Archive for April, 2005

10 H + 6 BB = 7 R = Astros Beat Kerry Wood And The Cubs

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

We finally broke out 6 game losing streak with 3 runs in the first inning off Kerry Wood, who left after the third inning with shoulder pain.

Man, it was COLD out. I’d bet that at LEAST 10,000 of the 41,600 fans were Cub fans. And today, at least we managed not to look like a AAA team.

Bad news:
1) Jason Lane is STILL in a slump
2) Craig Biggio is STILL in a slump
3) Again, the reliever let Backe’s MOB score
4) Adam Everett, Brad Lidge are STILL out sick with the flu
5) I can NOT understand why local boy Jeromy Burnitz, who called the team this winter, asking to play here, couldn’t get his calls returned. I mean, with Berkman out, who would need a lefty power bat with a good glove on an all righty team???!!!!

Good news -
1) Bagwell hit 3 singles and had a walk.
2) Taveras stretched a single into a double
3) Backe looked GREAT
4) Mike Lamb (yes, you read that right) made an incredible diving catch in right to save 2 runs.
5) For the second night in a row, Willy Taveras threw out a runner at home.
6) For some reason, Dusty Baker hates rookies and won’t play DuBois, who looks pretty good, don’t he….

Best news:
WE WON!!!!!
WE BEAT THE CUBS!!!!!

Gonna be tougher tomorrow with Prior on the mound.
Looks like Phil will continue to play Lamb in left instead of Burke/ Scott, don’t ask me why.

Preview: Backe vs Kerry Wood 4/30/05

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

Brandon Backe faces native Texan Kerry Wood tonight. Let’s hope that Backe feeds off the home crowd and Kerry doesn’t.

Let’s hope the Cubs have whiffle bats instead of us.
Let’s hope Brandon pitches like he did the night he 1-hit the Cards in the playoffs.
This year, he’s pitched reasonably well, except for the last game against the Cards – he’s a flyball pitcher and needs someone better than Palmeiro in left…

He’s 1-1 with a 6.17 ERA, 5 BB, 20 K in 23.1 IP. He has 4 starts, 2 QS and the St. Louis debacle.
vs Chicago: 2 GS and one in relief – 0-1 with 2 HR, 6 BB, 8 K in 10 IP (yeccccccccch) for a 6.30 ERA, 2.00 WHIP and .341 BAA.

Kerry Wood – Texan with a ‘tude – drafted in the 1st round in 1995 (ohmigawd was it REALLY 10 years ago????) out of a Dallas area HS. Called up in ’98, had that game against the Astros in which he struck out 20 guys (remember, please that the 98 team won the division and we had guys like Jeff Bagwell at his best, Moises Alou, Carl Everett who DID hit well) and he was gonna be the next Nolan Ryan. Well, he blew out his elbow, had Tommy John surgery and came back in 2000. Well, guess the Wrigley Faithful figgered they would be getting Pedro 99 but in reality, it DOES look like they DID get more of a Nolan Ryan type guy – from 00 to 04 he went 54 – 35 averaging 175 IP/ year with a 3.68 ERA, 10 K/ 9 IP and a 2.3 : 1 BB:K ratio. He spent a LOT of last year on the DL, and there’s plenty of talk talk about elbows, shoulders, etc this year too – did Dusty frag Kerry’s pitching arm by letting him throw too many pitches in games where he looked tired etc…

But THIS year, he hasn’t looked real too sharp: 1-1 with 5 HR, 12 BB, 27 K in 23.1 IP with a 5.79 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and .273 BAA.
Yeah, I said bout the same thing when I looked at the Pirate pitchers, too…. I remember.
We better HIT…….

career vs Houston:
5-6 in 14 GS with 11 HR, 28 BB, 105 K in 85 IP ( 6 IP/ GS) with a 4.45 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and .241 BAA
at Minute Maid:
2-2 in 6 GS with 4 HR, 12 BB and 31 K over 33 IP with a 4.91 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and.282 BAA

We’d better hit…..

