Archive for the ‘Alberto Arias’ Category

Spring Training 2010 – Astros Pitchers Report

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Yes, I know this is not exactly a staff to boast about, but at least there are plenty of middle relievers. Ed Wade is GOOD at picking up middle relievers offn the trash heap, waiver wire. He’s not so good at signing them as FA or trading for them, however. Interesting that this Organization, like the Giants, in spite of monstrous effups in the draft, has managed to develop some pitchers. And NRI does NOT mean no chance to make the team – remember Moehler and Rick White… Let’s take a look:

Fernando Abad, age 24 RH RP: signed as an undrafted FA out of the D.R. in 021 by the Astros. Started and relieved in Rookie League Greenville (a hitters’ paradise) in 07, did OK with a 4.14 ERA. Threw 76 innings in relief of 3.30 ERA ball at Lexington in 08. Last year, threw 82 innings in relief at A+ with a 4.14 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, low BB and HR and 8.4 K/9. Promoted to AA, started 3 games over 14 IP with a 3.21 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, increased to 1.9 BB/9, but 0.6 HR/9 and 8.6 K/9. Not sure if the change to starter is going to stick, but at least he seems to have some control. Of course he needs more time in the minors.
Alberto Arias, age 26, Rh RP: one of Ed Wade’s GOOD scrap heap pickups – this time from the Rox at the trade deadline in 08. He uck-sayed as a starter, but this year excelled as a 1 inning reliever until Cooper overused him and he broke in August. He spent the rest of the year on the DL, but should be ready for ST. He threw 45.2 innings over 42 games, ended with a 3.35 ERA/1.49 WHIP, 0.2 HR/9, 3.7 BB/9, 7.7 K/9. He should make the ML team – he’s out of options and would have to pass through waivers before going to AAA…
Yorman Bazardo, age 25, RH SP/RP: signed as a FA in 09 after he was released by the (surprise, surprise) Phillies, who let him go after ST. He had a great year at AAA, was the second best pitcher in the PCL behind Bud Norris (would have been nice if someone at RR besides JR Towles and Tommy Manzella had been able to hit the ball, but I digress…) but he had a very low H/9 AND, unfortunately, a very low K/9. It didn’t translate into major league success, as he exhibited poor control and mediocre stuff and he managed only 1 decent game – threw 5.2 innings against Cole Hamels and NL Champion Phillies, giving up only 2 runs. Yes, I know that every now and then, pitchers with low K rates manage to have ML success, but not combined with high H/9 and high BB/9. I seriously doubt he makes the ML team out of ST, but yeah, youneverknow.
NRI – Josh Banks, age 27, RH SP/RP: second round pick of Toronto on 02. He’s one of those guys with a high ERA and low WHIP who doesn’t walk many, but gives up too many hits. He was called up in 07, pitched 7 lousy innings. He started 08 in AAA, his 3rd year in AAA, and when he had 3 bad starts, he was released and picked up by the Padres. He had 14 starts and 3 relief appearances in 08 with a 4.75 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 9.9 H/9 IP, 1.3 HR/9. 3.4 BB/9, 4.5 K/9 over 85.1 IP (around 5.2 IP/GS). He started off 2009 badly, 3 GS, 3 in relief over 22.1 IP with a 7 something ERA – reduced walks AND Ks and increased HR. He spent the remainder of the year at AAA – did fairly well with a 3.46 ERA, 1.25 WHIP over 125 IP – lowered homers and walks, and increased K/9 to 6.8. He’s one of those guys who has minor league success but has a tough time translating it to ML success. I would guess that he’d be stashed in AAA along with Bazardo.
Tim Byrdak, age 36, LH RP: one of Ed Wade’s scrap heap pick up middle reliever success stories (see, I DO give Fast Eddie credit when credit is due) in ST 2008. He posted a 108 ERA+ over 55 innings in 08 and a 130 ERA+ over 61 IP in 09. (By the way, he is supposed to be the exact same size as Wandy – 5’11″ and 195 lb – all yall look at them next time you can, see who is larger – hint, it ain’t the Wand Man…) Last year, he had 2 BS (both L) and 9 holds. He was used quite a bit as a LOOGY, although leftys hit a little bit better against him: – .700 OPSA vs .640. But that is just year to year variation as in 08, leftys hit .469 OPS against and rightys hit 1.005 OPSA. He is certainly capable of pitching 1 full inning, even 2, and it will be interesting to see how Brad Mills uses relievers.
NRI – Gustavo Chacin, age 29, LH SP: now this one really IS 5’11″ but last I saw him, he was a HECK of a lot more than 205 lb. Anyway, he was signed out of Venezuela by the Blue Jays in 98, had a cup of coffee in 04, then pitched 205 VERY good innings in 05 with a 119 ERA+ but, um, let’s say he sure nuff didn’t repeat his excellence in 06 at the ML level. Don’t know why – maybe he was hurt, maybe he was eating too many donuts, but he spent the next couple of years bouncing between the ML club and AAA, doing lousy. After 45 execrable innings in 08 at AAA, he was either released or went on the DL. You’ll never guess which Organization he was with last year. Yeah – but at least he had a decent year at AAA – pitched well for the first time since 05 at ANY level with a 3.21 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.9 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 5 K/9. Like some of the other guys, I would guess that he has little to no chance of making the ML team but would be AAA filler.
NRI – Roy Corcoran, age 30 RH RP: Signed as an undrafted FA by the Expos in 01. Pitched a couple of good innings in 03 and 04, but spent all of 05 and virtually all of  06 at AAA because he has a leeeeeeetle problem with control and giving up almost 5 BB/9 IP at AAA is not good. He was picked up by the Marlins as 6 year minor league FA for the 07 season, kept his ERA down, but couldn’t lower all those walks. He was signed by Seattle in 08 and, surprisingly, pitched 72 decent innings over 50 games with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP (his old walks problem) but only gave up 1 homer – actually, not givein up homers is definitely his strong point – his lifetime HR numbers are 0.4/9 IP. Anyway, in 09, he pitched 19 horrible innings for Seattle (walks out of control at 8.1/9 IP and Ks decreased to 2.8/9 IP, and he was released and picked up by Ed Wade. He only threw 22 innings at Round Rock and he actually DID decrease walks, but unfortunately, at the expense of increased hits. He CERTAINLY isn’t a better reliever than either Arias or Gervacio, so I would guess he gets to go back to AAA.
