Archive for the ‘Geoff Blum’ Category

Astros News And Notes Oct 4, 2010

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Briefly:

Jason Michaels is staying (900 K option picked up) and Geoff Blum is not (1.65 mill option). Money talks. I guess this means that Bogusevic will be the 5th OF again and I just hope they are NOT gonna keep Anderson Hernandez.

Surgery:

Fulchino is having something done to his elbow. Those of us who thought that he was a lot more hurt than we were told were obviously right.

Bogusevic is having some kind of bone sputs shaved off his foot.

Byrdak is (probably) having a hernia fixed. Good idea to do it in the offseason so you don’t lose time like Mike Cameron did.

Not sure what is gonna happen with Lindstrom, or exactly what was bothering his back. Not sure about Felipe Paulino, either, or if he is going to have some kind of MRI or scope on his shoulder.

Tommy Manzella IS going to go and play winter ball in the Dominican. Good. Because, if I remember rightly, Angel Sanchez is going home to Puerto Rico to play winter ball, too.

I hope that Castro is NOT playing winter ball – he looks exhausted. I hope that Chris Johnson is gonna work on his throwing. I don’t know what Brett Wallace is going to do – it probably doesn’t matter because if Clank plays at first, he is essentially permanently screwed. unless he gets lucky and gets traded to a team that will actually play him full time.

Wandy Squeezes Out A Win Over The Brewers

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

YESSSSSSSSSSSSS

Wandy looked like his old self this afternoon fer SHER!!! He threw 7 innings, 98 pitches, got better as the game went on, had 3 doubles, 4 singles, no walks, 1 IBB and 6 K.

Why did he look so good? Answer – in my not so umble opinion, it was because he went back to his old FB/curve combo and threw only 3 changeups. The curve was its old nasty self. Wandy threw 62 strikes and of those, 11 were swing and miss and 8 of those were on curves. Other important thing – he went to 3 ball counts only three times AND he only threw more than 5 pitches to any hitter once.

Tell you the truth, I was pretty surprised that he was pulled after the 7th, but it gave Jason Bourgeois a chance to PH and he walked after going 0-2. He is teh KEWL.

And Wandy also drove in the go-ahead run with a squeeze. Ah LUUUUVVVS the squeeze – and it was Blum on 3rd, too. Blum was within 20′ of home by the time Wandy actually hit the ball. This was especially kewl because Wandy had left 2 on in the 2nd and bases loaded in the 4th – and he is STILL hitting over his weight.

Besides the squeeze, Wandy had a great play with the glove. With a McGehee on second, Lucroy hit a comebacker to the mound. Wandy looked McGehee back, faked a throw to first, then whirled and fired to Blum at 3rd to get McGehee. Actually, JD and Brownie thought that he was actually safe. Amazing, because these are the kinds of calls that usually go AGAINST the Astros.

Best news though – CJ was back in the lineup – went 4 fer 4 with a 2 out RBI double that put the nail in the coffin. He handled his 4 chances at 3rd flawlessly including a great diving stop and tag the runner out. I don’t know what else the guy has to do to keep from getting benched again. This was his second 4 fer 4 game with at least a couple of RBIs in a WEEK and only Michael Bourn has had a 4 fer 4 game this year. But I guess that Fast Eddie has told Mills to give Feliz more PT, don’t ask me why.

Berkman hit an opposite field double for a RBI and walked twice. In fact, Astros hitters got SEVEN walks in this game. CJ and Castro have been a good influence here – Bourn and Berkman have been the only serious walkers. Bourn did in fact walk today, but couldn’t steal because there was someone in front of him. Castro also walked, but like Bourn, went ofer. He threw out 1 of 2 runners, too.

Blum had a very good day at the plate with 2 walks, 2 hits and 3 runs scored – he scored a run on a WP in the second. In fact, he and CJ were the only Astros to not leave men on base. Pence and Clank were both ofer 5.

And we’re off to San Diego to get stomped by the Padres again. Moehler faces Jon Garland, who beat the Astros in May by throwing 7 innings of 2 hit no run ball – another one of Paulino’s hard luck losses because he gave up 2 runs over 7 IP. Hopefully, CJ will be in the lineup again and will kick ASS.

Hey, you know the Phillies have lost their 3B to injury – maybe they’d like Feliz back. I wish…

8/4/09: Mike Hampton Thanks Blum And Matsui For The Chicken Sandwiches – And The Win

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

I spent over an hour writing this entry, but accidentally deleted it and am too tired to re-write the entire thing.

I’m still in shock that Mike freaking Hampton outpitched Matt Cain.

Tomorrow, it’s Felipe Paulino vs Jonathan Sanchez.

Not that I am expecting miracles for 2 days straight…

7/21/09: Wandy Wins His 10th Game For The First Time Since 2005

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Number 2 son sat down on the couch with me and Lil Miss last night to watch a few innings. After a bit, he turned to me and said – Mami, the sign says “Kids Free” so can we go? So I turned back to him and said – well, the sign sure nuff didn’t say “Adults Free” so seeing as how you aren’t going by your lonesome, I don’t THINK so.

Little boy was quiet after that, and I was intent on watching Ludwick’s AB in the 5th after Uncle was IBB, so I really wasn’t paying enough attention and didn’t notice all those “ideas” lights flashing in his head. So naturally, he goes to his Daddy (when I wasn’t listening) and suggests to Daddy that we all go watch Wandy tomorrow. Daddy, who has been working a lil extra and is tired, wants to go to the Ballpark and be half dead of the heat (The AC is teh sukc in the cheap seats, trust me on this) bout as much as he’s looking forward to a prostate exam.

So he tells #2 Son – well, we’ll see, but don’t say ONE WORD to your Mami or no game. But he KNOW he’s gotta have some sucka to come to a game with me because #3 Son pretty much wants to leave after a couple innings, the twins get restless after the Texas National Anthem and our new 3 year old foster daughter has never gone to any ball game and goodness knows how she’d do.

