Archive for the ‘Brad Lidge’ Category

In Which Carlos Lee Drives In The Winning Runs, Q Picks Off Werth And Brad Lidge Throw 81 MPH Sliders

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

The game started off VERY well – Michael Bourn, who has suddenly remembered how to walk, hit and bunt, led off the game with an opposite field single, then stole second on the very next pitch. When he’s ON, he’s really just fun to watch. Angel Sanchez singled to right – dave Clark held up Bourn at 3rd because Werth can throw VERY well. Pence then hit a sac-fly to deep right center, Bourn trotted home, but Sanchez didn’t bother to tag up and go to second, which he really SHOULD have done as Victorino was at the deepest part of the park and moving backwards as he caught the ball. BAD baserunning. Carlos then hit a double which split the gap in deep right center, Victorino had to chase the ball, and somehow, Sanchez took off late or wasn’t running fast enough, and didn’t make a good slide, and Victorino hit Utley, the cutoff man, who threw a bullet to Ruiz and Sanchez was dead meat.

CJ then hit a fly ball to the RF line and with the ball falling fast and slicing away from Werth, he made a GREAT sliding catch to rob CJ – which was a shame because it was the only ball he hit all night. Dude has just GOT to stop swinging at and swinging through most of pitches thrown to him – he got called out in the 4th on a checked swing on a ball in the dirt – and when you swing at bout most ANYthing, the ump ain’t gonna give you the benefit of the doubt.

For the next 4 innings, the Astros went down 1,2,3 as Joe Blanton pumped in strike after strike. Bourn singled to start the 6th, then stole second again, but was stranded on 3rd by Pence and Clank.

Meanwhile, the Phils, who went down 1,2,3 in the first and second, tied the game on a Carlos Ruiz homer. Then Valdez, the utility IF grounded out, Blanton singled up the middle, and Jimmy Rollins singled to shallow left center, and Clank booted the ball, allowing both runners to move up a base. Victorino hit a ball to first, and Wallace thew home to get Blanton trying to score. Wallace is deft and graceful – surprising in such a blocky looking guy. Then, of course, Utley singled home Rollins and the Phils led 2-1 and held the lead until the end of the 7th.

I most certainly Do have to give props to Quintero. In the bottom of the 6th, Werth doubled off the wall, Ibanez Kd, then they IBBd Ruiz, who has a nasty habit of pounding the ball with 2 outs and RISP. Q noticed that Werth haed wandered off second, and wasn’t really paying attention, and he fired to Sanchez, waiting at second and they picked off Werth to end the inning – not that Valdez was much of a threat, but just the same, better to have him leading off the next inning than a pinch hitter.

And indeed, he didn’t get a hit to lead off the bottom of the 7th, but pinch hitter Domonic Brown singled, then Jimmy Rollins singled (sometimes I check that guy’s BA/OBP and am surprised to see that he makes outs), then Victorino GIDP to end the inning and keep the lead at just 1 run.

Which really mattered because Ryan Madsen, who hadn’t given up a run (or let one score) this month, gave up a single to PH Jason Michaels. I know you are wondering why on earth Mr. LeftyRighty Matchup Manager let a righty bat against a righty – it’s because Blum’s neck is sore and Jason Castro isn’t hitting. Anyway, then the breaks went the Astros way. Bourn laid down a bunt single toward first – Ryan Howard fielded it and tried to tag Bourn out, but Bourn eluded the tag – stepped slightly outside the baseline to avoid it, managed to do so, and was called safe by the 1B ump – not that the HP ump, who was watching, disagreed.

Oh, and heck broke loose. Charlie Manuel wasn’t happy, although he didn’t pull a Pinella and scream or kick/throw bases, and finally got hisself tossed. I know you have to step more than just a couple of incles outside of the lines, as Bourn did to evade the tag, and the ump was actually right.

So then Sanchez laid down a nice sac-bunt to 3rd and there was a Meeting On The Mound to discuss whether or not to walk Pence and pitch to Clank or just pitch to em both.  Finally, they decided to pitch to Pence, and Madson struck him out on a FB around the shoulders. But the very next pitch, low, at the knees and inside, Clank poked over the third baseman into left and Michaels, with Bourn 10′ behind him, came roaring in to take the lead. CJ grounded out weakly to short.

Byrdak came in to pitch the 8th – actually, he’s pitching VERY well this year – Since June 1, he’s given up runs in exactly 2 of 31 appearances. He gave up a single to Werth, but got out leftys Utley, Howard and Ibanez.

Brad Lidge came on to pitch the top of the 9th, and I didn’t recognise him. Well, I mean, of COURSE I know what he looks like, duh, but I mean that his mechanics are completely different. He throws his FB around 90 and his slider around 81-82. I guess this is the result of all his knee/arm problems, but he is quite effective at lower velocities. The slider still had wicked movement and guys couldn’t hit it and couldn’t lay off. I know that everyone is supposd to hyperventilate and get all hex-cited about the MPH, but it ain’t the speed, it’s the motion.

