Archive for the ‘Geoff Geary’ Category

5/14/09: In Which Lance Berkman Remembers How To Hit

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

The Astros record for hits/9 inning game is 25, and they came up 1 short last night, probably because of the insertion of Jason Smith into the game. I mean, he faced Glendon Rusch and he STILL couldn’t get a hit.

Anyway, Lance reached base all 5 times last night – 4 singles and a walk. Hopefully, it wasn’t just because he was facing Jason Marquis on one of his really bad days as well as Glendon Rusch. We’ll see this afternoon.

Mike Hampton won giving up 7 hits (1 HR) 2 walks and 5 ER over 6 IP. Pitcher wins are all about the run support, baby.

I am, however, seriously worried about Geoff Geary. Sent in to mopup with a 9 run lead, he gave up, over 0.2 IP, 2 walks, 3 hits (one of them another granny to Chris Ianetta, the catcher who was hitting like .215 before the Astros came to town). Maybe the boy needs to go on the DL because when you are pitching worse than Russ Ortiz, you have a SERIOUS problem. La Troy Hawkins, who should have been able to nap through this thing, had to come in and get the last out. And mind, they got these 5 runs AFTER the Rox took out their 3 best hitters.


This afternoon, it’s Wandy vs Jason Hummel.

Wandy has had all KINDS of adventures at Coors, from throwing 7 innings with 2 hits and 1 ER to a Geoff Geary mess. Let’s hope the change works because who knows if the curve will work Up There.

Astros will face righty Jason Hammel for the first time. He’s been a swingman for the Rays as well as the Rox and this year has thrown 20 innings, giving up 28 H, 4 HR, 8 BB and 12 K for a 5.40 ERA/1.80 WHIP/.333 BAA.

5/4/08: Hunter Pence Hits Walk-Off Homer In The 12th To Sweep Brewers

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

Well, this is a change – actually WINNING an extra inning game in which we were losing, but managed to tie up. I guess we’re used to the other way around, in which we’re winning, the bullpen blows it, we run through the bullpen and a zillion innings, then lose on a grounder juuuust past a diving someone.

Cooper appears to be a guy who wants a starter to go 6 innings, then have a set 7th, 8th and 9th inning guy. Good grief. His problem is that this uses up the 3 best starters and requires him to pull starters after 6 innings, no matter what. He has about the quickest hook I can remember seeing in a manager.

Let’s take a look at the bullpen and innings pitched over these past 32 games:
Borkowski – 14.1 IP over 13 G: 20 H, 3 HR, 6 BB, 11 K – 4.40 ERA
Brocail – 17.2 IP over 17 G: 15 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 16 K – 2.55 ERA
Byrdak – 4.2 IP over 6 G (since 4/21): 3 H, 6 BB, 2 K – 0.00 ERA
Geary – 14 IP over 13 G: 9 H, 1 HR, 8 BB, 15 K – 1.93 ERA
Moehler – 7.2 IP over 5 G: 11 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 3 K – 7.04 ERA
Valverde – 17 IP in 15 G: 19 H, 4 HR, 6 BB, 22 K – 5.29 ERA
Villareal – 18.2 IP in 14 G: 18 H, 6 HR, 4 BB, 13 K – 4.82 ERA
Wright – 11 IP over 15 G: 6 H, 1 HR, 5 BB, 12 K – 3.27 ERA

At this point, we’ve played 20% of the season (can you believe it?) and at that rate, these guys will be throwing 80-90 innings, a lot more than most relievers can handle and will appear in 70 – 90 games. Yeah, I know about back in the good old days when every pitcher threw 300 something innings for years and years and pitchers threw 200 pitches a start every start and completed ALL their games unlike the wimps and sissies of today. But the fact is that it isn’t just the innings they actually throw, but how many days in a row they have to get up, warm up and throw. We all know that many times a reliever will warm up and not come in. The other thing is that Moehler isn’t effective if he isn’t used at least every 4 days. At this particular second, best I know, he’s supposed to take Wandy’s start on Wednesday and he really can’t go more than 3, maybe 4 at the most innings and it is going to be a long bullpen day and Coop better not change pitchers every inning if they’ve thrown only a few pitches.

Sampson gave up a few well hit balls and a whole lot of seeing eye singles and doubles down the line. He also got seriously squeezed by the HP ump, who didn’t give him several calls on balls right down the middle, thigh high, such as the “ball” that should have struck out Corey Hart in the first and Rickie Weeks in the 4th. He didn’t get ANY borderline calls, and in fact, when the ump rang him up on ball 4 in the second, he turned to the ump and said – you’ve been telling me that location isn’t in the strike zone all night. Or something like that, I’m sure.

The way his sinker sinks to rightys, there are going to be a lot of balls down the LF line and between short and third, and they surely didn’t get got today. The funny one was Ben Sheets, who hits like my 6 year old, hitting the first pitch down the line when they were playing for the bunt. It was even funnier when Sheets pulled a Jeremy Giambi and didn’t slide when Sveum sent him home on Kendall’s double off the scoreboard – AND he glared at the ump about the out call. Not that I blame Sveum for sending Sheets – Clank usually slowly jogs over to get balls hit to left – in fact Bill Hall nearly stretched a double into a triple, and Rickie Weeks would have. But Clank played the ball off the scoreboard and fired it to Tejada, who realyed home in time to nail Sheets.

It sure was a game with a whole lot of action though. Lance Berkman sure has shut up all those people who were hating on him last year, saying he’s fat (he isn’t) or he isn’t a leader (he is) or he’s dogging it (he wasn’t) and needs to be traded (he doesn’t). He used Sheets as his BP pitcher, hitting balls all over the place. He got an RBI walk to tie the game and a broken bat†infield single past the pitcher in the 12th. I think his leg really IS finally healthy – he’s running harder and faster than I’ve seen him since 04 and he seems considerably more agile at first, too.

Ben Sheets is a darn good pitcher and he gave everybody except for Lance fits. It took Bourn a few ABs, but he got cheated out of a badly needed hit in the 5th by Cheito Cruz, who took just a little too long to break from first on a blooper to right and was thrown out at second by Hart. By the way, I’ve checked the replay 3 times and I’m STILL not sure whether he beat the tag, I think he might have, but he didn’t read that ball well and he WAS too late taking off. Anyway, he scored a run on Matsui’s double all the way from first – damm that guy can FLY. Shouse, the lefty with the odd delivery, got him out in the 7th, but he walked to load the bases in the 9th against Eric Gagne, who couldn’t find the plate, but was stranded on 3rd by Carlos Lee, who GO to third on Ball 2. He DID single to center against Torres in the 11th, but neither Matsui nor Tejada moved him. I was a little surprised that he didn’t run, but I think he didn’t have a green light.