NRI – Casey Daigle, age 29, RH RP: AKA Jennie Finch’s husband. First round pick of the DBax in 99 – has had limited ML action because, well, let’s just say they should have picked his wife instead. He had a low ERA last year, 2.91, but a 1.54 WHIP because of a high hit and walk rate, even though he had 8.3 K/9. He appears to me to be another AAA lifer.
Evan Englebrook, age 28, RH RP: picked by the Astros in the 8th round of the 04 draft. Has moved up a level every year, having trouble with adjustint when he first moves up. He started the year at AA, taking some of the closing duties, threw 26 innings in 21 games with a 3.16 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 6.7 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 5.6 K/9. He was promoted to AAA, threw just 10 innings with a 6.97 ERA, 1.69 WHIP (too many hits.) He uck-sayed in the AFL this year, so I would gues he’s AAA bound. He doesn’t appear to be remarkable in any way.
Jeff Fulchino, age 29, RH RP: One of Ed Wade’s GOOD waiver wire pickups – this time from the Royals. He threw 82 innings of 123 ERA+ ball over 61 games: 3.40 ERA, 1.18 WHIP. Walks were a little high at 3.4/9, but he kept the hits low, 7.7/9, the HR low at 0.8/9 and the Ks reasonable at 7.5/9. Hope he repeats his numbers this year – he had a .707 OPSA leftys and a .649 OPS vs rightys.
Samuel Gervacio, age 25, RH RP: signed by the Astros as an undrafted FA out of the DR in 02, called up in August and was a VERY pleasant surprise – he was great. In fact, he almost duplicated his minor league numbers which are 3.11 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 7.1 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 3 BB/9, 11.2 K/9. In the majors, over 22 IP, Sammy had a 2.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 6.9 H/9. I hoped he would move into the setup position, but not until the more expensive Lindstrom fails, I guess. He SHOULD make the ML team, but youneverknow…
Matt Lindstrom, age RH RP – either set up or closer: click here to read my evaluation.
NRI – Chia-Jen Lo, age 24, RH RP: signed out of Taiwan 2 years ago. This year, threw 39 innings over 30 games with a 2.31 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6.9 H/9, 0.2 HR/9, 4.6 BB/9 (uh-oh), 9 K/9. In the AzFL, he threw 10 innings over 6 games with a 3.60 ERA and a 0.9 WHIP – 7 H, 1 HR, 4 ER,  12 K, 1 BB. I expect him to be promoted to AAA.
Wilton Lopez, age 26, RH SP: picked up on waivers from the Padres by Ed Wade (and at this point, he don’t look so good, but at least he’s not someone who is expensive.) He threw 110 mediocre innings at AA – 3.90 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 10.9 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 1.1 BB/9 (GOOD) and 5.6 K/9. Got called up to pitch a couple of starts because darn near everyone was already on the DL and SOMEbody had to do it. Let’s just call it batting practice and let it go. Not sure if he’s even going to make the AAA team. He’d BETTER NOT make the ML team.
NRI – Shane Loux, age 30, RH SP/RP: picked by the Tigers in the 2nd round of the 97 draft out of HS. Saw ML service for the horrible 02, 03 and 04 Tigers and trust me on this, he was DEFINITELY part of the problem. After another lousy year at AAA in 05 (5 something ERA, 1.49 WHIP) he was let go and the Royals signed him as a 6 year minor league FA. He was slightly worse, believe it or not. Anyway, for some reason, the Angels picked him up for the 08 season and he lowered ERA, H/9 and WHIP at AAA and also pitched 16 good relief innings in the ML. He wasn’t able to duplicate his success in 09 and his contract wasn’t renewed. Minor league totals: over 1291 innings, 4.43 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 10 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 3 BB/9, 5.4 K/9. Not even AAA material.  Meh.  
Brandon Lyon, age 30, RH RP: will setup or close. Picked by the Blue Jays in the 14th round of the 99 draft. Originally a starter, he threw 63 innings of 108 ERA+ ball in 01, then threw 62 lousy innings in relief in 02 and was sent down to AAA, started and continued to suck. Placed on waivers at the end of the year, he was picked up by the BoSox and threw 59 innings of 113 ERA+ ball in relief in 03. Which was an, um, INteresting year for him – he was part of the infamous Mike Gonzalez trade with the Pirates (he was traded back a week later) and then, after the Pirates found out he was hurt, demanded Gonzalez back PLUS Freddy Sanchez.
At the end of the year, Lyon, Casey Fossum and Jorge De La Rosa were traded to the DBax for Curt Schilling. Lyon missed the vast majority of 04 and 05 due to injury, came back in 06 and threw 69 innings of middle relief with a 3.89 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. As a 7th inning guy and setup man, he did very well in 06, throwing 74 innings with a 2.67 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.
The DBax were confident that he could replace Valverde as closer, so they traded him to the Astros for Qualls. Lyons didn’t do particularly well as closer – his ERA increased to 4.79 and his WHIP to 1.49 – he significantly increased both hits and HR/9 and by mid August, lost his closing job to Qualls. He signed a 1 year deal with the Tigers in 09 to be a setup guy and pitched well again: 78.2 innings with a 2.86 ERA, 1.11 WHIP – had a career low 6.5 H/9 and a career high 3.5 BB/9, and had his usual low K rate of 6.5/9 and his usual HR/9 of 0.8. He was signed by Ed Wade, supposedly bidding against some other team, to a 3 year 15 mill deal – imagine – a setup guy is getting the same $$$ as the #1 starter. I have a feeling this is gonna be a Kaz Matsui type deal…
NRI – Gary Majewski, age 30, RH RP: Native Houstonian drafted by the White Sox in the 2nd round of the 98 draft out of HS. While still in the minors, he was traded to the Dodgers for Antonio Osuna and a bunch of minor leaguers, and was again traded that July back to the White Sox for James Baldwin. He was in AAA, picthing very well and closing when he was traded in July to the Expos/Nats for Carl Everett (yes, I’m serious.) He was called up and threw 21 innings over 16 games with a 3.86 ERA, marred by a hit rate of 12/9 IP. He had a career year in 05, throwing 96 innings with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. In 06, he had thrown 55 innings of 3.58 ERA, 1.34 WHIP relief innings when he was traded to the Reds for Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez. I guess he was already hurt or immediately hurt and let me say that in the m,ajors, he has uck-sayed and in the minors, has been barely mediocre – he has a low K rate for a reliever – 5.3/9 IP in his good seasons and he tends to give up too many hits – at least 10-11/9 IP, although he is not homeriffic. He spent last year at AAA, you NEVAH guess which Organization, and threw 65 innings of 4.02 ERA/1.55 WHIP ball. He never recovered from injury, looks like.
