Archive for September, 2004

9/30/04: Clemens Is SmoKKKKKKKKin

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

I’m a suspiscious girl. It’s after dinner, mother-in-law has not shown up to babysit (Husband “forgot” to call her) and KKids are dancing up and down, begging peeeeeeeese Mami peeeeeeeeeese see Roger. PEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE???!!!

Entirely Husband’s fault, as he is hoping against hope that maybe we might Kould all sit on the nice Komfortable Kouch instead of fighting our way downtown to the pacKed juicebox to watch Roger cement his Kase for #7 but he Knows better than to say so. He tries his best to looK innocent. So I looK innocent, too, and tell Husband that KKids SHOULD go with us on this historiK occasion and so we get to our seats juuuuuuuuuuust a little late to watch Roger get K #1 cuz the place is pacKed.

First Inning – Roger gets K #1,2,3. KKids cheer. Suppan gets a GO, K, S, GO – 1 LOB.

Second Inning – Roger gets FO, GO, GO. Guess that splitter is splittin. Suppan gives up a HR to Kent, #300 for him, then gets FO, FO, GO.

Third Inning – Roger gets K #4, 5 then, after 9 pitch AB with 4 fouls, Suppan, he of the .073 BA finally gets K #6. Husband is cheering up – 4 more Ks from Roger = 2 pizzas for $10. Takes his mind off the heat because it’s HOT up here. And he’s holding squirming KKids in his lap cuz there isn’t an empty seat anywhere and I’m keeping score. hehhehheh. Suppan gets K, BB then SB, FO, GO. 1 LOB.

Fourth Inning – I take the kids potty to give my hot man a break, and although there are TVs like every 10′ I miss the Big Deal and get a recap from Husband. FO. Then poo-poo hits fan. Taguchi singles. Then Roger Cedeno doubles to left (Biggio shoulda got it growls Husband) Biggio throws to Viz, the cuftoff man, because Cedeno wants third, but Viz throws it away, Ensberg chases and Cedeno scores. I listen to this during the GO, BB and K. 2 ER for Roger and we’re down 2 -1. So we gotta come back. And we do. Kent singles, Ensberg homers on a 3 -0 meatball. We grab the lead, 3 – 2. Then K, PO, K.

Fifth Inning – Roger gives up single, gets PBF (pitcher’s best friend) from Matheny and then Suppan, he of the .073 BA has an 8 pitch AB with 4 fouls then finally grounds out. Dude…….. KKids are disappointed – wanted to wave that K sign (which was, by the way, handed out at one of, I think, Munro’s ??????? starts. Whaaaaaa) In our half, B-4 you know it, Biggio singles then goes to 2nd on a WP, Beltran moves him to 3rd with a FO to right, then Bags doubles, scoring Biggio. Berkman and Kent GO. We lead 4 – 2. 1 LOB (RISP)

Sixth Inning – Roger gets a GO, the K #8 (2 to go). Then Cedeno gets on, then Rolen (he IS good – leg don’t seem to be botherin him, do it) turns on the first pitch and it’s gone. Edmonds flies out and it’s a tie game. (Guess that prayin he did behind the mound just before he started the inning worked – some.) Suppan comes in and gets GO, GO, PO.

Seventh – Roger is done. 95 pitches 66s/29b, 8 K, 1 BB, 4 ER, no 19th W, no pizza. Husband looks longingly at exit, but it isn’t even 2 hrs yet – if we’re tied at 3 hrs, we’ll go, but ONLY because kids will be B R A T S tomorrow if they miss too much sleep. Besides, the people next to us leave and the kids have seats….. So Qualls, who pitched 2 perfect innings last night comes in. BB to Renteria, who is then CS, then Qualls gets FO, S, GO.

Stretchhhhhhhhhhh – The stars at night Are big and bright – clap clap clap clap – Deep in the HEAT of Texas…..

Suppan walks Palmeiro, Willy Tavaras pinch runs, and B-4 you know it, Biggio sac bunts, Taveras to second, Beltran GO, Taveras to third, Bagwell singles, Taveras scores, Berkman doubles to left (which is a &T(#%@!! to play in this field), Bagwell scores, then Kent GO. 1 LOB (RISP) and we lead 6 -4.

Eighth – Miceli’s 76th IP this year – gets K, K, K. Steve Kline ERA 1.87 comes in, gets K, GO and BB to Ausmus and is pulled for Cali (ERA 10.50) who strikes out Lane on a ball in the dirt.

He pitched to 4 batters last night. About half those pitches were balls.
BB to Rolen – Lankford pinch runs
Edmonds – 2 balls in the dirt, then strike 1, 2, 3 swinging. Kids wave K sign.
Renteria – swing, ball, swing, ball, swing and Kids wave K sign.
Mabry – flies out first pitch – Kids wave K sign anyway.