Hunter Pence looked bad all day, got the sombrero – looking especially bad swinging wildly at ball 4 around his eyeballs (practically) in the 8th. He had 2 pathetic popups. But he connected on an inside slider around his knees and sent it into the hall in back of the Crawford Boxes for his second career walkoff homer, so he picked the right inning to get hot.

Carlos had a bad game – not a single really well hit ball, and he stranded 6 runners.

But the honors of bad game of the night goes to Dave Borkowski. For the second game in a row, he cam in with men on and immediately gave up a homer. Micah Owings, the great hitting pitcher to whom he gave up the homer last time, hit a low and inside slider out – not a bad pitch, but Owings is a great hitter, no matter WHAT Cooper says. This time, Cameron hit a fat, juicy, hanging slider into the middle opening in left over the LF bullpen. You see, Albert isn’t the only ML hitter who knows what to do with hanging sliders. (And Lidge still has a 0 ERA and hasn’t blown a save.)

Remember earlier I was talking about the bullpen? And how Coop wants to use up the 3 best relievers for 7th, 8th and 9th innings? Well, Bork isn’t a stopper, he’s a mopup guy. You have to have someone you can send in with MOB who won’t let inherited runs score (most of the time) no matter WHAT the inning is. I don’t understand why managers don’t think that’s important. At this point, seeing how he’d never use a designated inning guy, I think his best bet is going to be Wesley Wright, the Mighty Mite. My second favorite Astro. And watching him race over to catch Counsell’s popup was the play of the game.

Pitchers hitting and fielding is kewl. Those DH luvvvers don’t know what they are missing, settling for lumbering oxes. Like Carlos Lee. Oh yeah.


Anyway, we have a day off and then the Nats come to town, then it’s a road trip to the West Coast to face the suddenly hot Dodgers and the better than expected Giants.

P.S. – Chad Qualls gave up his first ER of the year when his fielders couldn’t manage to get outs on easy grounders, failed to turn 2 DPs and made a 2 run throwing error. He must have felt like it was old times…

5/2/08: Hunter Pence Goes All Pujols On A Hanging SLIDER For HR #2

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

I love Friday night fireworks. They are either a celebration of a win or a consolation prize for a loss and tonight, they sure were a sign of luuuvvvv for Roy-O.

And Roy-O surely needed it, he surely did. Roy managed to last for 6 innings – gutted it out with a mediocre FB and a curve that wouldn’t go near the plate. Here’s the breakdown: 6 IP, 6 K, 6 H (2 homers) 3 BB, 1 IBB
41 balls/71 strikes/112 pitches.

Checking with MLB’s pitchFX (as well as my scorecard), here’s how the pitches break down: (subtracting the 2 intent balls and the 2 hit balls that allowed a ROE)
– FB for called strikes or outs -31; FB balls – 21; FB fouled off (in or out of the zone) – 15
– Sliders called for strikes or outs – 6; sliders fouled off – 1
– Curve called for strikes – 4; hit for an out whether in the zone or not – 4; curves fouled off (whether or not in zone) 4; curve balls – 18.

So WHY on earth did Roy keep throwing curves when he couldn’t get them near the strike zone and not use his slider, which he was throwing for strikes and the hitters weren’t touching? Made things tough.

Kaz Matsui, not Wiggy, was the butterfingers tonight – made a 2 base error (bobble, then throw into the stands) on Weeks, which led to an unearned run, and another error in the 9th (another wild throw, screwing up the GIDP.) Miggy ALSO made an error, although for some reason, it was called a single, bobbling a ball by trying to barehand it – and this led to a run scoring. (Remember I talked about plays not made not being a good thing???)

Wiggy made all 4 plays on all 4 chances tonight – one of them was a close throw too, to get a speedy runner at first. So far, he’s trying to make me eat my words.

Geoff Geary barely made it through the 7th, facing the meat of the lineup, giving up a hit and 2 walks and somehow managing not to allow a run.

As for the hitters, my hero Brad Ausmus has managed to pull his average over the Mendoza line by bunting for hits and beating out IF singles. Hey, reaching base and not making out(s) is a great thing. And he hit a ball about 400′ in the 3rd – unfortunately it was to straightaway CF, where balls go to die.

Michael Bourn hit 3 out of 4 balls well, but unfortunately they had a little too much hang time. Dude needs to learn how to bunt for a hit. Matsui managed an IF hit, but otherwise, looked bad.

Carlos Villanueva looked absolutely unhittable for 4 innings – Miggy did hit a clean single to break up the nono in the 4th, and after that, either he started tipping pitches or the guys figured out how to time him, because they hit him all OVAH the place starting in the 5th. Carlos hit a clean double to left. Then Villanueva threw 2 sliders to Pence, who looked VERY bad swinging and missing them, Then a ball outside in the dirt, which he laid off. Then, for some reason, instead of finishing him off with another slider, he threw a fat FB, which Hunter hit 350′ to opposite field for a homer. Then Wiggy singled, Ausmus hit a screaming liner that Weeks grabbed and he would have picked Wiggy off if he had made a decent throw to Fielder (who sure does look skinny for a wide man.) Then Roy misses a bunt, then he singles to left. His BA is now greater than his weight – how KEWL is that??? Then Bourn Ks on ball 4.


Swinging at Ball 4 very seldom does any good and is never a better idea than NOT swinging at ball 4.
Anyway, The bats didn’t slow down in the 6th. Kaz beat out a bunt for a single. Then Miggy hit a hanging curve over the Crawford Boxes into the hallway. Tie game – at least Roy won’t lose. Then Lance hits a belt high mid plate FB opposite field. Then Carlos takes a couple balls and fouls off 5 pitches before hitting a hanging slider to the same place.

The Box goes absolutely INSANE. Incredible. Poor Villanueva – I haven’t seen a pitcher look that stunned and shellshocked since Wandy Rodriguez faced the Cards in his 3rd ML start and gave up like 8 runs – 2 homers and a granny to Reggie Sanders.

Man, a trifecta. Seems to me the last time we had one of those, Lance was one of the Musketeers, and, not sure if I remember exactly when, but I swear it was during one of those late in the year miracle runs for the Wild Card.

With the fans STILL screaming, Yost, a lil too late, came to guide the poor guy off the mound. Salomon Torres (sure looks weird not to see him in a Pirates uni) came in, gave up a bunt single to Ausmus and a walk to pinch hitter junior Cruz (it’s the only way THAT dude gonna get on base) but escaped without giving up more runs.

