Archive for October, 2005

10/31/05: Yet Another Year of Phil Garner, Unfortunately

Monday, October 31st, 2005

The Astros Organization extended Phil’s contract for another year – for the 2007 season.
I am NOT happy.
Yall know what I think and I don’t see the point of saying it again.
All trick and no treat…

- update 11/1
comment
“Did you expect any different? I know I didn’t.”
Comment by Tom: Tuesday, November 1, 2005

answer
heck, no. I’m very realistic…

Autopsy Report – 2005 Astro WS Performance

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Not sure just why, but I love all those autopsy shows.
There are basically 2 kinds of cases that are shown:
- where there is a dead body or skeleton and no one knows who they are or how they could have died and they have to find out;
- where they bring in what looks like a duh case and when they look closer, there’s some interesting and surprising results. Like this one I saw where it looks like this guy shot hisself in the head, but there’s blood in too many places that don’t make sense and there’s TWO casings.

But anyhow, back to the Astros.
- I want to leave out the roof business and the psychological effect of that on the team.

- I ALSO want to leave out the problem of the umpires because I can’t point directly to any call (especially balls/strikes) and say THAT caused us to lose a game. Although I watched replays of pitches and as best I can tell from the camera angle, the umpires called the same pitch a strike for the Sox about 3 times more often than they did for us. But, as I said, I don’t want to go there.

Now, the question of WHY the HP umpire refused to examine the ball that hit Dye’s bat and why the umpires didn’t confer like they did last year about the Slappy McBlue Lips business (BTW – anyone know why A-Rod wears purple lipstick? It don’t look good on him…) is a VERY good question, but again, it wasn’t the direct cause of death, even though it sure was a part of it.

- I will also not discuss the fact that MLB and Fox insisted that Game 2 be played in the driving rain in 40 degree temp instead of postponing it to the next day, because I would be protesting this decision even if the Astros had won.

But I believe that the first blow was struck BEFORE the Series even started.
And that blow was caused by Brad Lidge losing, all by his lonesome, Game 5 of the NLCS. Not because it hurt the team psychologically, but because it caused us to
1 – have to waste energy winning another game while the Sox were resting and recovering from 6 1/2 months of VERY hard work
2 – cause Roy Oswalt to have to throw another 7 innings AND make him unavailable to start Game 1 Up There, which meant that tired, 43 year old Roger Clemens and his sore legs and groin would be stressed by having to pitch in the cold – and it’s easier to strain and stress muscles when they cold.

- I’m gonna say flat out that I think that Lidge’s future problems can NOT be traced to the “Pujols Moment” as he was CLEARLY having trouble well before that, as I’ve pointed out before. I certainly didn’t expect him to lose 2 games in the Series all by himself, that’s fer sher.

So, contributing factors:
Game 1
1 – Roger pitching in the cold, pulling a hammy, leaving after 2 innings. I don’t think, no matteer WHAT spin I’m hearing, that Clemens was peachy keen from the get-go. And the fielding was el-stinko in the second inning. The Sox ran wild on everybody except Andy Pettitte. I’m not blaming Wandy Rodriguez, did quite well, considering – 1 solo HR over 3.1 IP with that the only ER – was better than what Clemens did – whoda thunk it?
2 – Let’s not forget the decision (don’t know whether or not it was Phil or McLane here so I’ll give Phil the benefit of the doubt) to DH Bagwell against the righty when Lamb was available. It is NOT relevant what Baggy did in the past because the fact is that he was simply NOT the same guy after surgery that he was even last year – was hitting 4 fer 18 as a PH with a BB and a SF and a RBI FC. Lamb was CLEARLY better at this point.
3 – And the killer – not getting the leadoff guy on base with NO outs home in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings when we were only behind by 1 run. Note that in the 6th, after Willy doubles to lead off, Berkman, Ensberg and Lamb are gotten out on just 8 pitches; in the 7th, Contreras got out 5 guys on 7 pitches. Not good, is it. So, yall think that with Everett not hitting at ALL, he shoulda bunted his way on with 1 out and men at second and third? Remember, he’s GREAT bunter and very fast. In the 8th, Taveras doubles, then Berkman singles, then Ensberg, Lamb and Baggy all K. Yeccch.