Fast game – 2 hr 35 min – not fast enough to suit Husband who stands gratefully in the air-conditioned entrance for a minute.

Most important – Cubs LOSE (I LUVVVV the Reds) and we are now 1/2 game ahead!!!!! Go Pads! Beat SF!

9/29/04: He’s Baaaaacke!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Here we are (87-70), fighting for our playoff lives, 1.5 back with 5 to go, and there’s St. Louis (103-53), not lookin worried bout a thing – they can lose every game and it don’t matter (because they’ve already clinched home field throughout the playoffs.)

Homie Brandon Backe up there on the mound, lookin for that W. As a starter since he was recalled from AAA on 8/21, he’s 2 – 2 with a 4.11 ERA, 30 K / 14 BB and 5 HR. He’s had 7 starts, 3 QS, 2 with no ER in7 IP and the other with 1 ER in 6 IP. However, his last 2 starts have lasted 4.0 and 2.1 innings and he’s given up 2 ER in each. He’s on a mighty short leash. Time for another QS, boy! You should be good and rested by now…

First inning, he’s throwing free and easy, FB hitting 94. After Pujols (5 SB/ 5 CS) walks, Ausmus attempts to pick him off, throws the ball away (only 4 errors this year) and Pujols goes to third. Brandon throws Edmonds two low and outside balls, then strikes him out. Haren looks sharp – 3 swinging Ks and a single. Bagwell, one of the Ks, has swung at a pitch out of the strike zone one at bat the last 4 games that I’ve watched. Interesting – he doesn’t have a rep as a guy who will chase. Wonder if that’s one of the reason’s his BA is so low for him this year…

Second inning, second pitch Larry Walker turns on a FB and hits it into the RF stands. POW. Gone. There goes the shutout. Brandon gets out of the rest of the inning. Haren looks different this inning – 15 balls, 6 strikes. Problem is that he manages to throw a strike on 3 -o and get outs instead of walks. Kent is stranded at third.

Third inning, Brandon goes all Roger and gets a fast 1,2,3. Then psyched up, he hits a single up the middle (remember, he was a hitter before a pitcher) and Bagwell drives him in. Haren is still throwing more balls than strikes, but keeping the ball down and Berkman swings at what looked to me like ball 4. Not like him.

Fourth inning, Brandon gets both Pujols and Edmonds to fly out on the first pitch, then walks Larry Walker (nervous??) then gets Renteria to ground out. K/B 26/25. Been lucky. Fer sher. Our half, Ensberg singles, Ausmus walks, both advance on a WP with Brandon at the plate. We’re on our feet, screaming, cmon homie, hero time, but he strikes out. Haren isn’t THAT good, but he’s making us look bad. 37K / 28B. We’re not talking Sheets / Davis / Perez / RJ here….

Fifth inning – Boy a little tired from his battle at the plate? 5 pitches later, Molina’s on first and Sanders on 3rd on back to back singles. OK. Haren’s turn to try to be the hero, and he’s no hitter (ofer.) He flies out to Beltran and Reggie sprints home but is thrown out. It’s a photo finish – can’t tell from up here because the throw wasn’t zackly a bullet, but Reggie thinks he was safe and he and TLR jump up and down, point, piss and moan – hard to complain without cussin, but he’s still out. Why bother with all that – the ump ain’t gonna look at La Russa and Sanders and say, well, if you think he was safe, ok, and change his call. Will hafta check the replay later (my mother the stat geek said he looked to be safe on the replay.) Poor Reggie – not his day – caught stealing in the second and out at the plate. Brandon, say thank you Carlos and thank you ump for that lovely 8 – 2 DP. Anderson pops out.

Now, can we please score some runs, pleassssse?AHHHH! Beltran triples (400 something feet onto that assinine hill and Edmonds manages not to get hurt – one of these days, someone is gonna hurt hisself badddddd ) and Bags drives him in with a sac fly to Reggie. Like I said, it ain’t Reggie’s day. Second RBI for Bags today. He’s not gonna get 100 this year, even though he’s batting over .290 with runners on.

Sixth inning – OK there – you’re doin fine Brandon, just let em get themselves out. Keep thinking that it don’t really matter to them if they win or lose, it matters to us… But he’s done, after 74 pitches, 46 K/28 B, 3 BB, 3K, 1 HR and 1 ER. WHY was he pulled? OK he’s not ace-man, but the bullpen’s been workin overtime and Phil honey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Qualls goes in and gets 1,2,3. Kiko Calero (what a name) comes in for Haren and gets fly out, single, FC and flyout.