David Riske got 1,2,3 outs in the 7th, but then faced Pence in the 8th. And I am so proud of that boy. He laid off a slider juuuuust a little outside, but hit the next hanging slider to just below the Conoco pump. (See, Uncle is NOT the only hitter who knows what to do with hanging sliders. Which reminds me – Lidge STILL has a zero ERA and a WHIP under 1 after 13 IP with 6/6 saves and no BS. But I digress.) Pence making up for those runs he let score in the past 2 games, misplaying fly balls.

Valverde did just fine in the 9th. He hit Prince just above the knee on an 0-2 count. Looked to me as if he apologised to him right there – Prince knew it CERTAINLY wasn’t a purpose pitch – and it hurt, too. Hart Kd on a vicious splitter. Then Hall hit into what should have been a 4-3 DP, but Matsui, after getting the ball and tagging Prince (Hall can run VERY well) again overthrew the ball and Hall ended up on second. Valverde didn’t even notice and just Kd Hardy. Good for him keeping emotions under control.

So I guess Roy can chalk this game up to one he got, even though he didn’t exactly have good stuff, to repayment for all the Clemensings he’s taken over the years.

Smile. Fireworks were the icing on the cake fer SHER.

The Brewers had bad news today – their #2 pitcher, Yovani Gallardo, is going to miss the rest of the year with a torn ACL (what Biggio had when he missed half of the 2000 season.) They also DFA’d Derrick Turnbow, who we DO NOT want. The guy needs to get his head together for a while and he’s not in any mental shape to face ML pitching for any other team. For quite a while, he’s been looking like a deer in the headlights any time he goes on the mound and if a guy gets on base, he looks like he’s trying not to throw up.

The RR Express also released Lance Niekro, who can’t hit AAA pitching, but also released Victor Diaz, hitting .296/.398/.366/.764 – and he was the best hitting OF there.

Quintero, by the way, who some fans want on the ML team instead of Ausmus, has a .436 OPS.

Tonight, it’s Manny Parra vs Brandon Backe.
Brandon better get his stuff together tonight and freaking throw strikes – just not down the middle kind of strikes, because the walks and homers are killing him. He’s 1-3 in 6 GS – 31 IP – 35 H (5 HR) 20 BB, 25 K; 4.65 ERA, 1.77 WHIP and a .280 ERA. He’s had 2 QS, both of which he should have won, but the bullpen did him in.

Manny Parra is a 24 yo lefty, who was picked by the Brewers out of a California JuCo in the 26th round of the 01 draft. He was called up to the majors for a cup of coffee last year, starting twice and relieving in 7 games. in 26.1 IP – 25 H, 1 HR, 11 BB, 26K; 3.74 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and a .255 BAA.
This year, he’s 1-1 in 5 GS (no QS – has not exceeded 5.1 IP in any start) – 23.2 IP – 29 H, 1 HR, 13 BB, 19 K; 4.94 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, .302 BAA. He’s never faced Houston.

4/17/08: Geoff Geary Pitches A 1,2,3 Inning And Gives Up NO Runs

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Dude deserves his own title today seeing as how he was the ONLY pitcher to accomplish that magnificent feat.

I just didn’t feel like writing – The Other Geoff Brings His Iron Mitt And Makes Mike Lamb/Ty Wigginton Look Like Brooks Robinson – You Know, The Player Back In The Good Old Days Who Vacuumed Every Ball Hit To The Left Of The SS And Never Made A Mistake.

But I COULD have written – Props To Borkowski Who Came In With Only About 5 Warm-up Pitches, Threw 8 Straight Pitches Outside The Strike Zone, Didn’t Strangle Blum When He Screwed Up A Dead Easy 5-4-3 (AGAIN!!!!!!) Getting Only 1 Out Then Having To IBB Jenkins Then Giving Up A Piddly Single To Load The Bases Then Pitching Out Of The Jam.

Or I could have written – Backe Pitches Batting Practice In Like What Has Gotta Be His Worst EVAH Start (ida wanna hafta look it up – this one was waaaaaayyyy too depressing…) But we knew he was having problems with location because of all the walks in his last start.

He started off in trouble – Taguchi singles the 4th FB to left. Then Dobbs takes the 1-2, which is chest high and outside to right. He gets Utley to K on a curve.But then he hangs a slider to Howard, who singles Taguchi home. Then Tejada can’t handle a ball from Burrell and Howard is safe at second and Burrell is safe at first -this is a “single” and Dobbs scores.  Then Jenkins doubles off the CF wall on a mid thigh mid plate meatball, Howard scores and Burrell is out at the plate because Bourn can hit the cutoff man. Coste reaches because Blum makes his first error of the day dropping an easy ball. Fortunately Bruntlett lines out. Bad pitching, bad fielding.

Then Houston hitters can’t manage to score with 2 on and no out. Bad hitting.

Bottom of the second – Backe walks the effing PITCHER on 4 straight balls. Then Taguchi singles on a perfectly acceptable curve. Dobbs FO to Clank Lee. Then Utley hits a mid plate outer half meatball off the RF wall, which should have been an easy RBI double, except that the pitcher doesn’t know how to run the bases and he goes back to tag before advancing and Utley, almost to second, manages to make it back to first – he SHOULD have drawn a throw at least from a fielder of Erstad’s quality. Bases loaded one out. But then Howard does Backe a favor and hits a FB that actually had some movement on it (for a change) into a 4-6-3. Narrow escape.

Bourn walks, but no one gets him home – and yes, he does steal his 9th base in a row.
Bottom of the 3rd, Backe still has pretty much nothing except bad pitches and bad luck. Walks Burrell on 4 straight balls. Then Blum makes error #2, booting a simple 5-4-3 tailor made GIDP and Jenkins is safe at first and Burrell is safe on third. Then Coste hits a ball to left center which Clank, naturally, doesn’t get near, and Burrell scores. Then Backe gets the next 3 outs – and he was darn grateful that Berkman managed to fish out a terrible throw from Blum on out #3.

Top of the 4th, Tejada hits Wifebeater’s only mistake over the RF wall. Thank you for making sure at least we didn’t get shutout.

Bottom of the 4th, Dobbs takes an inside knee high FB to right for a single. Then Backe serves up a nice tasty unsliding slider which Utley hits over the R centerfield wall. FINALLY Coop gets the bullpen going.

Everyone trots to the mound. The ump knows wassup, and finally he trots out there – break it up, break it up. They all trudge slooooooowwwwwwwwwllllllllyyyyyyy back. Then Backe holds the ball, Tejada calls time and trots out. The ump sighs, starts to wander back out there, then FINALLY he gets the notice that Borkowski is ready.