Game 2
1 – Well, Andy pitched great. Wasn’t his fault.
2 – He shouldn’t have given up ANY runs, but his fielders let him down. Chris Burke shoulda had Pierzynski’s FB to left, except he really isn’t a left fielder, even though he’s better than last year’s second baseman did out there. And Biggio had NO business calling for or dropping Uribe’s popup.
3 – Hitters a little better with RISP.
4 – Goat deluxe, the bullpen. Wheeler not being able to get the 3rd out in the 7th (let’s leave out the foul ball called HBP – the point is that Wheeler didn’t get him out on the previous 5 pitches). Then, of course, Qualls giving up a grand slam on the first pitch. And of course, Brad Lidge giving up a HR to, of ALL people, Podsednik to lose the game.
5 – as for Phil, you ask?
Well, I CERTAINLY have no complaints with him putting Wheeler in in the 7th – absolutely the right move in my mind, no question. I assumed he was gonna pitch 2 innings and Brad was gonna close. Qualls had pitched 1.1 innings the day before and there is NO reason to insist that the same guys do the 7th, 8th and 9th every time. I also had NO problem with him using Qualls to relieve Wheeler. Qualls hadn’t given up so much as a hit in 8.1 innings – since game 1 against Atlanta, in fact. I had NO problem with him sending Brad Lidge out for the 9th in a tie game. He had had plenty of rest since the Pujols HR and I didn’t believe that it was gonna scar him for the rest of his life like all the baseball “experts” kept saying. But he did a bad job anyhow. Podsednik is the guy who should be waving weakly at sliders in the dirt.
6 – but I DO think that putting in Viz to face Jenks was questionable, even though it happened to work out – Jenks throws a LOT of pitches out of the strike zone and Vis does NOT have good plate discipline.
7 – and I DO think that leaving Lamb in to face lefty Cotts was probably better than sending in Bruntlett, his only other real choice of rightys. Lamb isn’t THAT bad against leftys and in fact, had pretty decent splits until he was pretty strictly platooned.

Game 3
GAAAAAAAAH
Cursed by the open roof.
The HP umpire called outside pitches for strikes with Garland and didn’t for Oswalt. I checked the replays FOUR times.

Oswalt clearly didn’t have the same FB that he had had the week before in St. Louis, HP ump or not. He was clearly all upset about this, as well. It is the job of the manager, pitching coach and catcher to calm him down and redirect a new game plan. Didn’t happen.
1 – Now, Roy DID cough up FIVE runs in the 5th. He faced a WS record ELEVEN hitters and threw a record (as best I can find) 46 pitches. Not ONCE did he get visited by the catcher or the infielders or the hitting coach – anything to give him a breather, re-adjust his approach, nothing. No one even warmed up in the bullpen until the 39th pitch. Inexcusable. I can’t really blame fielders except Willy, who as usual, can’t come forward to catch and didn’t get Dye’s looper to center. Phil just sat in the dugout like a #### stone. He planned to leave Roy in there HOW long? Roy got sent back out there in the 6th after getting about a 8 minute breather while the Astros got themselves out on 10 pitches – good thing we had 3 minute commercials. And I could HARDLY believe it when he got sent back out there in the 7th after having already thrown 110 pitches, when he had another 8 minutes of rest while the Astros got themselves out on 8 pitches. Sorry. Bad managing.
2 – We managed to tie the game in the 8th and Ausmus was called out on an INCREDIBLY bad called strike (and by the way, Phil showing up Ausmus was NOT cool.)
I guess it gets bad here, don’t it. First, the bullpen did great until Astacio, and I’ll go there later.
OK, it’s like this – you HAFTA get the runners home. Unless your hitters are Barry and Pujols and David Ortiz, you MUST look at who they are and how they’ve been doing.
3 – For example, Mo Ensberg. Now I KNOW what he did all year. I follow this team. Yes, I know he might could have gotten himself more seriously hurt than he let on when he was HBP in the wrist on Sept 5 and Real Men (Tm) never admit they hurt, unlike, say, JD Drew or Nick Johnson. But the fact is that he OBVIOUSLY looked lost – heck, even McCarver noticed him monkeying with his stance with every pitch of the AB. You just can’t be waiting IN THE WORLD FREAKING SERIES to work his way out of it. Either make him do something unexpected, like, say, BUNT for a hit or even sac bunt, since he getting himself out anyhow, or bench him or pinch hit for him. BAD mistake to just figger he just might could be “due.” In the regular season, yes. Now, it’s different.
4 – Phil had Willy Taveras swinging for the fences with every AB. I don’t CARE what he did in Chicago to lead off, I KNOW he can’t hit worth a plugged nickel with runners on. MUCH better to have him try to bunt his way on – at the least, it will be a sac bunt or even a squeeze. The point of a squeeze is that even when the other side KNOWS it is coming, they can’t defend against a properly executed squeeze.