But the best laid plans of Husby-doos often get blown to bits and to make a long story short, he ended up taking more kidz than he knew what to do with to the ballpark along with his brother (and his 10 year old son) and, naturally, his Wandy tshirt wearing wife.

hehhehheh

Still haven’t seen any other Wandy wear. It’s interesting that we have 3 small pitchers on the team – Wandy, Wesley Wright and Alberto Arias – all of them are maybe 5’9″ and maybe 160-165. I wish that teams didn’t insist on lying about heights and weights.

Where was I?

Oh yes. To put it mildly, it was a GREAT night. Ballpark wasn’t near as hot as I had expected, for which Husband was grateful, and we had a very VERY good crowd for a Tuesday night – probably a GOOD 30-32 K actually IN the seats. Maybe 5000 were Cards fans, but that’s OK seeing as how they are generally pretty nice people and don’t get dead drunk and start screaming, uh, non-family oriented remarks about the ballplayers, their relatives and fans, as Cubs fans do.

The said Cards fans were delighted to see a Lance-free lineup, even with Wandy pitching. Too many of em think of Wandy as the shell-shocked guy who gave up like 9 runs (including a granny) in his first start against St. Louis, which lasted all of 2.1 innings. They were more than a little stunned to see the 08/09 Wandy, especially the Box Wandy, who is absolutely ACE. He had the curve goin ON – pitched 7, gave up 1 solo homer, a double and 2 singles, no walks, a 5 Ks over 7 IP. And the HP ump had a, um, inconstant strike zone, judging by the looks he received from various batters (on both teams.)

But 09 Wandy is not 06 Wandy and umps strike zones don’t give him no nevermind. Throwing to Q he shrugs off, too. He has picked up Roy-O’s trait of working quickly and getting the ball, and he looks simply awesome. He didn’t have real too much trouble – gave up a double in the LF corner to lead off the 4th, got an easy FO, then got a grounder which Chris Coste, a catcher filling in at first for Berkman, made a simply spectacular stop and throw to Wandy for a 3-1. The Wand-Man is an underrated fielder, he really is. And he’s pretty darn good at keeping runners from stealing, too.

He got the lead in the 3rd after Bourn singled and Pence hit a hanging slider that absolutely rocketed through the second window in left onto the concourse, and he just put it in cruise control. He dominated Uncle, as usual – Uncle is now 3 fer 23 (3 singles) with 6 walks and 3 Ks.

Miggy hit in Lance’s spot and came through BIG, driving in 3 with 2 singles and a sac-fly and drawing an IBB.

Oh, that was just GREAT. TLR knows very well that Carlos has NOT done very well this year driving in runners, in spite of myriad opportunities, and with 1 out and men onj second and third, he had his pitcher walk Miggy to pitch to Carlos. Which must have SERIOUSLY got Carlos all bent out of shape (heck, I’d have done the same thing) and he after taking a ball, and fouling off a couple, hit the next one about 350′ into the Crawford Boxes (not a moon shot onto the Trax, like last night.) Which gave the Astros a 9-1 lead.

Actually, I was a bit surprised that TLR kept the same crappy pitcher in there to pitch to Carlos, seeing as how he was only losing 5-1 at the time, but I guess he figured that Carlos would probably either ground out or hit a sac-fly and he would send in the lefty to pitch to Blum.

And that pitcher was so mad that he gave up that homer that he threw the next pitch straight down the middle and Blum hit it just over the RF fence. THEN the guy settles down and gets both Pence and Coste to K on sliders away.

So with the Astros leading 10-1 and every kid except for Lil Miss all restless and demanding food, Husband and Uncle decided to take the kids and go (fine with me) and so I figured that Lil Miss and I would be like 15 minutes behind.

WRONG

Coop sends up Chad Paronto, just called up from AAA, where he had been lights out – 1.67 ERA/0.96 WHIP – 32.1 IP, 27 K, 9 BB, 22 H, 15 saves. Chad looks like Jonathan Broxton, only in an Astros uni. Baseball Cube says he’s 6’5 and 225, and I say, well, maybe he was when he was like 16. More like 6-7/280. But what is amusing is that huge as he is, he can’t throw the baseball as hard as Wesley Wright, Alberto Arias or Wandy.

Or as accurately, for that matter. He gave up a double to left on the first pitch, then a 4 pitch walk (and Q let the runner go to third on a PB) then a sac-fly. Then he should have had Uncle struck out, only the ump called it Ball 2, and the very next pitch, he hit for a single. Ludwick came up, took a strike, 3 balls, fouled off 5 pitches, then hit the next one into the Crawford Boxes for a 3 run homer.

whoa

Now it’s 10-5 and I am remembering the White Sox game in 06 in which Roy left in the 8th leading 10-1 and they came back to tie it up.

So Wesley Wright comes in and gives up a solo homer on the first pitch to Mark DeRosa.

Which reminds me. We chose to not go and get this guy when he became available from the Indians WHY???? In what way is Jason Michaels/Matt Kata/Darin Erstad better???? Seeing as how this team absolutely refuses to play any minor leaguers and only uses them for trade bait/career minor leaguers unless they are a Designated Darling, why not go and get a role player who is actually, you know, GOOD????

But then Wesley got the next 2 guys and Arias got an easy 1,2,3 9th and Wandy got his VERY well deserved W.

Now, for the tally (according to Gameday) for incorrectly called pitches by the ump:

Wandy: one ball was called a strike

Wellemeyer: 2 strikes called balls, 1 ball called strike 3

Paronto: ump got em all right. And the ball Ludwick hit out was a pretty good pitch – an inside slider about mid thigh.