Brandon Lyon came in to close out and immediately threw 3 pitches to Ruiz that weren’t even close. He then threw a gimmee strike, then another ball and I thought – oh noooooooooooes. But Valdez popped out, pinch hitter Polanco flew out to Bourn and Rollins lined out to Michaels in left.

Tomorrow, Bud Norris faces lefty Cole Hamels, who is 7-10 with a 3.51 ERA – proving that no matter how well you pitch, iffn you don’t get no run support, you might could Know How To Win, but you won’t.

3/15/10: Albert Pujols – A Houston Astro???

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Buster Olney, uh, found out (ahem) that someone associated with the Phillies was talking to someone associated with the Cardinals about maybe trading Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard, straight up.

uh-hunh

Translation for Mr. Olney: Joe, the parking lot guy at the Phil’s ST lot was talking to Sam, the janitor at the Card’s clubhouse about their fantasy league teams and somebody kind of overheard wrong.

Ryan Howard is a good ballplayer and a (supposedly) good guy, and yeh he hits home runs, but, to put it mildly, he ain’t no Uncle Albert. The probability that the Cards won’t pay up – like, probably A-Rod type dough, and let him go to the Red Sox (the Yanks already have Teixiera and Uncle isn’t going back to no third base – well, A-Rod is there anyhow, or even LF) is like, as close to zero as possible.

However, Uncle currently has a limited no-trade and one of the teams he will agree to be traded to is the Astros. Who would happily trade, um, uh, hmmmmmm, oh yeh – they don’t gots nobody the Cards would want. Not that I would exactly object to having Uncle on this team, even if Drayton would agree to fork over 250+ mill. Ah well.

Anyway, Morgan Ensberg is discussing Uncle’s famous homer – you know which one – on his blog (which I loved before he decided to make it tiny white printing on a black background – it’s hard as heck to read even if you change the font). He says that Lidge’s downfall happened because Phil Garner (in spite of being the Astros manager for 1 1/2 years, hadn’t discovered that there is a 5′ optical illusion when looking at the 3B side from the dugout) and he placed Mo Ensberg 5′ too far to the right to get Pest’s grounder on an 0-2 count.

I don’t buy that. Not that positioning isn’t crucial, but after 18 freaking MONTHS, even Phil hasn’t figured out – with Mansolino, that little glitch in the sightlines? And Morgan ignores the fact that on an 0-2 count, and Pest unable to catch up to 98 MPH heat, that Phil decided to have Brad throw him a slider, because Pest supposedly would take that strike??? Uh, no. Pest that year was the best in the major LEAGUES hitting an 0-2 pitch. Let me repeat that – the best in the MAJOR LEAGUES. Not that he hit walkoff homers, or anything, but still, he was gonna do his darndest to make contact – he was gonna choke up and swing. So to expect him to stare at a slider is a little, uh, well, not the best strategy.

And, with Pest on first – well, second, as he took second on DI, it was Lidge’s job to THEN get Edmonds out, not walk him on a 3-2 count.

As for hanging sliders, well, even the Pest would hit that one out. Maybe only 330′ to the CBoxes, but hey, that pitch was luscious, fat and juicy and, well, it got done to it what my Dogss do to hamburger – pounce upon it. Or what they WOULD do to it iffn I was dumb enough to leave them alone with it.

It is also Morgan’s opinion that Uncle is THE best hitter who ever played MLB. Ida know bout that – Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby and Tris Speaker and Ted Williams and Barry Lamar and Willie Mays might could beg to differ. Even A-Rod gots sumpin to say bout that. Although it will certainly be interesting to see where Uncle ends up on The Greatest Evah lists when his career is ovah.

And last, but not least, got an email from someone wanting to know what I think about the possibility of the Astros signing Jermaine Dye. Well, I guess they must mean to take the 5th OF spot. He has really only played RF or DH, so he certainly wouldn’t be useful as anything but a strict PH, as we don’t need a DH. And his fielding has declined precipitously over the past few years, to boot. There really isn’t a spot on this team for someone who is going to be pretty much strictly a RH PH – he doesn’t run well, doesn’t steal bases and grounds into the 15-18 DPs a year. Besides the fact that I doubt he is so desperate that he would take a PH job at a low salary, I think we would be better served with a 5th OF like Alex Romero or Bogusevic who can play all 3 OF spots, field well and run well. AND I’m tired of old, worn out veterans.

Whatever Happened To The 2005 Ex-Stros?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

These past few weeks, I’ve been editing (had to because of the move) the entries I wrote in 04 and 05 – FINALLY done – those fun years we pulled it together after the ASB enough to make it to the playoffs. Amazing to re-read that stuff – 2004, the year we were supposed to be absolutely an AWESOME team, but lacked 1 starter and 2 relievers, and the team stayed at .500 even after The Lousy Jimy Williams was replaced by Phil “Rah-Rah” Gardner, until Roy-O stirred up a hornets nest by throwing at Michael Barrett on yet ANOTHER losing day when his gloves and bats had let him down yet AGAIN and the team suddenly started winning like crazy, but lost to St. Louis because of Dan F Miceli and also because of the failure of Drayton McLane to allow Gerry Hunsicker to get a starting pitcher to replace Andy Pettitte after he was lost for the year.