Dude has had like maybe 2 minutes max to get ready. And darn if he doesn’t manage to get through the entire inning without letting any runs score.


And Blum had best throw the glove he was using today in an incinerator. I don’t guess HE ever wants it near him again neither….

Villareal is given a chance to try to remember how to pitch to guys you DON’T want to hit the darn baseball.

5th inning, he mows down Taguchi and Dobbs and then Ks Utley. DAMMMM!!! But in the 6th, well, the usual Villareal shows. Howard, who has been slumping, sends a changeup into the right centerfield stands. Here we go again. Then Pat Burrell gets a cheapie 331′ just an inch to the right of the LF foul pole – woulda been off the scoreboard at The Box. He then settles down, gets Jenkins to K, gives up a single to Coste (Blum doesn’t get) and then gets Bruntlett to pop out and Myers to FO.

Might could there be a reason that Atlanta didn’t mind trading a much needed bullpen arm for a minor league OF who will be, at best, a 4th/5th OF defensive replacement?

7th, Geary gets 1,2,3.

8th – Valverde is given a no-pressure outing. He’s been working with Dewey Robinson, the pitching coach. So let’s see how he does. He gets Ryan Howard to swing at ball 2 – mid chest. His splitter still has very little movement. Burrell then pops up the second pitch – looks like a slider??? OK – so far so good. But then it’s the Lidge’s curse – one more batter to go and sure enough, a splitter doesn’t split and Jenkins sends it into the LF corner. Then Coste, the backup catcher is up, and Valverde, I guess giving up on the breaking stuff, feeds Coste a steady diet of fastballs until he finally leaves one in the middle of the plate and Coste sends it over the CF wall.

He STILL can’t get any of his breaking stuff to break and even backup catchers are gonna hit 90 something FB down the middle.


As for our hitters, they didn’t do spit the few times we had MOB. Loretta is looking tired. He is NOT an everyday player anymore. Maybe it is a good thing that Matsui is supposed to be coming back soon.

We SHOULD have won game 1, but today was a disaster.

Got no idea what they are doing with Hunter Pence, who sat out today. He’s in some sort of mental funk, swinging at anything low and outside. Maybe he needs a hypnotist. Maybe the day off will help somehow. Because when Erstad is a better hitting option, Houston, we most DEFINITELY have a problem…

The Rox are coming into town for the weekend and Chris Sampson gets the start tomorrow. Hope he isn’t rusty, it will be 9 days…

UPDATE: Meanwhile, the Rox played 22 innings in San Diego last night and hopefully, they will be too tired to do much of anything at the plate, in the field…

4/12/08: Backe Earns First Win Of 2008 By Shutting Out Marlins

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Yeah, it sounds better than it really was, but you know I’m so HAPPY to see a starter get a deserved W that I don’t care if I exaggerated.

You know, Brandon reminds me of Roger Clemens. I mean, not that he’s a HOF ace, but somehow Roger really rubbed off on him. Look at his mound attitude, his windup, his delivery. When Brandon first came to the Astros to start in August of 04, Roger really took Backe under his wing – I thought that Roger really enjoyed Backe’s endless energy. And the one thing Roger taught me about pitching is to never NEVER throw a hittable strike just to avoid a walk. And seems to me that Backe learned that lesson too.

Because either Backe couldn’t find the strike zone, or he threw every single dangerous lefty stuff out of the strike zone on purpose, preferring to walk em. He gave up 5 hits, 5 walks and 2 K (one of the pitcher on a foul bunt) over 5 long LONG innings. Roger wasn’t a fast worker either. He had 11 baserunners and somehow stranded every single one of em.

The Astros scored 5 runs in the first 2 innings and stranded 8 more runners over the next 6. I kept praying that with THIS bullpen that only 5 runs would be enough.

Andrew Miller, the Marlins lefty, had great stuff – Berkman said so too. Of course, he pretty much went from college to the majors, so he’s got a huge learning curve, but if he doesn’t get hurt, he looks like he’s going to dominate in a year or so. So Florida might could actually get a good year or 2 out of him before they trade him instead of pay him.

Anyway, Brad Ausmus caught Backe tonight – maybe he’s gonna catch every 6th game, rotate the pitchers. Which is an interesting sort of plan.

It was Hunter Pence night tonight – bobblehead giveaway and some promo giveaway in honor of his 25th birthday. I was hoping he’d have a good night at the plate, but nope. He’s reminding me of Kit Keller and the high fastballs with his slider problem – can’t hit em, can’t lay off em. I think the boy really NEEDS a day off to maybe rest. His swing is just off, his timing is off and he looks absolutely lost. Reminds me of Chris Burke last year – except that Burke was actually spraying doubles all over the field by the time he was sent down – but I digress.

Bourn took off the first 5 innings. Cruz handled the chances in center very well, fortunately, and there were a few really tough plays. Bourn still isn’t hitting, although he IS walking and not swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. Hopefully, they’ll get it together in the next few weks. Bourn NEEDS to get the on base up over 300, although he is almost there right now, in spite of hitting only .195 so far.

Wigginton is now officially on the DL. Good. Blum made 3 VERY good plays that I can’t be sure Wiggy would have. I really would prefer to bench Wiggy unless we’re playing a lefty and then, pull him for DR late in the ballgame. Yes, he IS that bad. Wesley Wright has hurt his finger, but isn’t on the DL. Yet.

Not a word about Roy. Yet.

Oh yeah.
Valverde FINALLY got through an inning without giving up a run, although he did give up 2 hits. I was even more of a nervous wreck with him on the mound than with Brad Lidge, who, by the way, has given up 1 hit, 3 BB, 4 K, no ER and has 2 saves in 2 save opp in 4 appearances over 4 IP. Chad Qualls, by the way, has appeared in 6 games over 6.1 IP – 2 hits, 5 , 5 K, no R/ER, 1 save.

This afternoon, it’s Wandy Rodriguez vs Burke Badenhop, RHP (is that an absolutely AWESOME name or WHAT???!!!) Why do I think his nickname has GOT to be “Boris”???!! We saw one pitcher tonight who Florida got from Detroit for the salary dump of Cabrera and Willis, Andrew Miller and today, we’ll be seeing Badenhop, who has never pitched higher than AA. Not sure if we faced him in ST, but I don’t remember his name and I am SURE I would remember a great name like that.

