Archive for September, 2005

9/30/05: Wandy Pitches Well, But Phil Garner And The Defense Let Him Down

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Wandy Rodriguez pitched very well – 5 hits (unfortunately 2 of them were homers, 1 walk (a leadoff 4 pitch walk to Macias, who don’t usually do something like take a walk – he’s even worse than Taveras, believe it or not) and 3 Ks over 7 innings – 3 ER (I don’t see how that last run could POSSIBLY have been earned – the run scored on nothing but errors) and he got a loss for his trouble. Only 77 pitches for 7 innings, too. Dusty, like Phil, doesn’t approve of batters walking. Unless they are Derrek Lee or Morgan Ensberg or Lance Berkman, and they hit well so what can you do? Problem was that his manager and coach let him down. Not to mention his hitters. And the usually incredible fielding talent of Adam Everett.

Here’s the situation – Man on first and third, both excellent baserunners/stealers, one out, and the “hitter” is Raul Chavez, a guy who can barely hit (.173) and runs about as fast as I did when I was 7 months pregnant with twins. The pitcher has already TWICE thrown to first and third, OBVIOUSLY expecting the squeeze.

So what does Phil do? On the very next pitch, he orders the squeeze and Dusty, who is naturally expecting this, because Phil likes to do it, orders a pitchout and the man at third is a dead duck. Well, you say, what else CAN you do? You can either tell Chavez to swing away or just do a routine bunt the runner to second and hope the pitcher (BA .154) can get hisself a few runs. But to do a play that the opposition is OBVIOUSLY waiting for is flat out dumb.

Same sort of thing happened in the 9th. Orlando Palmeiro draws a walk and Charles Gipson replaces him as a pinch runner. Ryan Dempster, with 2 outs, is almost constantly throwing to first, keeping him close. Luke Scott hits a double to center – not DEEP center, Patterson gets it and fires it to the cut off man, Macias, who catches it just as Gipson is rounding third. Mansolino waves him home. NO freaking excuse for this. NONE. Macias has a gun for an arm, unlike Eckstein, the cut off guy the night before. The coaches and managers are supposed to know the opposition – this reminds me of all the botched hit-n-runs at the beginning of the year. Of course Gipson is out by 20 feet.

This is what Phil says: “No question about it, he’s got to send him,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “I’d been upset if he hadn’t sent him. If the throw’s off at all, he’s got a chance to be safe.”

The chance was VERY small with Macias as the cutoff guy and Biggio as the next hitter. So sorry, Phil, this was a VERY dumbass decision.

The 7th inning was also a string of errors. First, Wandy hits Burnitz with a 70 MPH curve. Then, on the very next pitch, with Burnitz running on the pitch, the ball is hit straight to Everett, who has already made 2 INCREDIBLE stop and throws from deep in the hole to get runners out at first (and he made Web Gems – ABOUT TIME!!!!!) for some reason, throws the ball to the right of Biggio into center field. There was NO way he could have gotten Burnitz and his only play was to first, but Biggio was already at the bag because of Burnitz running, so why Everett threw the ball where he did, I don’t understand – it’s not like it was raining and he slipped.

 So there’s men on second and third with nobody out and Wandy has a temper tantrum on the mound (the boy needs to learn to control his emotions a little better, hunh) and the pitching coach hurries out to get him calmed down and re-focused. I should be happy about that – it took them like 7 games to figger out that Wandy is young and needs that sort of help. But anyway, the next pitch is in the dirt and Chavez can’t block it (it goes as a WP) and by the time Chavez gets the ball and throws it to Wandy, he’s too late to tag out Burnitz at home. Fortunately, Dusty tries the squeeze with the very next pitch, but the ball is in the dirt, the batter can’t bunt and Matt Murton is a dead duck. One bad turn deserves another… Wandy gets out of the inning without any further trouble.

Wheeler pitches the last 2 innings, looks very good. Hope we don’t need him tonight.

Did I mention that Morgan Ensberg got RBI #100 in his 4 fer 4 night at St. Louis? He got screwed by the home plate ump who called a ball WAAAAY off the plate and low for a strike on what should have been ball 4. The ump’s strike zone looked to be all over the place.

The roof was open last night, for the first time since like May and there was a pretty strong breeze blowing out to RF – helped Matt Murton’s FB go out, as well as Lance Berkman’s opposite field HR. We’re in the middle of a cold front – temp down to the low 80s. The Box was only about 3/4 full, and didn’t sound real too noisy. What a difference from last year, when there wasn’t even standing room only for the last 3 games of the year when we had to beat the Rockies 3 out of 3 to win the WC. We’re still 2 up on Philly, but this is NOT a done deal and I’m disappointed that compared to last year, there’s so little buzz. It’s not like some OTHER sporting event around here is getting all the news…

Tonight, it’s Andy Pettitte, LHP vs Carlos Zambrano, RHP

This should be good. Andy’s been the best pitcher in the ML since the ASB and Zambrano has been the Cubs ace this year (sorry Prior.)
Andy Pettitte, LHP
this year: 17 – 9 in 32 GS – 17 HR, 41 BB, 165 K over 215.1 IP with a 2.42 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a .231 BAA
vs. CHC: 0 – 2 in 5 GS – 5 HR, 9 BB, 24 K over 23.2 IP with a 5.32 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and a .242 BAA

9/29/05: Cubs Here – Beer Man Cheers

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Well, we are STILL 2 1/2 games up on the Phils for the WC. They AIN’T gonna go down quietly like the Marlins, whose failures are due to AJ Burnett’s bad attitude (yep, ALL his fault, un-hunh…)

We swept the Cards in their own House – the ONLY sweep of the Cards at home this year. They look T I R E D – they have won like 5 of their last 18 – of course, they don’t HAFTA win another game this year. Chris Carpenter didn’t look like he did the LAST 3 times we faced him when he shut us out twice. He managed to last 6 innings, gave up 6 runs, 5 earned.

