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Archive for May, 2005

Backe Wins #5 Against Cincy

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Brandon Backe is HOT HOT HOTTTT!!!!!

Yes, he’s so FINE, but also

he just ROOLZ at the Box – LUUUUVVVVVS the hometown crowd – is 8-1 with 1 ND and a 2.85 regular season ERA. They had the roof open to start the game with the temperature well over 90, but Brandon was just PUMPED. In fact he had a hard time getting a lot of pitches over and gave up 9 hits and 2 walks with only 1 K, but managed to pitch out of trouble, except to give up a 2 run homer to Junior Griffey.

Brandon ALSO went 1 fer 3 at the plate, and because he was stealing a base when Willy Taveras bounced into what would have been a 6-4-3 DP with any leadfoot, distracted Lopez who wasn’t able to even throw out Taveras, who, by the way, leads the ML with 19 infield singles – reminds me of Alex Sanchez (without the roids) last year. Brandon then scored a run on Todd Self’s RBI single.


After a 1,2,3 6th, Brandon went Backe out to pitch the 7th – Cruz singled, then Freel singled up the middle, then Cruz was replaced by pinch runner Jason Romano – fool immediately picked off second by Ausmus, then Lopez grounded out, advancing Freel to second – 2 out.

Have I said yet that PHIL IS AN EFFING MORON????!!!!! (Well, I would use a LOT stronger negative language, but this is a nice clean blog…)

I know how to read stats. Sean Casey is batting 1.000 against Franco. There is NO law that says that a lefty pitcher MUST face a lefty batter, Casey was 1 fer 3 against Brandon, with no really good swings, and yet Phil pulls Brandon and replaces him with a guy who Casey has hit singles off every single time he has faced him this year. I looked it up. This year, Casey is hitting .347 against lefties (and .296 against righties), last year hit .306 against lefties, and in 03 hit .320 against lefties – in fact, for the past 3 years has hit lefties better than righties, so WHY in the name of God is that idiot Phil bringing in Franco? BTW, before tonight, Casey was 5 fer 11 against Franco with a walk for a real nice 1.227 OPS. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Naturally, Casey hits a RBI double and poor Brandon’s run scores. This is the third time this year that Franco has let Brandon’s inherited runner score. Of course, as usual, Franco’s runner doesn’t score because he gets Griffey out.

Dan Wheeler strikes out the side in the 8th and it’s

Matt Belisle – Austin, Texas native pitched to Houston, Texas native Jason La Rue and Belisle no hit the Astros until Lance singled in the fourth. Man, I was SO afraid that not only would we get shut out again, but we would get no-hit. The Astros record is 23 shutouts in 1963 – STILL can’t find the NL or ML 162 game/year record.

Lance is beginning to swing the bat more like the usual LANCE. Biggio must still be hurting because he looks bad up there. Adam Everett hit his 5th HR into the Crawford Boxes. The Astros are at the bottom of every offensive stat in the NL. Sigh.

So we are now 19 – 32 and it’s 22 to go…


no fielding blunders and no baserunning screwups.


5/31/05 – Backe vs Belisle

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Well, I suppose I need to find SOMETHING good to say about the Memorial Day Massacre.

Lessee – we didn’t get no-hit. No errors, no bad fielding costing runs.

Roger Clemens had a bit of a time trying to locate pitches in the second, walked Dunn, then hung a slider to Joe Randa, who sent it into the Crawford Boxes about 350′ down the left field lines. He gave up only those 2 runs and scattered 3 more hits over the next 5 innings, but as usual, Astro bats swung at air. Roger didn’t look like his groin was bothering him one bit – hope not.

The announcers were saying something about Phil not being sure how the rotation would go for the St Louis series on Friday – we had BETTER not be seeing Astacio start again is all I can say.

I had wondered where Doug Mansolino had come from, since I couldn’t find him as part of the Astros organization, and discovered he has been Phil’s 3rd base coach since Milwaukee. Ugh. I haven’t been real too pleased with his send/stay decisions and today, he decided to hold Ensberg at third – a decision that ended up costing us a run. So we were shut out for the 9th time this YEAR. I’m still wondering what the record is for the 162 game year…

Anyway, Aaron Harang, who had never before been able to stay in the game over 4 innings here at the box, went 7 innings, gave up 5 hits and 1 walk and Kd TEN. Two of those hits were infield grounders to third that Everett and Taveras beat out. No excuse for all those Ks – the roof was shut, no shadows, and this is NOT Pedro on the mound, here.

The Astros are bigger swingers than Austin Powers. I don’t know what’s going on here, all I know is that every single hitter except for Ensberg and Biggio is hitting WELL below career averages and that whatever approach they are using to help these guys is NOT working. Time for a new hitting coach. Watching these guys at the plate is embarrassing.

We still have NEVER come back when losing after the end of the 6th inning. Not once all year. Ridiculous.