And if Coop pulls Wandy in the 8th with a 3 hit shutout, I don’t think Wandy will go quietly this time…

4/9/08: Cards Make A Loser Out Of Geoff Geary

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Uncle Albert hasn’t looked very good this series – maybe his elbow is really bothering him. But in spite of that, the rotton SOB managed to beat us by beating out a single, then scoring the go-ahead run. I hate him.

But in honor of Uncle, I’ll give a quick rundown of ex-Astros:
Matt Albers: 3 relief appearances, 1 win, 2 hits, 7 K, no R/ER in 6.1 IP
Luke Scott: 10/20 with 2 RS, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 1 K .500/.590/.685 over 6 games
Dennis Sarfate: 2 wins, 1 BB, 4 K No hits over 3.1 IP/3 games
(let’s just say the Oriole fans I’ve talked to think that they were on the good end of an effing A trade… I think we’ll have to recheck in a few months or so…)
Jason Jennings: 2 starts, 2 losses: 4 ER/5 IP and 4 ER/4.2 IP – 12 H, 2 HR, 4 BB, 4 K, 8R/ER over 9.2 IP = 7.45 ERA
Mo Ensberg: 1/4 with 1 RS in 4 AB
Adam Everett: 2/16 in 6 games with 2 BB and 2 RBI (one of them was a game winner)
Mike Lamb: 4/24 with 3 doubles, 1 BB and 3 RBI in 7 games
Chris Burke: 2/16 with 1 BB, 2 RS, 1 RBI
Chad Qualls: 2 H, 4 BB, 5 K, NO runs/ER over 5.1 IP in 5 games with 1 save.
And last but not least, Brad Lidge: no hits, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 save, 1 R/0 ER in 2.1 IP over 2 games…
Unless someone has a stupendous day, I think I’ll give it a GOOD few months before we play catch up again…

OK, now to the ballgame.
sigh. You gotta take the good with the bad. It’s what baseball is all about.

Shawn Chacon had a tough time finding the strike zone – and for ONCE, it didn’t look like CB Bucknor’s fault. A Lot of balls were hit HARD, but fortunately, they were hit to deep center and Michael Bourn is GOOD. He only missed one, and that was Schumaker’s triple to the left side of Tal’s Hill – exactly right where poor ol Burkie-poo missed the first one in the second game last year and good booed for his trouble.

Anyway, Chacon had a fast 1,2,3 first inning. Well, except for going to a 3-2 count on Duncan. But the very next inning, oh LORD – He walked Ankiel on a 3-2, got lucky with Glaus because he hung a curve and Glaus sent it a GOOD 400′ (fortunately, in this park, it’s just out instead of outta here), Kennedy walked on the 8th pitch, LaRue walked on 4 straight balls, Thompson fielders’ choiced (bunted) Ankiel home – and if you can’t get out a pitcher on sliders/curves when you got to, you got a problem. But it THEN took him 6 pitches to get Izturis to fly out to Carlos.

But fortunately for the Astros, Thompson was just as wild/bad – or should I say that it wasn’t quiiiiite as fortunate because when the Astros had the bases loaded, there were 2 outs when the pitcher came up and Chacon is no Micah Owings with the bat.

I guess that Dewey Robinson must have told Chacon to throw strikes, because he went back up to start the third and Skip Schumaker hit the first pitch meatball some 400′ to the corner of Tal’s Hill where Bourn didn’t get it and it fell for a triple. Duncan then hit the very next meatball a GOOD 400′ to the warning track in dead center for a sac fly. Then Uncle Albert hit a changeup straight to Miggy for a 6-3 (like I said, he didn’t look quite right, but I can’t be dumb enough to hope the slump will continue tonight…) Ankiel then took an outside curve, then hit the next meatball a GOOD 400′ to straightaway center. Chacon is darn lucky he’s pitching in THIS park is all I can say.

I’m not sure how he got through the next 2 innings – Glaus walked to lead off the 4th, then Kennedy hit a meatball a GOOD 400′ to deep center (have you heard this before?) then LaRue GIDP. Fortunately. In the 5th, the pinch hitter Barton and Schumaker popped out to Lee and Izturis flew out to Pence.

He got through the 6th giving up only 1 run because Towles and Miggy were heads up and caught Ankiel trying to steal home on a double steal with Kennedy. Towles has looked VERY good behind the plate. Damm it is hard to believe this guy started the year last year in A ball AND he wasn’t exactly high on BA’s prospect list, neither.

Wesley Wright pitched a very good 1,2,3 7th (all to rightys),

Then Geary came in, walked Duncan, gave up an IF single (to short that Miggy couldn’t turn to) youknowwho (the SOB beats us with sissy singles as well as 600′ moon shots), Kd Ankiel, but then gave up the game-losing 2 run double to the RF bullpen to Glaus and youknowwho beat the tag at the plate. Glaus. Rolen. Can’t tell the difference and you know what? Glaus can field juuuuuuuust fine – he ain’t no Wiggy at third.

Brad Thompson looked like the lousy middle reliever I remembered, but somehow, he only gave up 5 hits and 2 walks and 3 runs. Reyes came in and shut it DOWN, giving up only Pence’s triple on a hanging curve to the bullpen. And that is the FIRST hard hit ball I have seen Pence hit since the season started – he’s been swinging and missing sliders and it surprised me that the opposition is bothering to throw him anything else. Of course, he’s missing the 88-89 MPH fastballs, too. Dude better get it together.

Lance left Pence on third and Loretta left Blum on second. I can’t really count a pitcher not driving home runs…

And that was all she wrote.


Tonight, it’s Chris Sampson vs converted closer Braden Looper.
What is it with the Cards and converted relievers starting? While a starter, Anthony Reyes, is playing middle reliever. All I can say is – TLR.

Chris has been diagnosed with the flu – mlb says his physician gave him shots. Now THAT is interesting. What sort of injection makes the flu go away? Here and I thought you had to use an inhaler or take pills. Could it have been B-12????

But anyway, he’s supposedly going to start tonight, flu and all. It’s a man thing, yes I know it.
Against St. Louis, Chris is 1-1 in 2 GS and 1 in relief: over 13 IP, he’s given up 11 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR for a 4.15 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and a .239 BAA
Adam Kennedy is 3/7 and Ludwick is 2/5 with a double and youknowwho is ofer – so be it and shall it remain…

Braden Looper was converted to a starter just before last season and he managed to increase his innings from 70 something/year average since 1998 to 175 – and at age 32. I’m impressed. He started 30 games, went 12-12: over 175 innings, he gave up 183 H, 22 HR, 51 BB, 87 K – 4.94 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and a .269 BAA

He had 4 starts against the Astros last year: 1 ER/6 IP; 3 ER/6 IP; 0 ER/7 IP; 5 ER/5.2 IP
Lifetime vs Houston he’s 6-3 in 4 GS and 30 in relief with 4 saves: over 66.2 IP, 58 H, NO homers, 23 BB, 37 K – 2.57 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and a .234 BAA.
The only Astros player to hit a HR off him? Geoff Blum.
Lance is 6/17 with 2 doubles and 5 BB; Carlos is 4/16 with a BB; Loretta is 2/12 with 2 doubles; Pence is 3/8 and Towles is 3/3 with 2 doubles (yeah, that was from his 8 RBI day.)