Brian Moehler, age 38, RH SP/RP: AKA El Cucaracho. Started 29 games and threw 154 innings of 77 ERA+ ball: 5.47 ERA, 1.78 WHIP. The ERA is a little better – 4.91, if you omit his 2 April starts when he was OBVIOUSLY hurt. He also had 2 bad starts at the end of the year – he was obviuosly tired, but the Astros had no one else to take the ball, so he did – increased his ERA from 4.80 to 5.47. He’s not a terrible 5th guy and he can relieve (as long as he doesn’t go more than 3 days without work and he isn’t over worked, and he can pitch long relief. He’s getting paid 3 mill – just 2 more than Wandy, our best pitcher.
Brett Myers, age RH SP/RP: I’ve already talked about the Wifebeater enough – click here to review what I wrote (stat stuff starts about halfway down)
Matt Nevarez, age 23, RH RP. Drafted by the Rangers in the 10th round of the 05 draft and traded to the Astros last August for Pudge Rodriguez. Just finished A ball – for his minor league career, he has a 2.94 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 6.4 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 5.2!!! BB/9 and 11.3 K/9; I should not that his walk rate decreased significantly last year to 3.5/9. Hope it continues its downward trend.
Bud Norris, age 25, RH SP: picked by the Astros in the 6th round of the 06 draft out of Cal Poly: Expected to be our #3 or 4 starter this year. Was the top pitcher in the PCL before his promotion. After callup, he had 3 good starts, 1 bad start, 1 relief appearance from heck, another bad start, then 4 straight good starts to end the year. Historically, he has kept the H/9 below 9 and the K/9 around 9.4 with noce low HR rates of 0.5/9 – but he sometimes has a bit of trouble with control – his walk rate is 3.7 in the minors and was 4.0 in the majors. I hope he sticks. He looks like a tough guy out there.
Roy Oswalt, age 32, RH SP: Roy struggled with injuries, his manager and his pitching coach last year – and oh yeah, his catcher – between Pudge and Coste, that is. He threw fewer than 200 innings for the first time since 03 when he hurt his groin, but managed 29 starts and 6 IP/GS. He had his worst ERA in the majors – 4.12, but the rest of his numbers really reflected his career norms: 1.24 WHIP, 9.1 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 2.1 BB/9. 6.8 K/9. I have NO idea how he’ll do this year – guess it depends on his back, how bad it really is, and whether or not THIS year, he has better communication with his manager and pitching coach.
Felipe Paulino, age 26, RH SP: well, last year, he was shuffled between AAA, starting and relieving until he hardly knew which way was up. I will say that once Coper was fired and he was put in the rotation and kept there, he did better – 3 starts lasting 6 innings and 3 lasting 5 and only one bad one, really. He had 3 hard luck losses – 2-0, 2-1 and 2-1. He just might could be a decent 5th guy. In the minors, he has a 4.07 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 8.1 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 4.3 BB.9 and 8.3 K/9. I’ve seen him throw exactly ONE excellent game, but if he has a better pitching coach and knows he has a spot in the rotation, he just might could surprise me. I sure hope so.
Wandy Rodriguez, age 31, LH SP: (see the last entry) just lost his arb. Must be, um, interesting to hear the Organization brass tell exactly why you suck and aren’t worth much…
Chris Sampson, age 32, RH RP: did fantastic until the ASB when he got hurt – had 40 games, had a 2.68 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He got hurt, they let him spend a week on the DL after the ASB, he came back, or at least tried to, and he just gave up hit after hit and run after run until they FINALLY, um, sent him down and THEN he went on the DL, where he should have been. He had surgery, he’s ready for ST and he should be back in great form. Too bad the Organization was so determined that he not start…
Polin Trinidad, age 25 LH SP: split last year between AA (did awesome) and AAA: 87 IP with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Career minor league stats: 3.57 ERA, 1.14 WHIP: 8.7 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 1.9 BB/9 (HEY, control!!! What a concept!!!) and 6.9 K/9. Will be interesting to see how he does in AAA this year. His minor league numbers look incredibly better than Paulino’s – except for the Ks, that is.
Jose G. Valdez, age 27, RH RP: picked up on waivers from the Yankees – he repeated AA last year, had 38 IP with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP and was even worse in his 19 innings at AAA. Minor league filler – not sure why on earth he’s an NRI.
Henry Villar, age 23, RH SP/RP: undrafted FA from the DR, joined the Astros in 08. Threw 90 innings at A ball with a 2.60 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 8 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 1.7 BB/9, 10.1 K/9. Looks good all right, but surely not ready for prime time…
Wesley Wright, age 25, LH RP: maybe I should put down LH SP, seeing as how the Organization has in mind to train him to start. He went to winter ball to learn to pitch more than 1 inning at a time and did pretty well for his first 5 starts, then he pulled something and it went kinda downhill. Wesley struggled, uh, a bit last year, got sent down to work some stuff out, ended up with a 77 ERA+ which is a  5.44 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP (ugh) due to a huge spike in hits/9 IP from 6.5 to 10.5 – and he kept his horrid walk rate or 5/9 IP. Dude gots to learn some control. Coop liked to use him as a LOOGY – trouble was that leftys hit him better than rightys – .924 OPSA vs .853. But it just might be year to year variation, as leftys hit .621 OPSA last year. Youneverknow. IF they want him to start, they’ll probably start him in AAA so he can be sure to go every 5 days. Between him and Polin Trinidad, we might could have a lefty factory underway.