2005, the year in which we started off with Luke Scott in left – a guy the Organization HATED and couldn’t wait until he had a cold streak so that they could send him down; the year in which we lost every away game but 3 for the first 2 months; the year in which only Morgan Ensberg managed to hit before Lance Berkman came back in May and found his stroke; the year in which Jason Lane had his only full good year (you talk about a wasted career); the year in which Brad Lidge went from infallible to Dan F Miceli territory, giving up homers to the likes of Scott Podsednick in the World Series – which, by the way, I am REALLY grateful I got to go to, as I am pretty sure I won’t see the Astros in another WS in my lifetime…

But I digress…

I thought, just for fun, that we’d take a look at all the guys who used to be on the Astros, see who they were traded for (if they were traded) and how they’ve done since leaving. I’m also going to include a few minor leaguers who are now major leaguers. Please note that I haven’t made any comments about the guys who are “still here” – that’s for my first half review entry.

2005:

 C Brad Ausmus – played until 2008, left as a FA, then signed with the Dodgers for 09: hit .295 over 107 PA/36 games as Russell Martin’s backup. Still smoking hot, too… 
1B Lance Berkman – still here 
2B Craig Biggio - retired after wrecking the 07 season, beatified in 08
SS Adam Everett – was let go as a FA after the 07 season, spent 08 with the Twins (didn’t play much – had an injured shoulder), 09 with the Tigers, will play with Tigers in 2010 
3B Morgan Ensberg – traded to the Padres for chewing gum 8/07. Signed with the Yankees AAA team in 08, had a few crappy ABs when A-Rod was injured - now OOB - never was able to recover his stroke after injuring his shoulder in May 06
LF Chris Burke – traded to the DBax with Juan Gutierrez and Chad Qualls for Jose Valverde. Never recovered his stroke after HIS shoulder injury, neither. Was a utility guy for the DBax in 08, drifted between SanDiego, and AAA for the Braves and mariners last year. 
CF Willy Taveras – traded to the Rox with Jason Hirsh And Taylor Buchholz for Jason Jennings  after the 06 season. He posted a career high 89 OPS+ (.748 OPS) in 07, then went back to his usual suckage in spite of stealing a NL high 68 bases in 08. The Rox preferred Ryan Spilborghs, and let Willy go after 08, and he signed a 2 year deal with Dusty Baker and the Reds – he’s Dusty’s kind of leadoff guy. In 102 games (437 PA) he had a .275 OBP, a 48 OPS+ and 25 SB/6 CS.
RF Jason Lane – traded to the Padres 9/07  (from the minors) for nothing – still in the minors.

1B Mike Lamb – let go after the 07 season, signed with the Twins, got hurt, sucked, spent last year at AAA Buffalo, sucked
OF Orlando Palmeiro – retired after the 06 season
 
IF Jose Vizcaino – let go as FA after the season, signed with Giants, released, signed with WS champion Cardinals, then retired after the 06 series.
1B Jeff Bagwell - anointed as Saint after he retired after the 06 season. Which he shouldn’t have been, seeing as how he cost the Astros 17 mill by insisting on playing in ST that year (McLane shoulda just said NO, but I digress…)
UT Eric Bruntlett - traded to Phillies with Brad Lidge after the 07 season for Michael Bourn – won a Ring. Still can’t hit for spit, but he can play almost every position
C Raul Chavez – not re-signed after 05, bounced around, now with the Jays – still can’t hit 
LF Luke Scott – one of 5 traded to the Orioles for Tejada after 07 – has done well, a 111 and a 118 OPS+ over the past 2 years. Has more RCAA than Miguel Tejada over the same 2 years for 25 mill fewer dollars.
C Humberto Quintero – still here. Unfortunately. Can’t hit and is a lousy receiver.
UT Todd Self – now playing in the indys – last year in OB was at AA in 07 – had .947 OPS
OF Charles Gipson – retired after 05

RH SP Roy Oswalt – still here
LH SP Andy Pettitte –  wasn’t re-signed after 06, returned as FA to Yankees after Drayton refused to let him play Prima Donna and wouldn’t re-sign him. Still with MFY.
RH SP Roger Clemens – wasn’t resigned after 06, returned to Yankees with his former best bud. Now OOB – hasn’t started 10 year service contract with Astros because Roger chose to deny steroid/HGH use allegations by his former trainer instead of getting all teary-eyed and begging for forgiveness as his former best bud did.
RH SP Brandon Backe – DFA’d  last year after 13 innings – brought back after starting the year hurt, severely screwed by Cecil Cooper, who, in 07, left him in 3 games when he CLEARLY had nothing to “take one for the team” as Coop had exhausted his relievers.
LH SP Wandy Rodriguez – still here
RH SP Ezequiel Astacio - went to Rangers AAA club after 06 season, sucked there too, now OOB 
RH SP Brandon Duckworth – signed with Royals as FA after 05 season, spent 06, 07 and 08 bouncing back and forth between ML and AAA, naturally beat the Astros in his game facing us. Sucked at AAA last year