Part of that is Reggie Sanders’ fault, for badly misplaying Morgan Ensberg’s easily catchable FB to left for what should have been the third out. It is really ridiculous that if fielders badly mis-play FB and that is not considered an error. However, Chris Carpenter immediately coughed up back to back HRs to Berkman and Lamb, which is NOT something he did the last 3 times we saw him. I don’t understand why TLR is not resting him, when it’s obvious to just about anyone else that he hasn’t looked like Mr. Cy Young Winner for about 2 weeks.

And oh YES, I do remember that it was just a few years ago that the Yankees looked like a AAA team the last few weeks of the season and went on to win the division and the WS…

We were lucky to win, actually. After giving up a SECOND double to Chris Carpenter, whose BA isn’t even up to MY weight, Brandon Backe made a BAD decision letting David Eckstein’s bunt roll past him for Ensberg to field. Which let Carpenter score his second run of the game when Edmonds singled. After getting Pujols out, Walker was up. I don’t understand why Phil pulled Brandon, since he had gotten Walker out twice without much trouble. He’s WAAAYYY too much in LUUUVVVV with the lefty vs lefty thing. Gallo got Walker to hit a RBI sac fly (of COURSE, letting one of Brandon’s runners score), then Scott Strickland coughed up a 2 run HR to Reggie Sanders. Strickland has NOT looked like he’s made a successful comeback from surgery 2 years ago, let me say it real nice like that.

Props to Willy Taveras, BTW, for not swinging at almost every single pitch thrown, and for managing to actually get a sac-fly RBI. I don’t know what his problem is with MOB, but it fer SHER is something he gotta work on like NOW if we gonna succeed in the playoffs. If you notice, this guy who has 23 bunt singles this year has not once been the bunter in a suicide squeeze. NO excuse for this.

And props to Willy for scoring on a Morgan Ensberg double into the LF corner – Eckstein was the relay guy and he doesn’t have a real strong throwing arm – if the relay guy had been Furcal, there would have been a play at the plate and I’m not sure Willy would have made it…

And last, but not least – way to go Luke Scott for that pinch hit double and run scored. I LIKE Luke Scott – I’m rooting for that boy to do as well Up Here as he did in spring training and the minors…

Well, if we were worried about closing out the season with a full house, having the Cubs to (or is it for) dinner was the way to go. Of course, being in the WC race at the end of the year, just like last year, is gonna pack the Box.

Our Magic Number is 2, and I HOPE that if we clinch it in the next 2 games, that Phil has the SENSE to rest Roger some more. Remember how he was too tired to win the 7th game of the NLCS last year???!!!

Tonight, it’s Wandy Rodriguez, LHP vs Glendon Rusch, RHP – the rematch

5 days ago, Wandy lost because he said his shoulder was tight and he couldn’t get it loose. He SAYS he feels just fine now, and I certainly hope so – not that Glendon Rusch looked GOOD – 9 H, 1 HR, 1 BB and 3 K in 5 IP.
Wandy this year: 10 – 9 in 21 GS and 3 in relief – 17 HR, 52 BB, 77 K over 121.2 IP with a 5.62 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and a .278 BAA
vs. CHC: 1 – 2 in 3 GS – 4 HR, 7 BB, 12 K over 16.2 IP with a 7.02 ERA, 1.68 WHIP and a .313 BAA

Glendon Rusch, RHP
this year: 8 – 8 in 18 GS and 27 in relief with 1 CG SO – 13 HR, 52 BB, 106 K over 138.1 IP with a 4.62 ERA, 1.59 WHIP and a .303 BAA
vs. HOU: 6 – 6 in 16 GS and 3 in relief with 1 save – 14 HR, 39 BB, 76 K over 103.2 IP with a 3.99 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and a .278 BAA
@ the Box: 6 2 – 3 in 6 GS and 2 in relief with 1 save – 6 HR, 14 BB, 29 K over 40.2 IP with a 4.20 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and a .296 BAA

9/28/05 – Backe vs Carpenter

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Brandon Backe, RHP vs Chris Carpenter, RHP

Brandon this year: 10 – 8 in 24 GS and 1 in relief with 1 CG SO – 18 HR, 65 BB, 95 K over 145 IP with a 4.59 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and a .259 BAA
had an outstanding start last time out – hope he has another…
vs. STL: 1 – 1 in 3 GS and 5 in relief – 5 HR, 10 BB, 12 K over 20 IP with a 5.40 ERA, 1.85 WHIP and a .329 BAA
@ Busch: 0 – 1 in 2 GS and 1 in relief – 3 HR, 2 BB, 6 K over 10 IP with a 9.00 ERA, 2.30 WHIP and a .429 BAA

Chris Carpenter, RHP
I’m actually VERY surprised to see him starting – he’s pitched 235 innings already this year and had two REALLY lousy starts in a row – I would think that Tony would want him to get some rest for the playoffs, but well, I just hope that he’s as bad as he’s been the last 2 times out. and he gave up 4 ER over 6.1 IP the time before… I mean, even if the Cards lose ALL their remaining games, they STILL win the division, so why waste your pitchers’ strength on meaningless games?