4/30/05: Well, We Didn’t Get Shut Out As Maddux Beats Clemens

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

The guy sitting next to me said “we suck so bad we can’t even beat LaTroy Hawkins…”
He was right.

Greg Maddux beat Roger Clemens tonight, which thrilled the probably like 6000 Cub fans in the crowd of 41,000 something.

We broke the team 21 scoreless inning streak in the first – Taveras singled, then damn near got CS on a hitandrun with the 3rd pitch (oooooh Phil is getting tricky) but fortunately for him, Barrett threw high. Baggy walked, then Lamb doubled to right, Taveras scored, then Baggy was caught in a rundown between third and home. Neither Lane or Ensberg managed to get Lamb home. In fact, Lane’s bat grew cold on April 20, the last time he had an RBI.

Roger started off sharp, but in the second, first he couldn’t get his FB to catch the corners and he walked Derrek Lee, then Aramis Ramirez singled, then Burnitz his a first pitch changeup scoring Lee, then Hollandsworth doubled down the left field line – Lamb, for some reason out there instead of Chris Burke or Luke Scott (it had better be because of flu, otherwise there is no justification) don’t run real too fast, and Ramirez scored. So with 2 on, Clemens gritted his teeth and got out Barrett, Maddux and Hairston.

So then it was Cubs 2 Astros 1 and although Baggy tied it up with an el-cheapo HR into the Crawford Boxes in the 3rd, we just didn’t knock in any more runners. As usual. Roger cruised until the 7th – then he threw a splitter that didn’t split and it sailed 407′ just barely fair of the right field fair pole. Roger struggled through the rest of the inning and was saved from 2 more ER by an incredible diving catch by Jason Lane, his second outstanding catch of the night – he had made another GREAT running catch in the 6th.

Russ Springer was rather Rusty in the 8th – Derrek Lee doubled, then Aramis Ramirez hit a single to shallow center – Lee tried to score (a good idea, BTW, seeing that Taveras doesn’t seem to have a strong arm and his previous throws had been waaaaaaaaaay off line, but this time, his throw was right on the money and just in time to tag Lee out.

Brad Lidge, John Franco and Adam Everett are so sick with the “flu” that they didn’t even come to the ballpark tonight. Adam ain’t zackly Pujols with the bat, but he’s sure nuff better than Bruntlett.

We had 7 H and 4 BB and we left 7 MOB. I guess we should be happy that SOMEONE getting on base…

Who Should be Called Up For The Pirates Series 4/05?

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Ezequiel Astacio might could be called up again for the Pittsburgh series this week.

These are the available box scores (from baseballamerica.com) from games pitched by Astacio, Gothreaux and Wandy Rodriguez:
NO available pitch counts…

HOU E.Astacio
4/28 -(ND) 6.0 IP: 4 H: 3 R: 2 ER: 1 HR: 1 BB: 6 K: 4.30 ERA
4/22 (L, 0-3) 6.0 IP: 7 H: 3 R: 3 ER: 1 HR: 0 BB: 6 K: 4.63 ERA
4/17 (L, 0-2) 4.2 IP: 6 H: 4 R: 4 ER: 1 HR: 0 BB: 3 K: 4.67 ERA
4/12 – (ND)_ 7.0 IP: 1 H: 1 R: 1 ER: 1 HR: 1 BB: 5 K: 3.55 ERA
4/7 -(L, 0-1) -5.2 IP: 7 H: 4 R: 4 ER: 1 HR: i BB: 4 K: 6.35 ERA
AVERAGE: almost 6 IP/GS, – 1 HR EVERY start, 7.4 K/ 9 IP, .92 BB/ 9 IP, 7.68 H/ 9 IP