RH RP Chad Qualls – traded to Dbax after the 07 season for Valverde - used as both setup man and closer in 08, closer in 09. Has done well, will be their closer this year, too.
RH RP Chad Harville – put on waivers 8/05 picked up by Boston, in AAA in 06, now OOB
RH RP Dan Wheeler – great setup/closer in 06, had bad year in 07, traded to the Rays for Ty Wigginton 7/07, did great as setup/backup closer in 08 and 09
RH RP Russ Springer – not resigned after 06 season – Tim Purpura’s STUPIDEST move (I don’t blame him for Jennings, Carlos Lee or Woody Williams because those weren’t his decisions, they were Drayton’s) deciding he didn’t want a great 1 inning guy, replacing him with Rick White, who had 10 scoreless games, blew up, then was gone. Springer had ERA+ of 201 for the Cardinals in 07 and 183 in 08. Was league average for the A’s and Rays last year
RH SP/RP Mike Burns – very successful closer for Astros at AA in 04 and AAA in 05 – had 30 relief innings for Astros with 1.19 ERA, but they didn’t want to keep him, not sure why. AAA for Cincy in 06 did well, had a couple lousy innings in the ML, released, picked up by Boston, who converted him to a swing man/long relief. Spent 07 at AAA Boston, spent 08 at AAA Cubs, spent 09  with Milwaukee, spent the first half at AAA, called up after the ASB, won his start against the Astros 8/15/09. Naturally.
LH RP John Franco – the black hole of massive suckage who cost starters runs and wins, who was almost always bailed out by some other reliever, was mercifully released at the end of June. I STILL don’t understand Phil Garner’s massive infatuation for this guy.
LOOGY Mike Gallo – went from good in 05 to horrible in 06, was sent down at the end of May. Spent 07 at AAA Colorado and 08 at AAA Toronto. Now OOB.
RH RP Scott Strickland – Threw 4 ghastly innings. He never did recover from his injuries in the 03 season. Has spent the last 3 years at AAA for the Padres, Yankees and Dodgers.
RH RP Travis Driskill – threw 1 inning in 05, spent 06 at AAA Round Rock, spent 07 at AAA Round Rock, and threw 6 innings for the Astros which I can’t remember. Now OOB.

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Brad Lidge Saves Consecutive 1 Run Games To Help Phils Win NLDS

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Yeah, I know it is not Astros news, but I like Brad.

It has been a postseason of Closers Who Fail – and interestingly enough, Brad, who has had, uh, his share of struggles this year, has come through, unlike Papelbon, Huston Street and Ryan Franklin.

What’s that old Stones song – When The Whip Comes Down…

Got an, um, interesting comment purporting to be from “Jack Zduriencik” informing me that I should not quit my day job as a cosmetologist (at least he didn’t say stripper or Hooter’s, uh, serve-person) because, in fact, Bobby Heck was NEVER a scouting director, just an underling in the scouting dept and that he, Jack, was, in fact, the scouting director.

That’ll teach me not to assume any info I hear is correct, and from now on, when I hear someone referred to with some title, I will check and make sure that that title is, in fact, correct.

Good news: Mike Hargrove, Grady Little and Jim Fregosi are not being interviewed for manager.

BAD news: Ned Yost is (sorry – he’s very good with an all-rookie team, getting them to have confidence in the majors, but any more than that is a big NO, especially the problem with pitchers) and Phil Garner is. He’s not Billy Martin – his time came and went. He’s good with players, terrible with on field strategy.

I’d like to see them give Pete Mackanin, the Phillies bench coach, a chance. He has been an interim ML manager twice and has done tolerably well both times AND he’s been working with a winning team. No Bob Melvin, no Manny Acta.

I see there is no Bobby Valentine on the list of interviewees. Wonder if it is because hell will freeze before Drayton would EVER have any manager who had a rep like Bobby or because they asked Bobby and he said – um, no…

 

 

Trick Or Treat – Reviewing Ed Wade’s 07/08 Trades

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Well, there are Effing A trades, Effing F trades and everything in between.

There are trades done for short term gain, for long term gain and because your owner told you to trade some guy. Given the fact that it is extremely difficult to ascertain just how much input Drayton had on each trade, given that Drayton’s middle name is – I’m a better GM than You Are, I am not going to call Eddie Wade either a genius or a nincompoop. Well, not a total nincom POOP (dang I LUUUUVVV that word. I watch too much Daffy Duck…)

Remember that Ed was not responsible for the trades of Ensberg, who fetched a couple pieces of chewed gum or something, which is what he was worth by then (let this be a lesson to stupid macho types who think that playing hurt is a wonderful terrific selfless thing to do for the team. The “macho” refers to stupid players, their stupid teammates, stupid fans and stupid sportswriters, both amateur and professional.)