Oh yeah – before I forget – I listened to the pre-game interview with Cooper yesterday and someone asked him about pulling Wandy and he said he was going to use Valverde in the 9th if we are ahead and it is a save situation because that is why we got him.

So I guess if Wandy had been throwing a nono, Cooper would have yanked him.
Good grief…

Astros Spring Training 2008 2 Week Review – Pitching

Monday, March 17th, 2008

I’ve kept putting off writing this entry, hoping that maybe if I didn’t look at ALL, let alone closely, I would be able to fool myself into believing that things aren’t as bad as they really are.
Good news: Roy is pitching great and just threw 6 innings, 57 pitches, of no-hit, no walk ball.
Well, I WAS gonna say that Wandy was pitching great, too, but then he pulled a muscle in his side – and I remember how long it took Roy to get back when he did the same thing. They are currently saying that Wandy should be back within a week, but youneverknow…

Things are SOOOO bad that apparently they are considering – and no, I am NOT making this up – Brian Moehler for the rotation. But fortunately, Cooper has realized that Runelvys Hernandez is lousy and is now being considered for the bullpen. Uh-hunh, like they are gonna release Brocail, Geary or Paronto.

Anyway, let’s take a look:
Guaranteed starters:
– Roy Oswalt – 4 starts, 2 good, 1 mediocre, 1 ace: 4 ER/15.1 IP; 1 HR, 1 BB, 13 K: 2.40 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, .207 OBA
– Brandon Backe – 3G/2 GS, 1 good, 2 mediocre: 4 ER/9 IP; 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 K: 4.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .278 OBA
– Wandy Rodriguez – 3 GS, 1 good, 2 mediocre: 5 ER/8.1 IP: no HR, 3 BB, 8 K: 5.40 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, .354 OBA
note: Backe said he did poorly in his last start against a AAA team because the mound was terrible. Well, OK, but he’d better have better showings in his next few starts against ML teams.

Candidates for starter:
– Woody Williams – 4 GS – 18 ER over 11.2 IP – 26 H, 5 HR, 4 BB, 7 K – 13.89 ERA, 2.57 WHIP, .487 OBA
– Shawn Chacon – 3 GS -†9 ER over 8 IP – 11 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 2 K – 10.31 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, .400 OBA
– Chris Sampson – 3 G, 1 GS – 11 ER/9.1 IP – 16 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 6 K – 10.61 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, .378 OBA
– Jack Cassel – 4 G, 2 GS – 7 ER (10R) over 11 IP – 16 H, 2 HR, 2 BB, 8 K – 5.73 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .346 OBA

note: For reasons I do NOT understand, the Organization is hoping against hope that Chacon manages to win a spot as a starter, even though he has done MUCH better as a reliever. Chris Sampson, on the other hand, does MUCH better as a starter than reliever. He did well in his last outing in which he started the game, but tired and got the ball up in the 5th – he hadn’t pitched at all in 9 days before starting that game. Woody appears to be, uh, limp – his pitches are lifeless and are getting hit HARD, no matter what excuses he makes. Chacon had one bad luck start in which he had to pitch with a 40 something MPH wind blowing out, but he has had lousy outings in the rest of his starts. Cassel – hard to believe he has better numbers than Sampson – he wouldn’t have if Cooper hadn’t sent Sampson back for a 5 run inning in his last outing after he was cooked.

Candidates for LOOGY:
– Wesley Wright – 6 G: 1 ER/6.2 IP – 3 H, no HR, 6 BB, 3 K: 1.35 ERA,
– Mark McLemore – 5 G: 11 ER/7.2 IP – 14 H, 1 HR, 13 BB, 1 K: 12.91 ERA,
– Stephen Randolph – 6 G – 4 ER(6 R)/5 IP – 5 H, no HR, NINE BB, 3 K
note: McLemore is having an absolutely TERRIBLE spring – he’s walking everyone and having serious trouble finding the plate. He’s out of options, so if they have to send him down, he may get grabbed by some other club. Wesley Wright, the Wandy sized lefty reliever who is our Rule V pick, is sailing along, managing to avoid giving up runs even though he has been giving up walks – but, if he gives up a walk an inning without ALSO giving up hits, he’ll get the job done. Randolph, as usual, is sucking, no surprise there; he walks guys with any sort of plate discipline and gets minor leaguers to chase balls – same ol, same ol.

– Jose Valverde – 5 G no Sv – 3 ER/5 IP – 4 H, 4 BB, 5 K – 5.40 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, .364 OBA
– Oscar Villareal – 5 G – no ER/6 IP – 7 H, no HR, no BB, 5 K – ZERO ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .304 OBA
– Geoff Geary – 7 G, 2 Sv – 5 ER/10.1 IP – 17 H, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K – 4.35 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, .404 OBA
– Chad Paronto – 6 G – 10 ER/6.1 IP – 10 H, 3 HR, 3 BB, 3 K – 13.50 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, .412 OBA
– Doug Brocail – 6 G – 13 ER/6 IP – 20 H, 2 HR, 1 BB, 3 K – 19.5 ERA, 3.50 WHIP, .438 OBA (and so many Astros fans were delirious with joy at this guy replacing Qualls???!!!)
– Dave Borkowski – 5 G – 2 ER/7 IP – 7 H, no HR, 1 BB, 5 K – 2.57 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .286 OBA
– Ryan Houston – 5 G – 1 ER/4 IP – 9 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 2 K – 2.25 ERA, 3.0 WHIP, .545 OBA
– Mike DeJean – 6 G – 6 ER/5 IP – 7 H, no HR, 3 BB, 4 K – 10.8 ERA, 2.0 WHIP, .417 OBA
– Runelvys Hernandez – 4 G, 1 GS – 11 ER/10 IP – 16 H, 3 HR, 7 BB, 5 K – 9.58 ERA, 2.23 WHIP, .438 OBA
– Brian Moehler – 6 G, 1 Sv – 5 ER/10.2 IP – 14 H, 1 HR, ZERO BB, 10 K – 4.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .319 OBA
– Aaron Rakers – faced one batter and got him out. Not sure why he’s even being kept around if they aren’t going to ever give him the baseball…
– Carlos Hines – 6 G. 2 Sv – no ER (1R) over 6.1 IP – 4 H, no HR, 3 BB, 2 K – 0.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .308 OBA