HOU J. Gothreaux
4/24 (L, 1-2) 6.0 IP: 5 H: 1 R: 1 ER: o HR: 1BB: 4 K: 2.52 ERA
4/19 (L, 1-1) 6.0 IP: 8 H: 5 R: 5 ER: 1 HR: 2 BB: 5 K: 2.84 ERA
4/14 (W, 1-0) 7.0 IP: 4 H: 0 R: 0 ER: 0 HR: 1 BB: 5 K: 0.69 ERA
4/9 (- ND – ) – 6.0 IP: 5 H: 2 R: 1 ER: 1 HR: 1 BB: 1 K: 1.50 ERA
AVERAGE: 6.1 IP/ GS, 1 HR every 2 starts, 5.4 K/ 9 IP, 1.8 BB/ 9 IP, 7.92 H/ 9 IP

HOU W. Rodriguez
4/23 (W, 3-0) 5.1 IP: 6 H: 1 R: 1 ER: 1 HR: 2 BB: 6 K: 2.42 ERA
4/18 – ( -ND- ) 6.0 IP: 5 H: 2 R: 2 ER: 1 HR: 0 BB: 5 K: 2.65 ERA
4/13 (W, 2-0) 5.0 IP: 6 H: 3 R: 3 ER: 0 HR: 3 BB: 5 K: 2.45 ERA
4/8 ( W, 1-0 ) 6.0 IP: 2 H: 0 R: 0 ER: 0 HR: 1 BB: 8 K: 0.00 ERA
AVERAGE: 5.2 IP/ GS, 1 HR every 2 games, 2.42 BB/ 9 IP, 9.7 K/ 9 IP, 7.67 H/ 9 IP

Looks like Rodriguez is actually the K king – didn’t know that – it’s Astacio with the rep, but Rodriguez pitches fewer innings/ start – not sure why.
Gothreaux had 1/4 BAD starts, Astacio had 2/5

Ok yall, NOW what do yall think about who should be called up?
- BTW, if anyone thinks that either Hirsh or Nieve should be called up from AA before one of these 3, let’s hear it and why.

Clemens vs Maddux: Two 300 Game Winners Face Off

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Cubs weekend. Ugh. Tickets dirt cheap here, I guess, compared to Wrigley, so a lot of Cub fans (thousands, no kidding) get these weekend travel deals to fly here and get 3 games in. They are, um, louder, ahem, than any other fans who come to the Box and well, let’s just say that the beer vendors roll out the welcome mat and they sure look REAL unhappy come Monday night…..
And lousy as our boys been playin, I’m SURE they happy to get off the road and come home to, dare I say, the friendly confines… hahhahhahhahhah.

Anyway, tonight it’s Roger vs The Professor, Greg Maddux – Two of the best RHP of all time – Power vs Craft. Ahhhhhhhh. Pitchers’ duels – I love em. As long as we win em…..

Of course you know Roger has been Mr. Hard Luck this year – the team has given him exactly ONE run of support over 28 innings and he now has 23 consecutive scoreless innings.
last year vs Chicago: 2 – 2 in 5 GS with 2 HR, 10 BB, 27 K in 32.1 IP with a 3.90 ERA and a .256 BAA

And we get to see The Professor again – absolutely amazing pitcher – drafted in 1984 in the second round by the Cubs out of high school – I’m sure you know the Rest Of The Story – 17 years of 15+ wins/year, the 4 Cy Youngs, the Ring with Atlanta’s only WS team – all those years with the first Big Three – Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux. Second on the top 10 list of lowest BB/ 9 IP right behind Robin Roberts (according to Lee Sinins , among the lowest ERA as compared to league average. The guy who looks like he throwing BP but you can’t hit it anyway, the guy who IN A HITTER’S ERA for 2 years in a row had an ERA under 2, the guy who at the end of his career at age 39 still pretty darn good, even though he went back to the Cursed Cubs…