The Dan Wheeler for Ty Wigginton trade was also Purpura’s. Poor ol Pur-puppet is pretty much remembered for trading future Hall of Famer Willy Taveras for Jason Jennings and (supposedly) running off Pettitte. Ahem.  

Also, from the 2007 team, Adam Everett, Mike Lamb, Eric Munson and Jason Jennings were not tendered a contract and Biggio and Orlando Palmeiro retired.

And I strongly suspect that Ed Wade was ordered to get rid of Lidge, Burke, Albers and Scott (of those traded, not non-tendered) and ordered to acquire Tejada (who Drayton has wanted since the HR Derby in 04 – or so I hear tell.)

OK. Trade time.

1 – Jason Lane to the Padres for 10 bucks and a dollar dog.

sigh. Unfortunately, this is one of those trades in which both sides came out even. Poor Jason Lane. Damm I wish I knew what on earth happened to that poor boy. The Astros wasted away at least 2 years of his youth keeping him in AAA, then keeping him on the bench. Sigh. But let’s remember he was instrumental to the 2005 pennant, just as Mo Ensberg was.

2 – Chris Burke, Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez to the Diamondbacks for Jose Valverde.

Money -  955K + 1.3125 mill + 390K (2.66 mill) : 4.7 mill 

Performance:- Juan Gutierrez: AAA – 116.2 IP over 22 GS, 3 relief – 6.09 ERA, 1.68 WHIP – 44BB, 87 K 11 HR, 11.73 hits/9 IP. His worst performance of his career.
- Chris Burke: he never recovered from his shoulder injury. 199 PA over 86 games: 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 22 BB, 33 K, 2 GIDP, 3 sac fly, 12 RBI. .194/.310/.273/.583 and (-) 12 RCAA
- Chad Qualls: Good – 73.2 IP/77 G with a career low ERA of 2.81 and a 1.05 WHIP, 18 BB, 77 K, 4 HR and .597 OPS against. Bad was him blowing 8 saves (and they lost every one of those games) as a set up man and 2 more losses. Oh yeah – and he Francoed 4 more games, blowing the lead and getting inherited ruinners assigned to the other guy so that THEY were tagged for the L. Total – he lost his team 14 games. However, with the collapse of Brandon Lyon in September, he was made the closer and saved 7 of the last 8 games, giving up only 2 hits and a BB. + 15 RSAA. Interesting that RSAA does not reflect games lost/blown.
- Jose Valverde – After a VERY rough beginning over the first 3 weeks, he only blew 4 more saves and lost 1 more over the remainder of the year while saving 44. Not Lidge, but darn good. 72 IP over 74 games – 10 HR, 23 BB, 83 K and a .686 OPS against. Total – he lost his team 5 games, but unlike Arizona, the Astros came back to win 4 games. 8 RSAA

Conclusion: I would have to say that the Astros ended up on the winning side of this trade in spite of paying 2 mill for just 1 player – at least so far. Since they got rid of Lidge, they simply HAD to have someone who could close, and there was absolutely no one on the 40 man who could take Lidge’s place and they obviously either wanted Qualls gone or didn’t think he had what it takes to close. Valverde saved 44 games and won 2 more while losing the team only 5 games (although it could have been 9) and Qualls, although he had better numbers, lost his team 14 games. Burke provided next to nothing as a utility guy. The Astros have control of Valverde for 09 and the Diamondbacks have 2 more years of Qualls and I would guess that Burke is finished and Gutierrez looks as if he won’t make the majors. (Interesting that Qualls has 15 RSAA and Valverde 8 – and Brad Lidge only 19??!!!?)

I should mention that one of the reasons (besides $$$) that the Dbax were comfortable trading Valverde away was that they thought Brandon Lyon could step and be an A-list closer and they could get 2 prospects at the end of the year when they let him walk. They sure were wrong on that score.

3 – Luke Scott, Matt Albers, Dennis Sarfate, Troy Patton and AAA player Mike Constanzo to the Orioles for All-Star Miguel Tejada.

Money - 430K + 395K + 390K + 390K (1.61 mill) : 13 mill (and 13 mill next year)

Performance:- Luke Scott: 536 PA over 148 G: 29 double, 2 triple, 23 HR, 53 BB, 102 K, 7 GIDP, 3 SF, 65 RBI from the 6-hole (mostly) 7 RCAA
- Matt Albers: as a reliever, 37.2 IP over 23 G: 31 H, 19 BB, 3 HR, 22 K, 2.63 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .230 BAA; as a starter, terrible – 3 games, 11.1 IP, 8 ER and he still ended up with 5 RSAA
- Dennis Sarfate: as a reliever, 64 IP over 53 G: 43H, 48 BB, 3 HR, 71 K, 3.38 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .195 BAA; terrible as a starter – 10.38 ERA over 14 IP and 4 GS – lowered his RSAA from 5 to (-3)
- Mike Constanzo: AAA (his first year) .261/.333/.395/728 – 52 BB, 159 K over 483 AB. Not great for a 3B – and I also remember he made 30 something errors, too – can’t find the stat page, unfortunately,
- Miguel Tejada: 666 PA over 158 G: .283/.314/.415/.729: 38 double, 3 triple, 13 HR, 24 BB, 77 K, 32 GIDP (a new NL record) 7 SB, 7 CS, (-)26 RCAA.