And ridiculous also is the right word for the bullpen, too. Franco got a dose of his own medicine tonight. He got sent up in the 9th to face Casey, Griffey and Dunn – I remember that he couldn’t get Casey out a single time he faced him earlier this year, and same thing again. Franco had a first pitch strike to Casey and after that, couldn’t find the strike zone – except for the 3 pitches that Casey, Griffey and Dunn hit for singles to load the bases. Russ Springer came in and not only let all of Franco’s runs score, but was tagged for 4 ER over 1/3 IP himself. Qualls came in and looked like the old Qualls – 2 easy GB outs.

We can’t come back from 1 run down – we weren’t coming back from 9 – but Biggio didn’t throw in the towel – got on with a HBP – might as well because he wasn’t swinging for dog poo, and he slid into second with 1 out to break up the DP. I don’t know why our guys can’t won’t come back, but SOMETHING has got to change. Roger now has 11 starts – all with 2 or fewer ER and has 3 losses to show for it because he gets an average of less than 2 runs of support/ start. In fact, in 4 of his starts, the Astros have scored NO runs.

At least the fielding is solid. And Mike Lamb made a great leaping catch on a liner – guess some white boys CAN jump.

We had a full house for the Memorial Day holiday, but we won’t for tonight’s game. We’ll sell some of those 2 tickets for 2 bucks and there will be plenty of grrrls with Backe jerseys, but…

Brandon Backe, RHP vs : Matt Belisle, RHP
this year: 4 – 3 in 10 GS – 6 HR, 17 BB, 42 K over 64.2 IP with a 4.73 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and a .269 BAA.
vs.CIN: 2 – 0 in 3 GS and 4 in relief – 0 HR, 6 BB, 18 K over 21 IP with a 2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and a .263 BAA.
@ the Box: 7 – 1 in 8 GS and 13 in reliev with 1 CG SO – 6 HR, 19 BB, 59 K over 66 IP2.73 ERA,1.12 WHIP and a .230 BAA.

Matt Belisle, RHP:
drafted in the second round in 1998 out of an Austin, Tx HS by the Atlanta Braves, traded to the Reds in the middle of the 03 season, came up and pitched 8.2 innings in relief, had a 1-1 record with a 5.19 ERA. He spent all of 04 in AAA, went 9 – 11 in 28 GS with a 5.26 ERA with 16 HR, 51 BB and 106 K in 162.2 IP.
- this year, he’s 2 – 4 in 4 GS and 10 in relief – 8 HR, 13 BB, 26 K over 34.2 IP with a 4.67 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and a .288 BAA.
- vs.HOU (at the Box) – 1 IP – 1 BB, 1 K, 3 H and 2 ER (small sample size???!!!)

Well, this IS the Box – hope he gives up a LOT of HR into the Crawford Boxes…

note: as far as I know, Belisle is the starter tonight, but I had seen the name of Ramirez several times, so just in case, here’s what I know about him:

Elizardo Ramirez, RHP:
22 yr old signed by the Phillies in 1999 as an amateur FA from the DR. Traded to the Reds last year, but was sent to AA, even though he had pitched 15 innings for the Phillies already – 7 games in relief with a 4.80 ERA. He’s been a started his whole minor league career – last year at AA for the Reds he was 1-0 in 5 GS with a 3.19 ERA.

Well, this IS the Box – hope he gives up a LOT of HR into the Crawford Boxes…

5/30/05 – Clemens vs Harang

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Happy Memorial Day everyone.

It’s Military Day at the Box and the place is gonna be jammed.
Gee it’s good to be back home again… We open the 3 game series with the Reds -
With Paul Wilson on the DL and “ace” Eric Milton with an ERA over 7, the Reds are NOT a good team. They just released their closer, Danny Graves, who has blown 2/12 saves, a 1-1 record, a 7.36 ERA, 2.29 WHIP and a .357 BAA. and the rest of their bullpen, well, let’s just say Danny wasn’t the only one with a problem…

This year, they’re barely better than we are : 19 – 30 and are 5 – 16 on the road

So for the opener, it’s Roger Clemens, RHP vs: Aaron Harang, RHP

Yall don’t need to hear about no run support for Roger or that he has the best ERA/RSAA in the NL… SIGH.
- this year: 3 – 2 in 10 GS – 2 HR, 19 BB and 69 K over 68 IP with a 1.19 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and a .169 BAA.
- vs.CIN: 3 – 0 in 4 GS – 1 HR, 10 BB, 29 K over 25 IP with a 3.24 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and a .250 BAA.
@the Box: 14 – 5 in 26 GS – 11 HR, 49 BB, 181 K in 175 IP with a 2.52 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and a .202 BAA

Aaron Harang, RHP:
Drafted by the Rangers in the 6th round in 1999 and traded to the Oakland As in 2002 for Randy Velarde (if I remember rightly) and he started 15 games went 5-4 with a 4.83 ERA in 78.1 IP ( 5 1/3 IP/start, average) with 7 HR, 45 BB and 64 K.