Here we go – it’s the 9th, Burke on 3rd. Biggio won’t squeeze. Taveras swings away and Ks. Berkman, of course, is IBB. Heck, I wouldn’t pitch to him neither. Of course, Ensberg is out. In the 10th, Palmeiro walks. Luis Vizcaino, not exactly a great pitcher, manages to then get out Lane, Ausmus and Burke. No one tries to go the other way, no one tries to move the runner. In the 10th, Taveras (nobody on, of course) gets HBP, they walk Berkman (I’m gonna re-name him Barrykman) with the usual “non intentional” IBB, Ensberg and Palmeiro do nothing. Of course, it IS true that 2 called strikes to Ensberg were NOT in the strike zone, but I DID say we wouldn’t go there. Oh yeah, and in the 14th, with 2 on, you can’t pinch hit for Adam Everett, having used up everyone but Chavez, who can’t hit.
And I didn’t appreciate Phil throwing chairs and bad mouthing the players after the game, neither. Real bush league. To be too nice about it.

Game 4 -
Brandon Backe ROOLZ!!!!! (I would say that that game should get him a little extra in arbitration)
Phil should NOT have pulled him after the 7th – not with him cruising and plenty left in the tank. At this point in his career, unfortunately, Baggy is NOT a better hitter. BAD mistake.
Ensberg has made it clear that for WHATEVER reason, he is not hitting. He shoulda been benched – Berkman at first, Lamb on third and Burke in left. I don’t CARE what happened before Ensberg lost his swing. Expecting him to find it right this minute is a BAD bet. And not pinch hitting for him, if you INSIST on starting him, with 2 on and 1 out in the 6th or the 8th was BAD managing.
Goat #1 - Jason Lane for swinging at a very high and inside pitch for strike 3 with bases loaded.
Goat #2 – Brad Lidge for losing this game.

I DID think that the guys did well in the 9th – Palmeiro almost beat that grounder out.

Conclusion of cause of death:
1) Phil’s poor decisions when the chips were down
2) Severe bat anemia
3) Brad Lidge LOSING 2 games
4) Mo Ensberg not hitting and Phil not pinch hitting for him or benching him

ADDENDUM: please read EXCELLENT discussion by Austin and Steve in the comments section.

10/27/05: More On the Roof Thing

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Check THIS out!!!
and no, I am NOT her. I just think she ROOLZ and all I can say is
YOU GO GIRL!!!
- although, to be honest, I think most of the sickness was the infection in the bats of Morgan Ensberg, Jason Lane and Jeff Bagwell.
In fact, Morgan’s bat is still on life support in the intensive care unit at the Baseball Memorial Hospital…

10/27/05: Brandon Backe Pitches 8 Innings Of Shutout Ball, But Lidge Loses To White Sox

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Congratulations White Sox!!!

Well, I found ONE THING good about our sorry ass team, our idiot manager and their pathetic performances -
Brandon Backe.
Period.

Before the Series started, all we heard was all about how Roger and Andy and Roy would be nails, then there would be Brandon (our expected loss) and then the Big Guys again.

Well, the guy everyone sneered at was the only pitcher who was an absolute ace.
7 innings, an incredible FB, curve and slider, superb location. 4 hits, NO walks and 7 Ks, 5 of them in a row.

He threw 100 pitches, 70 of them for strikes. (For some odd reason, unlike with Roy last night, the ump actually called the strikes strikes. Bud is gonna have his butt on a platter I’ll bet…) But it didn’t matter because he was so good that the Sox were swinging at them anyway. (Then, that idiot Phil pulled him for a pinch hitter in the 8th. It’s not like Bagwell is hitting any better, you know…) And there went the ballgame.

Brandon is the only one who did much of anything. So as far as I’m concerned, he’s our Series MVP because he an absolute ace. And he’s the only player who was.

Brad Lidge gets the Dan F. Miceli award for losing THREE games in one postseason.

Morgan Ensberg gets the El Suck Deluxe award. Yes, he gets it over Adam Everett because Adam had a better glove and no expects Adam to drive in runs except Phil, who had him swing away instead of bunting EVERY TIME!!! Morgan had 12 opportunities to drive in men and succeeded once. VERY bad.