Conclusion: Definitely an Orioles win, both in terms of players and money. Sure I know that All-Star Tejada (reminds me of All-Star Lance Carter with the 6 something ERA a few years back) is popular in Houston because he is “energetic” and hits for average and seldom (shudder) walks. His glove was better than I dared hope, but I am not sure that at age 36, his agility will allow the same performance. His glove most certainly is not worth 13 million and his bat most definitely is not. He is essentially untradable because of his enormous salary and his rapidly declining power. I am still amused by all the people who were sooooo sure that Miggy would hit 50 homers fer SHER this year. And saddened by the number of people who think Barry Bonds is evil personified for (supposedly) using steroids but don’t mind one bit that Tejada did.

Oh, and by the way that (-)26 RCAA is exactly the same as Adam Everett’s 2006, his last full year. Tejada had 66 RBI batting 2nd, 3rd or 5th. Everett had 55 RBI batting 8th, behind Brad Ausmus. Yet, Everett’s bat was vilified and Tejada’s praised. It’s all in the BA.

Meanwhile, Luke Scott outplayed Hunter Pence (who had -7 RCAA), Albers was a nails reliever until he got hurt, Sarfate was good as a reliever, terrible as a starter and Troy Patton spent the year on the DL with a torn labrum – who knows if he will ever be able to pitch.

4 – Josh Anderson to the Braves for Oscar Villareal.

Money -  380 K : 2.6 mill

Performance:- Oscar Villareal: 37.2 execrable IP over 35 G – 5.05 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 12 HR, 17 BB, 21 K. He got tagged with 3 L and he blew 3 more that the Astros lost. (-) 3 RSAA
- Josh Anderson: in AAA, he hit .314/.358/.405/.763 over 453 AB with 23 double, 4 triples, 4 homers, 30 BB, 57 K, 42 SB, 7 CS; He had almost the same line over 142 AB in the majors once the Braves traded Kotsay and he had 2 RCAA. Did I mention that the guy is a great CF?

Conclusion: This is most DEFINITELY an effing F trade. Ed Wade needs to learn an important lesson here: John Schuerholz has been GM of the Braves since 1991. I can think of exactly two good pitchers he has traded since then – Jason Schmidt and Adam Wainwright (I would call Odalis Perez and Jason Marquis – OK major leaguers, some good years some bad. And they were both traded because they did not get along with Bobby and/or Leo.) That is it. He was wrong about exactly TWO guys. Two guys in 17 years should make you think a bazillion times before trading for a Braves pitcher, let alone signing him to a 2 year deal BEFORE you see how well he pitches. The Astros never thought much of Josh Anderson, who, like Bourn, is a lefty – and he was essentially a AAA lifer as far as the Astros were concerned. Ed’s high opinion of Michael has not been Bourn out by his performance, at least so far, and if Michael does not improve this year, it will essentially be a flushing of 2.6 mill down the toilet. Plus the loss of a Michael Bourn clone, only better, that we already had.

5 – Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett to the Phillies for Michael Bourn, Geoff Geary and AAA player Mike Costanzo.

Money – 6.35 mill + 600K  : 396 K + 1.125 mill (Philly got incredibly more value for their 7 mill than the Astros did for their 1.5 mill)

Performance:- Brad Lidge: 69.1 IP/72 G: 2 HR, 35 BB, 92 K: 41 saves, ZERO BS, but he did cause the team to lose 1 by letting inherited runners score. 19 RSAA. An Effing A year, that is fer SHER. He only gave up runs when his team was already losing.
- Eric Bruntlett: .217/.297/.297/.584 over 238 PA with 15 RBI – used mostly as a DR after the 7th inning when the Phils were ahead (-) 16 RCAA
- Michael Bourn: 514 PA over 138 G: .229/.288/.300/.588: 10 doubles, 4 triples, 5 HR, 37 BB, 111 K, 41 SB, 10 CS, (-)29 RCAA. He did have a .603 OPS from the 7-hole instead of the leadoff spot, but it wasn’t particularly noticeable – well, his BA was .260 which is almost high enough to make the fans happy.
- Geoff Geary: 64 IP/55 G: 2.53 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 12 hold, 2 BS,13 RSAA
- Mike Costanzo (see the Orioles trade)

Conclusion: So far, this looks like an effing F trade. Or at least a D- as Geary was a good middle relief guy when he wasn’t hurt. Bourn certainly has a better glove and is a much better baserunner than Pence, but as a leadoff guy, Bourn flunked. People LUUUVVVV to insist that Lidge had a mental problem, but it sure looks to me as if Lidge had an injured KNEE problem. But nonetheless, the fans and probably the owner wanted him gone and all I can say is that Bourn had better turn into Kenny Lofton for this trade to not be an unmitigated disaster. Oh yeah – and Eric Bruntlett was nails in the World Series – hit a homer and scored the winning run in 2 games.

