after we got up to go, I noticed him over with one of my gf at her car, him all rubbing up against her ankles, and all caterwaulin – never shut up for a second, and yeah, the little loudmouth SOB got hisself picked up and taken home.

Guess El Tigre knows how to play…

The Astros Get Lucky When Valverde Declines Arbitration

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Supposedly, Fast Eddie is really trying to re-sign LaTroy Hawkins. I can handle that, although I would remind folks that his history as a closer is not good. I can’t see Valverde agreeing to sign a contract for any less than what he made last year, let alone his getting a multi-year deal like the ones Cordero and K-Rod received last year, and seeing as how the Astros breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when he declined arb, I can’t understand why they want to resign him at all. Here and I thought his leaving would give them some, uh, salary room.

Don’t ask me what for.

Well, actually, you CAN ask, and I can tell you that knowing Fast Eddie, it’s probably for more relievers.

I also heard it through the grapevine that we talked about re-signing Adam Everett (don’t worry, he re-upped with the Tigers) and I hear tell that Fast Eddie has his eyeballs eagerly fastened upon some Braves pitcher. Lowe costs 15 mill a year for 3 years (and we already have a LOT of $$$ committed to 3 guys this year alone) and Soriano accepted arb and can’t be traded (without his consent) until June.

AND, might could I remind all yall, we haven’t signed any guys for the bench.

sigh

And the Yankees just got the excellent CF Curtis Granderson for some crappy prospects they didn’t want or need. The rich get richer. I never understand why teams happily send their good, cheap young players to the Yankees without insisting that they get stuck with some burdensome contract as well.

sigh

I have to go and write up an Astros pre-season preview and am trying to find something not negative to say besides – well, at least they’re not the Royals.

And by the way, you might could have read that MVN will be closing down permanently at the end of the month. I am going to find a site to move my archives to, and am then going to take the winter off from writing – I NEED a break. If I resume blogging, it will be when Spring Training starts. Anyway, I will be sure to give all yall the new URL before the site closes down.

The Astros Very Sensibly Offer Arbitration To Jose Valverde, Not Miguel Tejada

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

The Astros made a very sensible decision to offer arbitration only to Jose Valverde, one of three Type A free agents. Valverde earned 8 million in 2009 and would certainly be due a raise. However, an arbitration award would most likely not net him more than 12 million, the typical salary of a top notch closer.

It is most likely that Valverde could net a multi-year deal elsewhere for at least 10 million a year, and that he would decline arbitration to pursue that. A reasonable gamble with upside.

If he did accept, he could always be traded for prospects at the deadline, unless Drayton McLane is suffering from his usual inability to see the forest for the trees and thinks that the Astros are “competitive.” It would, however, hinder efforts to spend that 10 or 12 mill on GOOD bench players.

Brocail, a type B FA (can you believe he was even typed, given the fact that he lost most of the year to injuries and didn’t pitch well when he DID pitch) was already paid his $250K buyout. He may or may not try to latch on with another team, or even re-up with the Astros at a significantly reduced salary, but offering arbitration would certainly net him a bigger payday than what he is worth.

Miggy Tejada, the second of the 3 Type A FA, was paid 14.5 million last year, and he will most likely not be able to earn even half of that in 2010, let alone receive more than a 2 year deal, if that. He certainly is not worth any 14.5 million but would most likely not receive any significant salary cut in arbitration. I know that he is supposed to have all this “leadership” – whatever that is – but he certainly didn’t exactly lead the Astros to greatness last year.

It will be interesting to see what team will finally bite the bullet and sign Tejada, as they will have to give up a first or second round pick to do so. And no, I don’t want to resign him for 2 years to play third base, ground into endless double plays while fielding like Mike Lamb.

Fast Eddie is supposed to be trying very hard to re-sign Hawkins, the third Type A FA. I would guess that Hawk wasn’t offered arbitration because the Organization was afraid that he would receive more in arb than he will in his new contract – that is, IF he signs a new contract with the Astros. I would guess that he probably would, as most teams are extremely reluctant to cede draft picks to sign a setup man, and he clearly saw what happened to Juan Cruz last year.