I will do a proper autopsy of this postseason (and I will leave out the roof and the biased umpires) and the terrible managing job of Phil who, as usual, will manage to talk his way out of looking as bad as he was, as soon as I get a little sleep and stop crying.

2005 World Series Game 4 – Brandon Backe vs Freddy Garcia

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

Brandon Backe, RHP vs Freddy Garcia, RHP

Naturally, Brandon Backe has been totally written off by all the sportswriters from the beginning and I’m not sure why – he’s a VERY good pitcher here at home and he’s been very good in the playoffs (except for LaRoche’s HR but we won’t go there…)

The poor kid. I feel for him. He’s the only one on the team who still hasn’t figgered out what’s up. Kinda reminds me of that one pitcher in the movie “8 Men Out” who didn’t know about the Fix and went out there and couldn’t understand why the guys weren’t playing well.
this year: 10 – 8 in 25 GS and 1 in relief – with 1 CG SO – 19 HR, 67 BB, 97 K over 149.1 IP with a 4.76 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and a .263 BAA
@ home this year: 6 – 2 in 10 GS and 1 in relief with 1 CG SO – 9 HR, 22 BB, 47 K over 66 IP with a 3.41 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and a .247BAA

Playoffs:
last year, he was 1-0 in 3 GS with a 2.89 ERA over 18.7 IP with that incredible 1 hit no run 8 inning performance in game 5 NLCS againt the Cards’
this year, he had a little trouble with Atlanta ( the GS, remember, but was nails against St Louis – 7 K, 2 H, 1 ER over 5.2 IP and was, in my opinion, pulled WAAAAY too early by Phil when he was doing well and had only thrown 80 pitches.

Total in the postseason
1-0 in 5 GS and 1 in relief – 3.77 ERA – 25 K, 12 BB, 1 HR over 28.2 IP
One more thing – Brandon LIKES being on national TV – except for that GS game against Atlanta, he hasn’t lost a game and he’s 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA when he’s on TV.
-
Freddie Garcia, RHP
this year: 14 – 6 in 31 GS with 1 CG – 25 HR, 55 BB, 138 K over 213 IP with a 3.92 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a .263 BAA
one game vs Houston : (interleague when he was with Seattle) 7 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 3 ER over 8 IP

Playoffs Season to Date
2-0 in 2 GS with 11 H, 3 HR, 5 ER, 5 BB and 6 K over 14 IP
All Playoffs:
5 – 2 in 8 GS – 3.56 ERA – 19 BB, 38 K over 48 IP

And we’d better start hitting with RISP…

The Roof Is All Fixed By Bud Selig For 2005 WS

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

As of 5 PM yesterday, I had made a decision that because of Bud Selig’s outrageous ruling that we must play with the roof open, which the team doesn’t like and the fans hate, in order to remove any vestige of home field advantage, I was going to refuse to watch, listen to or read about the remainder of the Series.

In 1919, the Sox threw the Series for money. I have no idea what Bud Selig’s motive in trying to make sure the Astros lose, but I know that he will most likely never be investigated of forced to account for his treachery. I doubt it’s gamblers like Arnold Rothstein type stuff, but I’d bet it has to do with payback and favors, stuff like that. And I think the umps in on it too.

So when my Husband and Brotherman walked in the door, I told them that I refuse to have anything more with this fixed Series and refused to even watch or listen and that after dinner, they could watch if they wanted to but I was taking Da Bull, our 2 year old, who is getting too big for his britches (hahahaha) over to my friend Tamesha’s because she had a bunch of stuff her boy too big for.

Husband and Brotherman exchanged looks.

I said, I’m not kidding and Ida wanna talk about it one more second. And why were they home early anyhow?

Husband and Brotherman exchanged looks again.

I said I been thinking about this all day and I’m NOT kidding. We should just give Bud the finger and shut the roof, like the players want – Roy all upset and he not gonna pitch worth #### and the players are all angry too.
Yall do what you wanna do but my mind made up. And dinner won’t be ready for a while.

Husband and Brotherman exchanged looks again.

Husband cleared his throat. Um, Baby, he sez, you can’t be talkin like that when your Daddy comes by. Um, it’s supposed to be a surprise, but he got you a ticket and, um
I stopped dead. My Daddy HATES sports, has argued with my Mama since I can remember about her love of all that baseball **** and has scolded me for wasting time with that stuff. And here he’s bought his Baby Girl a ticket to the WS – what he is sure I would LUUUVVV as a present more than anything else he can think of. I have NO freaking idea what it cost him – I know what they are going for on ebay. I can’t tell him after what it must have cost him in money and pride to tell him that the game has been rigged and we’ve been set up to lose.