Seventh inning – Qualls – 7 pitches, 1,2,3. Calero – Kent out, Berkman out, Beltran walks, Beltran picked off after 3 pickoff attempts. Are there stats for pick offs?

Eighth inning – Miceli in. (He’s already at 75 IP and he hasn’t had that load since ’98 – might could he be a leeeetle tired, Phil???) Cedeno K, Mabry singles – Womack pinch runs, Anderson pops out, McKay (PH) singles Lankford – pinch runs. Mighty Albert strides to the plate!! This is a job for SuperLidge.
Can This Game Be Saved????? Will Brandon get his long awaited W??? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Pujols grounds out into a FC on a 1 -2 FB and Lankford out at second!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bottom of eighth – Al Reyes pitching. Walk. single. Walk. (just a few strikes in there.) Ray King, LHP in to face Morgan Ensberg, RH hitter (La Russa must think LHP can get RHH out. What a concept) who grounds into a 5 -2 -6 DP, Bagwell out at home and Berkman out at third because for some reason, he waits and he ain’t the fastest guy – needs to take baserunning lessons from Bags. Of course, then Viz flies out, stranding 2. Not a good day for us hitting with MOB. Fortunately for us, it hasn’t been a good day for them hitting at all……

OK. BRAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!! Loud screams in the HOT HOT HOT juicebox!! We’re all on our feet screaming.
– Edmonds – 6 pitch AB -line out on a 3 -2 FB YAYYYYYYYYYYYYY
– Walker – 7 pitch AB swing K on a 3 – 2 slider YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
– Renteria – 1 ball and 3 swings on 3 pitches out of the strike zone!!!

BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDD!!! 22 pitches, 11b/10s – but he does the job and
BRANDON WINS!!!!! and Cubs lose to the Reds (Josh Hancock you rule!) so now we’re only 1/2 game back!!!!! and 4 to go……..

Aces High: Oswalt Beats Woody Williams 9/28/04

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Ace night!

First, naturally, my favorite ace. Roy-O looked like his old dominant self, his motion looked fluid and smooth again, and he breezed through 6 innings with 6 K, 6 H, 1 BB and no R. The 7th inning, the first batter, who should have been out, advanced to second because of Ensberg’s error. 36 pitches, 8 batters, 3 singles, a ground out advancing runners, a HBP, 2 ER later, Roy finally managed to get out the last 2 batters leaving bases loaded. He looked so tired he could hardly walk off the mound. I wonder if his side was bothering him because he was throwing more balls than strikes, he threw 5 balls in the dirt and his follow-thru looked, well, jerky.

I’m not sure why Garner didn’t pull him after the 3rd or so batter. If the problem was his ribs and not emotional upset at a runner not being out because of error/lousy fielding, it sure didn’t do him or us good for him to keep pitching in all that pain. (That’s probably how pitchers get worse injuries.) I mean, we were up 8 zip and La Russa had already conceded the game and sent in the bench guys.

Anyway, Roy was in luck because our hitters hit. They pounded Woody Williams for 6 runs in the second – I’m not sure what was up, but he seemed to be getting pitches over and they didn’t seem to be down the middle. Well, maybe sinkers weren’t. He seemed to recover in the third, but in the 4th, after he had given up 2 more runs and had one on with no outs, La Russa pulled him. In the fifth, Matheny decided to steal a base with (the pitcher) Flores batting. Matheny runs about as fast as a 8 month pregnant girl, so will someone please explain wassup? I mean the guy has been in the ML 11 years, has 8 SB (none in 2 years) and 11 CS.

Note that the juicebox was only about 3/4 full. I was really surprised – Roy and St. Louis and us in such a tight WC race? The %$&@!! Cubs smeared the Reds, so we’re still 1.5 back.

Double aces – in a game between the worst (Arizona) and second worst (Milwaukee) NL teams, the best pitcher (in my opinion) RJ faced Ben Sheets. Both pitched 7 innings and gave up 1 ER. Sheets lost on 2 UER in the 3rd.

RJ: 2.65 ERA, 237 IP, 282 K, 44 BB, average 7 IP/game K/BB = 8.17
In his 15 W, he has given up 0,0,1,1,2,0,2,3,4,1,2,1,5,0,1 ER = 1.53 ER/W
In his 14 L, he has given up 3,5,2,1,5,2,3,2,4,3,1,2,4,1 ER = 2.71 ER/L
In his ND, he has given up 5,3,0,0,1 ER = 1.8 ER/ND
14 games giving up 3 or fewer runs and no W to show for it…

Sheets: 2.80 ERA 228 IP, 253 K, average 7 IP/game K/BB = 6.33
In his 11 W, he has given up 0,1,0,0,4,1,1,1,2,2,0 ER = 1.09 ER/W
In his 14 L, he has given up 3,2,2,6,4,4,4,2,0,4,2,3,3,1 ER = 2.85 ER/L
In his 8 ND, he has given up 1,5,0,5,0,2,3,3 ER = 2.38 ER/ND
15 games giving up 3 or fewer runs and no W to show for it…

It’s tough to be a winning pitcher on a B A D team.