note: Villareal looks sharp – I would think he’s managed to win the set-up job over Brocail, but in this business, hey, youneverknow. Brocail looks every one of his 41 years – he says he always does terrible in ST, but the past 3 years, his ST ERA has been around 4.5 NOT 19. Valverde looks more wild than Lidge (yes, I mean that). Geary looks mediocre, Paronto looks worse than the minor league guys, but Borkowski looks better than he did all last year – not that I am expecting miracles, mind. Ryan Houston has a sky high WHIP in spite of that low ERA, so I’m not exactly encouraged – it’s just 4 IP and he might not be so lucky with the next 4 IP with that hit/walk rate. Runelvys Hernandez is just flat out lousy – yes I know he was the Royals Opening Day starter a few years back, but that tells you how lousy the Royals were. Moehler has pitched decently – I sure do remember saying a bunch of times last year that he needed to be released; however, he was REALLY good after the ASB – 7 ER over 27.1 IP and he gave up runs in only 4 of 22 appearances – not bad at ALL. Hinies, the 6 year minor league FA, looks a heck of a lot better than some of those “veteran” guys.

Problem is, of course, were are looking at 5 or 6 appearances, 5 or 6 innings and it is tough to tell from just numbers here as some guys need more than a few appearances to get all their pitches working. But it SURE looks to me as if Woody Williams and Doug Brocail have exactly nothing. I’d rather keep Hines and Moehler than Brocail and Paronto…

DL – Paulino and Nieve, both of whom NEED to start the year in AAA; Nieve because he hasn’t pitched hardly at all since getting TJ surgery and Paulino because he needs to log innings as a starter instead of pitching an inning here and there in relief AND because he hasn’t yet pitched in AAA and he’s no Mark Prior.

Minors: Sammy Gervacio and Brad James both pitched a couple of innings before being sent down. They CERTAINLY aren’t ML ready and they need the year in AAA – unless, of course, they simply blow the competition out of the water. And it IS baseball and youneverknow…

1/21/08: Astros Sign Wigginton And Geary To Avoid Arbitration

Monday, January 21st, 2008

I’ve noticed that there are hardly any cases that have to go to arbitration any more, which is a good thing. I always thought it was a very bad idea for a team to have to badmouth a player in front of him. Anyway, the Astros agreed to a 1 year 1.3 mill contract with Geoff Geary and a 4.135 mill contract for 08 with Ty Wigginton.

Amazing – paying 4.1 mill for a guy who couldn’t last on the roster of either the D-Rays or the Pirates. Ah well.

Miguel Te-roider, down in the Dominican, was happy to answer questions from Astros fans as long as they weren’t about steroids. I am absolutely amazed that so many people think that his writing TWO separate checks to a confessed drug dealer for what apparently was the going price for that amount of drugs seems to significantly less convincing to most people than Roger Clemens former trainer, an indicted drug dealer, “confessing” to injecting Roger with drugs that Roger had obtained from some OTHER drug dealer. GM Wade, naturally, said again that he had NO idea and he was shocked SHOCKED to find Tejada’s name on the Mitchell report (I guess he disbelieved Grimsley’s report) and he had absolutely no regrets about getting Tejada.

Anyone who just simply CAINT understand how all the executives/MLB officials had NO idea about the roid use and of COURSE if they did they would have stopped it oh certainly they would but those horrible ballplayers wouldn’t let them – well, read no further. It isn’t “enabling” – it’s not giving a darn if ballplayers shoot up poison as long as it makes em better ballplayers. Me. I don’t want to hear about how Miguel is this wonderful guy even if he did use drugs and how Roger is this horrible terrible guy BECAUSE he did.

And aside from this, no new news. Best I can tell, the Astros aren’t going to sign any other free agents and so the roster is basically set.

Here are the pitchers:
Definite starters:
Brandon Backe, Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Woody Williams

Possible starters:
Jack Cassel, Fernando Nieve, Felipe Paulino, Chris Sampson

Mark McLemore, Wesley Wright (yeah, that is IT. Think we might could have used Jeremy Affeldt???!!!)

Middle relievers:
Dave Borkowski, Doug Brocail, Paul Estrada (I would bet fer SHER he is in the minors), Geoff Geary, Ryan Houston, Chad Paronto, Oscar Villareal

Jose Valverde

The guys we KNOW will make the team are Backe, Oswalt, Wandy, Woody, Valverde, Brocail, Geary, Paronto and Villareal.

That leaves Cassel, Nieve, Paulino, Sampson, Borkowski, Estrada, Houston to fight it out over 2 spots and McLemore and Wright to fight it out for the lefty spot. Me, I’m not seeing this great bullpen that everyone seems to think has to be better because it no longer involves Lidge or Qualls.

So who do all yall think are the 3 guys who will make it onto the 25 man? Who do you think will start the year as the 5th starter?

11/8/07: Ed Wade – On The Lidge Of Reason

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

The trade:
Brad Lidge (last year of arbitration) earned 5.35 mill last year + Eric Bruntlett, 1st year arb, earned 525K last year, utility guy who can play any position except pitcher and catcher
Michael Bourn (finished 1st year in the ML, paid 380K) + Geoff Geary (837,500K) 1st arb year + minor league 3B Mike Costanzo

Not explicitly stated is that now the Astros will have to spend serious bucks on a closer, which will not be cheap, and will be replacing Luke Scott’s production with Michael Bourn’s. Also not explicitly stated is that Brett Myers will be able to start next year, so the Phils just saved themselves the trouble of having to find a good ML starter.

So let’s take a look. In terms of money, well, even if Lidge is paid 6.5 mill and Bruntlett 1 mill, the Phils will owe only that 7.5 mill this year and if they offer Lidge arbitration at the end of the season, will get 2 draft picks. They also acquired a good ML starter free of charge. Not bad.
The Astros substitute Michael Bourn for Luke Scott (no real savings there), acquire a somewhat cheap middle reliever who will probably earn 1.5 mill next year, a minor league 3B AND must find a closer somewhere and IF they get Coco Cordero, as I’ve heard they want to, will be paying him at LEAST 8 mill a year for at LEAST 3 years if not more. No savings. On the other hand, they might could trade Luke Scott for a closer, but I wouldn’t count on it seeing as how they obviously don’t think Luke is worth anything much.