Richard Justice recently wrote a blog entry asking readers – OK, given that you can NOT trade Berkman, El Caballo Gordo or Oswalt, what would YOU do if you were Ed Wade?

Naturally, half the readers said to trade one or all of those 3 guys.

Really?

Carlos Lee will be paid 18.5 mill this year, 2011 and 2012, which is a HUGE amount of money for a DH or a terrible defensive LF (who knows if he could play 1B?) who is the second worst baserunner in the majors (next to Bengie Molina) according to the Bill James tables.

Now WHAT team out there is going to agree to take El Caballo Gordo, that is, assuming he would agree to be traded, for that kind of money AND give us any prospects? Which team HAS that kind of money to spend on a DH for the next 3 years?

The purpose of trading Lee would be essentially removal of his salary from the payroll. Let’s be real here. No team, and I mean NO team, is going to give the Astros any minor leaguer worth anything for 3 years of a DH at 18.5 mill/year. Anyone who thinks different has more than a few screws missing. Anyone who thinks that Drayton is going to PAY some team perfectly good money for the sole purpose of getting rid of his RBI man (and fan fave) to get some other team’s major league rejects or untested minor leaguers in hopes of getting another Jeff Bagwell, also has a few screws loose.

We have NO minor leaguers who look to be ready to replace the production Carlos does give. So do we play some of them anyhow? When they hit like Ausmus and field like Mike Lamb (in left), do we go out and sign another Jason Michaels? Which reminds me – who wants us to go and sign yet ANOTHER expensive FA to a long term contract? Who wants us to sign another crappy washed up MLer to a 1 year job?

Lance Berkman?
Well, this is the last year of his contract, and he’ll get 14.5 mill (and yeah, you have to think about his 15 million dollar option and his 2 mill buyout, too). Now if all yall remember, he had a lousy (for him) year last year. Some club would have to gamble on a bounceback year. One more time – now WHICH club out there is going to pay that kind of money for a guy on the downside of his career who very well might NOT have that last bounceback year?

Who here really thinks that this mystical club is gonna pay 14.5 mill PLUS a buyout/option year AND give the astros even ONE good, young player?

Now that just might could happen at the deadline, all right, especially if Lance has a good year, but not now. At that time, Drayton might could possibly eat a few mill IF Tal/Eddie/Pam persuaded him he was getting back at least ONE guy who had some serious upside, especially if he could be put right on the ML roster.

Roy?

Well, he’ll be paid 15 mill this year and 16 mill next year, and he has a 2 mill buyout. I love the boy to death, but he’s had nagging injury problems and back problems for a couple of years now, and I doubt he’s going to turn back the hands of time to 5 years ago. He really isn’t worth ace money any more – sorry, but unfortunately, it is true.

What evidence is there that any team has any interest in trading for him right now, let alone giving us any good prospects for him?

I think that the days of the Braves giving 4 top notch prospects for 1 major leaguer with 2 team-controlled years are gone. I think the days of teams giving prospects for old and expensive non-ace pitchers in their last 2 years of a free agent contract are LONG gone.

The thing is that Drayton has to sell tickets. He is going to have a lot of trouble doing so if he appears to be getting rid of all his highly paid players so that he can lower the payroll by 50 million dollars while fans at the ballpark pay 6 bucks for a soda and 8 bucks for beer. If Drayton starts coming off like Jeff Loria, he will see his ballpark filled like Marlins Stadium (or whatever its most recent name is.)

Stars market a team. They do. Drayton CAN’T market very well with Wandy, Pence and Bourn – and a handful of cast-offs. IF he were to undergo full scale rebuilding of the sort that was done in the early 90s, he would have to make very VERY sure it didn’t look to fans as if he wanted an extra 50 mill for himself. AND he would have to populate the entire team with guys who appear to be rising STARS, not just Erstads or Cody Ransoms.