In other ace news:
1) Zambrano, currently second in NL ERA with 2.60, beat Brandon Claussen, ERA 6.60 (NOT an ace. duh.)
2) Oliver Perez, unnoticed in Pittsburgh with a 3.08 ERA and 225 K beat Eric Milton and his 14 W and 4.73 ERA.
Note: league average ERA is 4.50, so as far as I’m concerned, an ERA greater than League average disqualifies a pitcher from the title of “ace” regardless of # of wins or place in the rotation. So bearing that in mind, 3 important ace-less games by #1 starter(s)
3) Moyer (5.07) vs Zito (4.54) each with 5 ER and a ND. Geez, what happened to these guys? Oakland won and is holding the division lead over the Angels by 1 game.
4) Colon (5.19) 8 IP and 2 ER beat Rogers (4.75) 7.1 IP and 4 ER.
5) Boston – Kazmir vs Arroyo – Kazmir (5.60 ERA, not ace yet, but he’s gonna be, sorry Met fans) is pitching 3.1 innings of no hit ball with 6 K and 1 BB, DRays are winning 2 zip and Kaz is ejected after hitting 2 batters. Supposed retaliation for Arroyo hitting Huff in the third. WTF? Sorry, I don’t believe that a guy pitching a no hitter in a close game hits 2 batter right in a row on purpose (young is not necessarily = to stupid.) So after Mr. No-hitter and Mr. Red-Ass manager get tossed, Sox come right back and clinch a playoff spot, still 3 games behind the Yankees.

Tonight it’s Brandon Backe vs Danny Haren (ace-free game) so unless something surprising happens, like a no-hitter, tomorrow it’s part 2 of the Fifth Guy.

The Fifth Guy Part 1: Tim Redding

Monday, September 27th, 2004

Good news – the Cubs and Giants lost, we won and now we are 1.5 games back for the WC.

Phat Stuff Dog, who had been renamed Tony Gwynn Dog (for close, but no cigar) after 2 days of our hitters being totally lost at the plate (looking totally foolish when facing a guy with a 6.something ERA) reclaimed his name today when our guys had the good fortune to face a REALLY bad fifth guy. And here we are, fighting for a playoff spot with TWO fifth starters in the rotation.

The fifth guy is a guy who might could last 5 innings, give up 4 -5 runs while hoping that the other fifth guy is even worse than he is and the bullpen don’t fail him. And we actually have three of them. This means you Munro, Hernandez and Redding.

NL average ERA is 4.49 and guys, that means over NINE innings, not 5!!! You’re right. It’s NOT a compliment.

Redding was our original 5th guy. He was drafted by the Astros in 1996, came up in 2001, appeared in 13 games, started 9 and went 3 – 1 with a 5.5 ERA, 11 HR and BB/K 55/24, or 1:2.29 in 55 IP. In 2002, he made 14 spot starts, went 3 – 6 with a 5.4 ERA in with 10 HR, BB/K 35:63 or 1:1.8 in 73 IP. Last year, he started 32 games, was 10 – 14 with a 3.68 ERA, 16 HR, BB/K 65/116 or 1:1.78 in 176 IP. Remember we decided to keep him instead of Jeroime Robertson (who won 15 games with a 5.1 ERA, or an ERA+ of 87) because the Astros believed that the 3.68 ERA, or an ERA+ of 120 would lead to more wins if he had better run support.

So what happened this year?
Well, this April, he had 4 starts, averaged 4 IP/start, with 5 HR, 5 BB/10K and an ERA of 10.22 in 12 1/3 IP. Yeccccch.

He suddenly straightened up in May, started 5 games, averaged 5 2/3 IP/game, 4 HR, 11BB/18K, had an ERA of 2.62 with a BAA of .238 in 34 IP and went 3 – 0.

June looked like April (of course, June was also the month that our hitters quit hitting. But, Redding can’t blame them for his troubles.) He started 5 games and averaged less than 5 IP/game, 8 BB/ 4K, 4 HR , a BAA of .400 and an ERA of 7.88 in 24 IP. Jimy wisely decided to take him out of the rotation and replace him with Pete Munro (more on that later.)

In July, he was needed for 2 spot starts when Andy Pettitte went on the DL and did very well over those 2 games with 5 BB/9K and an ERA of 2.45 in 11 IP. (We’re gonna ignore his gawdawful relief appearances that month for now.)