Wright – 1 strike called a ball

Walters: 1 strike called a ball.

That’s it. The ump was right more than the complainers. And his zone was very consistant, too. Only serious egregious error was the Strike 3 call to Quintero, who had every right to grouse about that one.

And now, we’ll see if Roy can beat Carpenter. This SHOULD be the ESPN game of the week. He better be VERY careful with Uncle and DeRo – they both have killt him in the past. But let’s hope it’s the continuation of Ace Roy out there. Fortunately, Carp is a righty, so Coop won’t be tempted to do stupid crap like put Michaels out there instead of Bourn or Kata instead of

ohno

Matsui got an owie on his leg, so he might be sitting tomorrow, too. Which means Kata.

ugh

No Berkman either.

Roy best bring his A game cuz he gonna need it.

Evaluating Astros Players At The 2009 ASB

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Apologise for this taking so long (kidssss!!!!!!!!) Also, this particular software won’t make nice neat charts and it takes me like forever to get the columns lined up even a little bit, so sorry that they don’t look real too good.

(Stats from ESPN, Hardball Times, baseball-reference.com)

B/R is BA with RISP (and you notice it isn’t RBIs/PA – IBB with MOB – an extremely useful stat which, if it existed, I can’t find…)

Player                PA  R H  2B/3B/HR RBI SB/CS BB SO GDP ——- B/R OPS+ RCAA

C I Rodriguez — 260 26 60 - 11/2/7 — 30 – 0/2 – 11 54- 11 .183 245/.278/.392/.670 – 77 (-)12
1B Berkman —- 362 49 79 – 18/1/18 – 55 - 6/2 — 66 59 — 9 .260 271/.403/.526/.929 -147  23  2B K Matsui —  252 28 56 —  8/1/3 — 21 – 9/3 — 19 43 – 2 .262  252/.313/.338/.651 – 75 (-)8
SS M Tejada — 375 48 116– 30/0/7 - 49 – 2/2 — 10 26 - 14 .318 329/.357/.473/.830 – 120  9
3B Blum ——— 226 19 56 —- 8/1/2 – 27–  0/1 — 19 27 – 4 .263  281/.350/.362/.711 – 91 (-)1
LF C Lee ——– 357 35 101 –17/1/13- 49 — 2/2 — 24 28 – 10 .257 308/.353/.485/.838 – 122 10
CF Bourn ——– 376 57 95 — 15/8/3– 25 –32/8 — 38 72 –1  .391 286/.360/.407/.767 -105  11  RF Pence ——- 358 45 95 —-15/4/11- 37 - 9/6 — 36 50 - 12  .274 298/.366/.473/.839 -123   9

3B Keppinger —189 20 44 –10/2/3 — 15  0/2 —- 19 16 – 6 .189  273/.353/.416/.769 -106 (-)1
UT Erstad ——– 95 10 14 — 3/2/1 —  5  0/2 —–  8 17—  2 .143  165/.234/.282/.516 - 38  (-)9
OF J Michaels — 82  6 13 — 8/0/1 —  6  1/1 —–  7 21—- 2 .158  176/.256/.324/.580 – 54 (-)5
C Quintero ——– 79  3 19 – 3/1/0 –  9  0/0 —–  1 15 —  3 .162  247/.266/.312/.578 — 54 (-)6
IF Maysonet —— 61  7 17–  2/0/1 –  7  0/0 —–  4 13 —- 0  .300  315/.356/.407/.763 -104… 1 UT Matt Kata —- 35  1  6 — 1/0/0 —  4  0/0 —–  0  3 —- 1 .300 182/.200/.212/.412 – 11 (-)4
IF Jason Smith —27  1  0 –  0/0/0 –  1  0/0 ——  0 9 —– 1 -0- – 0  -  0 -   0  -  0  (-)100  (-)5
C J R Towles —- 13  2  2 — 0/0/0 —  1  0/0 ——  0 4 —-  0 .333 182/.250/182/432  46      (-1)
C Chris Coste —–2  0  0                                   0                  0

You will notice that the SB/CS for all players not named Bourn is 28/23. This is bad. This is called giving away outs. Bourn is the only guy who steals at a success rate of at least 75% and this means Erstad, Pence, Keppinger and Carlos better cut it out. And Lance had best be darn careful.

You will also notice that the Astros have 81 GIDP. This leads the majors. You will also notice that the 2 young players who Coop doesn’t want on the team both have a higher BA/RCAA than the 2 veterans Coop DID want – Kata and Smith. You will also notice they both have higher BA than either Michaels or Erstad (seing as how BA is to be worshipped.) I will also remark that Mike Hampton has better hitting stats than either Erstad or Michaels. Yes, I know – small sample size…

You will also notice that Berkman is the only guy on the team with more walks than Ks. He also is the only guy with over 40 walks at all. Tejada has the highest BA, but Berkman has a higher OPS+ and higher RCAA and higher WS. He is also leading the team in RBIs because Carlos hasn’t been doing his share, not at all.

Checking fielding:

Pudge: 3 Errors/570 innings and 2 PB. FPT .994 and 25% CS. (He’s worse than that, as this doesn’t count all the bad throws that were not called errors)
Quintero: 5 errors/186 innings (highest in the majors) and 2 PB, FPT .971 is worst in the NL – also has 10% CS. (As I’ve been saying, he is NOT good. And why Coop prefers him to Towles I do NOT get)

Berkman: 6 errors/735 innings – and just like last year, he’s second to Uncle in fielding – 27 out of zone plays (but Uncle has 45) and 117 plays on balls in zone (but Uncle has 138) and he’s turned only 5 DPs – but that is NOT his fault as he’s had to deal with Miggy and his, uh, lousy fielding.