So when Daddy comes over with his “surprise” 10 minutes later, I give an Oscar winning performance (fortunately, I’m a MUCH better actor than Husband…) and set off for the ballpark.

I’ve checked the weather – it’s gonna be in the mid 50s, so I put on thick heavy pants, 2 sweaters and a hooded sweatshirt, warm socks and shoes.

I get to the Box around 6:15 – the crowd is almost all Astros fans, although I see a few people wearing other teams colors. I see a few White Sox fans, all males. I wonder if the female White Sox fans worried that Astros fans gonna punch her out, like a White Sox fan did to Patty Biggio – but we don’t do that here.

 The crowd is very quiet going in and quiet in the lines waiting to get in. We KNOW that Bud Selig is trying to make us lose and it’s working with the crowd. LOTS of grumbling, very little Buzz like there was with the playoffs. A LOT of grumbling about how much the tickets cost for this and how it’s gonna be a waste of money. A lot of people said they bought the tickets from season holders they know – the season holders felt it was silly to go and the buyers wanted the “experience.” Almost everyone is wearing heavy sweaters and jackets – down here, we think that having to be outside in 50 degree weather is something horrible.

I don’t know what the lies and spin are that will be printed, but I’ve brought a thermometer – when I get to my seat in the upper deck at 7 PM, it’s 60. By 8, it’s 57 and it was 51 when the game finally ended. I spent some time checking game logs for the past few years. Not once have we played a game in 50 degree weather.

One more thing. NOBODY pays me what to say. I don’t have to worry about spin and putting myself in a good light with MLB, or the Astros Organization or anyone else. So I’m going to say that it was, from the very beginning, one of the most quiet and apathetic crowds I’ve ever been in, ESPECIALLY considering it was a full stadium.

From the very beginning, the faces in the stands were for the most past, quiet and glum. We KNEW we were gonna lose from the beginning. In fact, a LOT of people in the lines were complaining about the fix. Totally different from the excitement and cheers and buzz that I experienced in playoff games. A lot of people were calling Bud Selig names I won’t repeat. I’ve heard a LOT of lies from media about how there was all this noise – well, I could hear White Sox fans, all 50 of them, screaming Go White Sox from the lower decks. The noise was about the same amount of noise you get in an weekday afternoon game with the 15000 fans who show up. I don’t know or care how Fox manipulates TV stuff to get “crowd noise” that wasn’t there.

The fans were apathetic at best. A little bit of stirring after Jason Lane hit his double, but that was about it.

Even the beer vendors didn’t bother to show up. Or were they banned cuz Bud Selig was afraid the crowd would get drunk and ugly and start a riot and come lookin for him?

Do I think that the roof shut would have made a difference?
(check the comments section for my reply to Mike Q)
Of course, and so did the other fans and so did the players. And most important, so did Selig.
- as Rich Campbell says (and he’s a PADRES fan)
“It’s all smoke and mirrors. The roof was ordered opened to “make it
fair”. Sez me…removing one team’s home fireld advantage is very
unfair. It had NOTHING to do with temperature. It had everything to do with
noise.
Sure, there may have been some other factors. But the why is the
noise. And that noise is generated because of a love affair between a team
and it’s fans and the roof should have been closed. period. Selig did
it wrong.”

The ratings are down. Could it be the terrible job Fox does of broadcasting? The best part of the night, by the way, was the fact that Joe Buck got the loudest BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS from the crowd – it was the only thing that woke us up.

Could it be that the audience has NO interest in a rigged series?
You watched the game.
The HP ump didn’t call balls and strikes the same for both teams.
Oh yes.

Roy pitched like crap.
The guys hit like crap.
Phil managed like crap.
Who cares.