Career: 305 – 175 with 35 shutouts and 105 CG in 4205.1 IP – 273 HR, 874 BB, 2929 K, with a 2.96 ERA, (141 ERA+), 1.13 WHIP and a .245 BAA.
Postseason: not quite up to the regular season – in 29 GS and 2 in relief, 11-14 in 190 IP with a 3.22 ERA
except against Houston, of course, going 1-1 with 1 ND in 22 IP with a 2.05 ERA
This year, in 4 GS, he’s 0-1 with 4 HR, 4 BB and 13 K in 24 IP throws ave of 83 pitches/game, has a 1.13 WHIP and a 4.50 ERA.
vs Houston – regular season: 24 – 9 with 10 CG and 2 SO in 307 IP with 17 HR, 69 BB, 176 K for a WHIP of 1.11, ERA of 2.52 and a .240 BAA.
at the Box: note the difference – 3-1 in 4 GS with 2 HR, 2 BB and 20 K in 25.2 IP with a 4.56 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and .308 BAA.

I don’t know if any ML team has ever been shut out 3 games in a row. At least since they raised the mound. But we’d better start hitting, like NOW.

4/28/05: Duck, Duck, Duckworth, Who’s Next??

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Obviously, Duckworth stunk up the joint and shouldn’t start any more.
No argument there.
We need a 5th starter.
No argument there.
We don’t really have a long man already on the ML roster – Chad Qualls used to be a starter, but he doesn’t throw more than 2 innings at a time and hasn’t for over a year, so…
we HAVE to bring someone up from the minors. The question is, who?

The 5 current starters are Wandy Rodriguez, Jared Gothreaux, Ezequiel Astacio, Taylor Buchholz and Carlos Hernandez.

Hernandez has never come back from shoulder surgery. I doubt he ever will.
Travis Driskill had SOME success with Baltimore starting over the past few years, but was just signed a few weeks ago and needs more work..

Dave Burba hasn’t started in the bigs in 2 years.

Buchholz had shoulder surgery this offseason and, um, isn’t sharp.

This leaves Rodriguez, Gothreaux and Astacio.
I know that the organization wanted to promote Astacio, not Gothreaux or Rodriguez.
I keep hearing that he strikes out a lot of people and had good spring training stats.
Good spring training stats – SO???????????
- Roger Clemens had a, what, 9.0 ERA?
- Brad Ausmus had a 400 something BA?
Facing a lot of minor leaguers and guys who aren’t sharp yet???
Sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, spring training stats ain’t worth a bucket of warm spit.
STILL not convinced? OK, then how bout this – Brandon F Duckworth made the team as the 5th guy because of spring training stats. NEED I SAY MORE???????

It’s true that Astacio has more minor league “experience” but remember that he spent the first 3 years in the Dominican League)
All 3 guys spent only 1 year at high A and 1 yeat at AA before being promoted.
All 3 guys, for the FIRST time, are facing AAA hitters.

It is NOT obvious to me that Astacio stands out more than the other two – in fact, looking at THIS year, it seems to me that Astacio is the worst choice of the three – if he doesn’t get Ks, he’s in trouble… High Ks don’t necessarily get you a lot of W/year (look at Nolan Ryan) because you have to be able to pitch well from the stretch, too…

Me, I think that Jared Gothreaux is the best choice of the three – look carefully – fewer BB/ 9 IP, same ERA as Astacio WITH more H/9 IP, which means that he is better able to get outs with MOB.

OK
Fire away.

BTW – we also have 2 (so far) good looking starters at AA Corpus Christi in Fernando Nieve RHP (age 23 season – FA from Venezuela 1999) and Jason Hirsh RHP (23 yo – 2nd round of 03 draft) – in fact, Nieve just made Baseball America’s top 10 hot prospect list at #6 – they say:

“6. Fernando Nieve, rhp, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi)
Nieve has pitched 24 innings in four starts, and he’s yet to allow more than three hits in a game. Once he gets going, look out–opposing batters are 0-for-36 against the 22-year-old Venezuelan after the third inning.”

One last thing – can anyone reading this email me if yall have a link to ANY site that will give me better stats for this year for the minor league pitchers than what’s there on the official team website? (it has to be free…..) Thanks.