Miguel Tejada Hits A Walk-Off Single To Beat Rafael Soriano

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I was gonna title this – Tommy Hanson tells cops – gee officers, I don’t know what happened. I got pulled leading 1-0 in the 9th after giving up no walks, 5 piddly singles, NO hard hit balls and 99 Ks and a whole lot of stunned, dazed looking Astros faces only to watch Rafael Soriano give up a single to Kaz Freaking Matsui, then a double off the wall to Lance “Limp-bat” Berkman, an IBB to Clank “slowern cold Mo Lasses” Lee and then had to watch while Prado and Escobar stood like statues with thumbs up butt while they watched a Miggy Tejada GIDP ball roll slowly past them into center field to allow the winning run to score standing up – and then everything goes blank, officers, and next thing I know Prado and Escobar and the pitching coach there on the ground looking like Beetle Bailey after Serge gets through with him…

But I thought it was a little long, even for me.

Wandy pitched great. As usual. He gave up 1 lousy run on a walk, a groudout, then a single up the middle, but shut the Braves DOWN – 3 hits, 2 walks (both to Escobar), 6 K.

And for some reason, Coop pulled him after 7 innings, 85 pitches after he struck out 2 swinging and got a weak grounder in the 7th. He didn’t even look tired. But the bullpen is tired and overworked, Wandy looked great and the reason for pulling him is???? He couldn’t pitch 2 more innings because????? We needed to waste Wesley and Valverde because????

This is one of many reasons that Coop is not a good manager. I get so tired of people making excuses for him.

Wandy has yet ANOTHER no decision. It’s not that I am this big proponent of Wins as a judge of pitching excellence, but unfortunately arbitrators are and Wandy should get more credit than he does.

And I’m not making any excuses for the lousy performance of the Astros hitters. OR their stupid GIDPs – 2 of em, by The Usual Suspects. The Astros DID get a man to second – Lance who singled, then stole a base, but Clank grounded out. It would have been the GIDP trifecta, but unfortunately, there were 2 outs and Lance had ALREADY stolen second.

Good news is that Chris Johnson got to play, but only because Blum hurt himself breaking up a DP and Keppinger has a sore back. He didn’t get a hit, but MAN, what an arm – startled Lance. Announcing his Presence With Authority.

As for Valverde and his suddenly changed birthday – Ed Wade said something about um, er, oh, paperwork, mistake or something, no big deal (like what he said about Miggy.)

Valverde channelled Sgt Schultz to Jose Ortiz of the Chron and says –  I know NOTHHHHHEENKKKK…. In fact, he doesn’t even know what he wrote on his very own website (July 24, 1978.) And I really appreciate Jose giving me and Tim the props.

And tomorrow, Roy Oswalt faces Derek Lowe. Derek is a well known ground-baller, so maybe tomorrow we can try to set the year’s records in GIDPs.

Jose Valverde Ages 15 Months Since July 2009

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

My old (blog) buddy Tim Dierkes writes mlb trade rumors. I was looking through it the other day at an entry discussing Jose Valverde’s impending free agency and noticed that he stated that Jose is 32.

I thought – Tim mis-typed, I’d better send him a note. You see, Jose’s birthday is July 24, which is Barry Lamar Bonds and Barry Lamar Dog’s birthday, so I PARTICULARLY remembered that, and I also remembered the talk about him turning 30 this July. I also noted that it is interesting that the Astros had TWO players on the team with that PARTICULAR birthday, Jason “ofer” Smith being the other.

But, surprise, surprise, even though Jose’s birthday was listed as July 24, 1979 in last year’s media guide and on the Opening Day lineup card, it is now listed as April 24, 1978 on the Astros website, Yahoo and Espn. Not surprisingly, it is still listed as July 24, 1979 on Baseball-reference.com and Baseball Cube.

Is this a mistake? Or is Jose yet another person who, uh, had an, um, er, birth certificate whose numbers were, uh, um, let’s say, illegible?

This isn’t my imagination or me mis-remembering. According to the Chron, Valverde was 28 in December of 07 when we obtained him from the Diamondbacks. In fact, almost every Chron story which lists Valverde’s age corresponds to him having a July 79 birthday.

Might could be that the extra 15 months may affect Valverde’s value as far as long term contracts go, even though he is still obviously a top-notch closer.