In August, he was used in a total of 4 1/3 IP of short relief, 8.31 ERA, 1 HR, 3/5 BB/K.

He had one spot start in Sept, going 4 2/3 with 2 ER 3BB and 2 K. Otherwise, his ERA for Sept was 5.63 with 1 HR and a BB/K 5/3.

Basically, Redding is a pitcher who relies on defense for outs. Too many hits, too many walks. He hasn’t given up many HR and most of those have been solo. His career K/9 IP is 6.43, not bad, but his BB/K is 167/290 or 1: 1.73, very bad. Hits/9 IP is 1.09 and BB/9 IP is 3.7, which gives a career WHIP of 1.51, lousy.

With bases empty, his ERA is 2.96, with runners or RISP, it is 8.13 and with 2 outs and RISP it is an ungodly 18.21! Now this is interesting – WHY would a guy who seems to depend on defense for outs to get a good ERA pitch worse with runners on? Our defense isn’t THAT lousy, and he has only 1 UER this year. Could it be that although there aren’t errors involved, our fielders not named Everett or Beltran seldom make tough plays and balls fall in for hits?

Also, I wonder if he is less effective from the stretch, or if his pitches aren’t moving as well. I do know that Garner has him on a VERY short leash and yanks him the minute a few runs score and he still has MOB.

It seems that last year’s BAA of .261 is looking more and more like a fluke, in spite of the fact that he pitched over 3 times the innings that he had in the previous 2 years. Destiny – spot starter, long reliever.

Part 2 will examine Pete Munro’s career.

9/25/04: Clemens vs Doug Davis, Round 2

Saturday, September 25th, 2004

Didn’t I write this entry 5 days ago?

Roger pitched one of his best games this year – 7 1/3 IP, 120 pitches /81 strikes, 5 H no R, 12 K and 3 BB. Garner sent him out to start the 8th, hoping that our guys could manage to hit in the bottom of the inning and get him his hard earned W. He got pinch hitter Bill Hall out, but put the next two on and Brad Lidge came in and got em out for 1 2/3.

Poor Doug Davis must be wondering what in the name of God does he have to do to get a W? Pretty hard to pitch any better than he has his last 2 starts. Let me give the boy his props – 7 IP 113 pitches/ 68 strikes, 5 H, no R, 8 K, 1 BB and 2 SB (double steal by Beltran, #40, and Berkman in the 3rd.) He did great, got Alfaro to hit into a GIDP and struck him out 2 innings later with bases loaded. Pitchers’ duels. I love them. Score 0 – 0 until Mike Adams gave up 2 singles, then Biggio’s sac fly (only good AB tonight) scored the only run.

We’re still 2.5 games out of the WC because the Cubs won last night and the Giants lost. I’d rather see the Giants in the WC than the Cubs if we don’t make it in (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know – Barry fangirl…) I really don’t see how we could get through the first round with Roy not himself.

Last night, I decided to keep the computer on during the game and watched MLB’s gameday slightly delayed simulcast. I was interested in seeing where the pitch actually was in relation to the strike zone and to see if hitters actually swung at balls out of the strike zone. The box shown on gameday seemed a little generous, but the umpires didn’t miss any pitches (according to the box strike zone.) There were exactly 3 swings on pitches out of the zone (both teams) and Bagwell struck out on one and Orlando Palmeiro hit a single with another. Both Davis and Clemens are power pitchers, not sinkerballers, and it would be interesting to see if there are more swings on balls when junkballers pitch.

This afternoon, instead of getting to watch excellent vs excellent, we get to watch lousy (Munro, no quality starts, 4 -6, 5.23 ERA) vs lousier (Obermuller, 5-8, 6.35 ERA) I’m such a baseball junkie that I’d listen to this game even if we weren’t sprinting to the finish line.

9/24/04: Not Quite Dead and Barry’d

Friday, September 24th, 2004

…. “how many tears i’ve cried
but baby,
it ain’t over till it’s overrrrrrrr….”

Wednesday night, I watched Roy lose his last chance of holding on for the Cy. And us lose our real last chance at the WC and the playoffs.

From the first pitch, I saw that his motion was slightly different somehow and he was having trouble getting all of his pitches over. I guess all those shots didn’t do any good. His ribs must be killing him. Even in the first, he barely got Durham and Tucker out. Then Feliz hit a solid double. Then Barry tripled into RF and I watched Lance try to chase it down and remembered that even Jose Cruz, Jr., an outstanding fielder, had a “little” trouble out there and there was a 20 mph ill wind blowing out that boded no good.

I was right. Roy threw 102 pitches/ 57 strikes, 10 H, 3 K and 4 BB in 5 2/3 innings. He’s done for. We can’t win in the playoffs without him.