He got hurt in September and was not in the playoffs. In 2003, he started 6 games for the Aís (relieved in another) giving up 18 ER in 26 1/3 IP, which is a 6.15 ERA and 4 1/3 IP/start. Yecccccccchhhhhhh. So at the trading deadline, the Aís, desperately needing a bat, traded him to the Reds for Jose Guillen. He had 9 starts, 46 IP, 27 ER, 10 BB, 26K, 4-3. Excluding the start where he pitched one inning, then had to leave hurt, he averaged 5 2/3 IP/ start, actually had 2 QS (WOW) and an overall 5.28 ERA.

This year, he’s the ONLY Reds starter who has pitched decently – 6/9 QS
3 – 2 in 9 GS – 5 HR, 18 BB and 47 K over 59.2 IP (6.2 innings/start) with a 3.32 ERA, WHIP and a .231 BAA.

He last faced us 4/17 (with Duckworthless on the mound) and won at Riverfront (not without some bullpen excitement) – remember Pena’s 500′ HR into the upper decks…
vs.HOU: 1 – 3 in 7 GS – 10 HR, 17 BB and 27 K over 36.1 IP with a 5.94 ERA, 1.76 WHIP and a .315 BAA
@ the Box: 0 – 2 in 2 GS – 4 HR, 3 BB, 5 K over 8.1 IP with a 11.88 ERA, 2.64 WHIP, .475 BAA

I  DO hope that Roger has recovered from his “groin strain” – he looked REAL sharp with it last time, but it IS a long season. Not sure how Biggio is doing with his sore hip, but he probably won’t be in the lineup either…

Astros Win Road Series For The First Time In 2005!!!

Sunday, May 29th, 2005

I can hardly believe it – for the first time this year, the Astros have won a road series – in fact, this is the ONLY series we have won this May. In fact, we won TWO road games in a row!!!

Andy Pettitte, who missed his last start because of a tight elbow or something like that (ahem) was lights out. Which was a damm good thing because the Astros hitters managed to barely scratch out 2 runs against Chris Capuano, who got Clemensed (yes – it’s my new word for a pitcher who goes for 7 innings and gives up 2 runs or less and still loses or gets a ND).

Of course we had yet ANOTHER lineup tonight – Biggio has a sore hip and Viz had some sort of family leave so we were a little short tonight. Anyway, Taveras, who is 6 for his last 29 with NO walks, GO, then Bruntlett singled, then got his fool self picked off – Lamb homered on the next pitch and instead of it’s 2 – 0, it’s 1-0. I’m GLAD that Lamb seems to be FINALLY breaking out of his 1/27 with 4 BB slump.

So then Andy gives up a leadoff single to Brady Clark, then a double to Spivey (and suddenly I don’t feel real too good) but then he Ks Jenkins and Miller and Lee pops out. Then except for one walk in the third and one single in the sixth, Andy was flat out awesome. 78 pitches over 6 innings – 8 Ks, 1 BB and 3 hits and NO runs and that was all she wrote.

Capuano was decent – 7.1 IP – 5 H, 4 BB (from OUR free swinging team, that’s a miracle) and 4 Ks. He benefitted from dumb things like Bruntlett getting picked off and Ensberg getting CS on a botched hitnrun, (yet ANOTHER one) stranding Ausmus with one out in the third, Everett stranding 2 in the fourth, Lamb stranding Bruntlett at third in the fifth and Biggio then Taveras stranding Ausmus in the 7th.

Wheeler pitched the 7th and 8th, giving up only a solo HR 464′ to Chris Magruder.

Then it’s the 9th and it’s Brad Lidge. A One Run Lead – would he turn into LaTroy Hawkins???!!!

Strike 1 to Spivey, then a single to left.
Strike 2 to Jenkins, then a single up the middle.
- I’m not sure what pitch they hitting, but either they sitting on the slider or it’s lost its movement…
Carlos Lee – 2 balls, 2 strikes and he gets juuuust a little under one and pops it up to Ausmus. Whew.
Then 2 on one out for Damian Miller – and he barely gets one to move out in front of home plate and it’s Ausmus to Ensberg to Lamb for the 2-5-3 GIDP. Talk about luck. The way Brad was throwing, I was thinkin there was NO way Spivey don’t score on even a single.

So tonight, it wasn’t the usual dominating BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDD
So I guess it was BRADDD – he gets capitals and 3 Ds for getting all 3 outs and the Save. I’ll bet poor Andy’s BP was through the roof. 8 QS for Andy and only 3 W.
So now we are 5 – 22 on the road, and I’d bet they all glad to be back home again…
Oh yeah – by the way, Phil said to reporters that he isn’t ready to give up on Astacio as a starter yet (shudder) and I guess he thinks Astacio’s “stuff” is bettern Wandy Rodriguez’ but it ain’t the stuff, it’s what you do with it and as far as I can tell, Astacio needs to go back down to Round Rock to work a little more with that stuff – ERA almost 11, is ALREADY in the top 10 in the NL for HR given up. At least Duckworth can hit…

And speaking of hits, Jason Lane needs to Do SOMEthing – he’s 8 fer 68 with 5 BB, 3 runs scored and 2 CS in May with only 1 2B and 1 HR. Whatever he’s doing ain’t working…

In case yall curious -
team BA – .240
OBP – .300 (may be slightly higher because I didn’t have HBP numbers)
SLG – .378.
OPS – .678
according to Lee Sinins at, we are dead lst in the NL with a team (-)54 RCAA and our team leader Biggio, has 8 RCAA and only 4 guys have a positive RCAA (which sucks)

You know how I been complaining that Phil hasn’t played the hitnrun real too well?
I’m right -
We have a team 35 SB with 16 CS for a 68% success rate – not nearly good enough.
18 down, 23 to go…..