Sure wish we could do as well with position players as we do with pitchers – I mean, actually having guys who seem to possibly have SOME promise…

And, by the way, I will be happy to post any of your own pics from ST and any of your own observations, if you like.

7/20/09: Errors And Dodgers Beat Astros Twice

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I looked at last night’s all wrongy (not all righty) lineup foisted on Mike Hampton by Cooper’s nuttiness and thought – no, KNEW, that there was absolutely no way in HECK that the Astros were gonna win THAT one. And yes, I know that Berkman’s leg was hurting and he wasn’t gonna be playing, but there was absolutely ZERO reason to bench Michael Bourn, hitting .293 vs lefties, in favor of Jason Michaels, hitting .212 – and there is no difference in slugging, either.

sigh

Guess Hampton had just bout given up in disgust after Clank tanked a ball in left – bad jump, allowing a “triple” and a run – then Coop instructing him to walk Blake to face Kemp, a MUCH better hitter (and THAT didn’t work real too good, did it?) I mean, it was bad. And stayed bad.

Fortunately for me, Stuff Happened with the kidsssss and so I missed the rest of the game and am not real too sure I want to finish the replay – well, maybe the scene where Hampton is so furious with the suckulousness of his “supporting” cast, that he throws the ball into his glove. Only he misses, and runners advance.

Chris Coste is a TERRIBLE first baseman – not that I blame Coop for not playing Erstad (before his leg strain, I mean).

And now we have Lance with his calf strain, Erstad going on the DL with his hammy, Matsui “needing” to sit again. Guess we’d better call up Matt Kata and Jason Smith again. Because Gawd Knows we need the awesomeness of Erstad and Michaels.

sigh

Poor Russ Ortiz.

Today he pitched VERY well against the Dodgers, only to be undone by the mighty bat of slugger Bradley Awesomeness, who hit TWO doubles to the wall, driving in Matt Kemp TWICE. He must have listened to all the sneers about Brad’s hopelessness and happily thrown the ball straight down the middle, figuring – hey, what could happen? Even the OF were barely back from the IF grass.

But anyway, against the best team in the NL, he went 6 innings, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, 4 K, 2 runs and a GIDP.

And he lost because Alberto Arias went out there and had a total eclipse of the brain. He SHOULD have had 3 easy outs and instead he had 2 unbelieveably stupid errors and a botched sac bunt. Which led to a tie score.

Which led to LaTroy Hawkins coming in with the score tied, and, with 2 out and a 3-2 count, throwing a nice fat meatball down the middle which Matt Kemp promptly deposited in the stands – and therefore, the ballgame.

I know all yall gonna ask, so I’ll tell you. La Troy has appeared in 40 games. He has 9 holds, 10 saves, 3 BS (but the Astros came back to win all 3) and 4 Losses. 2 of those losses and 1 BS came on a homer in a tie game.

Interesting.

As of right now, I have no idea who will be called up and who will be playing where when we play Uncle and Saint Looie tomorrow. I know we’ve called up Chad Paronto, who has been throwing only 1 inning/game at AAA, and Coop has decided to give him the Brandon Backe treatment (use him differently than he’s been accustomed to, so that he will fail) and use him as a multi-inning reliever.

Peachy.

It’s Moehler vs Kyle Lohse. Lohse is a righty, so Coop won’t feel impelled by evil forces to sit Bourn. Lohse, by the way, pitched a 3 hit shutout against the Astros in April – and yeh, I know that wasn’t nobody hitting the baseball back then.

And in case you want to know how Moehler does against Uncle, all I can say is, please don’t ask because you don’t wanna know.

5/16/09: Cecil Cooper Mismanages Astros To Loss

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Let me first be very clear here – it CERTAINLY wasn’t all Cooper’s fault. It wasn’t his fault that both Miggy and Carlos hit into double plays, it wasn’t his fault that both Lance and Pence lost Sori’s popup in the sun, leading to a 3 run 6th and it certainly was not his fault that with the game on the line, 2 outs, game tied, bases loaded, that Lance did not come through. And it is only partly his fault that the Astros bench are teh sukc – check it out: his Proven Veterans are “hitting” .167 (Erstad) and .214 (Michaels) and remember that he is the one who wanted Jason Smith (0 fer 23) and Quintero (.133) and he is reluctant to use Keppinger (.327.)

OK.

Now, every time I start pointing out that Cooper is not a good manager (and I am not even talking about his relations with the players themselves) I hear all these people who tell me that since the Astros had such a great run in July and August of last year, that Coop should have the credit. Like it was his idea to get Randy Wolf, who pitched far better than he was expected to, to it was because of him that Carlos was hitting out of his mind until he broke his finger, or like it was because of him that Wiggy went on the biggest hitting tear of his life, or that Fast Eddie went out and got Hawkins, who moved into the setup role and pitched 22 scoreless innings in a row.

I want to use this here particular game to point out his failings, and these are repeated failings, game to game.

1 – Roy is pitching in the 6th, and Roy struck out the side in the 5th. He’s starting the inning at 84 pitches, and has walked none and struck out 6. Not really vintage ROY, but certainly better than he had been pitching so far. Sori gets on because neither Lance nor Pence can manage to get to his popup. Theriot, batting .300, bunts Sori over. He goes to a 3-2 count on lefty Fukudome, who flies out to deep center. Then Derrek Lee, whose bat has strongly resembled Lance’s this year, takes Roy to yet another 3-2 count, actually 6 pitches because of fouls, before singling to left, and Sori scores. He’s at 100 pitches. He’s not locating the fastball well, he’s not using the curve and when you give up hits to a guy who can’t hit the Mendoza line who fouls off pitches, it is time to come out and sit down.