this year: 21 – 5 in 32 GS with 7 CG and 4 SO – 16 HR, 50 BB, 207 K over 235.2 IP with a 2.71 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a .228 BAA
vs. HOU: 4 – 1 in 6 GS with 2 CG and 1 SO – 2 HR, 11 BB, 32 K over 46 IP with a 1.37 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and a .201 BAA

9/27/05: Roy-O Gets Pujols out FOUR TIMES!!!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Roy Oswalt won at Busch and held Albert Pujols, his nemesis, who had a .343 BA and a .410 OBP against him, hitless and walkless. Roy was absolutely AWESOME!!! Threw 102 pitches over 7 innings, 78 for strikes, scattered 8 hits – only gave up 1 run on back to back doubles to Larry Walker and Reggie Sanders – walked NONE and K’d 7. He was ROY tonight, yes he was!!! He almost back to his old fluid motion, just a bit quicker – got mostly GB outs and looked GOOD.

Matt Morris almost matched him for 5 innings – gave up 1 BB and 5 hits, but one of those hits was a 2 run HR by Jason Lane and there went his ball game cuz he wasn’t beating ROY tonight, nope.

Jason Marquis pitched 2 innings in relief, giving up a solo HR to Biggio.
And Willy Taveras got his FIRST walk this month !!!! He up to 24 for the year!!!! I was SO impressed – with 2 out and 2 on, he DIDN”T MAKE AN OUT!!! FOR ONCE!!!! Unfortunately, Biggio did – and he had a GIDP earlier, too.

Brad Lidge had a 2 inning save – only 19 pitches, though.

So Roy wins #19 (and I hope he can get that magic #20 next week against the Cubs) and now we lead Philly, who lost to the Mets, by 2 1/2 games.

We gotta get on a roll and mean it.

Tomorrow Brandon Backe goes up against Chris Carpenter, Mr. Ace Person – Mr Beat out Dontrelle (who looked B A D tonight) for the CY.

Brandon needs to pitch like he did last year when he almost no-hit the Cards in the playoffs…

9/27/05: The Last of Busch

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

We had a MUCH needed day off – I’m sure all the guys as stressed as we were. I guess I can make a summary of the Cubs series like this:

1 – Wandy Rodriguez had a “stiff” shoulder and he didn’t pitch real too good. Well, neither did Glendon Rusch. Problem is that as usual, we left WAAYYY too many MOB. And Phil – look, I KNOW you seriously in LUUUVVVV with Willy Taveras, but you need to face the fact that the guy just can’t/won’t hit with MOB. So with bases loaded and 2 outs and the game on the line, you HAFTA pinch hit for him.

2 – Ezequiel Astacio did a GREAT job of pitching – his best by FAR this year

3 – Andy Pettitte pitched great, rain delay and all. As usual, we left WAAAYYY too many MOB. And the rain made it difficult to do things like send runners and made the ball slippery and hard to turn DPs. I won’t say that Mike Gallo lost the game by giving up a HR to lefty Jeromy Burnitz because Jerome Williams pitched terrible – walk after walk after walk and there just wasn’t any timely hitting. Chad Qualls was doing fine getting GB outs – in fact, he should have been out of the inning because he had already gotten 2 perfect GB for DP, but the ball was wet and slippery and he just got 2 FC instead. No need to pull him for Gallo – Qualls gets lefties out just fine..

So we’re now 2 games ahead of Philly in the WC – Florida ain’t going nowhere. We finishing up our road trip and I’m so GLAD it worked out that we had road games during Rita.

End of an era – goodbye to Busch. It’s a beautiful stadium, but I guess the new one’s gonna give the owners more $$$ and yall know what walks and what talks… At LEAST it isn’t another screwing of the taxpayers like PNC and the Reds Stadium – the team is building it with their OWN money.

Roy Oswalt, RHP vs : Matt Morris, RHP
Roy this year: 18 – 12 in 33 GS (24 QS) with 4 CG and 1 SO – 17 HR, 48 BB, 171 K over 228.2 IP with a 2.91 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a .259 BAA
He also has 31 RSAA and is 7th in the NL in ERA, 6th in (fewest) HR, 10th in K:BB (3.56)and 8th in BB/ 9 IP (1.89) – courtesy of Lee Sinins.
vs. STL 13 13 4 – 4 in 13 GS – 7 HR, 19 BB, 73 K over 84.1 IP with a 3.84 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and a .279 BAA
@ Busch: 2 – 1 in 5 GS – 1 HR, 6 BB, 29 K over 32 IP with a 2.53 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a .260 BAA

Matt Morris
has only faced us once this year – April 24 – pitched 5 innings giving up 2 ER
this year: 14 – 9 in 29 GS with 15 QS and 2 CG – 18 HR, 35 BB, 111 K over 183.2 IP with a 3.97 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and a .273 BAA

He’s got a better ERA than last year, even though his BAA is higher because he’s managed to cut the number of HR/ 9 IP in half. He hadn’t pitched well most of September until his last game against Cincy – gave up no runs in 6 IP.
vs.HOU: 9 – 9 in 25 GS and 3 in relief with 2 CG and 1 SO -17 HR, 48 BB, 126 K over 164.2 IP with a 3.55 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and a .262 BAA

Adventures With Rita

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

Or How I Learned That I Can Survive If I Miss A Few Baseball Games

By Joe Morgan’s Birthday (Sept 19), it was clear that Hurricane Rita was gonna head into the gulf and by the next day, looked like Texas was gonna get hit somewhere. I was keeping in mind what had happened to Mississippi and Louisiana and some of our relatives who had lost their homes and a few others who had lost their lives.