Astros And Wandy Win #4 On The Road!!!

Sunday, May 29th, 2005

Wandy Rodriguez pitched 6 innings , giving up 4 ER, 9 H, no walks and 5 Ks with 104 pitches, 68 strikes. No big innings, one solo HR. Perfectly acceptable for a #5 guy. He got GREAT run support (Roy-O, Roger and Backe must be gritting their teeth) – Morgan Ensberg and Adam Everett both hit 3 run homers. And we only left 3 MOB.

Astros scored 4 runs in the first off Sheets – only 1 earned, but then he shut us down over the next 4 innings – 2 BB, 8 K and no hits. Whoa. The Brewers bullpen has the lowest ERA in the NL – but tonight, they gave up 5 runs in the 6th – good thing, too. Mike Lamb went 2 fer 4 – both against lefties, and both he and Berkman managed to drag their averages over the Mendoza line.

Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless inning – 2 singles, a GIDP and a GO.

Ezequiel Astacio – well, he sure didn’t pitch like Dotel – I was wrong about that – he pitched like he did at Texas – 14 pitches, 2 HR on what looked like FB down the middle and one K. ML hitters are gonna hit FB out of the park – Bill Hall must have hit the second one like 460′ – think it’s time to call the Astacio experiment a failure and send him back down. We could try Travis Driskill – he’s doing pretty well…

Last day of the road trip – we won’t sweep, but it would be the first series we win all month if we can win today. As well as 2 road games in a row – something we haven’t done all year.

So today, it’s Andy Pettitte, LHP vs : Chris Capuano, LHP
(all stats from, and
Here’s hoping Andy has recovered from his elbow “tightness”/ forearm soreness
this year: 2 – 5 in 9 GS – 5 HR, 13 BB, 34 K over 57 IP with a 4.11 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and a .278 BAA
Has 7/9 QS and only 2 wins to show for it. Does this sound familiar???!!! Lousy run support???!!! Fielders giving up hits and making errors? “Relievers” letting inherited runners score???!!!
He has never pitched at Miller Park.
vs.MIL: 4 – 2 in 8 GS and 1 in relief with 1 CG – 5 HR, 20 BB, 30 K over 55.1 IP with a 4.23 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and a .292 BAA

Wandy Rodriguez vs Ben Sheets 5/28/05

Saturday, May 28th, 2005

My team’s bad luck is rubbing off on me – I just wrote this post, went to post it and the computer ate it.


It’s getting harder and harder to keep rooting for this terrible team. Props to the thousands of fans of the Brewers, Pirates and Royals who’ve had no hope for SO long and keep on rooting anyway.

We got shut out for the 8th time in 47 games last night and extended our losing road record to 3-22. Poor Roy-O has been on the losing end of 3 of these shutouts, giving up 1 or 2 runs and getting NO support. Last night, it was obvious he was having trouble with the mound in the first – he kept slipping, couldn’t locate his pitches, walked three, gave up ONE freaking earned run on a RBI groundout and pitched hisself out of a bases loaded jam. He gave up just ONE more hit over the next 5 innings and no more walks, but was pulled after the sixth – “tight back” or something. The Fox announcers were going on and on about how he had been left to throw 120 pitches in the 98 degree Texas sun last start – here and I thought I was the only one screaming about that.

This is just great – we have Roy-O with a “tight back” and Roger with a “sore groin” and Andy with “elbow something” and I keep remembering Bill Wegman and Cal Eldred and Ben McDonald – I’m not THAT old.

Anyway, Doug Davis pitched 7 innings giving up 4 walks and 2 hits with 111 pitches. Out hitters kept swinging at high FB out of the strike zone. I was remembering Kit Keller in “A League of their Own” – I like em high – and hoping that our guys would pull a Kit, but no such luck. Davis got 7 Ks.

We have won 16/47 games so far – only 6 in May. We have 115 games left and to need to win 6 in each remaining month (and then just one more) to beat the ’62 Mets.
Except for the fifth starter (Duckworthless, then Astacio) we’ve had pretty darn good starting pitching – the starters have been let down by relievers (remember that we’ve had 45% of inherited runners score) and by lousy fielding.