I guess that after the whoop-to-doo over Miggy and the 2 years, the Astros are trying to sneak this one under the radar. And they woulda gotten away with it, too, iffn it wasn’t for them meddling bloggers.

ADDENDUM 9/9/09 3:23 PM

Brian McTaggart of mlb.com asked Ed Wade about Valverde’s age. I sure nuff would like to hear Eddie’s explanation of how it was that every single publication listed Valverde’s birthday as 7/24/79 prior to today. Or, at least until after July 24 of this very year.

It certainly wasn’t a “mistake” made by just the Astros. I would also point out that this is the second Astros player acquired by Fast Eddie whose birthday was, uh, um, er, “discovered” to “accidentally” be somehow published incorrectly for years. I am not particularly happy with a GM who has noooooooooo idea that Miguel Tejada is on the Mitchell list, or that he is actually 2 years older than his listed age (even though that “rumor” was common knowledge for years, or that MLB and the Diamondbacks had been “mistaken” about Valverde’s birthday for 7 years.

This, by the way, is my first “scoop.” Sort of…..

7/7/09: Mike Hampton Beats Pirates For The 4th Time This Year

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Mike Hampton has a W in his last 10 decisions against the Pirates. That might could almost be better than Roy’s streak against the Reds, because Roy has a bunch of NDs amongst the wins. (I don’t guess that I should note that counting the 4 Pirates games, Hampton is 5-5 with a 4.16 ERA/1.35 WHIP and without them, he’s 1-5 with a 5.28 ERA and 1.57 WHIP – only 3 of his 7 QS/ 14 GS were not against the Pirates…)

And what is most amazing is that the Pirates lineup Hampton faced has only 2 of the same guys on it since the first time he faced their team in April. I mean, that team has almost completely turned over. There is Jack Wilson and Andy LaRoche. Period. I guess their ownership is trying to get rid of any player making more than the minimum, so I guess that by the time this team comes back in September, both Adam LaRoche and Jack Wilson will be gone, seeing as how they both cost like 5 mill or some enormous number.

Tonight’s pitcher, Virgil Vasquez, was a guy they just called up a few weeks ago. He was actually waived by the Tigers after his 6th year, picked up by the Red Sox, then waived, picked up by the Padres then waived, then finally picked up by the Pirates – all between Oct 31, 2008 and Jan 27, 2009. He’s not bad, either. Had a nice curve and change until he started getting tired in the 4th – had bases loaded, 1 out, after throwing 28 pitches, and Quintero obliged him by hitting the first pitch FB outside the strike zone for a GIDP.

Should I note that in 3 different innings, we left men on 3rd?

Anyway, Hampton didn’t pitch great, went to 3-2 counts on 6 of the batters he faced and went to 3-1 counts on 3 more – but somehow, he got plenty of groundouts and he gave up only one really well hit ball – a double to the RF bullpen, which eventually came around to score.

He gave up 3 hits, 3 walks, 1 absolute Web Gem DP (first inning, he walked both batters, who were on first and second, then he caught a bullet back to the mound and whirled and threw out the guy before he got back to first. Should be Web Gem of the night fer SHER, even if it was only the Astros/Pirates – sure nuff gave a thrill to the 10K people in the stands. He also walked and scored a run on Tejada’s double. Pitchers doing stuff like hitting and driving in runs and scoring runs are KEWL!!! Which is why the NL ROOLZ and the AL is teh sukc!!!

Hawkins got 3 straight grounders for the 8th and Valverde struck out the side after giving up an infield single to second to start the inning. I was VERY relieved to see him pitch an inning without giving up a run.

Tomorrow, it’s Brian Moehler vs Charlie Morton

Moehler (ignoring those April starts when he was injured) has started 11 games over 63 IP: 68 H, 12 HR, 44 K, 19 BB, 30 ER – 4.29 ERA, 1.38 WHIP.

Charlie Morton, 25 yo RHP, is the guy the Pirates got from the Braves when they dumped their hellaciously expensive (3 mill a year) CF, Nate McLouth. Morton was picked in the 3rd round of the 02 draft by the Braves, and started 15 games for them last year – 59 ERA+ over 74.2 innings – 1.62 WHIP, 6.15 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 4.8 BB/9.