A few last things -
1 – for those of yall who say I am “whining” about having to be a spectator in unpleasant conditions, well, too bad
2 – for those of yall who say that MY team has no right to HF advantage, which, by the way, IS having the roof closed, well, then play the entire WS on neutral turf, just like (yawn) football. Heck, play in a football stadium that neither team has ever been to – how about in Green Bay or something so they will have to play in snow. Yeah, that would show them wussies. Or better yet, how about having the whole thing in some other country? Like, say, Yugoslavia?
3 – for those of you who say there isn’t cold weather in Chicago that the Chicago players have to play in any other time of the year, well, I have a nice bridge to sell you
4 – for those of yall who say that baseball was “meant” to be played without a roof, I say, first, “meant” is just your opinion, not a rule. If you want it different, write it in the rulebook and ban all domes and forbid the roofs of stadiums to be closed under ANY conditions since it will be different than stadiums with no roofs. Force every stadium to be built exactly alike, like a basketball court.
5 – for those of you who think 50 degrees is a wonderful temperature, well, goody good gumdrops for you. It’s like the sexual attractiveness of people – one person’s ugly dog is another person’s hottest hottie. And the vast majority of Houstonians, who are the vast majority of Astros fans, think temperatures under 70 degrees are cold.
6 – for those of yall who think that teams should not be superstitious or be influenced by the crowd, well, isn’t that special. Go play with your strat cards – statistics don’t lie. And the strat cards don’t care about nothing.

If you don’t believe in home field advantage because of the crowd, explain why there is a home court advantage in basketball or football, where the playing fields are exactly alike in every way.
and last but not least,
- guess Jimy Williams was right after all about Geoff Blum being a better player than Morgan Ensberg.

World Series Game 3 – Oswalt vs Garland

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Well, I have some REALLY bad news – I hope it’s just rumor, but I understand that MLB is forcing us to play with the roof open so we will lose our home field advantage and have to play in the cold just like in Chicago. I checked the weather and it will be in the 50s – but no rain. Yall DO know that Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf are REAL close friends don’t you. This time instead of White Sox players trying to throw the game, looks like it’s MLB trying to throw the game.

Because there is NO reason to force us to play in the cold with the roof open. Except to make us lose. Because this year we have not won a SINGLE game we played in the cold. Not one. Not ONE. And it is well known that the players feel that having the roof shut IS our home field advantage. In fact, the players, usually so politically correct saying the usual re-recorded boring stuff about blah blah team, blah blah same old whatever have been VERY upfront about the roof being our advantage. Even Roy Oswalt, who normally don’t say nothing, was out front about this.

This is an absolute outrage. The retractable roof was put on for the reason that grass will not grow in a dome and turf is bad for the players bodies, not to have an open air stadium with a roof in case it rains. During the season, the roof is not kept open the few times the temperature is in the 50s. In fact, last year, they always opened the roof after the 7th inning unless it was raining and they didn’t this year – I’m guessing they were deluged with fan complaints because they didn’t do it this year. The shut the roof for good after the end of April (except road trips so the grass would grow) and didn’t open it until the Cubs series started on September 29th. They shut it again after the September 30th game when it was hot as a tomb and Brad Lidge blew the save and lost the game.

It is an outrage that the team is allowed to decide whether or not the roof can be open or shut during the first 2 rounds of the playoffs but not the last one. Especially when the home field advantage IS keeping the roof shut.

This is NOT football, thank goodness, where the championship is played in some city which is not one of the two cities whose team is even in the championship and where very few of the folks in the stands are even fans of the teams playing. THIS is the World Series. Each team is SUPPOSED to have home field advantage at HOME and it is an outrage for Bud Selig to decide to remove our home field advantage. He can HARDLY say it is about “crowd comfort” as this is Houston and for the most part we don’t consider going to baseball games in 50 something degree weather “comfortable.” Houstonians don’t think it is great to have to wear coats and gloves at a baseball game. Bud can’t hardly say something about “standard operating procedure” because we don’t keep the roof open in the very few games when it is that cold and it is almost never that cold in April.

Bad umpiring and Bad Bud. No wonder the Series is getting such low ratings.
Roy Oswalt, RHP vs Jon Garland, RHP

Roy Oswalt, the little guy who COULD and DID win the NCLS MVP by pitching 2 unhittable games
don’t check his stats when he pitched in the cold, please.
this year: 20 – 12 in 35 GS with 4 CG and 1 SO – 18 HR, 48 BB, 184 K over 241.2 IP with a 2.94 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a .262 BAA

This year in the playoffs -
3 – 0 in 3 GS – 14 H, 5 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 19 K over 21.1 IP
Last year in the playoffs (remember he was pitching with a pulled chest muscle and getting pain shots every start)
1 – 0 in 3 GS and 1 in relief
was nails against Atlanta 1-0 over 2 GS – 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K in 11.1 IP
had a ND against St. Louis in the game he started – gave up 5 ER over 6 IP
came in in relief in Game 7 – gave up 1 ER / 2 IP but we’d already lost