So what to do?
- First, understand that this season is LOST.
- Next, fire the hitting coach – total lack of offense is our biggest problem.
- Let the rookies learn how to play. Put Berkman at first, call up Burke and put him in left (Biggio isn’t going anywhere and it’s silly to have Burke rotting down there for another 1 – 2 years) and put Self in right. I think that Jason Lane is such an extreme pull hitter that the other teams have found all the holes in his swing and he needs to have someone good help him with adjustments – it’s silly to keep running him out there.
- Stop playing Kama Sutra with all the bench guys – they need to be on the freaking bench
- Stop changing the lineup every freaking day
- Last, and most important, do NOT send Roger to the Yecchies as a salary dump, which is what it would be – they do NOT have anything worth a bucket of warm spit that we could use, and it would be the WORST possible thing to do from a PR standpoint because Roger is our star draw and because people will figger McLane for a cheapskate and season ticket sales will drop like a rock along with attendence.

Oh yeah – get rid of Phil – he is now explaining that the players to blame cuz they feeling like losers – Phil, they losing because of all the stupid stuff you did in April that ended up costing us wins and you figgering that all your Rah-Rah good feelings crap can overcome lousy managing. If

I hear one more time that stupid line about how Phil singlehandedly led us to the playoffs last year, I am gonna SCREAM. We did even lousier after Jimy was canned and Phil took over. Roy-O turned this team around by getting in a fight with Michael Barrett and the Cubs and by Kent, Berkman and Beltran suddenly deciding that hitting is fun and wins ballgames, too. Also because the opposing teams hit a LOT fewer balls to left for Biggio to miss.

Tonight, We are being spared having to watch Astacio give up 9 runs in 2 innings – he is being put in the bullpen where he belongs (reminds me of Dotel who couldn’t do well as a starter, either and was a FANTASTIC set-up guy) and Wandy Rodriguez will get the start. He did reasonably well against the Cubs last week – well, they ain’t zackly a good team, neither, and we’ll have to see how he does against a team whose hitters all have an OBP over .340 (except Spivey.)

Ben Sheets will be pitching for the first time since he faced us in Houston on April 20th when he was sick as a dog.

vs.HOU: 8 – 5 in 15 GS with 2 CG – 15 HR, 20 BB, 89 K over 100 IP with a 3.33 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and a .241 BAA
@ Miller Park: 24 – 29 in 69 GS with 3 CG – 54 HR, 94 BB, 385 K over 460.2 IP with a 3.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and a .245 BAA.

minor league notes:
1 – We signed Scott Strickland to a minor league contract – he had several surgeries and hasn’t pitched in the bigs for 2 years.

2 – Also, here’s the latest scoop on Jared Gothreaux:
from Brian McTaggart’ column at the Houston Chronicle:
Gothreaux ready to go: While Ezequiel Astacio and Wandy Rodriguez have garnered most of the attention, righthander Jared Gothreaux has quietly put together a solid season as part of the starting rotation at Class AAA Round Rock.
Gothreaux, 25, will take a 3-2 record with a 2.51 ERA into his next start Wednesday at Las Vegas. In addition to his competitiveness, the Astros like the movement on his fastball, his developing slider and sinker and his changeup.
“He’s one of those guys that doesn’t really wow you with velocity, but he does wow you with his competitiveness,” general manager Tim Purpura said.
“He’s got two or three plus pitches. He’s got a plus fastball and a plus slider and the makings of a plus changeup when he throws it effectively. He goes after hitters and his slider can be his out pitch. He’s a real steady performer.”
Gothreaux, the Astros’ 16th round pick in 2002 out of McNeese State, has been working closely with Express pitching coach Burt Hooton on spotting his fastball and improving his sinker.
“I’m fine-tuning my sinker to get it to where I can make it do what I want it to do every time, instead of throwing it to a general area and hoping and wishing it does what you want,” he said.

This year at AAA, he’s 3 – 3 in 10 GS – 5 HR (.71/9 IP) 14 BB (1.99/ 9 IP) 33 K (4.69/ 9 IP)over 63.1 IP with a 2.70 ERA and a.258 BAA.

Happy 37th Birthday Jeff Bagwell

Friday, May 27th, 2005

I want to give Jeff Bagwell praise and thanks on his 37th birthday.

You know his story, I’m sure. He’s from Boston, a die hard Red Sox fan from birth who couldn’t believe his incredible good fortune when his beloved Sawks drafted him as a third baseman in the 4th round of the 89 draft.

Traded in the infamous Larry Anderson trade – and the Sawks DID need Anderson for their pennant drive and he DID do right by them – in 1990. We already had Ken Caminiti to play third, so Bagwell was switched to first. He made the jump from AA to the majors in 91, winning the NL ROY. And, as they say, the rest is history.