Matsui is 5th in the NL in RZR at .822. He doesn’t make many plays on balls out of the zone (only 11) and yeah, it is a little harder to compare him to some of the other second basemen who have around 150 more innings played. He is doing quite well with DP started – tied for the lead with 22, and is in the middle of the pack with DP turned, with 27 (Freddy Sanchez leads, with 42.) He only has 2 errors, which is hard to believe.

Maysonet, with only 102 innings, had a MUCH higher RZR at .854 and Keppinger, no surprise, has a much lower RZR at .733

Third base is a little tough – only 8 guys in the NL have played over 450 innings, and Wright, the leader, has played 758, so direct comparisons are a bit tough.
- Blum’s RZR is .745, which is surprisingly good, behind leaders Pedro Feliz, Casey Blake and leader Andy LaRoche at .781. However, his OOZ plays are quite low – only 12, compared to Ryan Zimmerman with 48 plays in 735 innings. I was also surprised to see that Pedro Feliz, who has an outstanding rep with the glove, has only 13 OOZ plAYS OVER 711 innings. Blum has only 2 errors and a .983 FPCT. In fact, I think he hasn’t made as many errors as he did last year. He’s just fine if balls go near him, but has like zero range to either right of left.
- Keppinger, playing in half the innings Blum has (275) has more OOZ plays, 13, but a lower RZR, .730, and more DPs started, 12 to 9. He also made 4 errors. I’m not surprised about the OOZ plays because, unlike Blum, at least he tries.

Miggy Tejada – well, he looks like the 07 version. He’s only been tagged for 12 errors and really, there should be at LEAST 10 more – or at least 10 DPs not turned that I can think of offhand. His RZR is second lowest among SS at .775 (The Riot is best at .855) and Miggy has been about average with the others at fielding plays on balls OOZ – 25. Fileding % is .968, 3rd lowest among SS. Ah well, no one cares (except the pitchers) because he is hitting .320)

Carlos Lee. sigh. Clank. Let’s say that he doesn’t drop balls hit right to him, but about any ball not hit right to him is going to go for a double. And he has a very weak and inaccurate arm. He’s been hit with only 2 errors, but at the end of the year, he’s gonna lead the majors (LF) with plays not made. RZR is .843 and he has 27 OOZ plays – Nyjer Morgan, naturally, leads with 51. He has 6 assists (how did THAT happen) which leads the league..

And, by the way, here we are at the break at .500, which I personally thought was a miracle. Matthew Carruth, however, prefers to call it “luck” and mathematically “proves” that the Astros are THE luckiest team in the majors AND by 13 games. We are 22-18 in close games, but we have allowed 30 more runs than we have scored. Hardball Times says that by RA/RS, we should be 41 – 47, which is not exactly the 31 – 57 record that Matthew calculates.

This year, the only really GOOD team in the NL is the Dodgers, but we all know that means exactly zero after the playoffs start. I seriously disbelieve that Roy, Wandy and whoever could go head to head vs Cain/Lincecum and whoever and come out on top. But then again, they could get hurt, Pujols could get hurt and when it comes to baseball, younverknow…

6/12/09: Pence Walks, Puma IBB, Geoff Blum Hits Walk Off Single To Beat Cubs AGAIN

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Second verse, same as the first.

Well, not quiiiiiite the same. Russ Ortiz, like Wandy the night before, pitched very well, giving up 3 walks and 3 singles over 5.1 innings. He probably could have finished up the inning, but after he walked Dempster, gave up a single to Sori and Kd The Riot, Coop decided to do his leftyrighty thingy he luuuuvs so much (in spite of the fact that Ortiz had easily gotten out Fuku the previous 2 times) and called in Byrdak, who, for ONCE, got the job done.

Arias finished that inning and the 7th, then Sampson pitched the 8th. Hawkins, who the Cubs fans just HATE, gave up the tying homer to DLee, so there we were – extra innings.

Hawk managed to squeak out of the 10th, stranding a man on 3rd with 2 outs, then Fulchino came in and slammed the door for 3 innings. Fulchino has been one of Wade’s good moves.

Let me repeat that – Fulchino has been one of Wade’s GOOD moves.

Yes, Fast Eddie and his luuuvvvv for middle relievers looks pretty good with Fulchino, a pickup off the scrap heap for minimum wage.

See, I CAN praise his good moves, and he’s made some.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. Fulchino pitched 3 scoreless and gave up only one single. Shut down the entire C*bs lineup, just as Sampson had done today and yesterday.

Stros hitters had more than a few opportunities to win after Hawk coughed up the tying run:

in the 10th, Kata, pinch hitting, singled!!!! yes, you read that right. He did not make an out!!! WOW!!!! Then, with 2 out, Miggy reached on error, but Pence grounded out on the first pitch;

in the 11th, with 1 out, Lance singled, then Blum singled, then Pudge GIDP.

But finally, bottom of the 13th, Pence drew a walk. See, I TOLD you he had been walking a lot more and that not swinging at pitches out of the strike zone or unhittable pitches is a GOOD thing. Then, with Michaels flailing away at a pitch out of the strike zone for big strike 3, Pence stole second. So, with Lance up, Sweet Lou again figured he’d rather take his chance intentionally walking Berkman, then pitching to Blum. Why he didn’t bring in Sean Marshall, a lefty, to pitch to Blum, who can’t hit for spit righty any more, I don’t know, but Blum got the job done.

Again.

I sure do LUUUUV beating the C*bs, that is fer SHER.

And we’re off to play the DBax. They finally put Paulino on the DL, and I guess they are going to be calling Wesley Wright back up. Wesley has pitched 9.1 innings, giving up 7 walks, 4 hits and 8 Ks and 3 ER. Too many walks.