As for Bourn, the team would have been a lot better off keeping Anderson and getting a starter for Lidge instead of yet another middle reliever and a guy who looks as if Gillick was right in assessing him as a DR.  

6 – AAA pitcher Chad Reinecke to the Padres for Randy Wolf

Money - around 80K : 3.7 mill

Performance:- Chad Reinecke 18 IP over 3 games and 1 in relief – 5.00 ERA, 1.44 WHIP (-) 2 RSAA: in AAA, 129 IP over 22 GS – 1.32 WHIP, 4.35 ERA, 20 HR, 41 BB, 113 K
- Randy Wolf: as an Astro - 70.1 IP over 12 GS (5 2/3 IP/GS) 3.57 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7 RSAA; As a Padre:  119.2 IP over 21 GS (5 2/3 IP/GS)  4.74 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, (-)11 RSAA

Conclusion: Well, the Astros had no use for Reinecke except as a AAA lifer and Wolf was most certainly better than Runelvys Hernandez and all the others who were run out there as #5 guys. Ed Wade wanted to sign Wolf before the season, still wants him to sign this year and he provided decent pitching. However, he is not the “horse” too many people think he is and he is definitely not a better pitcher than Wandy. I seriously doubt that Reinecke will suddenly turn into a good, let alone serviceable ML starter or ace reliever, but youneverknow. So unless Reinecke does the almost impossible in the future, this trade is a win for the Astros even if Wolf never plays another game in an Astros uni.

7 – A-ball infielder Matt Cusick to the Yankees for LaTroy Hawkins

Money – piddling minor league salary: an insignificant portion of 1.375 mill = wash

Performance:- Matt Cusick – in A ball before trade: .285/.356/.462/.818 – had 23 lousy AB after trade.
- LaTroy Hawkins: as an Astro, 21.1 IP/24 - 11H, 5 BB, 23 K, 1 ER - 9 RSAA; as a Yankee – 41 IP over 33 G – 42H, 17 BB, 23 K (-) 6 RSAA

Conclusion: In 08, certainly a win for the Astros, with LaTroy being almost perfect and Cusick being just some guy in the low minors. Some day, who knows, it may turn into a Jeff Bagwell trade, who knows. Hopefully, Hawkins can be re-signed as the setup guy (please, oh Lord, don’t let Ed Wade figure Hawkins can close because he can’t.) Even if Cusick turns into Albert Pujols, I would still consider the trade a win, as the Astros desperately needed an 8th inning guy for cheap, and Hawkins was just that.

NL Wins The 08 WS Thanks To Ex-Stros Brad Lidge And Eric Bruntlett

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

So much for the AL being “superior.”

hehhehheh

Eric Bruntlett scored the go ahead/winning run in 2 of 4 games.

Brad Lidge was Lights Out Lidge every single time out, not just in the WS, but also in every playoff game. And regular season game. For all the people who groused that Lidge was worthless in the All-Star game after throwing around 100 pitches over 5 innings of warm-up forcing the AL to have home field advantage – well, he saved both games without giving up a run.

Oh – and Joe Buck, you ignerint sluttt, Brad Lidge was absolutely freaking AWESOME in his first postseries. If you could spare a second to get your lips offn Red Sox/Yankees butt and bother to go look at retrosheet, you could see that Brad’s first postseason was 2004. He pitched multiple innings, was absolute NAILS and reduced Albert Pujols to quivering jelly (as well as Scott Rolen, Larry Walker and Showboat Edmonds.) It was Dan Miceli who, all by his lonesome, lost THREE postseason games.

It was 2005 in which Brad ran into all KINDS of mechanics trouble. I’ve discussed this many times, but in 05, Brad had some trouble with a painful muscle near his elbow in late July, and he had trouble pitching in August and September – AND he darn near lost a clinching game in which Adam Everett fooled the ump into thinking he had tagged a runner out for a game ending DP. He got his stuff straightened out LAST year, and ran into trouble because of his painful knee in September. He had surgery in the offseason and from the first appearance of the season, he was simply Lights Out again.

Bruntlett did just fine as a utility player and scoring TWO winning runs in a WS?

Awesome.

I’m VERY happy for the National League, who soundly beat the best team in the AL. Who, by the way, look as if they will most definitely be on top of the heap for at least a few years.

10/23/08: Brad Lidge Mows Down The Meat Of The Rays Lineup 1,2,3

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Brad Lidge sure looked good striking out Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria and popping up Houstonian Carl Crawford.