ESPECIALLY because you have Micah Hoffpauir, a power hitting lefty coming up. This year, he’s tearing up rightys, hitting .298/.346/.509/.878 (and he was no slouch last year, neither, hitting .355/.420/.532/.943)  AND he’s hit .348/.426/.500/.926 at Wrigley.

So why not send in Arias, even though he’s a righty, because he gets a lot of strikeouts and that is what you need right about now.

Answer – because Roy is the veteran???

What a steaming load. You pull a pitcher when he is ineffective, ESPECIALLY when the other pitcher is nails and you can’t afford to give up so much as one more run.

But no.

And Roy is down 3-0.

2 – Lousy handling of bullpen:

case 1 – not double switching with Alberto Arias. Therefore, he can’t pitch more than 1 inning. The guy has spent most of his life, and indeed, this year in AAA as a starter and he is most certainly capable of throwing more than 1 inning, especially if he is effective and you need to keep the game close. You sure as heck can’t use Fulchino or Ortiz, who are mopup guys, you are (hopefully) going to use Sampson in higher leverage situations, and both Wesley Wright and Byrdak have been, um, shaky lately, to say the least. There is no reason to not substitute Keppinger for Blum, and yes, I know you lose on defense. But when you have only 3 effective pitchers in the bullpen, you HAVE to be proactive.

case 2 – sending in Wesley Wright to face leftys in the 8th. For whatever reason, mechanics or any other reason, Wesley has been significantly ineffective against leftys this year – they are 9 fer 20 with 4 walks – and an OPSA over 1. Yes, you have to pick SOMEone after stupidly not doubleswitching for Arias, but, wouldn’t someone who can actually shut guys down make more sense? Like, say, Sampson?

3 – Lousy handling of pinch hitters:

And yes, I know that Erstad has turned into Orlando Palmeiro.

It’s the 9th inning. You’ve just tied the score at 4, there are men on first and second, no outs. Is this or is this not the exact time you want someone to bunt the runners over for Matsui? Or do you want to send up a guy who is has a .538 OPS against rightys this year, and is overall 2 fer 14 with 2 walks and a double and no RBIs as a PH who has no idea how to bunt, seeing as how he hasn’t done it in over 4 years?

No, I wouldn’t trust Jason Freaking Smith to tie his shoes without tripping. But you have Keppinger, who sure as heck can lay down a bunt, seeing as how you didn’t have the sense to double switch with him earlier in the game,  AND you have Ortiz and Hampton, who can both CERTAINLY lay down a bunt, or even HIT.

4 – and in the bottom of the 9th, La Troy walks the leadoff man, who is sac bunted over. You have Sori coming up, 1 out, first open.

Even my 5 year old son KNOWS you walk Sori and pitch to The Riot to try for the DP. Cmon, this is absolutely basic. It’s not like Sori is a lifelong Mendoza hitter.

And stuff like this is why the Astros don’t win unless the other pitcher is simply terrible, our pitcher outpitches him and Coop doesn’t have to actually, you know, have any in-game strategy.

And Coop liking all the juicy veteran presence, you KNOW we won’t cut bait on any of the suckulesence and try some of the guys at AAA like Gall or Yordany Ramirez or Maysonet.

It isn’t too tough to beat teams that seriously suck like the hopeless Pads or Rox. But when we run into a decent team with a decent pitcher, we’re sunk.

And tomorrow, it’s Moehler vs Rich Harden, who beat us last time out.

So far, Harden has started 7 games over 37.2 innings – 33 H, 7 HR, 18 BB, 46 K – 4.64 ERA/1.34 WHIP/.234 BAA.

End Of Season Comparison Of 2008 Astros Starters – Part 2

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

In Part 1, I ccompared ordinary stats. This time, I’m going to look at run support in both wins and losses, ND numbers, numbers of games with different lengths of IP and how many QS produced wins.
Pitching Win Shares courtesy of www.thehardballtimes.com and RSAA courtesy of Lee Sinins at www.baseball-encyclopedia.com

Roy Oswalt: 17-10 in 32 GS (22 QS – 16 W, 4 L, 2 ND): 208.2 IP: really 31 GS over 207.2 IP leaving out the 1 inning in which he was still hurt – and he missed almost the entire month of July. Team wins in his 31 starts: 19-12.
- Pitching WS: 18.5
- RSAA: +20 (hard to believe he was -11 at the end of May)
< 4 IP: 1 (L-8 ER)
5-6 IP: 3 (L-3 ER; L-7 R/3 ER; W-4 ER)
6-7 IP: 11 (1 ND,2 W-1 ER;†1 ND, 1 W-4 R/ER; 1 L-3 ER; 1 L-4 R;†1 ND, 1 L-5 ER; 2 L-6 R/ER
>7 IP: 16 (4 W- 0 ER; 4 W-1 ER; 1 W-2 ER; 1 ND, 3 W, 3 L-3 ER;
4 starts 0 ER; 6 starts with 1 ER; 1 start with 2 ER; 12 starts with 3 ER; 2 starts with 4 ER, 3 starts with 5 ER; 1 start with 6 ER;1†start with 8 ER. 23/32 starts of 3 or fewer ER.
Run Support in Wins: 5.64 runs scored: 2.18 runs allowed
Run Support in Losses: 2.2 RS – 6 RA
Run Support: Runs Allowed in ND 4.2 – 4.5: 2 W, 2 L. Also, the bullpen lost NO games for Roy in the 2 losses – Roy was pulled when the score was tied, not when he was ahead. So there weren’t real too many games he should have won, but didn’t – maybe 3.