So Monday, I went out and got plenty of batteries (it’s too freaking hot for candles) and water and diapers and an extra can opener and started working on plans to evict Husband from his Chair and get him thinkin of movin on out. By Tuesday, they were showing a 175 MPH monster storm headed right for Freeport which would wipe out Galveston, Texas City, League City and destroy a LOT of Houston, including Hobby Airport and flood out the Ships Channel, Sims Bayou, all the Trinity flood plains and most likely even worse.

Mama and a few of her friends and siblings left for Dallas, and Mama wanted me to come with her, but I wasn’t going ANYWHERE without my dogs and finding family who will agree to take you plus 3 little kids AND 3 large dogs (and 1 small yapper with an attitude – a 10 pound terrier cross who couldn’t seem to learn that picking fights with a dog 10 times his size ain’t real too smart) ain’t real too easy. People are more tolerant AFTER you are homeless…

I knew things were bad because the cell phones weren’t working real too well because of overloading, but I called relatives who didn’t have OTHER family from Katrina with them and Husband’s mother’s oldest sister and her husband agreed to let ALL of us stay with them as long as we kept the dogs tied up. (I was hoping they had forgot how noisy 3 little kids are…)

But there was one large problem – Husband. Getting that boy to go anywhere is tough enough, but getting him to go somewhere when he ain’t gonna be sleeping in his own bed at the end of the day is near to impossible and I knew I had to outmanage him. They had been talking about evacuating Galveston and I mentioned it to Husband who yawns and says, well, it NEVER floods this part of Houston. Yeah, well, all KINDS of places flooded in Allison 3 years ago where it never flooded because the storm quit moving and dumped like 3 feet of rain downtown, and power goes out and how we gonna deal with the heat for like a few weeks and what if the sewers don’t work and… Now Baby he sez, let’s not worry about it, the storm might could just go back to New Orleans or something, youneverknow.

Time for a pinch hitter. So Wednesday morning, I pack up everything I think we might could want/need in the car trunk, get an extra bag of dog food, get toys and books ready and wait for him to get home. I look upset. After all, the phones haven’t been working all day, Sisterwoman dragged Brotherman off to Austin and even my brothers Playa and the Deuce have flown out to stay with girls they know and of course, the dogs are crazy – they ALWAYS know when something up and they been whining and upset all day. Da Bull, our youngest, he KNOW something up, too, and he already been through plenty with all the people we had taken in and who left from Katrina and he clinging to me all day, wanting to be carried all the time (and he’s 31 pounds of solid kid, too) and throwing more fits than usual, even for him, and Husband stressed from work – says he has to go in tomorrow.

Neither one of us sleeps real too good. I tell him in the morning that I’m going to have to go – don’t know WHAT I’m gonna do, not even knowing maybe for weeks if he alive or dead and maybe he won’t know if something happened to us, and I look like I’m trying not to cry (hidden ball trick, hehhehheh).

I tell him I’m very worried, cuz I have NO idea how I’m gonna fit 3 large dogs and one yapping dog in his box and 3 little kids and dog food and a cooler full of food and papers and diapers and books and toys in the car. This, of course, is sending in the lefty pitcher to face a lefty, knowing the other guys will call in a righty, forgetting that THIS lefty can get righties out (hehhehheh.)

Husband, being a male, will “come up” with the brilliant suggestion that I take Da Bull and the 3 big dogs in the car and he take the twins and the 1 small yapping dog in the truck, but he again says, weakly, that maybe the storm won’t come close and what if the roof falls in during the hurricane and he needs to fix it. Or something. I just look at him, and say something like I don’t even know if the Mc Donalds gonna have power and what will he eat if the power goes out and I’ll be worrying he gonna starve (it would take that boy MONTHS to starve, but he don’t think so) and I KNOW he gonna be thinking about it all day and I’m planning on having everything ready so as we can leave RIGHT after dinner.

But to my surprise, he walks thru the door at 2:30 and says, grimly, the gas stations are closing, there’s a long line of traffic on the Eastex and the Katy and we need to get out NOW and I better get packing. Now, I’ve been packed and ready for HOURS, and of course, he tells me I ain’t thought things out, how am I gonna fit 3 little kids and 3 large dogs and 1 small yapping dog in his box and a cooler and dog food and toys and food and papers and diapers in 1 car and that’s the trouble with me, I don’t think things out and good thing he’s around cuz what makes more sense is for him to take the twins and the 1 small yapping dog in his box in the truck along with the coolers and the water and the dog food and besides, he knows all the county roads to get out cuz all the main ones gonna be all clogged. Well, at LEAST he gonna be going and that’s ONE male I don’t hafta be all worried about…

So off we go and (to make a VERY long and hot trip short) it’s late when we pull up at his Aunties place. We’ve never met them, and they are a little surprised when they see how Big the big Dogs are. Dogs have never in their lives been tied up outside and Barry Lamar Dog complains about it in loud Dog swear words and pretty soon Babe Ruth Dog and Phat Stuff Dog joinin in and it IS pretty late and I have to work pretty hard to get dogs to lie down on their beds (yes I DID remember them) and shut UP before neighbors with shotguns show up.