But that’s OK – we have Houstonian Michael Bourn and Valuable Middle Reliever Geoff Geary now.

nevermind

Oh yes.

Back on Ex-Stros: Ben Zobrist was the Game 1 RF – he’s a SS, but he did just fine out there with the glove – not so much with the bat. Trever Miller struck out Ryan Howard and Dan Wheeler got Bruntlett to pop out.

Houstonian Carl Crawford hit a homer to break the shutout and Houstonian Scott Kazmir gave up 3 runs over 6 innings – and that boy sure does go to a lot of 3-2 counts and gives up way too many walks.

But it was B.J. Upton going all Miggy Tejada and GIDP twice – once with bases loaded 1 out – who really lost the game for the Rays. Well, that and the ump not calling a balk on Hamels and Pena being called out – and not calling out Coste for runners interference.

But hey, it was a great game – and close and exciting as a game can be with 3 1/2 minute between inning breaks can be.

I was delighted that for ONCE the announcers were not obviously sulking about no Derek Jeter in the series and were not obviously sulking about “lack of drama” or some such crap. After all, it is the BASEBALL game that is supposed to give the drama, not a story about which ballplayer is supposedly sleeping with some married rock star. And this ballgame was just great.

Helps that neither team has really faced each other, and it certainly helps the Phils that none of the Rays have had to face Lidge’s lethal slider.

Tomorrow, it’s Wifebeater Myers vs Jamie Shields, who pitched well in both of his ACLS starts, but lost.

GO JAMIE!!!

I’m rooting for a 7 game series and no, I still haven’t decided if I am rooting for one particular team. I’m just rooting for Ex-Stros.

10/10/08: In Which A Pitcher Outhits And OutRBIs MannyBManny And Lidge Slams The Door

Friday, October 10th, 2008

In other words, NL baseball ROOLZ!!!!!

Not that I am exactly a Brett Myers fan, but the guy has provided more excitement and runs at the plate than he has with his pitching.

I enjoyed his 9 and 10 pitch ABs vs Cy Young wannabe Sabathia more than ANY hitting display. And today he created 1 more run than Manny. Myers went 3 fer 3, drove in 4 (got credit for only 3 because of an error) scored 2 and stranded none.

Manny wannaBMannyVP went 1 fer 4 with a BB, drove in 3, scored 1 and stranded 2.
This is simply the KEWLest. And it is why, in spite of the AL spending incredibly more money and all the Boston/NY media people going on and on and on about how much more better the AL is, NL ball is STILL better.

And Brad Lidge struck out the side, walking Manny and Loney. And the slider slid just great. Yeh, I’d enjoy Loney and the Dodgers making it to the Series, but you know, I think I’m enjoying watching Brad Lidge prove all the haters wrong.

And Go RAYS!!!!!

Ex-Stro Brad Lidge Finishes Off The Brew Crew: Phils Go To 2008 NLCS

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Withthe end of the late and unlamented Cubbie-pooh’s playoff run, with James Loney and the Dodgers vs Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett and the Phils, it’s tough to know who to root for.

It would be seriously kewl if the Phils Go All The Way with Brad saving every single game including striking out Uncle Albert on 3 straight FB to end Game 7 bases loaded 2 out in the bottom of the 9th.

Oh. I forgot. Uncle is sitting home this October. I hate it when reality interferes with fantasy. But at least I got to watch The Jackal do exactly that in 06, although not against Brad. Like I said, I hate it when reality disrupts fantasy.
It would also be too kewl to watch the Kent-free young players and Manny and his dreads kick AL butt. Interesting that as soon as Kent grabbed some bench that the Dodgers took off – now why am I not surprised…

I also LOVE watching playoff baseball on TBS. I don’t have to keep the TV on mute to keep my blood pressure normal. The commentators are so freaking incredibly much better – no Kevin Kennedy, no stupid graphics/movie star shots/beaver shots. John Smoltz and Curtis Granderson (and not just because the brotha is HOT) are just GREAT. I love hearing Harold Reynolds again.

And I bout died laughing watching basketball expert David Aldridge looking at that little white ball and wondering if the basketball overdosed on roids or something – dude doesn’t know the difference between Randy Myers and Brett Myers.

I love baseball.

The playoffs are kind of like the end of the 4th of July fireworks display where they set off a whole lot at the very end and then the smoke drifts off and there’s nothing and you can’t believe it is over and you kind of hope that maybe they forgot a few, but they didn’t and then you gotta wait until next year..

Brad Lidge Wins 2008 NL Comeback Player Of The Year

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

I know, I know.
He’ll choke in the playoffs because he can’t handle big games.
no
wait
He’ll be fine because he won’t have to face Pujols.
or something
As for me, I’m not even a little bit surprised. He got his knee fixed, his arm is healthy, and he’s just as great as he ever was.
I’m just sorry it wasn’t here in Houston. Ah well. You can’t have everything…