-
Jon Garland, RHP
(remember he’s an ex-Cub – a round 1 pick, in fact, out of HS in 1997 – this is his 6th year in the ML)
he was always talked about as – not living up to his “potential” – GAWD I hate that talk – I think what it means is that some guy talks him up to the Organization then has to cover his butt when the guy ain’t Roger Clemens/ Barry Bonds. Or belongs to one of those “predicter” groups who always be gotta explaining why they wrong AGAIN and this is a good excuse as any…

Anyhow, he was the #5 starter on this team and did quite well against everyone else’s #5 starters. for at least the first half, that is. He slowed down in the seond half and had a few weeks rest before his only postseason game, where he came through fine – one of the 4 CG against the dead Angels – 4 H (1 HR), 1 BB, 7 K, 2 ER
this year: 16 – 10 in 28 GS with 3 CG SO – 23 HR, 44 BB, 101 K over 193.1 IP with a 3.53 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a .250 BAA
He’s never faced the Astros or been to the Box
-
I don’t have real too much hope here. Our guys didn’t field very well in the cold – I’m thinking it was just that their fingers so cold they couldn’t get good throws and their bodies so cold they couldn’t get good jumps on balls. I’m hoping that Qualls and Wheeler were having trouble because of the rain not letting them get good grips.

As for Brad Lidge. Oh dear. He can’t seem to do anything right with that baseball over the past week. All I can say is if he IS hurt, he should be honest and tell the team so we don’t be expecting he might could pitch like the old Brad. I’m almost hoping he’s hurt – because that is a much better thing than he’s just lost it, which DOES happen, and this is a REAL bad time for it to happen.

I checked his stats. Except for the beginning of May when he was pitching when he was sick (pneumonia, “flu-like symptoms”, whatever that is supposed to mean) he’s really only had 3 bad outings since – I refuse to call a 320′ walk off HR by Jack Wilson a bad outing, even though Brad DID take the L. He’s not had outing after outing where he got hit like he did in St. Louis and the last game.

Dan F. Miceli hit the trifecta last year, losing THREE games for us in the playoffs because of last inning HRs. I really don’t wanna see Brad inherit that F.

White Sox Relievers vs Astros Lineup For 2005 WS

Monday, October 24th, 2005

Sorry – I thought I posted this before the Series started. So the stats are from before Game 1

Neal Cotts, LHP – never faced any Astro hitter
this year: 4 – 0 in 65 games – 1.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and a .179 BAA over 56 IP
2:1 K:BB
1 K every inning
only ONE HR in 56 IP
only weak point is walks – 4.6/ 9 IP
@ the Cell: 2.61 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and a .202 BAA oh yeah – 1 K per INNING and 1 HR/ 56 IP
pitched 1 inning over 2 appearances in the playoffs – no hits or walks

Bobby Jenks, RHP – never faced any Astro hitter
- you know the story by now – throws 100 MPH, was a little too wild, didn’t have movement, Angels gave up, Chicago picked him up and when Hermanson went down with a bad back, Jenks filled in as closer
1 – 4 in 29 games – 3 HR,15 BB, 46 K over 36.2 IP with a 2.95 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and a .238 BAA
- in the playoff, 2 saves against Boston over 3 IP – 1 H and 1 BB and 1 K.
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Orlando Hernandez, RHP
“36″ year old (yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrre) ex-Yankee. Tired out by September, was put in the bullpen, and triumphantly returned in the ALDS to shut down his old enemies the Red Sox – came in with bases loaded and no outs, allowed NO runs and pitched 2 more scoreless innings to give his team the W. (Just like Clemens, except that he was going on 2 weeks rest and Clemens went on 2 DAYS rest…)
- this year: 6 – 8 in 18 GS and 2 in relief with 1 save: 16 HR, 39 BB, 73 K over 104.1 IP with a 5.43 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and a .281 BAA
- Career @ the Cell: 6 – 5 in 14 GS – 13 HR, 31 BB, 52 K over 79.1 IP with a 5.22 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and a .284 BAA
- Career in the playoffs, 9-3 in 13 games with a 2.65 ERA
has never faced Houston
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Cliff Politte, RHP
- 54th round draft pick by the Cards. Out of the closet as 5’10″ righty. (see – i DO like the little guys who make it)
Unlike a lot of the other relievers, we know this guy – faced him for the 4 years he played with Philly
this year: 7 – 1 over 63 games with 1 save – 6 HR, 20 BB, 51 K over 62.1 IP with a 1.73 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and a .175 BAA