Meanwhile, Husband trying to get tired wired kids to lie down and go to sleep and Auntie and Uncle fixing to try to go back to bed. So we put kevin F. Dog (the yapper) in his box in the kitchen – he the ONLY one interested in sleep, FINALLY get the kids to lie down and then Husband and I lie down on the small uncomfortable bed. I KNOW he thinkin bout his OWN bed and how he should have been man enough to calm hysterical me down, but he smartly don’t say nothin because the bed bettern the floor. So I put my arm over him and tell him how GLAD I am he’s here with me and now I don’t hafta worry. I can feel him smiling in the dark. He sez – do you REALLY think I can’t take care of myself? (HECK no – I remember how things was before I got hold of him). So I just say, sure – it’s just that I do a better job of it. And besides, I KNOW he be going crazy if the phones not working and he can’t talk to me and I don’t want him there with no food and no AC living the nag-free life. He chuckles and pulls me close. Guys like to be all macho and stuff but they worry worse than us girls and he know I know it…

Let’s say that keepin the dogs tied up outside didn’t work real too good because there’s things called cats, which they HATE, so I had to get up a few times to shut them up and finally I had to put them in the kitchen.

It’s really tough to live in someone else’s home. I KNOW the relatives we took in after Katrina were counting the seconds until they got out, and we got along pretty well and in fact, only kevin F. Dog was the only evacuee we still hadn’t found a home for…

But anyway, Uncle stayed in front of the TV watching CNN and the Weather Channel except for going to the bathroom and so NO baseball. (And no cartoon network or videos…) And they didn’t have a computer, neither, so I couldn’t check out the games. But it was more than a little tough keeping 3 little kids pretty quiet and we watched the Weather Channel and played games.

Pretty soon, it was obvious that Rita was gonna hit Beaumont, 100 miles east of Houston and that we’d just get some tropical storm force winds and some rain. Husband was TRYING not to say I told you so, but he was already VERY uncomfortable on that bed and didn’t want to be on the couch after we got home, so he managed to keep mouth SHUT although of course I KNEW what he thinking. In fact, Friday after dinner, he keeping his mouth SO shut I KNOW something up.

And I think it’s more than Uncle refusing to take eyes off Weather Channel (and how WEIRD is it to see downtown Houston completely empty,) more than Auntie taking a liking to kevin F. Dog and wanting us to tie up dogs in 100 degree garage, more than Auntie and Uncle, um, surprised at how much food 5 people eat (and believe me, we brought a LOT of food with us), more than Auntie and Uncle, um, surprised at how much, um, energy 3 small kids have and me saying NO they NOT bad. It’s he wants to be in his own bed in his own house, heat or no heat, electricity or no electricity, gas or no gas.

So I am NOT surprised like he think I’m gonna be when he shakes me awake at 5 AM and says, cmon baby, if we get up and get on the road by 6 we can be back home in just a few hours. I say – and WHAT are we gonna do for gas? He say he went out and filled up the car and the truck yesterday when the kids and I were taking a nap (he ain’t the only one can’t sleep on that bed). I was surprised – didn’t think there was any gas stations in the state of Texas had gas, but I guess Auntie and Uncle lookn forward to peace and quiet just as bad as Husband lookin forward to his own bed and Uncle knows some folks have gas generators and gas on their farms for tractors, so we full. So I said, and what we gonna do if we got no electricity? He ready for that. He sez, well, I got keys to Brotherman’s place, you got keys to your parents – SOMEONE gotta have electricity. (Yeah I know all the politicians telling us to stay put but you don’t see THEM doin it. Yeah, I DO notice that all the politicians finding time to complain about how there a traffic problem with 4 million people all trying to get out at the same time.) He not sure what we gonna do if there’s no electricity there neither and he know I know he ain’t got that part figgered out yet, but he wanna go home SO bad.

Well, I figger I’ll be fair – he left Houston with me when he didn’t wanna, so I’ll leave and go back with him even though I’m not sure it’s the best idea. So we get up and shower right quick – who knows if/when we get another one. Dogs just KNOW we gonna go home and they delighted – we quick take them outside before they can make noise (waking up kevin F. Dog who gonna yap and wake up Auntie and Uncle – he’s now sleeping in their room), get the car and truck repacked, get kids up, to bathroom, then into car and truck.

GO HOME? says Da Bull, hopefully. That’s right, I say to him. Shhhhhhhhhh we tell the twins, be quiet, we don’t wake up Auntie and Uncle. But it’s so hard for little kids to be quiet and Auntie and Uncle hear us and get up and we tell them we can go back to our own home now and they pretend they sorry to see us go and tell us we should wait until later when the rain and wind gone, but we hug them and thank them for their kindness. And believe me, it is REAL kindness. And so I tell them it real obvious to me they taken with kevin F. Dog and if they like to keep him, they welcome to. Maybe it ain’t right to make a thank you present of something you don’t want, but one person’s trash is another person’s treasure as my Mama always says and we been tryin to find a home for that dog since he come from Mississippi so I guess you might could say Rita did him a favor.

So we went back home. Ohmigawd don’t nothin feel better than getting back to your very own home. I tease Husband about it, but you know, I feel the same way… Of COURSE it took more than a few hours, with the wind and the rain and stopping (little kids) but good thing we had gas because I didn’t see NO open stations or even convenience stores.

Stuff had blown into the yard and a large branch had cracked offn one of the trees, but the roof was fine and so was the garage and the shutters were fine. No broken windows and no leaking anything. Electricity was on when we got home and if it had been off, the stuff in the fridge and freezer hadn’t had time to go bad before the power cut back on. Only thing didn’t work was the computer – not sure why. Cell phone circuits STILL busy.