Wandy Rodriguez: 9-7 in 25 GS (10 QS – 7 W, 2 ND, 1 L): 137.1 IP (omitting the 2 games he had to leave early because he was hurt – 9-7 in 23 GS (10 QS) 132.1 IP. Team went 11-12
- Pitching WS: 10.7
- RSAA: +13
< 4 IP: 1 (L – 4 ER/2.1 IP)
4-5 IP: 2 (L – 6 ER/4.2 IP; L – 6R/3 ER/4.2 IP)
5-6 IP:†10 (1 W-0 ER; 2 W- 1 ER;†2 L – 2 ER; 2 L – 5 ER; L – 6 ER; ND – 2 ER; ND – 3 ER)
6-7 IP: 5 (W – 0 ER; 2 W – 1 ER; W – 2 ER; L – 5R/0 ER)
>7 IP: 5 (1 W -0 ER;†1 W -1 ER; 1 ND -0 ER; 2 ND -1 ER)
note: every start (10) in which he lasted at least 6 innings he gave up 0-2 ER. In 7/10 starts of 5-6 innings, he gave up 3 or fewer ER. He had only 4 starts in which he gave up 5 or 6 ER.
Run Support in Wins: 5 R/G
Run Support in Losses 2.7 R/G
Run Support: Runs Allowed in 7 ND (team went 2-5) 6.3: 5.7 (verrrrrry interesting…)
The bullpen blew 3 games in which he left while winning and he left with the score tied in 3 more.
Total: 5 starts 0 ER; 6 starts 1 ER; 3 starts 2 ER; 2 starts 3 ER; 3 starts 4 ER; 2 starts 5 ER; 2 starts 6 ER. 16/23 starts of 3 or fewer ER – and only 9 W.

Brandon Backe: 9-14 in 31 GS (10 QS) over 166.2 IP (Note that he was less than useless in September – most likely had a completely dead arm and he should have been shut down. Actually, he wasn’t doing too badly by Aug 1, at which time he had a 4.72 ERA and a -3 RSAA. Then he had that bizarre August in which he had games of – 3 ER/6 IP; 11 ER/3.1 IP; 1 ER/7 IP; 11 ER/4.2 IP; 3 ER/7 IP; 2 ER/6.2 IP. By the end of August, he had a 5.42 ERA and a -18 RSAA. It was the catastrophic September which dropped him down to the bottom of the NL barrel.
I’m going to omit the 3 inning 0 ER start from the rainout at Pittsburgh. 9-14 in 30 GS over 163.2 IP with 10 QS (
- Pitching WS: 1.3
- RSAA: (-) 31 !!!!! (so let’s not lump him in with Wandy as if they were equivalent, OK? They weren’t even equivalent if we omit his August and Sept starts.)
< 4 IP: 4 (L – 1.1 IP/8 ER; L- 1.2 IP/5 ER; L- 3 IP/5 ER; L – 3.1 IP/11 ER)
4-5 IP: 2 (L- 5 ER; ND- 3 ER)
5-6 IP: 9 (W -0 ER; W – 2 ER; L- 2ER; L- 4 ER; L- 5 ER; L- 11 ER; ND- 2 ER; ND- 3 ER; ND- 6 ER)
6-7 IP: 10 (2 W- 2 ER; W- 3ER; L- 3 ER;†3 L- 4 ER; L- 5 ER; ND- 2 ER; ND- 3 ER)
>7 IP: 5 ( W- 0 ER; 2 W- 1 ER; W- 3 ER; ND- 3 ER)
Interesting that he pitched at least 6 innings in half his starts – sure didn’t seem like it.
2 starts with 0 ER; 2 starts with 1 ER; 6 starts with 2 ER; 7 starts with 3 ER; 4 starts with 4 ER; 5 starts with 5 ER; 1 start with 6 ER; 1 start with 8 ER; 2 starts with 11 ER.
17 starts with 3 or fewer ER and only 9 wins. Of his 7 ND, he left 4 wwhile winning and the bullpen blew his W.
Run Support in Wins: 4.7
Run Support in Losses: 2.6
Run Support: Runs Allowed in ND – 6.4: 6

Shawn Chacon: 2-3 in 15 GS (9 QS) over 85.7 IP – note – including the 1 IP game in which Coop pulled him for Shawny being Shawny. It should be noted that he was the Astros most reliable, best pitcher during April and May – before he, Coop, Dewey and Eddie, uh, um, er, had difficulties – ahem – in June… In fact, at the end of May, Shawn was tied with Wandy for the best SP – with 5 RSAA.
- Pitching WS: 2.5
- RSAA: (-) 6
< 4 IP: 2 (L- 4 ER/1 IP; ND- 5 ER/3.1 IP)
5-6 IP: 3 (L- 6 ER; L- 7 ER; ND – 5 ER)
6-7 IP: 5 (ND- 1 ER; 2 ND- 2 ER; 2 ND- 3 ER)
>7 IP: 5 (W- 2 ER; W- 3 ER; ND- 0 ER; ND- 1 ER; ND- 4 ER†)
The bullpen lost him 2 games. He had ND in 10 of his 15 starts. He was tied when he left in 6 of those, was ahead in 2 and behind in 2. The Astros went 4-6 in those starts, In every ND except one, the bullpen gave up runs after he left the game.

Randy Wolf (ONLY his numbers as an Astro) 6-2 in 12 GS (6 QS – 5 W, 1 ND) over 70.2 IP
- Pitching WS: 6.3
- RSAA: +7 (just with Astros)
< 4 IP: 1 (L- 5R/4 ER in 2.2 IP)
4-5 IP: 2 (ND- 3 ER; ND- 6 ER)
5-6 IP: 1 (W- 0 ER)
6-7 IP: 4 (W- 0 ER; ND- 1 ER; 2 ND- 4 ER)
>7 IP: 4 (W- 0 ER; W – 1 ER; W- 2 ER; W- 3 ER)
Note that the bullpen blew none of his games and that he won twice after leaving with the score tied. He also had only 1 hard luck start, getting a ND after 6.2 IP and 2 runs.
Run Support in Wins: 5.5
Run Support in Losses: 1.5 (but only 2 games – SSS)
Run Support: Runs Allowed in ND 6: 3.7

Runelvys Hernandez: 0-3 in 4 GS over 19.1 IP
2 ER/5.1 IP; 3 ER/5 IP; 4R/3 ER/5 IP; 10 ER/4 IP
- Pitching WS: (-)1.7
- RSAA: (-)9 (and that is JUST over 19 IP!!!!

OK
now, for the pitchers who both started and relieved – and sorry, but unfortunately RSAA doesn’t separate starting and relieving and the same with pitching WinShares.