Funny, both Casey Daigle (24 IP – 25 H, 8 BB, 19 K, 5 ER – 1.88 ERA/1.38 WHIP) and Chad Paronto (26.1 IP – 20 H, 6 BB, 21 K, 1 HR, 6 ER – 2.05 ERA/1.05 WHIP) have pitched better, but they are rightys and we all know that rightys can’t get leftys out.

But to me, the real question is, how long are we going to have to put up with the suckulousness of Michaels and Erstad? Kata, I presume, will be sent back down when Kaz comes back of the DL. Also, Backe really needs to be sent to AAA to be put into the regular starting rotation. He isn’t doing a bit of good taking up space on the bench for blowouts.

Today, Mike Hampton faces Danny Haren, the best pitcher this year in the NL. Not by W/L, but by RSAA. Yes, better than Santana. Man, that was a BAD trade the Cards made with the A’s, swapping him for Mulder. And man, that was a bad trade Billy Beane the GEEENYUSSS made, trading Haren for some minor leaguers who haven’t done spit – at least yet.

Oh, and before some of you start telling me that this is why we shouldn’t trade away old guys like Tejada/Hawkins etc, I’ll remind you that Haren was in his 4th year, was age 27 and was signed to a great, cheap contract for the next 3 years. This would be sort of like trading Roy Oswalt in 04.

Dumb.

Tejada and Hawkins are significantly closer to the end of their careers and Tejada’s defense has sunk to 07 levels or below. Time to sell as high as possible because the farm is still pretty empty.

I checked.

6/11/09: Geoff Blum Drives In Winning Run Over C*bs With Walk-off Single

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Mama told me that last night, there were maybe 16K fans actually IN the stadium and it felt as if almost all of them were C*bs fans. So when one of her friends called me and asked me if I would like to use her tickets, I said sure. Hey, free is free.

Yesterday, there was an article in the Chron, as well as a blog entry by Richard Justice about the fact that Minute Maid Park is the only ML baseball stadium which bans all outside food and drink of any sort (except for pre-mixed baby formula.) The food and drinks are extremely expensive, to say the least, especially considering the poor quality, so we don’t buy food at the ballpark. It was a little bit warm today, so I warned Lil Miss, who I was taking as a special treat for her, uh, behaving her little self for 7 days straight (which, trust me on this, is a REAL major achievement, sort of like Wandy hitting an upper deck homer) to drink a LOT of water before we left home, and after leaving the car and walking to the Box.

I wanted to make sure we were WELL hydrated BEFORE going inside so I didn’t get any whines about how someone was thirsty, even though I understood that we would be spending a good part of the first 3 innings in the Ladies Room. Then of course, we could go and get a free soda with my designated driver coupon and spend the NEXT 3 innings in the Ladies Room,

but I digress…

We wandered through the main level, partly to see if people were still buying all the food and drink as usual, and they were and partly to see if I was still the only person in the Box with a Wandy T-shirt, and I was. Wandy should just go ahead and change his name to Wandy Dangerfield, because he don’t get no respect neither.

Anyway, I was disturbed to see Quintero catching Wandy because, unless something has changed, Wandy does NOT like throwing to him and also by the fact that Maysonet was benched and Mat Kat-astrophe was playing second. Yes I know Zambrano is a righty, but playing Kata instead of Maysonet is yet another example of Cooper taking his platoon obsession past absurdity and ludicrousness to insanity.

Wandy started off decently enough, getting 1,2,3 out, although he needed 18 pitches to do it. Then Bourn led off with a single to center – I always like it when the Astros get a hit in the first because then I don’t have to worry about us getting no-hit. But then Miggy hit the next pitch, which was out of the strike zone right back to Z who fired it to second for a 1-6-3 so easy that even Roger Clemens could have turned it. Pence then hit the very NEXT pitch, which was way inside and popped it up.

Lil Miss turned and looked at me. She said – you shouldn’t swing at pitches that aren’t strikes. Well, yeah. It’s one thing to swing at a GOOD first pitch strike, but these guys have already seen Zambrano twice this year and they know good and well that with him, you HAVE to work the count.

I had a bad feeling it was gonna be a bad night for Astros hitters, and yeah, it was. It’s not that the Cubs did so well themselves in spite of the fact that the home plate ump called 15 of Wandy’s pitches that were called strikes for Zambrano as balls – I mean, I checked with Gameday when I got home.

Wandy was absolutely dead calm on the mound, like he didn’t even notice. He’s not the old Wandy who would get upset and with good reason. He only got flustered once and that was after 2 of the strikes he threw to Soto in the second were called balls and he threw a belt high outer third FB which Soto hit off the facade in left above the middle window. Then Scales hit a single to Berkman’s right that he usually gets for a 3-1, no problem, but for some reason he didn’t go after it and Kata came and got it, too late to get the runner.

sigh

Meanwhile, Z gave up a single to Carlos Lee to lead off the second, then needed only 8 more pitches to retire the side. In the third, we FINALLY had a great hitter work the count on Zambrano – yeah, Wandy himself figured that SOMEone better take some pitches and he took 7 pitches to get out as Miggy and Carlos only needed 5 combined.

Z continued to get 1,2,3 outs, needing only a couple pitches per batter until Bourn finally got to him again in the 6th, drawing a walk!!!! YEEEE HAHHHHHH!!!

Wandy gave up a leadoff walk in the 5th but then retired the next 9 guys over the next 3 innings and left, losing 1-0. He threw 7 good innings, giving up 1 homer, 3 piddly infield singles and a single to left.  AND he worked quickly – you would have thought it was Roy up there. Bad thing was that he couldn’t throw the curve for strikes again – he only threw 3 which were in the actual strike zone and 1 of those was called a ball.

The Astros managed to tie the score in the bottom of the inning when Pence walked, Carlos singled and Pence beat the throw to third then came home to score when Blum grounded out, Lance having popped up ball 4.