So after dinner, I said to Husband I “needed” to check out my parents’ place and he grinned and said go ahead. I needed to write, to check scores, to get myself together. (And to call Mama and Daddy and tell them we OK and back home and to call my brothers and make sure they OK and to call Husband’s brothers and sisters and make sure they OK and to call my friends and make sure they OK. For starters…)

And here I am. The streets INCREDIBLY quiet – guess the highways were more crowded earlier, but it seems to me at least half the the folks in the city not here. Houston is the fourth largest city in America and we just had a real close escape from a death sentence. It’s really hard to believe the damage some wind and water can do. And in fact, it’s hard to even think about baseball right now.

I’m just more grateful than I have words for that I have a city and a home to go home to. But you know, it’s funny – I KNOW that like so many of our family and so many people I met who lost their city and their home, that I am first grateful that I didn’t lose my family, dogs or health, and that if we HAD lost our home and city, like our family and so many others made homeless by Katrina, we would have picked up and figgered SOME way to start over again…

9/21/05 – Oswalt vs Kip Wells

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

About last night’s game – Andy didn’t exactly have his best stuff – he needed 69 pitches to get thru the first 3 innings, but he held on long enough for the Astros to figger out Gorzellany. Reminded me of Pete Munro – fine first time thru the lineup, but after that ML hitters make adjustments, so ML pitchers need to do that too, and Gorzellany needs to learn how.  He’s got some pretty good stuff, but he needs a year in AAA.

Jason Bay is a REALLY good baseball player. I mean like one of the top 10 position players in the NL. He’s like Brian Giles, who never did get no respect, all over again. He has GREAT strike zone judgement and it was something to watch Andy Pettitte, one of the 10 best pitchers in the NL, respect this guy.

Adam Everett was a welcome sight – glad his baby is gonna be OK after having surgery – and she’s just 8 months old. Knowing daddys like I do, it’s a miracle he managed to keep his mind on the game at all – seems to me guys either ignore it when something wrong with their kids, or they completely freak and pace and sweat blood. Adam said in the pre game show that his wife gave him her blessing to leave (translation – she kicked him out and said, now QUIT worrying, the baby fine, you just givin yourself a ulcer, go back to work NOW…)

He screwed up a tailor made DP in the second, but made up for it with his bat, laying down a FANTASTIC squeeze bunt single in the 4th to break the game open. He is FAST, is a great baserunner, base stealer and bunter. Besides being a great glove (usually…) And props to Brad Ausmus, hitting over .300 since the ASB with an OBP of .375. It’s funny, I was saying to Mama last night that we ought to move Brad to leadoff and move Willy Taveras, IF we gotta put him back in the lineup which I don’t wanna do because Bruntlett is SUCH a better ballplayer (with fewer hits, yes). And no sooner the words out my mouth, then Jim Deshaeis is saying almost the same thing word for word (except about Taveras, who is Phil’s pet cuz he can run fast.) Brad has more RBIs than Ks and more walks than Ks. Who thought we’d be looking at him as our RBI guy for the stretch???!!!

Oh yeah – Eric Bruntlett’s incredible diving catch of Jason Bay’s liner to center made Sports Center!!!!! No freaking way Willy makes that play. Eric also made a FANTASTIC throw after catching Freddy Sanchez’ single to throw out Bautista at the plate. Sorry, no WAY Willy makes that play. If he could just hit a little better, I’d MUCH rather see him stay in center than Willy, who I’d rather see used as a pinch runner, pretty much exclusively…

To change the subject,
As yall probably know, Hurricane Rita is heading for Houston, so I’m packing up kids, dogs and stuff and heading out tonight. So I am posting the matchup for tomorrow, too – don’t know if I’ll be getting to a computer. Don’t know if I’ll have a house, let alone a computer to come back to, but….

Tonight, it’s Roy Oswalt, RHP vs Kip Wells , LHP

Roy this year: 17 – 12 in 32 GS with 4 CG and 1 SO – 17 HR, 46 BB, 165 K over 222.2 IP with a 2.87 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a .257 BAA
7 IP/ GS
6.67 K/ 9 IP
3.6 K:BB
0.69 HR/ 9 IP
He looked a LOT better last start – motion STILL not the old beautiful fluid one, but not violent all arms/ no legs like it was right after he decided to change it. Guess he found that perfect cross between the old one, where I guess the hitters picking up the ball out of his hand too easy and the new one just about guaranteed to get him on the DL…
vs. PIT: 6 – 5 in 14 GS and 1 in relief – 4 HR, 17 BB, 88 K over 101.1 IP with a 3.02 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and a .255 BAA
@ PNC Park: 2 – 3 in 7 GS and 1 in relief – 1 HR, 12 BB, 37 K over 49.1 IP with a 2.74 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a .250 BAA

Kip Wells, RHP
this year: 7 – 16 in 30 GS with 1 CG SO – 20 HR, 88 BB, 124 K over 168.1 IP with a 4.92 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and a .263 BAA
vs. HOU: 3 – 5 in 12 GS – 8 HR, 28 BB, 48 K over 66 IP with a 4.23 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and a .267 BAA
4/27 – beat Andy 2-0
5/3 – ND against Astacio – 3 ER/ 6 IP
8/13 – ND vs Roger – 0 ER/ 7 IP
WHY does this guy turn from El-Sucko into El Unit Gigante every time he faces us????