I doubt they intend to use Bourn as a 4th OF and pinch runner, as the Phillies did, even though they might, but I suspect they mean to use him as the new full time CF and move Pence to right. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to use Luke as the new Orlando Palmeiro, which would be a seriously stupid decision, as he’s a lousy pinch hitter.

But anyway, let’s look at some numbers:

Eric Bruntlett, age 30 in March, started the year in the minors, but ended up having 165 PA, actually more than last year. He went 34/138 with 5 doubles and no homers, 20 BB, 27 K and 1 GIDP. He’s an unusually patient hitter and has averaged over 4 pitches/PA during his 5 years in the majors. His glove is adequate almost anywhere and he is surprisingly fast in the OF. His line .246/.346/.283/.629 (last year) and according to Lee Sinins, had a (-)6 RCAA.

Brad Lidge, age 31, (who is going to be delighted with pitching in Philly where the extraordinarily polite fans never boo pitchers who blow saves) really could use a change of scenery as too many Astros fans are going to throw rotten tomatoes at him if he ever gives up another homer again and are going to insist that Albert destroyed his mind. Or something. Anyway, his line last year between closing and pitching in middle relief: 54H, 25 ER, 9 HR, 30 BB, 88 K over 67 IP with 19 saves, 7 holds and 8 BS and a 3.36 ERA. Lee Sinins has him with 6 RSAA.

Michael Bourn, age 25, lefty bat, had 33 H, 3 doubles, 3 triples, 1 homer, 13 BB, 21 K, 1 GIDP over 133 PA, 29 runs, 18 SB, 1 CS – his line .277/.348/.378/.726 and he had 1 RCAA according to Lee Sinins. If he played full time, I would expect roughly 5 times as many PA, and so this would be 15 doubles, 15 triples (yeh, sure) 5 homers, 65 BB, 105 K, 5 GIDP, 90 SB, 5 CS and 145 runs scored. Giggle. Well, I seriously doubt 15 triples or 90 SB or 145 RS. I’m not understanding how he’s any different from Josh Anderson. Ah well. Yet another Astro left to rot in AAA, unless they have the sense to trade him, seeing as how he’s otherwise useless and there is more than one team who WANTS a CF and doesn’t want to spend FA money – can you say White Sox?

Geoff Geary, age 31, righty reliever. Can you say Brian Moehler/Joe Borkowski only 5 years younger? In 57 games over 67.1 IP, 72 H, 30 ER, 8 HR, 25 BB, 38 K, 9 H, 3 BS, 4.41 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .283 BAA and 1 RSAA. Last year, he was tougher on leftys than rightys, but his career stats are about equal. He had a great year in 06, but apparently he lost both velocity and command last year (according to a private email I received from a Phillies fan.) Who knows what he can do with a new pitching coach? I’m not exactly holding my breath.

Mike Costanzo, the minor league 3B. Completed his year at AA Reading (a hitters’ park) and his line reads 137/508 AB with 29 doubles and 27 homers, 75 BB, 157 K, (27% K in 583 PA) 86 RBI over 137 games – .270/.368/.490/.858. And here is what poster “bad doctor” #113 on BTF had to say about Constanzo and the homer factor at Reading:

“Didn’t Dan mention a ridiculous HR factor for Reading? That would strongly affect the perceived value of a TTO guy ( 3 true outcomes, meaning a ballplayer like adam dunn who mostly either walks, strikes out or homers – a bad contact hitter who also probably has a lot of GIDP) like Costanzo especially. FWIW, he was .279/.394/.538 with 17 HR in 251 AB at Reading and .259/.339/.432 with 9 HR in 243 AB on the road. As a team, Reading hit 55 HR at home, 33 on the road (in = AB) … pitchers allowed 1.01 HR/9 at home, 0.84 HR/9 on the road.”

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus recently referred to Costanzo’s defense as “impersonating a lawn ornament.” Great. He had 34 errors last year (and 30 the year before)and all yall KNOW how generous scorers are with hits. In other words, he doesn’t look like Jeff Bagwell, who was acknowledged to have an excellent glove at third. And we don’t exactly have room at 1B in the majors.

So what do I think? Well, it depends what we get for Luke Scott and Josh Anderson – they had BETTER be traded as there is no point in not trading them and it depends whether or not we spend a hellacious amount of money on a “proven closer” so as far as I’m concerned, the dealin ain’t done. If Josh Anderson rots in AAA, Luke rots on the bench and we sign some 10 mill a year for 5 years closer, then this trade makes the Jennings trade look good.

For a different prospective on this trade, click here to read Nate Silver’s analysis from Baseball Prospectus Unfiltered. He thinks the Phils got the short end of the stick in the trade and here is what he thinks about Bourn and Costanza:

                 “Is that (getting Lidge for one year at 6+ mill plus the 2 picks at the end of the year if they offer him arbitration) worth giving up two good prospects in the form of Michael Bourn and Mike Costanzo? No, and it isn’t close. Costanzo is not a Grade-A prospect, but he had a very solid year in Reading, where his 27 home runs placed him second in the Eastern League. That translates to a .263 EqA in our hot-off-the-presses Davenport Translations, indicating that he could be a major league average third baseman right about now, probably along the lines of a Steve Buechele type of player, which would be very encouraging for a 24-year-old.”

– He doesn’t note that Reading is an extreme hitters’ park and Constanzo has an extremely high K rate and that he can’t catch a cold and seems headed for first or DH. He also forgets that Brett Myers is FAR more valuable as a starter than closer and that Philly has seemingly added a starter without giving anything up or paying FA prices.

          “Bourn, meanwhile, has less upside but more locked-in value, and by all signs is poised for a 3-5 year run as a league-average center fielder. Projected by PECOTA for a .271/.346/.401 performance prior to the start of the season, he spent the entire year on the Phillies bench, essentially matching his projection with a .277/.353/.378 batting line over 119 at-bats. Although those batting numbers are superficially unimpressive, consider that the average National League center fielder posted a .273/.336/.426 batting line last year, which is highly comparable in value to Bourn’s. Bourn also accumulated 18 stolen bases in 19 attempts, a remarkable record for a player that was usually coming in cold as a pinch-runner in obvious stealing situations. Essentially, he’s the player that Juan Pierre is supposed to be.”

– AND he has a strong and accurate arm, too. Not that that is a particular interest of BP. I have heard from just about every Phillies fan that Bourn is a great center fielder and that he is fast and a SMART baserunner. Better than Willy Taveras by FAR. But not better than Luke Scott. Unfortunately.