About his history -
How many great first basemen are 5 tool players? They usually one dimensional sluggers like McGwire – sometimes, like Palmeiro, they are also good glovemen, but Baggy is the total package. He has:
a lifetime .297 BA, a .408 OBP (#42 all time) 1400 walks (24th all time,) 202 steals (72 % success) and TWO 30 – 30 seasons, which NO other first baseman has done in the history of baseball, 449 HR (#28 all time,) 488 doubles (tied for #50 with Mel Ott and Harold Baines,) 2311 hits, 1525 RBIs (tied for #40 with Sam Crawford,) 1517 runs (#54 all time). He has a lifetime 150 OPS+ which is #30 on the all-time list – tied with Nap Lajoie, Honus Wagner and Mike Piazza. These stats, by the way, are from 14 years (plus a few weeks this year) and remember, he played for 9 years in the Dome, a notorious pitchers park…

He has a good reputation as a smart, heads up baserunner and a great defensive glove – remember that he was a third baseman who was moved to first ONLY because we already had Ken Caminiti at third – he had the bad luck to play at the same time as Mark Grace and JT Snow, so he only won 1 gold glove – his MVP year of 1994. He’s only been to 4 All-Star games (McGwire rooled in those days) unfortunately.

I know everyone is gonna look at all time lists, naturally, but he should be compared with the guys who played with him in the small-park steroid era – Frank Thomas, his “twin” – Happy Birthday Frank!!! (note that Frank didn’t have the glove or the SB although their HR, walks and OPS are similar), McGwire (did he or didn’t he) – lots more HR, no running, barely OK glove, Palmeiro (more HR – remember, he played for the Rangers in their homer haven) – good glove, not a runner – and Fred McGriff – anyone else? All 5 guys deserve to be in, that’s fer SHER (unless McGwire gets banned for Canseco’s accusations of roid use).

It’s absolutely ridiculous to say that now first basemen have to hit 500 HR to get in the Hall because both McGwire and Palmeiro did. How about we say first basemen have to hit 400 HR and have 200 steals AND a BA over .295 because Bagwell did?

Marc Normandin, a closet Stros fan who writes our Red Sox minor league blog as well as Beyond the Box Score, has written an entry in support of Bagwell for the Hall – WARNING – uses a LOT of Stat initials (just kidding – I’m happy that someone has advanced stat proof that Bagwell ROOLZ…..)

Now, when you look over Baggy’s 14 years of stats, you will notice that he suddenly started to decline in just about every stat except walks over the past 3 years. This is because he developed arthritis in his right shoulder, and although he’s had several surgeries – the last one 2 years ago, and he gets cortisone shots (yes they are steroids, but not the banned kind) every 6 weeks, the arthritis can’t be fixed by any known medical procedure or drug and it has continued to advance until the poor guy can hardly throw or swing a bat and he’s in constant pain.

He hasn’t been able to lift weights in several YEARS. He’s going to have an operation on June 3 to release the tight muscles around the joint to hopefully increase his mobility and decrease his pain – who knows if it will do any good – if it doesn’t, he’s really finished. I’ve read that he will have to have a shoulder replacement surgery after his career is over (like a hip replacement, only in the shoulder) but I guess that will only end all the pain and won’t be good enough to play with.

But 14 years is STILL good enough – in fact, a lot of the HOF players add up all their stats over a LOT more years and it should count in Baggy’s favor that he did so well over so few years. He’s been a lifetime Astro – faithful to the ol orange star and is a good “community” person – we just can’t hold his first marriage to that stripper-type chick against him (heck most of us ain’t exactly saintly and might could have had a relationship with a stripper-type chick sort of person in our closets, too) and most of us a LOT more saintly than a lot of the other guys already in the Hall…..

So Jeff, thank you for a great 14 years – seems I’ve been watching you all my life – glad that you will be the first Astro in Cooperstown. I hope that this operation helps you get back to the field, and if not, I STILL think you ROOL. Hope you have a long happy and healthy life, hope you stay with the Stros as a coach or manager (if you want to) and I hope you teach your little grrls to play baseball, or at least to love it as much as we love watching you.

Oswalt vs Doug Davis And The Brew Crew 5/27/05

Friday, May 27th, 2005

With our road record now a sparkling 3-21, the Astros get to spend 3 days in fun filled, exciting Milwaukee. With all the fun filled activities there in exciting downtown Milwaukee, I guess I can understand how the Stros players might could have found other things to do besides working on hitting and fielding on their off day, so I guess I’ll just have to be understanding if they forgot their lessons learned on Wednesday about how to hit in the 8th.

Milwaukee is 23 -23 and just completed a 3 game sweep of the dynamic Colorado Rockies.
I had thought that Milwaukee was gonna be better than us this year – I hate it when I’m right about stuff like that – but what impresses me is that they are doing it without Ben Sheets – the hitters are hitting – all the regulars except Junior Spivey have an OBP over .340 and Jeff Cirillo has remembered how to hit (I’m glad – never understood what on earth happened to him…)

Their pitchers, except for Gary Glover – ERA 5.60 – and Doug Davis, have ERAs under 4 and their bullpen has been great. Doug Melvin found Danny Kolb on the trash heap and made him closer last year and this year, he got Derrick Turnbow in the Angel’s discard pile and he’s done fairly well, too – 2.95 ERA, very few walks, lots of Ks – he’s 4-1 with 6 saves and 2 BS.