In the good news column, Harville, Gallo, Wheeler and Miceli together gave up only 1 H and no runs. (might could that be cuz Barry got the finger(s) every time he stepped to the plate?) If only the bullpen had given relief to OUR pitchers June – mid August!!!

Hitters? Aside from Jeff Kent’s HR (you could just see him giving Barry the mental finger with that sh** eating grin,) they made Noah Lowry looked like Cy Young – 4 hits over 9 IP, 9 K and 1 BB. If the Giants make the playoffs and Barry gets another chance at that elusive ring, he owes Noah big time.

So yesterday evening, having accepted that we are not winning anything, that Phat Stuff Dog has lost his touch and might as well get re-named Tony Gwynn Dog (for close but no cigar,) I settled down with Husband to watch us get Barry’d again. Would Barry get pitched to? Well, except for 1 IBB by Backe, he did. AND he scored 2 of the 3 Giant runs and was stranded on third at the end of the first. That guy scores more runs than anyone else’s leadoff hitter.

Game didn’t start well. Jason Schmidt has pitched 4 lousy games in a row, but he looked good last night, pitched 7 1/3 with 8 K, 5 H, 1 BB but got tired in the 8th and gave up 2 ER – the last because Hermanson, who came in to close, couldn’t get anybody out so Schmidt’s runner scored and after two more Bs reached base, Lance hit a 3 run HR into the wind which barely cleared the wall. Our 5th come from behind victory (in the 8th or later) this year.

Yeeeeeeeee -HAH!

And only our 3rd in which our reliever didn’t first blow the lead. Good news is that all our relievers did a great job AGAIN – 5 hits in 6 2/3 with 1 run. Hitters, well, let’s just say thank you Dustin Hermanson for having a bad night. 10 H, 2 GIDP and Lance.

So, this race is going to be a photo finish. LA is barely holding on to the division lead by 1.5 games with SF’s hot breath on their necks. The Cubs are only 1/2 game ahead of Barry and the boys in the WC and we’re 2.5 behind. Philly and Florida (who’s gonna get another hurricane in 2 days, can you believe it) long since fell too far behind. The Pads aren’t going anywhere without Burroughs and Greene. And us?????

Note that Carlos Beltran has 39 SB (2 last night off Schmidt) and 38 HR. He might could make the 40 – 40 club. Will he re-sign with us? Well, Jeff Kent is talking retiring and his 9 mill will be gone, along with Hidalgo’s 11 mill, so there will be money, even with Roy and Wade Miller. We might could have reason to hope because Boras is no longer Beltran’s agent, and from what I hear, Carlos likes it here.

hmmmmmmmmm, how can it put it?
New York, New Yorrrrrrrrrkkkkkkkk
it’s a HELL of a town…….

9/22/04: Giants Barry The Stros

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

Well last night, husband washed kids and put them to bed and we settled down on the couch to watch Carlos (Mr. good and lousy) Hernandez try to be good and not lousy. And to watch Barry get pitched to (hopefully) and get beat. Also to beat the Giants and move up in the WC standings – I really am not completely forgetting the purpose of this game. Really. Honest.

Game starts off pretty well. In the first, Tomko gives up back to back HR to Killer-Bs # 3 and 4 (Bagwell and Berkman.) So far, so good. Then, in the bottom of the 1st, Carlos gives up 3 hits in a row, then Barry comes to the plate with 2 on. HE IS PITCHED TO!!!!!!!! Husband and I can hardly believe our eyes. Barry can’t believe his either because this is like only the 5th time this YEAR he has been pitched to with 2 RISP. He hits the 4th pitch, a grounder for what should be an easy DP, but Viz ain’t Adam (I miss that boy) and stinks up the play. Both runners score on his error. Sigh.

The second inning, we get 2 guys on, Raul Chavez hits into a DP (can someone please explain why we have as our back up catcher this cement block who can’t hit- can someone tell me with a straight face that John Buck was worse???!!! or any other catcher, for that matter) then Hernandez is out and strands the runner at 3rd.

Bottom of the second, Hernandez gives up another run but then gets the next 2 outs without giving up any more runs. Still not sharp, but at least he gets 2 outs in a row.

Third inning. Hernandez vs Barry. Barry pops out. So far, so good. Then for some reason I still haven’t figured, Hernandez is taken out (mind you, we are only down 4 -2 at this point and he’s gotten 3 outs in a row) and Brandon Duckworth comes in. WHY are we throwing in the towel so early? Husband says that if the team says it’s over, why not turn it off and go do, um, something else – besides, I can watch Barry in the morning. Husband has a good point and every now and then, it’s good to let your husband have his way…. So to speak….