UPDATE: 3 PM – one MORE last thing – Tim Redding, who explained to the media something along the lines of –  if I ain’t startin, I’m departin – got hisself a spot in the San Diego rotation – supposed to be a pitchers’ park, and here’s what’s happened so far (according to Lee Sinins’ Around the Majors)
“Padres P Tim Redding took a pounding–3 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO. After 3.68 ERA/15 RSAA and 5.72 ERA/-15 RSAA seasons, Redding is off to a 7.94 ERA/-8 RSAA start in his first 4 starts (5 games). He has a 4.88 career ERA, compared to his league average of 4.27, and -23 RSAA in 96 games.”

Well, it ain’t like we shoulda kept him instead of the Duck.
I REALLY wonder why we never went after Woody Williams, homeboy, who WANTED to come here and pitch…

4/27/05: Astros Lose To Pirates Because Of Sloppy Play

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Kip Wells threw 7 innings of 1 walk, 4 hit ball.

Pettite allowed 2 runs in 6 IP, Franco got TWO LHB out, Brad Lidge was wild, couldn’t find the strike zone and loaded the bases before getting the last out.

Everett gets CS in yet ANOTHER botched hit and run – Phil ain’t figgered out that even the dumbest opposing manager just WAITING for it.

We are shut out by the freaking Pittsburgh Pirates, by 2 of their starting pitchers whose ERAs were over 6 before the game TWO GAMES IN A ROW!

I am trying, but I can’t find much good to say about how we are doing.
I said before the season started that I would be REAL happy if we ended the year at .500 -
Let me re-say that: I will be REAL happy if we do not outsuck the 03 Tigers or 04 Dbax. I will be REAL happy if we do not break the ML record for getting shut out in a 162 game season. I will be REAL happy if we quit botching all these hit and runs cuz Phil is SO predictable.

Next discussion will be about who the next 5th starter will be.
Because there ain’t real too much to say about not hitting, is there…

Preview: Pettitte vs Kip Wells 4/26/05

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

SORRY, GAME POSTPONED BECAUSE OF RAIN

Tomorrow, it’s Andy Pettitte LHP vs Kip Wells RHP:
(all stats from thebaseballcube.com, espn.com, yahoo.com and baseball-reference.com)

This year, Andy is 1 – 1 in 4 GS with 2 HR, 6 BB and 16 K, a 3.55 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .268 BAA in 25.1 IP.

vs Pirates: he faced them for the first time last year, going 2 – 0 with 1 HR, 3 BB an 11 K in 11 IP with a 0.82 ERA – at PNC, threw 6 innings with 1 H, 1 BB and 3 K.
-
Kip Wells: Born here in Houston, went to Baylor, and picked 1st round in the 1998 draft by the White Sox who soured on him right quick (I guess cuz he wasn’t Nolan Ryan/ Roger Clemens all over again) so after the 01 season, he was traded in the infamous Todd Ritchie trade – one of Dave Littlefield’s 2 good moves/trades – hey, even a blind squirrel, etc…

In 3 years with the Sox, he was 20 – 21 in 47 GS (and 20 more in relief) with 31 HR, 134 BB ( 4.51 /9 IP), 199 K (6.7/ 9 IP) and a 5.15 ERA in 267.2 IP.

In the next 3 years with Pittsburgh, he went 27 – 30 in 88 GS with 59 HR, 159 BB (3.30/ 9 IP), 397 K (8.23/ 9 IP) with a 4.58 ERA

So far, he has started this year 1 – 3 in 4 GS with 6 HR, 18 BB and 19 K in 232.2 IP for a 6.46 ERA and a .244 BAA

at PNC: 11 – 14 in 41 GS with 26 HR, 102 BB, 196 K, ERA 3.56, WHIP 1.36 and .251 BAA in 253 IP.

vs Houston: 2 – 5 in 9 GS in 46 IP with 8 HR, 21 BB, 35 K – an ERA pf 5.48, WHIP = 1.52 and .278 BAA.