Alberto Arias: 1-1 in 2 GS over 7.2 IP
- Pitching WS: 0.4
- RSAA: (-) 2
0 ER/5 IP and 2 ER/2.2 IP. He had 3 ace innings on the first start, then couldn’t find the plate for the next 2 and was lucky to escape. In the second start, he could hardly get anyone out and was lucky to escape with only 2 earnies. Looks pretty AAA to me.

Jack Cassel: 1-1 in 3 GS over 14.1 IP
It is very difficult to judge him – he’s an extreme GB pitcher who seldom strikes out hitters. He is very efficient with pitches, averaging 11/IP, but the manager CLEARLY didn’t like him and pulled him early. He was by FAR the best starting pitcher in the AAA club, but for some reason, the incredibly lousy Runelvys was given far more opportunity which he didn’t deserve to earn a spot. Actually, he reminds me of Chris Sampson, who, no matter how well he did, the Astros just did NOT want him as a starter, don’t ask me why.
- Pitching WS: 0.4
- RSAA: (-) 4;
3 ER/5 IP (68 pitches); 3 ER/4.2 IP (70 pitches); 5 ER/4.2 IP

Chris Sampson: 4-3 in 11 GS (4 QS – 3 W, 1 ND) over 55.2 IP
- Pitching WS: 7.7
- RSAA: (-)8 as a starter
< 4 IP: 2 (L- 6 ER/0.2 IP; ND- 5 ER/3.1 IP)
4-5 IP: 2 (L- 3 ER; L- 5 ER)
5-6 IP: 2 (W- 1 ER; ND- 4 ER)
6-7 IP: 3 (W- 2 ER; ND- 2 ER; ND- 5 ER)
>7 IP: 1 (W- 2 ER)
Of the 4 ND, he left 3 while winning and the bullpen blew it. He also lost another game because the bullpen let inherited runners score. He had 3 of 11 bad games. Which gave the Organization the excuse it had been looking for for over a year to put him in the pen.
Run Support/game in Wins: 6
Run Support in Losses: 4
Run Support: Runs Allowed in ND: 6.5: 7.75

Brian Moehler: 11-8 in 26 GS (9 QS – 7 W, 2 ND) over 141.2 IP
- Pitching WS: 8.7
- RSAA: (-) 2 as just starter
< 4 IP: 2 (L- 5 ER/1 IP; ND- 5 ER/2.1 IP)
4-5 IP: 2 (L- 5 ER; L- 7 ER)
5-6 IP: 11 (2 W- 0 ER; W – 1 ER; W- 3 ER; 2 L- 3 ER; L- 4 ER; L- 5 ER; ND- 1 ER; ND- 2 ER; ND- 4 ER)
6-7 IP: 7 (W- 1 ER; 2 W- 2 ER; W- 3 ER; W- 4 ER; L- 5 ER; ND- 1 ER)
>7 IP: 4 (W- 0 ER; W- 1 ER; W- 2 ER; ND- 1 ER)
3 starts with 0 ER; 6 starts with 1 ER; 4 starts with 2 ER; 4 starts with 3 ER; 3 starts with 4 ER; 5 starts with 5 ER, 1 start with 7 ER.
The bullpen didn’t blow any of his games.
Run Support in Wins: 5.3
Run Support in Losses: 2.5
Run Support: Runs Allowed in ND: 4.4: 3.8

Conclusions (besides Roy ROOLZ – after the ASB he went 10-2 with a 2.24 ERA):
- no question that in spite of injuries, being on the DL for a little over 2 months total, and being pulled early for pinch hitters more than a few times, Wandy was unquestionably the second best starter on this team.

Oh yeah – Randy Wolf and Brian Moehler are NOT #2 pitchers.

End Of Season Comparison Of 2008 Astros Starters – Part 1

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Here are all the pitchers who started a game for the Astros this year: (only their stats as starters:)

Roy Oswalt: 17-10 in 32 GS (22 QS): 208.2 IP: 1.18 WHIP, 3.54 ERA – 120 ERA+ : 7.12 K/9; 2.0 BB/9; 3.51 K/BB: 1 HR/9 IP: .253 BAA/.300 OBPA/.392 SLGA/.689 OPSA
- 6 1/2 IP/GS – excluding the start in which he had to leave hurt – 6.2 IP/GS

Wandy Rodriguez: 9-7 in 25 GS (10 QS): 137.1 IP: 1.31 WHIP, 3.54 ERA – 120 ERA+ : 8.59 K/9: 2.3 BB/9 IP: 3:1 K:BB; 0.92 HR/9 IP: .256 BAA/.316 OBPA/.401 SLGA/.716 OPSA
- 5 1/2 IP/GS – excluding the 2 starts in which he had to leave early because he was hurt – 5.2 IP/GS

Brandon Backe: 9-14 in 31 GS (10 QS) over 166.2 IP: 1.67 WHIP, 6.05 ERA – 70 ERA+ ; 6.86 K/9; 4.16 BB/9; 1.65 K:BB; 1.95 HR/9: .302 BAA/.376 OBPA/.544 SLGA/.918 OPSA
- overall, 5.1 IP/GS – excluding his execrable September, 5.2 IP/GS

Brian Moehler: 11-8 in 26 GS (9 QS) over 141.2 IP – 1.33 WHIP, 4.43 ERA – 95 ERA+ ; 5.0 K/9; 2.05 BB/9; 2.5 K:BB; .277 BAA
- 5.1 (actually, it is 5 1/2) IP/GS

Chris Sampson: 4-3 in 11 GS (4 QS) over 55.2 IP – 1.39 WHIP, 5.66 ERA: 4.4 K/9; 1.95 BB/9; 2.25 K:BB; 0.81 HR/9: .305 BAA
- 5.0 IP/ GS (this includes the disaster at Coors in which he gave up 6 ER in 0.2 IP)

Shawn Chacon: 2-3 in 15 GS (9 QS) over 85.7 IP: 1.51 WHIP, 5.04 ERA – 84 ERA+ ; 5.57 K/9, 3.38 BB/9; 1.65 K:BB; 1.68 HR/9: .270 BAA/ .354 OBPA/ .491 SLGA/ .841 OPSA
- 6.0 IP/ GS (excluding the game in which Coop pulled him after 1 inning, 4 ER in Milwaukee for “attitude”)