Sampson came in and didn’t have the best command at first – gave up a LONG fly ball to Sori which Pence caught at the very edge of the RF bullpen, then a clean single to center to The Riot (I swear that guy has become the new Pest) then had to pitch some more when Tejada screwed up a dead simple 6-4-3 by bobbling the ball in his glove after getting Riot out. I know that is not an error, although it should be, but not making easy plays is not good. Tejada’s glove has deteriorated this year. Derrek Lee then singled, but Chris struck out PH Fukudome on 3 straight sinkers.

Z came back for the 8th and got 3 outs on 8 pitches.

I figured that it was gonna be a LONG night and wondered how many innings Fulchino could pitch before they would have to call Ortiz.

Sampson came back for the 9th and got 1,2,3 out.

Then, to my surprise, a reliever came in instead of Zambrano. He must have been tired because he was only at 104 pitches and he often goes for another 15-20 pitches.

Oh well. Fortunately for the Astros, his replacement wasn’t near as good. Miggy singled, Pence walked again (no swinging at slop), Carlos flied out to center, but Miggy beat the throw into third. Lance was IBB – yes, he was. Even though he had looked bad all night, hey this is a new pitcher and youneverknow. Lou was hoping that Blum would GIDP (reasonable plan) or would at least ground out and then Kata would be a dead easy out unless, of course, Coop used Maysonet as a PH, seeing as how Erstad and Michaels are on life support.

But the pitcher left a fat one in the strike zone and Blum muscled it into center and Miggy scored the winning run.

Lou had a GOOD plan – it just didn’t work. This is different from having a BAD plan (playing Kata instead of Maysonet) and not losing in spite of it.

So Wandy didn’t get a W, but then again, he didn’t get a L either.

In other surprising news, Geary was taken off the DL and sent down to AAA. I sure nuff was surprised. I mean, REALLY surprised, and I’m a tough person to surprise. After all, Geary is The Veteran and Arias and Fulchino are not. But I wonder if this is Fast Eddie getting even with Geary for refusing his minor league rehab assignment.

We’re still short at least 1 pitcher because Paulino hasn’t been put on the DL. Not sure why they wait and go short on pitchers when guys do things like pull hamstrings

And in the very most surprising news, we got out of the stadium, back to the car and home in 25 minutes, which must be a record. The announced attendance was 29K and I’d bet that there were close to that many people actually there. And best of all, there were only 2 C*bs fans in our section and they were more into each other and their beers than the actual game, believe it or not.

Tomorrow, it’s Ryan Dempster vs Russ Ortiz.

Oh yeah – and it’s Russ Ortiz because apparently, Roy’s wrist is bothering him. I sure hope he pitches as he did when he relieved, which is, to say, good.

4/25/09: Mike Cameron And The Astros Bullpen Defeat Astros In Extra Innings

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Sorry I didn’t get anything posted last night.

Husband took me to the game to make up for Thursday (ahem) and the game didn’t end until like 10:30 and we went out afterward and anyhow, I was too tired for a recap.

The real story of the game was the HP ump’s erratic strike zone. Well, let’s say that he called low pitches and outside pitches on Astros batters strikes – I mean, he even had Lance Berkman, who almost never complains to umps, saying a lil somethin somethin.

The first 3 innings were pretty boring – neither Hampton nor Suppan had what you might could call good stuff and the most exciting play was Michael Bourn’s AWESOME catch of Mike Cameron’s 400 something foot drive to Tal’s Hill. And Bourn stealing second in the second. Kendall’s arm has gone limp, looks like to me.

Hampton hung a slider to Prince and he did what ML hitters do to hanging sliders. And in the bottom of the 4th, the Astros got lucky. Suppan walked Lance, then Carlos hit a ball to the 99 flag and there we were, up 2-1. The crowd, the biggest I’ve seen since Opening Day, then REALLY got into the ball game. Suppan proceded to get the next 2 outs, and then got Blum to groundout to third. Blum did NOT exactly hustle down the line, but Hall’s throw was a little offl line and Prince couldn’t come up with it. Then Suppan walked IRod (of ALL people) and Hampton knocked in Lance with a single up the middle (crowd SERIOUSLY luuuuvvvved that) and it’s 3-1 Astros. Nothing cooler than pitchers knocking in runs.

Hampy, feeling confident, got an easy 1,2,3 and then Michael Bourn led off with a 410′ homer OVER the RF bullpen. Yes, you read that right. Michael Bourn. The crowd was VERY appreciative, but you best believe there are more than a few fans grumbling that he shouldn’t be hitting home runs, just hitting the ball on the ground.

sigh

If you see a fat hanger mid thigh mid plate you SHOULD hit it out. Heck even Roy hit one out a few years back and you didn’t see folks grousing that he should have just bunted.

In the top of the 6th, Cameron broke up the DP (yeh, he LIKEY hitting the other guy, but fortunately, Kaz was OK) and Hall, the next batter hit a nice fat FB into the Crawford Boxes with 2 on and there went the ballgame.

Well, not quite.

From then on, it was the Battle Of The Relievers and in the end, their relievers were just bettern ours as both Hawkins and Valverde gave up 2 runs each.

The highlight of the game, however, was the, um, uh, interesting discussion between Pudge and the HP ump when he called a pitch to Mike Cameron a ball which he had called a strike to Astros hitters all night. I believe Pudge said something like – excuse me please Mr. Umpire Sir. I am quite certain that Jose Valverde would be more than willing to let you borrow his glasses as you seem to be struggling to identify pitches. And then the ump, uh, took umbrage and next thing you know, Pudge was yelling that he was just trying to help and it just might could be that he put it in slightly stronger words, couldn’t see their lips, but Hawkins, who is not exactly small, and Dave Clark came in between the angry catcher and the hot ump. Coop came running out and explained that his catcher just might could have not clearly expressed the nature of his unhappiness and Coop got the ol heave ho too.