Roy Oswalt, RHP vs Doug Davis, LHP:
(all stats fom, and
Roy has been the victim of poor run support, poor relief and lousy fielding more than once – in fact 4 times – he has 2 lousy games – Opening Day, and the game he pitched when he had pneumonia and gave up 7 ER.
this year: 5-5 in 10 GS, averaging over 7 IP/ start with 8 QS – 7 HR, 18 BB and 53 K with a 3.38 ERA
vs.MIL: 9 – 4 in 14 GS with 3 CG and 2 SO – 6 HR, 21 BB, 92 K over 92.2 IP with a 3.30 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and a .241 BAA.
@ Miller Park: 4 – 3 in 8 GS with 4 HR, 12 BB, 42 K over 44.2 IP with a 5.44 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and a .286 BAA

Doug Davis, LHP - drafted in the 10th round by the Rangers in 96, glanced at the grass in 99 and came up for good in 2000. He relieved some, and started some, had a 5.38 ERA in 98.2 IP. The next year, A-Rod joined the Rangers and they went from decent to el-sucko even though Davis went 11-10 and lowered his ERA almost a full point to 4.45 in 186 IP. He spent most of 02 hurt and was traded to Toronto , who sucked just as bad at the beginning of 03, went 4-6 with a 5.0 ERA in 54 IP, and was traded to Milwaukee and found the NL a LOT more to his liking, going 3-2 in 8 GS with a 2.58 ERA in 52.1 IP. He went 12-12 in 04 in 34 GS with a 3.39 ERA in 207.1 IP. In fact, he’s the hard luck guy where the Astros are concerned – he had 3 games (1 against Roy and the other 2 against Roger) where he pitched 7 IP giving up 0 or 1 run and STILL didn’t win. On April 21, he pitched against Andy Pettite and lost 8-7. I just hope he keeps on still not winning…

This year: 5-5 in 10 GS with 5 QS and 2 CG – 10 HR, 25 BB and 45 K over 64.2 IP with a 4.31 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and .240 BAA.
vs.HOU: 1 – 6 in 10 GS with 6 HR, 30 BB, 53 K in 61.2 IP with a 4.23 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and a .260 BAA.
@ Miller Park: 8 – 6 in 23 GS with 1 CG with12 HR, 61 BB, 120K over 144 IP with a 2.88 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a .224 BAA

Oh yeah – we’ve STILL only won one game against a lefty starter. Wonder if Phil is going to start Mike Lamb again – he’s 1/22 with 4 BB in his last 10 games. And not that he’s hitting real too good against righties, but this year, he’s 4/29 with 2 BB against lefties.
And I wonder who we gonna see with musical lineup tonight…

Backe Pitches Astros To Third Road Win By Beating Maddux

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

Brandon Backe, he LIKEY the spotlight – he’s pitched GREAT in both his ESPN games and we’ve won them both.

Jeff Brantley said all night how great Backe pitched – and he said that Backe HAD been working with Clemens (like I’ve been saying ALL year – I KNEW it…)
And Backe was awesome – 7 IP (plus 1 in the 8th) 81 pitches, 7 H, 2 K, 1 BB and 1 ER. PLUS he had a hit, a SB (you GO boy) and a run scored.

Backe started the 8th having thrown only 74 pitches. Macias, the pinch hitter, fouled off 7 straight pitches, took one, then hit a single to right. Phil then pulls Backe (not sure why – guess he’s trying something different) but Dan Wheeler comes in and shuts the door, thank goodness. I was REALLY afraid I was gonna see Franco or someone else…

We had come into the 8th barely leading 2-1 because Maddux had been pitching pretty well, but we did something we hadn’t done since early April – we managed to increase the lead by 3 runs.

Phil, of course, had yet a DIFFERENT lineup tonight, this time with Palmeiro in center (dude is NOT a CF, by the way – he won’t be able to run down any tough FB in the Box) Viz at short and Lamb at first. Remember that great line that Brewer fan gave me about Garner – “he had Loretta in more positions than the Kama Sutra…” and it looks like Phil still a believer. I’m counting the days until I see Backe at some position… I mean besides pitching.

Play of the night (besides Backe stealing, of course) was Biggio beating out an infield single in the 8th because Todd Walker took too long to throw the ball to Derrek Lee – Biggio hit weak ass grounders all night.

Stat of the night – ESPN says that the Astros relievers have allowed 23/52 inherited runners to score – the most in the NL. Yep. This is the first time all year that I remember that a reliever has not allowed Brandon’s inherited runner to score.

Runner-up Stat of the Night – (again from ESPN) the 2-21 road record is the worst since the 88 Zer-Os… I wonder where 3 – 21 is on the record book…

Brad Lidge finished off the game – let’s call him BRAAAD. Brantley said that he told Lidge to throw FB – looks like he took the advice – got 2 GO to SS and a FO to right, but he still wasn’t locating even the FB very well at times – 9 strikes, 6 balls.