9/22 –Brandon Backe, RHP vs Zach Duke, LHP

this year: 9 – 8 in 23 GS and 1 in relief with 11 QS and 1 CG SO – 17 HR, 65 BB, 89 K over 138 IP with a 4.76 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and a .266 BAA
vs. PIT: 1 – 1 in 2 GS and 3 in relief – 1 HR, 10 BB, 13 K over 14.2 IP with a 4.30 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and a .241 BAA

Zach Duke, LHP
this year: 6 – 1 in 11 GS with 6 QS – 2 HR, 18 BB, 48 K over 63.2 IP with a 1.84 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and a .249 BAA
he got a ND against us last time, giving up 4 ER over 4 IP.

9/20/05: #5, #9 and #17

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

Yall know what those numbers are, right?

5th time this YEAR that the last place Pirates have shut us out

9th time we have given Roger ZERO runs of support

17th time we been shut out this year, more than the Royals, for goodness sake

When I saw the lineup, with Lance in right, I thought uh-oh. And for all yall who don’t think that fielders have anything to do with runs scored, just go watch the tape of last night’s game and ask your selves if Charlie Gipson woulda gotten to any of those balls better – ESPECIALLY the ball to RF that Jack Wilson hit for a triple (hint – the answer is yes.) – I know that Phil was trying to get the most bats in the lineup possible, but his prayers that no balls be hit to right were NOT answered.

Roger looked OK in the first 2 innings, shaky in the 3rd and 4th and he BARELY got out of a bases loaded no out jam in the fith. Redman hit a clean single to left, then Jack Wilson hit what SHOULD have been a DP GB to SS, but Viz is NOT Adam Everett, not by a LONG shot (again, those of yall who in LUUUVVV with DIPS ERA cuz you got no respect for fielders might could ought to look at the difference between Adam Everett and Viz and ask how many runs a year Adam saves.

By the way, it is criminal that he isn’t being talked about for the Gold Glove – guess his BA ain’t high enough, though WHY that should have anything to do with a prize for FIELDING I don’t know)… anyhow, Roger, who had already skipped a few pitches past Brad with no one on base, threw another one and Wilson trotted to second on a WP. Bay was IBB, then Roger hit Mackowiak with a pitch on a 1-2 count. Eldred, who was the ONLY guy not seeing the ball well, Kd, then Doumit grounded out to Biggio.

A narrow escape. Although Roger had thrown only 78 pitches, it sure did look to me like Phil should send someone else out there for the 6th and I couldn’t hardly believe my eyes when I saw Roger come out to start the 6th. And I was right. Freddy Sanchez, who looked like Barry Lamar Himself out there against Roger, hit another ball to deep left that almost went out. Then he went to a 3-3 on Furmaniak before getting him to FO to Bruntlett. Snell hit the ball in a lazy FB to Berkman. Then it got worse. Redman hit a RBI single. Then Jack Wilson hit ANOTHER RBI single to center.

My friends, we are talking about Freddy Sanchez, Tike Redman and Jack Wilson hitting Roger like he throwing BP. This should be a Sign that Roger is having problems – that and all the pitches he threw that bounced in the dirt. And his changing arm angles and delivery with just about every pitch without success. But Phil STILL leaves him in. Bay should have been the last out, but he hits a tailor made GB to Biggio, who boots it and Wilson scores. Enough is enough? HECK no – Mackowiak hits a double to right that Berkman misses and Bay scores.

FINALLY Phil gets the hint. Out comes Roger to a standing O – can you believe that maybe only 10,000 people were in the stands to see Roger in Pittsburgh for the first time ever – in comes Springer and down goes Eldred.
Remember I was saying that Roger looked tired – the day he gave up 5 ER to the Brewers and Phil didn’t skip his turn in the rotation to give him some rest and pitch Wandy instead? Roger been amazing, but he’s 43 years old and he was running on adrenaline the day his Mama died and he looked like it hit him finally. He a fighter, but even fighters get old and overworking starters NOT a good idea, even when they’re Roger…

There’s the ballgame. Astros down 6-0. In comes Mike Burns, gives up a double to right – Lance sure can THROW – hard and accurate – picks up the ball in deep right and nails a true throw right to Ensberg at third – Ichiro couldn’t have done any better. But Burns gets out of the rest of the inning.

In comes Astacio, who didn’t look real too good – he kept the ball down most of the time, but didn’t throw enough good strikes. Another fielding note – Mike Lamb went after a grounder that he should have let Biggio get because when he got it, there was no one a first to throw it to. Eldred drives in a run with a sac fly to deep left, then he hits Doumit with an inside FB, but he gets Sanchez out for the first time with a FB to Bruntlett.

Hitting? I mean us? I think we had more walks than hits. I KNEW it was gonna be a bad night when we had two walks to start off the 4th, then Ensberg, Lane and Bruntlett didn’t do jack stuff. And Ensberg looked awkward up there – his stance looks different and he holdiong his bat different too. He did manage a single, but he don’t look like his usual self. And I think Berkman in another slump. Just what we DON’T need.

Hats off to Snell. He looks JUST like Wandy Rodriguez, only righty – in fact, they look alike enough to be brothers – 5′ 11″ (hahahahaha) 160 lbs soaking wet. AND very effective with MOB. I can hardly believe that a MLB club gave a chance to a righty under 6′ (a guy who ain’t even LYING about it) and I’m glad to see that the usual stupid prejudice about if you not 6′ tall, you can’t pitch didn’t stop the Pirates.

Astros are now leading the WC by 1 game over Philly and 2 games over the Marlins. We can’t afford to lose today.