So out went Pudge and in came Towles, who had just arrived from RoundRock, to finish up the game. So Cameron singles, Hardy walks (on another one of those questionable calls) and the fans boo. VERY loudly. The crowd is now the most into the game I have seen since the playoffs. Really. And there were maybe 28K people actually in the stands and it was LOUD with the roof closed.

Oh yeah. the roof was closed because it was nasty out and the wind was a GOOD 25-30 MPH. And as you’ve noticed, it didn’t exactly stop baseballs from flying.

Where was I? Oh yeah. So Hawkins gave up 2 runs and it was Crew 6 – Astros 4. In comes Coffey, their closer in absentia (Trevor Time on the DL) andhe got 2 easy outs, then Blum hit a GR double down the LF line, then Towles knocked him in with a single over the SS. Erstad, who has looked like Jason Smith with the bat, managed to beat out an IF single that went just over the pitcher’s mound. Kaz then hit an opposite field double to the LF corner and it’s Stros 7 – Crew 6.

So it’s Valverde time. But I guess that leg wasn’t ready because he had trouble finding the strike zone (and for once, it wasn’t the ump’s fault) and the first time he threw a strike, Hart hit it above the LF bullpen but juuuuust below the yellow line. Braun grounded out to Blum, who had exactly enough time to make the throw to Lance and Hart alertly went to third. THAT is what is called good baserunning. Hart is a VERY good baseball player. Interesting that the Brewers didn’t think much of him and were gonna use him as a PH/DR even after it was clear that he should be a full time player and he only got the job because they needed to clear salary by getting rid of Jenkins. He’s much better than a couple of their highly touted guys, suck as Rickie Weeks.

but I digress

Fielder then fouls off a couple, then sends a belt high inner third FB over the Administaff sign just to the left of the RF foul pole. Maybe 340′ but it got the job done. Unfortunately.

Crowd groans because it is now Crew 8 – Stros 7. About a third of the crowd begins to file out. But the game is NOT over. Nosirree. Because the Crew sends out Carlos Villanueva, who the Stros have historically pounded and there is HOPE. (Even Husband isn’t dumb enough to suggest we beat the traffic.)

So he hits Lance. Then Romero (acting manager) sends up Keppinger and has a .400 something hitter SAC BUNT. You talk about a stupid STUPID waste of an out. Why not send up Roy Oswalt to bunt, for goodness sakes? WHY get rid of your best pinch hitter? DUMBDUMBDUMB. Then Miggy pops up to center and it’s 2 outs. I feel Husband sneaking a look at me. But then Pence reaches on error, the ball goes flying and Berkman goes to third. Blum fouls off one, then takes a called strike, then miracles of miracles, Kendall doesn’t catch strike 3 – it’s a passed ball, Lance scores. Tie game. Blum is then IBB and Towles runs the count to 3-2 (and 2 is another one of those questionable strike calls) and then he grounds out. Which is a shame, because if he had won this game for the Astros, it would be a LOT harder for Coop to send him back down, where he’s hitting .344.

So now, Geary and the leftys are the only ones left. And in comes Geary to pitch the 10th and he gives up a single to the pitcher, Villanueva, but gets the others out on 10 pitches.

Then Astros are up!!!  Erstad Ks on a ball in the dirt. Matsui Ks. Bourn hits a double to the RF corner, so Lance is IBB. And no, I don’t blame Macha one bit because you never know when a slumping excellent hitter is gonna come out of his slump. Keppinger is walked on 4 pitches.

Macha pulls Villanueva and sends in a guy I don’t remember seeing – Mark DiFelice, a righty. He gets Miggy, with bases loaded, to popout to center again. Miggy had a BAD game. Ofer 6 and stranded 6 guys.

Geary comes back out and gives up a double to Hart, who then comes around to score on Braun’s single. He IBB Prince, walks Cameron (poor guy – he doesn’t get to run into anybody) then Ks Hardy and gets Hall to GIDP.

Crew 9 – Astros 8

Di Felice comes back. Pence singles (NOW he gets a hit???!!!) then Smith is sent up to bunt. He can’t even do THAT, bunting 2 foul and then popping up. One more time – the manager should be sending up someone who actually CAN bunt – like a pitcher!!!! He then Ks Towles, who again went to 3-2, on a NASTY slider and then gets Erstad swinging on a pitch low and inside.

Game ovah.

Bourn, who was supposed to be this terrible weakness of the team, has actually been VERY good with bat, glove and feet.

The bullpen, which was supposed to be the strength, has, um, not been good. Brocail is supposed to be back today and I guess Fulchino will be sent down, but he hasn’t exactly been the problem. Byrdak, Hawkins, Geary and Valverde have been.

This afternoon, it’s Russ Ortiz vs Manny Parra.

I just hope their guys are as tired as ours.

2/3/09: Ty Wigginton Signs With The Orioles; Drayton Signs Aaron F. Boone

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

I have this bad BAD feeling about my baseball team. BAD BAD feeling.

I wonder if this is how Pirates fans felt when the team preferred to sign Andy Van Slyke to a long term contract instead of either Bobby Bonilla or Barry Lamar Bonds. You can see an empty farm and the beginning of a long LONG downward spiral because of owner stupidity/greed and the GM

1 – being unable to do anything about it

2 – doing not so smart things with the moves he WAS able to make.

sigh

We all knew Fast Eddie has always been obsessed with middle relievers, and LaTroy Hawkins is getting 3.5 mill next year while Doug Brocail is getting 2.75 mill. Meanwhile, we have the Blum-Boone-no platoon for 1.85 mill, which will far and away underperform what we could have expected to receive from Wiggy at 3 mill.