To summarize rest of game watched this morning. Brandon Duckworth – I’m trying to find something good to say here – manages to pitch 1 2/3 innings and only gives up 4 ER on 62 pitches. And he gets 2 K and only gives up 2 BB. That’s it. I done run out of anything positive to say about that boy. Oh wait, one more thing – I think he would look EXTRA cute in an Express uni. Oh? Their season is ovah? His should be, too.

 Astro “hitters?” Well after the first inning, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 GIDP. Let’s leave it there.

Anything good to report? Well, Tim Redding pitched 2 good innings. Wheeler gave up no runs in the 7th. Russ Springer got so nervous facing Barry that he hit him. Only 1 IBB to Barry all night (Duckworth, naturally – lil ol me would have better luck getting Barry out) and BLBH went 0 fer 3 with the 1 IBB and 1 HBP. I guess we’d hafta super glue his butt to the bench to keep him off the bases.

So tonight, it’s Roy vs Barry, part 2. Yall remember what happened opening day after Jimy and Roy discussed whether or not to pitch to Barry with 2 on in the 8th with the Giants down by one when Barry had already hit 2 doubles off Roy… Well, tonight, Roy intends to pitch to Barry and get him out EVERY time. YOU GO BOY!!!!! Pitch a perfect game!!! No walks to Barry Lamar Bonds Himself, accident or on purpose!!!! and gitcher self that CY!! Roger Who?

Oh yeah. I almost forgot – tonight, Noah Lowry (5 -0, ERA 5.09) is pitching and some other Giants are hitting….

9/21/04: Barry Lamar, The Legend, Introduction

Tuesday, September 21st, 2004

Well, today I’ve been like Tropical Storm Lisa, small, compact, subject to fluctuations in intensity and unsure of exactly where I’m going with all this hot air.

Tonight, Carlos Hernandez is gonna find out what it’s like to pitch to Barry. Or what it’s like to not be allowed to pitch to Barry. The stats this year are pretty clear that when teams walk Barry, the Giants are more likely to score than when they pitch to him. But the fact is that Barry is a Legend in His Own Time and the better he has gotten, the better he has gotten, partly because of the fear he inspires because he’s gotten better. I really wonder if the manager’s fear of being beat up by the media for “letting” Barry hit a HR is greater than the pitchers’ fear of not getting him out. His OBP from walks alone is like .350 and half of those are IBB.

Three years ago, Larry Dierker decided to not pitch to Barry. Some people think to this day that Barry should almost never be pitched to. But it will be interesting to see if Phil Garner treats Barry like any other leftie slugger, like Thome or Edmonds. From the fan’s point of view, I sure hope so. From a Stro fan’s pint of view, all I can say is that I hope the stat geeks are right and pitching to him is more likely to result in fewer Giant runs. Meanwhile, Brett Tomko has pitched 3 good games in a row. And Carlos has not…….

Rocket, Roy and Cy 2004

Monday, September 20th, 2004

How shall I start?

Roger pitched his best game of the year last night. Incredible. He was even sharp in the first inning. 8 IP (unusual for him) 119 pitches, 79K, 2H, 2 BB, 10K and no runs. Roger got his first shutout of the year. He even knocked in Houston’s only run, even though he grounded into a double play.

Poor Doug Davis. He did almost as well, giving up only 4 hits, 2 BB, 2 SB and 1 run in 7 IP and lost. I said the other day that you can pitch lousy as you wanna and still win as long as the other guy pitches lousier. Unfortunately, it works in reverse – you can pitch an outstanding game and lose if the other guy pitches juuuuuuust a little better (or if your fielders let you down.)

When Brad Lidge pitched a 1,2,3 9th getting 3 K, I guess Roger gave a Cy of relief. (hahaha)

You see, baseball writers are already talking about Cy Youngs and MVPs. There are endless arguments every year about what “valuable” means and about who is the “best” pitcher. This year, the best pitcher is undoubtedly Randy Johnson. As usual. But there is a catch – he has 14 actual wins (19 neutral wins, meaning he whould have 5 more wins if his relievers weren’t horse****) and 13 losses, mostly though through no fault of his own – you see, his team jes doan hit none too good. Nor ketch that thar ball neither, for that matter (eyesight and stats both agree on this.)

This is why I H A T E DIPS. No pitcher can strike out every single batter. Not even Randy, who generally strikes out more batters/ 9 innings than anyone. A pitcher pitches for a TEAM. The other members of the team have to support the pitcher, both offensively and defensively, otherwise even a superior pitcher like Randy will find wins difficult to come by. You just cannot totally separate the efforts of one team member from the rest. I guess this is the rationalization used by writers who usually decide to give the Cy to the pitcher with the most wins. If the team doesn’t support the pitcher, somehow it must be HIS fault. So, the guy with the most wins will win.