Randy Wolf (ONLY his numbers as an Astro) 6-2 in 12 GS (6 QS) over 70.2 IP – 1.30 WHIP, 3.57 ERA (119 ERA+) – 7.25K/9; 3.05 BB/9; 2.37 K:BB; 0.89 HR/9;
- 5.2 IP/GS (actually, a little over 5.2, but not 6)

Jack Cassel: 1-1 in 3 GS over 14.1 IP – 1.63 WHIP, 6.91 ERA (67 ERA+) 3.14K/9; 1.88 BB/9; 1.88 HR/9; .351 BAA

Runelvys Hernandez: 0-3 in 4 GS over 19.1 IP – 2.22 WHIP, 8.38 ERA (51 ERA+)

9/19/08: Astros Outscored 38-5 Over Last 5 Games

Friday, September 19th, 2008

I can’t think of anything good to say about the ballgame except that the Astros didn’t get no-hit or shutout.
Almost complete inability of Astros to get on base or to keep Marlins OFF the bases.
Arias had the same problem he had last outing – waaaayyy too many pitches outside the strike zone.
sigh

Astros head to Pittsburgh. Hope they can get their stuff together.

9/8/08: Alberto Arias And Mark Saccomanno, Welcome To The Majors

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Alberto hadn’t pitched in over a week, so he was, um, extra rested. He came out firing gas at the knees – I do have to say that Tim Welke had a VERY inconsistant strike zone with those FB at the knees (more on this later) and a lethal curveball. He was electric through the first three innings, striking out 6.

The 4th got interesting. Arias, I guess, was tired as he didn’t have the exquisite control he’d had in the first 3 innings. The first hitter, Nyger Morgan, singled to right on a 3-2. Then, with Freddy Sanchez up, Arias threw a pickoff throw wildly past Berkman, who raced after it while Morgan raced around the bases – he got greedy, decided to go for home, but a great throw from Lance to J.R. Towles nailed him.

Then he walks Sanchez – it should have been a K but strike 3 was called Ball 2 (remember I told you about the inconsistant strike zone). Then McLouth gets on with an IF single that Lance and Arias didn’t exactly coordinate you know what I’m saying. Then Doumit grounds to Newhan – should have been an easy 4-6-3 but Newhan doesn’t field the ball with enough time for Miggy to turn the DP. By then, Arias looks as if he’s getting tired and he walks Adam LaRoche – except for Ball 1, which should have been strike 1, the pitches were all up and high. Bases loaded. Arias then threw 2 way outside pitches to Brandon Moss, then a fat one down the middle which fortunately Moss swung at late and grounded out. 23 pitches – and he’d only thrown 37 over the first 3 innings.

I was actually pretty surprised that Coop sent him back out there for the 5th inning. And he walks Andy LaRoche, hitting .179, on 4 straight pitches. Then up comes Luis Cruz, and Arias throws Ball 1, then for some reason the ump gives him a gift high strike, then Cruz swings badly at a nice fat one and GIDP to Miggy. Ian Snell GO and Arias has managed to last 5 innings by the skin of his teeth.

The guy seems to have great stuff, but needs to build up his strength fer SHER. Wonder why the Rockies didn’t want him.

Snell had pitched very well through the first 4 innings, giving up only one single and one walk and striking out 5. But then he faced PH Mark Saccomanno. One FB down the middle, one FB into the Astros bullpen. Goodbye ballgame Mr. Snell.

Mark is a Houston boy – well, actually, he’s from Spring and he went to Baylor and was drafted in the 23rd round in 03. He’s what you call classic filler – he’s 28 and he just finished his second year at AAA as a 3B/1B – he a power hitter with a middling average and a Mike Lamb glove and in spite of being the offensive player of the month as well as a AAA All-star and hitting, for the year .297/.339/.521/.859 – the Astros had no intention of calling him up for so much as a sniff of the majors. Filler, you know.

But then Wiggy got hurt and they needed a righty power bat and Mark will surely get a few ABs.
Especially after hitting the first pitch he saw out of the park. He’s the 100th ML player to hit a homer in his first AB.

Anyhow, guess that homer got Snell all shook up – he gave up 4 straight singles and 2 more runs.
Which was fortunate because Wesley Wright, who came in for the 6th, ran into the ump’s crazy strike calling and he walked the first hitter (ahem) and then David Newhan completely botched an easy 4-6-3, booting the ball and getting no one out. He Ks McLouth (should have been the 3rd out) then Doumit FO (should have been the 4th out) and then he gives up a single to left to LaRoche then another run scoring single to left that Erstad got a late break on and then Brocail came in and got Cruz out for the 6th out.

Sampson came in and got 1,2,3 out.

La Troy Hawkins came in, got 2 outs, gave up a single, then got incredibly lucky and gave up a 430′ ground rule double to LaRoche – it bounced over the fence before Bourn could get to it, so the runner couldn’t score. Out comes Dewey. And then Hawkins gets the last hitter out because the ump’s crazy strike zone worked for the Astros because he called what was obviously Ball 4 as Strike 2.

The ump giveth and the ump taketh away.

What was good though, was that in spite of Lance falling on his hand and getting hit by a deflected ball in the forehead, that he broke his string ofofer 19 and got an RBI single and a double.

Lance is awesome – he’s second in the league in RCAA – just behind Uncle, naturally.

Props to Valverde for winning ML relief pitcher of the month award. He had an AWESOME August- 14 appearances, 14 IP – 1 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 17 K, no homers, 10 saves, 1 W, no L, no Bl Sv. Bettern Frankie Rod.

And Roy got NL Co-player of the week for throwing 8.1 innings of no run 5 hit ball vs the Cubs and a 1 hit shutout vs the Rox.

Tomorrow, it’s Randy Wolf vs Ross Ohlendorf (who they got from the Yanks for Sanchez.)

The Psychobilly Caddy keep a rollin all month long
with a heave, and a ho, and I keep on tellin ya so…
(apologies Steve Tyler)