You know what I say about pitchers the Braves don’t want/trade away (yes, except for Jason Schmidt, Adam Wainwright and Jason Marquis – and that is 3 guys over the past 19 years.)

His minor league stats are nothing to write home about – 4.01 ERA/1.38 WHIP over 618 IP.

But I suppose this should actually worry me, seeing as how usually guys like Morton who are AAAA type guys usually shut us out. Espcially seeing as how Carlos, Pence and now Bourn are slumping…

6/29/09: Cooper Pulls Ortiz, For No Good Reez, Stros Fans Say PUHLEEEEZE

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Ortiz didn’t deserve what happened. He pitched GREAT, gave up 6 hits – 4 singles, a double and a solo homer – NO walks and 5 K and 2 GIDP and 2 runs. He was cruising in the top of the 8th, got the first out, after cruising through the 7th getting 3 quick outs on 8 pitches. For absolutely no reason I can think of, Coop pulled Ortiz in favor of Tim Byrdak.

WHY???

Ortiz is at 90 pitches, not tired, throwing well. I mean, he just had him hit in the bottom of the 7th, and then pitch to 1 guy in the 8th???

Is this Coop’s usual unspeakably stupid crap about the lefty/righty thingy? Who knows? Why not let Ortiz finish the game? WHY won’t the reporters EVER ask Coop questions like that???

And with 2 out, and a 1-2 count, Valverde decided to replay the Brad Lidge Albert Pujols debacle and goodbye ball game. Yep, Inge sent that ball over the railroad tracks, just like Uncle (proving yet again that you don’t have to be a large man to hit a ML fastball a LONG LONG way…)

So, with no further ado (with apologies to R Kelly) what I think I just might could have heard Mr. Lidge say to Mr Valverde:

“But you are not alone
Though I’m not there with you
Though we’re far apart (Thank God)
And you got took over the tracks
But you are not alone

Earlier tonight
I thought I heard you cry
Oh NOOO, not AGAIN
The second in 3 GAMES
I can hear your prayers
Your burdens I understand

Everyday I sit and ask myself
How did that pitch get away
Let me whisper in your ear and say
Like, dude, you are SOOOO screwing up your trade value
Throwing mid plate belt high FB
They get hit far away
And you’ll be there to stay…”

Of course, I should also note that the Astros were darn lucky to get 3 runs off 6 hits, a sac fly and no walks.

sigh

Valverde has given up 4 homers over 16.1 IP (17 games), saved 6, blown 4 (and lost 2 of those.)

Oh. By the way, the Cards went out and traded for Mark DeRosa, who is REALLY good and can play bout any position except pitcher and catcher. And all they gave up is a crappy middle reliever. We could have offered them Maysonet and Towles, seeing as how Cooper and the Astros regard them as about as good as a bucket of warm spit – something they should be reserving for Michaels and Kata.

Gerry Hunsicker would have been ALL ovah that. Of course, he wouldn’t have been signing/using the likes of Kata and Michaels in the first place, neither.

We’re off to play the Peavy-less Padres and game times will be starting at 9, so no writeups until the next day. Sorry. I GOT to get to bed earlier these days because I got to get up when it is a nice, frosty 75 degrees out to get stuff done because you know you GOT to be back inside before 9 AM.

4/22/09: Jose Valverde Gets 1-Legged Save With Bases Loaded 1 Out

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Tonight, with their worst pitcher pitching, the Astros busted out the whuppin stick against Dallasite Clayton Kershaw WITH MEN ON BASE!!!! I mean, it was quite the night – even Jason Michaels managed to get a hit – a GR double into the 5-7 restaurant (and yes, it is the old 9 Amigos place, in case yall wondering) and Pudge Rodriguez hit 2 groundball singles.  

Russ Ortiz wasn’t exactly good – five walks, 3 hits, 1 HBP, 118 pitches, 64 strikes. He didn’t have a single 1,2,3 inning, went to 3-2 counts on 7 of the 23 hitters he faced, walked 2 on 4 pitches. Somehow, don’t ask me how, he even managed to strike out Manny as one of his 2 Ks, and he only gave up the 3 runs he gave up in the first inning after giving up 2 leadoff walks and.