Well, Andy better pitch a no-hitter the way we’ve been NOT been hitting. Or else we better hope that Wells throws BP pitches…..
By the way, this means that Astacio will NOT be called up from AAA because Roger will be starting Fri night’s game against Maddux and the Cubs at OUR friendly confines…

4/26/05: Duck, Duck, Duck, Duckworth GONE

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Phil Garner has announced that Duckworth is, in fact, Duck-worthless, and will be replaced in the rotation by Ezequiel Astacio who is 0-3 with a 4.63 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP at AAA Round Rock.

Just what the doctor ordered – a guy who can’t even pitch well in the minors.
Why not
Jared Gothreaux – in 4 GS, is 1-2 a 2.52 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
Wandy Rodriguez – in 4 GS is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
or even ML retreads
Travis Driskill – in 5 G is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP
Dave Burba – in 8 G is 2-2 with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP

Sorry, I have no other stats and if the box scores/ play by play are on line somewhere, I can’t find them.

I guess the thinking is, well he looked good in spring training. So what if he can’t win at AAA or even have a lower ERA than the other starters.
So he “looked good then. BIG deal.
So did Duckworth.

One more thing – Todd Self is hitting .412 in AAA, playing LF. Maybe we should send Luke Scott down and call him up…

4/25/05: Oswalt Gets Clemensed: Pirates Shut Out Astros For The 4th Time

Monday, April 25th, 2005

Well, the 8,413 Pirate fans who showed up “hungry” got to see ANOTHER incredible pitchers’ duel. I mean, I know I keep writing this, but it is really true.

We just dropped to 8 – 11 by getting shut out by the Pirates 2-0. Of the 19 games we’ve played, we’ve been shut out FOUR times.

It’s not that Roy was bad – he certainly had a quality start – 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 BB and 6 K – he looked decent except in the 7th, where, clearly tired, he walked the first 2 batters, loaded the bases, but managed to escape giving up only 1 run.

Oliver Perez, who had SUCKED all year, sharpened his claws on our el-sucko lineup. Now let’s be honest here – Matt Morris pitched well enough to let us beat ourselves ( if it had been Roy pitching, OR if we had had a decent LF, we might could have won last night) but Perez was absolutely ELECTRIC – looked like the guy who pitched 8 unbelievable innings of 3 hit ball with 1 BB and 14 K (and remember that THAT lineup had Kent and Berkman) against us and made me think of Randy Johnson only 20 years younger. Well, THAT lineup showed up tonight and that slider was sliding and the FB was basically almost unhittable.

And speaking of hitting, we have 138 K in 19 games – 7.3 K/ game. We are NOT working the counts – I’m gonna go thru my scorecards and check, but I KNOW we aren’t taking enough pitches, especially lately. What’s odd about this is that Phil has a rep as a guy who HATES strikeouts, even in TTO guys with a decent average like Jose Valentin and Jeromy Burnitz…

And speaking of stupid, how STUPID was it to send poor Ensberg on that hit and run – they was just WAITIN for it – Perez threw that high FB that poor Burke hadta just kinda wave at to try to protect Ensberg who was out by 15 feet. I mean, Perez was almost unhittable from the windup – woudn’t it be a good idea to try to see if we could get to him from the stretch?????????

We are leaving a LOT of MOB – tonight Jason Lane left 2, Bagwell left 2 Chavez 1, Burke 1 and Bruntlett 1. Jason Lane hasn’t hit worth ^*%@! since he moved from 5th to cleanup and has only 1 RBI since April 17. His high average is with no one on.

Not sure what translates to winning among the other NL teams – what I would bet DOES go hand in hand with winning is hitting with RISP and not leaving a high percent of MOB. Also, playing against the Stros…. grumble

So this year gonna be used for teaching my kids to stick to the team even though they suck…