Alyson Footer, usually sensible, said Prediction: With regular playing time, Blum will be surprisingly productive. Blum’s defense is a strong suit and will be an upgrade over Wigginton.” On what planet does Blum have defense as a “strong suit?” Answer – Wiggy was actually just barely below average as a glove at 3B (which surprised the heck out of me) – as rated by +/-, he was (-) 1 and Blum was +2. Big Deal – But more importantly, Wiggy is SO much stronger on offense, that even Chris Dial has Wiggy significantly beating Blum on Offense + Defense: 13.4:(-)1.3. That is a HUGE difference. Aaron Boone won’t be getting more than 20% of the total PAs and the BlumBoone-NO platoon will most likely be hitting 7th.

Alyson correctly notes that “This will be a straight platoon situation, with the left-handed-hitting Blum likely to receive more starts and Boone on hand to face lefty starters. Boone has a career .247 average against lefties, while Blum has a career average of .255 vs. righties.” Well, yeah, but Ty hit .275/.278/.285 over the past 3 years (and that is just BA) while Blum hit .254/.252/.240 and Boone hit .251/.286/.241.

“The Astros may miss Wigginton’s power production — he’s averaged 23 home runs over the past three seasons, while Blum and Boone have combined to average just 13 over the same period of time.” SLG over the past 3 years? Wiggy slugged .498/.459/.526 compared to Blum .366/.367/.418 and Boone .370/.423/.384. NO comparison

“That said, Blum had a nice season offensively in 2008, hitting 14 home runs in a part-time role in 114 games.” Big deal – he slugged .418 and Wiggy didn’t slug LESS than .418 except for his first year in the bigs, 2003.

Lousy + Lousy does NOT = OK. Neither Blum nor Boone has an Adam Everett glove which saves so many runs that it overcomes lack of bat.

sigh

But we all knew that the Blum-Boone-NO platoon supposed to make up for the absence of Wiggy with “grit” + “character” was a bunch of, uh, spin.

I supposed we are supposed to endure this with the understanding that next year, Tejada’s expensive roidless corpse will be gone and replaced with Manzella and Chris Johnson will be the new 3B – all nice and cheap and then we can afford, uh, um – well, guess Drayton will come up with SOME excuse like – well, the fans didn’t come out the year before so we have to cut back on payroll.

Yeh, those greedy baseball players.

They should just ask for a small salary – like Bud Selig’s.

11/22/08: Checking The Killed-Bs Platoon At Third

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

A certain someone wrote me an email, saying that I hadn’t been really fair to either Blum or Boone, as I had given their total stats, not ther stats as they wold be if platooned.

Ok, a reasonable point.

Let’s check out the prowess of the Blum-Boon-no platoon.

Let’s say that Blum will ONLY hit against rightys and Boone ONLY against leftys. Now, these guys have been playing in the majors for over 10 years and have long since passed any peak they might could have, so I will concentrate on their numbers over the past 3 years, and also, please remember that in 06, Boone was in the AL.

Let’s also assume that these guys will hit 6th or 7th (well, if they hit 5th, this team in massively SERIOUS trouble) with a lineup of Matsui, Bourn/Erstad, Berkman, Lee, Tejada, Pence, Blumboono, some suckulous catcher, pitcher.

I will assume, for fun, that no one else will get one AB at third, that the #6/7 hitter will get 3.5 PAs/game average (567 PA) and that 20% of pitchers faced will be leftys. Therefore, Blum will get 454 PA (oh dear LORD) and Boone 113 PA. I will also assume (because I am not swift enough to do Marcel projections which would show that given the fact that these guys are past their peak and a year older, that the numbers would actually most likely be a bit lower) that they will equal their past 3 year average:

Blum (06-08) 827 PA, 41 double, 3 triple, 23 HR, 54 BB, 124K: .254/.302/.405/.707

- 454 PA, 23 doubles, 2 triples, 12 HR, 26 BB, 64 K (yeah, I know. He’s not had that many PAs since 03, when Jimy Williams preferred him to a much superior Mo Ensberg. I should most definitely mention that he GIDP 15 times that year.) And his past 3 years average almost exactly mirrors his lifetime stats vs RHB: .254/.313/.393/.706.

Boone (06-08) 245 AB: 13 double, 1 triple, 6 HR, 34 BB, 45 K: .265/.364/.400/.764 (historically, Boone has hit better vs rightys than leftys, but I guess his knee accident in 04 changed his stance/stroke, either that, or he got older…)

- 113 PA: 6 doubles, 3 HR, 18 BB, 23 K

We are talking an average of around .720 OPS from the 3rd base position, with a .403 SLG. Take a guess on the average OPS for the NL third basemen last year (hint – a LOT higher than .720.)

sigh

Well, I thought I’d take a look at their numbers vs NL Central teams over the past 3 years:

Team…..(PA)…..Blum…………….(PA)…Boone

Cubs:—-(59).200/.250/.327/.577——(18).357/.500/.571/1.071
Cards:—(72).294/.333/.458/.818——(24).182/.231/.318/.549
Reds:—-(76).250/.286/.444/.730——(28).261/.393/.391/.784 
Brewers:-(58).321/.373/.566/.939——(43).195/.233/.293/.526
Bucs:—-(57).235/.310/.373/.683——(44).171/.227/.268/.495

Yeah, I know, small sample size.

Boone has spent the last 2 years in the NL East and Blum, 2 of the last 3 in the NL West, the other in the NL Central.

Still, these guys can’t hit PIRATES pitchers?????!!!!

Then again, I don’t know whether or not they were facing leftys or rightys for these ABs.

Just the same, I see nothing that would inspire confidence. But, you know, thre is nothing that would stop the Astros from signing some other hitters later in the year and DFA Boone in Spring Training. But I guess that would be wishful thinking, as Richard Justice is busy commending their grit and heart. Which are nice things to have, but I sure wish they also had bats and gloves to accompany them…