Wesley Wright pitched a good scoreless inning, Fulchino made a serious mistake to Manny who hit it like 800′ to deep center, Hawkins pitched a scoreless 8th and THEN, it was fun city with Valverde.

And oh MAN, it was one HECK of an inning.

Furcal who is FAST, hit a bunt just to the right of the mound which a good fielding pitcher would have easily handled, but Valverde overran. One on. Then the O-Dawg hit a 3-2 FB RIGHT up the middle, and it hit Valverde on the leg (or was it foot) and after hopping around and looking around, he managed, while falling on his back, to throw the ball to Lance, who caught it, don’t ask me how, falling across first juuuust before O-Dawg got there, but unfortunately, the first base ump called him safe and he was CLEARLY out. 2 on, no out. Uh-oh, because it is Manny at the plate. Unlike Casey, the Manny didn’t look at strike one and strike 2, but hit pitch #1 almost to the wall in deep right.

Sigh of relief.

But then, we notice that Valverde is limping badly, hopping on his left foot a good deal. Sampson is up in the pen, just in case. And Valverde has trouble finding the strike zone, walking Ethier to load the bases.

And somehow, he gets both Loney and Martin swinging at an inside splitter for big strike 3. 

Kaz Matsui had a good night – got an RBI on a groundout and one on a bases loaded walk – no hits, but 2 walks and he scored runs from those walks. Tejada had another good night – a bloop 2 RBI single and an RBI grounder double down the RF line. Carlos hit a ball out of the park. Keppinger has a 7 game hitting streak.

You notice that tonight’s game had easily twice the attendence of last night’s game – it was all us grrrls hoping against hope to see Bradley Awesomemus.

sighhhh

No luck. But you know what? We got to see Russell Martin, who is actually quite hot along with Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and James Loney – also VERY hot. Yessirree, I think I am most DEFINITELY gonna hafta to draft a few more of those boys onto my fantasy team, I surely am.

11/20/08: Trade Wiggy, Valverde Or Tejada?

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I keep hoping for SOME sort of new news, but no such luck. The only lip flapping has been some of the writers horrified that other writers do not think that Ryan Howard was MVP ONLY because he hit more RBIs than anyone else and he had an .893 OPS on the pennant winning team only in September because the rest of the season doesn’t matter – he absolutely sucked the other 5 months, but hey, like, so? Why not rename the MVP – the guy the writers think makes the best story for “player of the month in September on one of the 4 winning teams.” Good grief. And, by the way, Andre Ethier AND MannyBManny seriously outplayed Howard in September – but hey, not as many RBIs because of teammate suckage, but teammates don’t matter.

But I digress.

Looks as if we are headed down a very very slippery slope into a severe recession/depression and McLane, as usual, is not raising the payroll. Oh yeah, there is some sort of the usual bull about how the payroll is really more like 100 mill instead of 90 mill, but some of us can add. Trouble is that the Astros are already starting with Berkman at 14.5 mill + Oswalt at 14 mill + Clank at 18.5 mill + Tejada at 13 mill + Kaz Matsui at 5.3 mill + Geoff Blum at 1.3 mill + Hawkins at 3.5 mill + Erstad at 1.75 mill = 71.85 mill and that means they have to have 17 more players for 20-30 mill.

If they do not trade Wiggy and Valverde, together earming about 10 mill this year, who will certainly earn raises of a good 3-4 mill each, it will mean needing 16 players for 10-12 mill. And let’s not forget Wandy, who is arb eligible for the first time and will earn at LEAST 3 mill. So that will be 15 guys for 10 mill. Oh yeah – Geoff Geary already has a guaranteed contract for 1.125 mill. So make that 14 guys for less than 10 mill.

And unless Drayton ups the payroll (yeah, surrrrrre) then SOMEone has got to go.