Today, it’s Andy Pettitte, LHP vs Tom Gorzelanny, LHP
this matchup between a guy with the best stats since the ASB (Pettitte) and a guy just called up from AA doesn’t seem fair. Mark Redman down for the year with a broken finger. Too bad – he was VERY hittable lately and we sure do need to face a hittable guy…

Andy this year: 16 – 9 in 30 GS – 15 HR, 39 BB, 156 K over 204.1 IP with a 2.43 ERA, 1.04WHIP and a .232 BAA
Pre ASB – 6 – 7 in 17 GS – 3.09 ERA, 1.16 WHIP .257 BAA
… 6 1/2 IP/ GS, 6.52 K/ 9; 4.2 K:BB; o.58 HR/ 9 IP
Post ASB- 10 – 2 in 13 GS – 1.64 ERA, 0.91 WHIP .199 BAA
…7.1 IP/ GS; 7.32 K/ 9 IP; 3.8 K:BB; 0.77 HR/ 9 IP
vs. PIT: 4 – 1 in 5 GS – 2 HR, 7 BB, 26 K over 31.2 IP with a 1.42 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and a .186 BAA
@ PNC: 2 – 1 in 3 GS – 0 HR, 3 BB, 13 K over 19 IP with a 0.95 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and a .217 BAA

Tom Gorzelanny, LHP
Drafted 2nd round in 2003 out of JC by the Pirates
This year in AA, he went 8 – 5 in 23 GS with 1 CG SO – a 3.26 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP – 6 HR, 46 BB and 124 K over 129.2 IP
2.8 K:BB
8.61 K/ 9 IP
3.19 BB/ 9 IP
0.42 HR/ 9 IP
But if we “hit” like we did yesterday, we ain’t going nowhere anyhow…

9/19/05 – Get Some Runs For Roger Clemens

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Well, the Marlins ground Philly into mush, so now we 1.5 games up on Philly and 2 1/2 up on the Marlins.

We’re back in PNC Park, supposed to be the most beautiful park in the ML, who attracts fans with their food at the stadium – what a sorry thing.
Roger Clemens, RHP vs Oliver Perez, LHP (or is it Ian Snell, RHP?)
I don’t see Perez on the injured list and if he’s skipping a start, I can’t find out why…

Of Roger’s 30 GS, he gave up 1 or ZERO runs in 19 of them.
this year: 12 – 7 in 30 GS with 1 CG – 10 HR, 58 BB, 175 K over 198.1 IP with a 1.77 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and a .189 BAA
6.2 IP/ GS
3.0 K:BB
7.94 K/ 9 IP
0.45 HR/ 9 IP
which will get his gasps of admiration from stat geeks and contempt from the BBWA cuz his teammates didn’t get him enuf W which makes it all his own personal fault 100% if he don’t get the CY…
please click here – Jeff Kallman explains why Roger should get the CY
vs. PIT: 3 – 0 in 5 GS – 0 HR, 12 BB, 35 K over 34.2 IP with a 2.86 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and a .171 BAA
has never pitched at PNC

I’m reading that Oliver Perez might not be making his start, so just in case it’s true, here’s the scoop on his replacement,

Ian Snell, RHP
this year: 0 – 2 in 3 GS and 10 in relief – 4 HR, 17 BB, 26 K over 29 IP with a 6.83 ERA, 1.79 WHIP and a .302 BAA
vs. HOU: 0 – 1 in 1 GS and 1 in relief (lost to Astacio 7/19) – 0 HR, 3 BB, 7 K over 7 IP with a 6.43 ERA, 2.00 WHIP and a .379 BAA
Oliver Perez, LHP
has been hurt a LOT of this year and has spent a few months total on the DL – he just got off it again a few weeks ago. IF he heals up, this should be interesting. I’ve seen Oliver at his unhittable best and his BP worst and I wonder who gonna show up tonight…
this year: 6 – 5 in 17 GS (2 QS) – 22 HR, 55 BB, 86 K over 89.1 IP with a 6.04 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and a .270 BAA
5.1 IP/ GS
9.6 K/ 9 IP (WOW)
1.62 K: BB (not as good as it was last year)
2.2 HR/ 9 IP (not quite Eric Milton/ Zeke Astacio, but almost)
vs. HOU: 2 – 1 in 3 GS – 4 HR, 6 BB, 30K over 21.1 IP with a 2.95 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and a .182 BAA
He faced the Stros 4/25 and beat Roy 2-0

9/18/05: Wandy Rodriguez Pitches Great, Beats Brewers

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

Wandy Rodriguez looks more and more like Tom Glavine 1991 every time out there. He was pitching a 4 hit shut out when Phil pulled him with 1 out and 2 on in the 8th. He had thrown 100 pitches and I guess Phil though he was done, although I though he was still locating very well and could have gotten a GIDP.

But Dan Wheeler came in and allowed one of the runs to score. Good bye shutout.

What I want to know is why Phil won’t let Mike Gallo pitch to righties when he can get them out too?

None of the Brewers pitchers looked real too good. In fact, this game is a game to remember – a season high TEN walks with only 6 hits – good thing we scored so many runs – we left 10 MOB:
– Charles Gipson (great glove, by the way) FO with bases loaded and 2 outs and GO with 2 on and 2 out.
– Biggio looks really tired – this month, he’s gone 14 fer 64 (.219) with 3 BB, 1 HBP and no SB. He really needs to have some days off, but I don’t think McLane will allow it.
– Lance has been grounding out WAAAAYYYY too much over the past week or so.

So we’re still leading the WC. We off to Pittsburgh – time to nail this thing DOWN!!!