The frontrunners at this point are Carl Pavano, the ace of the Marlins with 17 wins, Jason Schmidt of the Giants with 16, who has suddenly forgotten how to pitch well these last few starts (injured, maybe?) and our own Roy and Roger (each with 18 W.) Well, if we’re gonna give the award based mostly on wins, then I want Roy to win. Why? Cuz he’s my boy, that’s why. Now I know a lot of yall are gonna object, saying that Roger has done a better job by almost every stat available – see for yourself –
K/ 9IP…..8.78……….8.01
BB/ 9IP…3.41………..2.30

I could, of course, dig up more stats. But basically, Roy pitches more innings and pitches a little longer into games, gives up more runs but fewer walks.

The truth is that neither Roger nor Roy is at the top of ANY pitching stats except wins. The guys whose names are at the top are guys like Ben Sheets (11-12), Randy (mostly), Al Leiter (yes Met fans, it’s true) and Carlos Zambrano, all of who don’t top the win list for team reasons. So if you’re not gonna give the award to the BEST pitcher, lets just give it to my favorite, who is good, has been good since he came to the majors, and most important, I guess, has the right W even when he doesn’t have the right stuff.

9/18/04: Who Pitched The Better Game, Oswalt Or Sheets?

Saturday, September 18th, 2004

Continuing the Roy vs Ben discussion from yesterday:

My mother the stat geek and I watched the ball game last night not just to root for the Astros, but to see which pitcher, Roy-O or Ben Sheets was “better.” We had us a little bet on – we’d see which pitcher was better and whoever lost had to say to the winner “you were right and I was wrong” and boy, how both of us HATE to say that to each other, especially her because she almost always wins.

It was a great game, a close pitchers duel. Both started out sharp. In the top of the second, Roy gave up a HR to Jenkins. Then a single. Then a walk. Now in the past, this is just where Roy gets into trouble, because if he doesn’t get strikeouts, he usually gives up runs because he can’t rely on the defense.

But this time, with runners on 1st and 2nd, he gets a ground ball DP which Lamb fields well (for once) and fires to Bagwell, which leaves Branyan at second with 2 outs. So Roy just needs one K, right? Well, does he feel a little more comfortable or does he think lightnin don’t strike twice? Anyhow, Ginter hits a clean single to right which, believe it or not, Berkman not only fields well, but THROWS BRANYAN OUT AT HOME!!!! Yes, you read it right. Good fielding when Roy pitches. Twice in a row. Roy must think he’s dreaming because I sure do.

In the next inning, Ginter takes a fastball to left center which looks out, but actually hits the yellow line and is a double and not a HR. Holy Good Luck, Batman. Three times is the charm, or should I say, three strikes and they’re out.

Over the next 4 innings, Roy scatters 4 singles (2 to Sheets) one double and a walk. In fact, he only has 5 strikeouts, a low total for him for 7 innings. (Maybe he felt he didn’t HAVE to get them?) So Roy pitches 7 innings, gives up 1 ER on Jenkins’ HR, 8 hits, 2 BB and 5 K.

Lidge pitches the 8th and 9th for a 2 out save. In fact, in the top of the 9th, Brad is saved by his fielders. Yes. It is true. I disbelieve my own memory and check the scorecard. Magruder singles. Then Counsel grounds into a FC, Magruder to second. Kieschnick strikes out. Podsednik hits a clean single to RF and Berkman fields it cleanly, fires to Bagwell the cutoff man, who throws it home to Ausmus and he and Lamb get Magruder in a rundown. I have to write this again because I’m having a hard time believing this myself. Berkman fields 2 balls well and has 2 assists that end innings. Our fielders bail out Brad and Roy today. So I don’t want to hear how pitching is independent of defense.

As to Ben Sheets – he pitched an 8 inning complete game, gave up 3 hits (2 singles and 1 run scoring double) and 1 HR. He gave up NO walks and had 9K.

The Stros win the game. The problem is that Mama wins the bet because no doubt about it, Ben Sheets had a better game score. Even though he lost. I find myself arguing with my mother the stat geek saying what’s the difference what the score is, Roy won. And we won. She says, with a straight face, it doesn’t make any difference who wins or loses, look at the numbers, which don’t lie, Ben Sheets pitched a better game.

Suddenly I feel like poor Joe Morgan chatting with the BPro type guys, who believe that he’s totally a moron for saying that wins are more important than any other stat. And I know that once more I’ve failed my stat geek entrance exam. And I know exactly WHY all the players think that wins matter the most. Because it doesn’t really matter in the end if your pitcher sucks bigtime and as long as he and the fielders suck less than the other team, even if their pitcher is “better” because WINNING is what matters most.