Tejada is the most expensive guy here. I know he hit .283, but unlike a whole lot of other Astros fans, I think that it is important to understand that he made very little of his opportunities to drive in runners – he came to bat with (if I am counting correctly) 704 men on base and he drove in only 57 of them (not counting 9 solo homers) AND he grounded into 32 DPs and and (if I went back and counted) I would bet twice that many FC. I keep reminding everyone that in 666 PA, he got on base with 6 HBP, 20 BB, 4 IBB, 125 singles, 38 doubles, 3 triples, 13 homers and 1 ROE. I might could add that he also got caught stealing 7 times with 7 SB, and complied a magnificient (-)27 RCAA, second last only to Michael Bourn. I will finally add that batting from the 3 hole (mostly) and the 5 hole, he created only 63 runs, 1 more than Adam Everett in 06 batting from the 8 hole behind Brad Ausmus.

It would be cheaper to keep Wiggy and play Tommy Manzella (just placed on the 40 man), an Adam Everett clone in AAA who will instantly earn the enmity of Astros fans by hitting like Michael Bourn. Because BA is all that matters. I should add, by the way, that Everett’s BA with RISP was around .280 his last 2 full years with the Astros, and Tejada’s last year was .237. I can’t think of any reason to keep Tejada instead of Wiggy, who created more runs and has more power and GIDP significantly less.

You might could talk about trade value – well, let’s be real, we certainly wouldn’t get much for Tejada, but even if we got a sack of baseballs, it would still provide 13 mill worth of salary relief, 7 or 8 of which could be spent on Wiggy and another 5 toward something we NEED, like a starter.

Wiggy would be more expensive per year than FA Casey Blake, but then again, it would only be for 1 year.

The most recent “rules” according to economics seem to be that (usually) the team who takes on salary doesn’t give up real too much in the way of top prospects. The other teams are NOT gonna give up cheap young major leaguers OR cheap young top prospects. Then again, the Astros really don’t have any, so any decent prospects would be good.

As for homegrown options for third? Well, there is Mark Saccomanno, but Ricky Bennett has made it plain that they would consider him ONLY in a pinch hitting role IF they even want him on the ML team. Guess his glove is on par with Mike Lamb. Or worse.

There is Chris Johnson, age 24, picked in the 4th round of the 06 draft whose minor league numbers are not exactly Evan Longoria/Ryan Braun – 517 OPS in Rookie Ball, 712 OPS at low A in 225 AB, then a .695 OPS at high A in 224 AB. Amazingly enough, he was promoted to AA (doesn’t say much for whoever’s place he took there in Corpus, does it) where he pounded the ball – .870 OPS in 330 AB, then back down to a .539 OPS in 101 AB at AAA. He doesn’t walk much (approximately 39 BB/500 AB) and he strikes out around 90 times/500 AB. He only hit for power in AA, not in the low minors or AAA. He made 23 errors in 84 games at AA. He sure nuff doesn’t seem ready for the majors to me.

Oh yeah. And please, Blum can NOT play full time.

As for trading Valverde, well, BEFORE we do, might could I ask

- to who? And seriously, what could we get for him? Please don’t waste your time explaining how the Mariners are gonna WANT to trade Beltre (not cheap) and King Felix for him – or something equally stupid.

- and speaking of who, WHO is then gonna close? There is NOBODY on the major league club or at AAA or at AA who is closer material. NOBODY.

This means that we would have to get someone in trade for Tejada or Wiggy who would be good enough to close. Unless we got lucky, no club is going to trade a good, top notch cheap young reliever for salary dumps. So as for me, I say NO to trading an essential top player who we can’t replace.

I know lots of Astros fans want Wandy off the team – and think he wouldn’t bring much because he’s terrible and sucks and has emotion or something. You would replace him with WHO?

Remembering, of course, that Drayton is NOT gonna sign Garland, Lowe, Burnett, Sabathia, Sheets (unless he signs a very low incentive type deal) because he doesn’t want to raise payroll – except for top ace Randy Wolf. And he isn’t gonna sign any other expensive FA or any Boras client.

Oh yeah – and please, Michael Bourn has like NO trade value, so let’s not talk about trading him for anything of value, let alone playing Pence in center and Bogusevic in right. And apparently, the Organization is in love with Pence and he isn’t up for trade.