More good news – NO fielding screwups (batted balls that shoulda been outs or errors being counted as hits – that sort of thing…)

Better news – we Backe on pace to beat the 62 Mets record…

Backe on ESPN Again – vs Maddux @ Wrigley

Wednesday, May 25th, 2005

Is it really true that the last time the Astros won was when Brandon Backe pitched on ESPN? Yes it is. Maybe THIS will help. (I’m sure that ESPN was hoping for Clemens vs Maddux, part 2 – remember that before the season started, the “experts” thought both teams were supposed to be contending – and my Stros are – for the worst road record in the history of baseball.)

A few comments by some of the few Astros fans sticking by our lousy team:
Comment by Gary – “Since fiddling with the lineup isn’t working, I wish they’d lock the positions and let the lineup stand for a few weeks – couldn’t be any worse. Of course, this is the team that defines the definition of insanity: trying the same thing over and over while expecting different results. As evidence I submit that fact (among others) that Astacio is scheduled to pitch Sunday. Mr. Batting Practice gets another start even though itís obvious after several starts he can’t keep the ball down. At least we have the solace of knowing every club we face loves to see us come to town.”

- yep. I got nothing to add.

Comment by Jared Buck – “When are the ownership going to get it and fire Phil and his staff? itís obvious we won’t be going anywhere anytime soon with his staff.”
- Well, Phil was fired, what, 10 games into the season by the Tigers (or was it the Brewers) and they had the right idea.

Comment by AG – “I hope all of you *do* realize that the season is over. And please don’t give me any of that 36-10 stuff. The Astros have ALWAYS been one of the most underachieving teams in baseball, and this season is no exception. Phil, or Tim, needs to realize this and let all of the kids play every day to get experience. We won’t win the wild card, we sure as hell won’t win the Central, so now is the time to let the kids play. And maybe have the same lineup for 2 days in a row.”
- no, I don’t think that 36 – 10 with THIS team is gonna happen unless ALL the ML pitchers replaced with little league guys. I agree with letting the kids play. I would MUCH prefer to watch Burke. And I want to stop the musical lineup and the constant use of bench guys as regulars.

As for the next manager – forget Larry Dierker. Forget Joe Morgan – he has said about a billion times that he doesn’t want to manage. Forget Tony Pena – he’s in some sort of adultery scandal in KC. Jim Leyland wants to be in Philly and I’m not real too impressed with Charlie Manuel. I was NOT impressed with Bob Brenly – to put it mildly, and neither were any of the D-bax fans I know – even when they were winning. Don’t think Larry Bowa will go over real too big here. It would have to be someone a lot like Alan Trammell – real good with rookies and has a clue what to do with the bullpen (oh yeah, forget Grady Little, too.) And he needs to bring a decent hitting coach with him, too. Lessee – Davey Johnson said he was through with managing, Bobby V is in Japan. I would LUUUUVVVV Lou Pinella, but I think he’s got 2 more years and I don’t think he wants to leave his home and family in Tampa, even though the team sucks (sort of like Roger Clemens here in Houston…) Oh yeah – NOOOOO to Bob Boone, Tony Muser or Art Howe. ESPECIALLY Boone. And Muser – ESPECIALLY Muser – that dude makes Phil look like a genius.

Craig Biggio as player-manager, as Tom suggests in the Comments?
Well, I LUUUVVVV it – talk about good PR. If we gonna lose, and we GONNA lose, I’d rather do it with all the rooks learning (send Astacio down and bring up Gothreaux) and it would be COOL to have an in-team manager. But I don’t know if Biggio wants to manage and I think he probably wants to try to climb a little higher on the doubles/runs scored type lists because there are people out there who be doubting that he belongs in the HOF – believe it or not…
Anyone wanna comment about Gene Lamont?

So Backe to tonight’s game -
Brandon Backe, RHP vs Greg Maddux, RHP:
(all stats from, and

Backe this year: 3-3 in 9 GS (should be a LOT better but he has been screwed by lousy defense and relief pitching…) 6 HR, 16 BB, 40 K in 57.2 IP with a 5.15 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and a .268 BAA.
vs.CHC: 1 – 1 in 3 GS and 1 in relief – 3 HR, 8 BB, 16 K over 17 IP with a 5.82 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and a .294 BAA.
@ Wrigley (if you got blood pressure or a bad heart, DON’T LOOK) 0 – 1 with 1 GS and 1 in relief – 2 HR, 3 BB, 4 K in 3 IP with a 21.00 ERA, 4.33 WHIP and a .556 BAA.

Greg Maddux – he ain’t what he used to be but what he is is STILL good. Heck, we can’t even hit AAA pitchers…
(all stats from, and
this year: 2-2 in 9 GS with 8 HR, 11 BB, 34 K in 54.2 IP with a 4.12 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and a .278 BAA
vs.HOU: 25 – 9 in 42 GS with 10 CG and 2 SO – 18 HR,70 BB, 179 K over 313 IP with a 2.53 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and a .241 BAA.
@ Wrigley: 60 – 38 in 129 GS with 28 CG and 9 SO – 65 HR, 260 BB, 626 K over 913.0 IP with a 3.18 ERA, 1.20 WHIPand a .245 BAA.