Playoffs to Date
1 scoreless inning against Bostion
- Career @ the Cell: 5 – 1 in 67 games with 2 saves – 64.1 41 17 16 6 19 58 2.24 0.93 WHIP and a .186 BAA
- vs Hou: 5 BB, 6 K, 5 ER over 5.1 IP in 6 games – 8.44 ERA, 2.06 WHIP, .261 BAA
has never been to the Box

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Luis Vizcaino, RHP
came from the Brewers with Podsednik in the Carlos Lee trade, so we’ve seen this guy plenty
this year: 6 – 5 in 62 games – 7 HR, 27 BB, 40 K over 67 IP with a 3.63 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and a .279 BAA
@ the Cell: 4 – 3 in 34 games – 3 HR, 15 BB, 24 K over 39 IP with a 3.46 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and a .286 BAA
@ the Box: 1 – 0 in 11 games with 1 save – 3 HR, 8 BB, 6 K over 11 IP with a 3.86 ERA, 1.71 WHIP and a .267 BAA
vs. HOU: 1 – 0 in 23 games and 2 saves – 6 HR, 13 BB, 20 K over 23.1 IP with a 4.24 ERA, 1.50WHIP and a .253 BAA

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Dustin Hermanson, RHP
we saw him plenty when he was with the Expos and Giants. He started the year as the closer, but had back problems and Bobby Jenks took over.
I doubt we gonna see him, but youneverknow…
this year: 1 – 4 in 51 games with 31 saves – 4 HR, 16 BB, 27 K over 50.2 IP with a 2.31 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and a .224 BAA
@ the Cell: 1 – 2 in 33 games with 18 saves – 4 HR, 11 BB, 23 K over 35 IP with a 2.83 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and a .195 BAA
@ the Box: 0 – 0 in 2 GS and 3 in relief with 1 save – 4 HR, 6 BB, 8 K over 15.1 IP with a 5.28 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and a .311 BAA
vs. HOU: 4- 4 in 10 GS and 8 in relief with 2 saves – 12 HR, 26 BB, 48 K over 63 IP with a 6.86 ERA, 1.59 WHIP and a .301 BAA

Lidge Loses ANOTHER WS Game To The White Sox

Monday, October 24th, 2005

I’ve been putting off writing this for too many hours already. Sooner or later I gotta say what’s gotta be said.

First, I shut the TV off as soon as our 2 year old watched Pod go deep and said – UH OHHHHHHHH

Here and we bad parents keeping little kids up WAAAYYYY past their bedtime to watch the WS. We don’t wanna make things worse by saying what we REALLY thought in front of them so we put them right to bed. Number 1 son asks – is Brad hurting like Roger? Good question from a 3 year old, hunh???!!!

The fact is, Brad Lidge looked absolutely terrible out there – couldn’t get the job done worth ****. In fact, he hasn’t looked like hisself since Game 2 NLCS. I mean, guys like Iguchi and Podsednik should be staring at unhittable FB that move like magic and swingin at sliders in the dirt. It’s one thing to give up a walk off HR to the best hitter in the major leagues, quite another to give it up to a guy who hasn’t hit one all year. Is it possible that he got reverse Steve Blass disease – can’t get the ball OFF the middle of the plate?

And yes we DID get a bad ump call – will this be known as the Year of Bad Ump Calls? But the fact is that if Dan Wheeler got the job done with Iguchi, who is NOT exactly Mr. Walk-man, we wouldn’t be here talkin bout no Jermaine Dye’s hit bat. So Dan Wheeler, so nails all year can’t find the strike zone???!!!

And Chad Qualls – no hits in the last 7 games – throws a ball down the middle to Paul Freaking Konerko???!!

Our fantastic bullpen, the best in the NL, gave up 5 freaking runs, 2 HR in 3 innings.

WTF???!!!

And Jeff Bagwell proved that Barry Bonds right about major league hitters – no matter how fast the FB – ML hitters gonna time it and hit it. Which was cool. Proving one more time it ain’t the speed, it’s the motion. And FB down the middle gonna get hit, RIGHT Brad Lidge???!!!

Like David Pinto, I do NOT understand Phil going with Vizcaino against Jenks – especially batting lefty because rightys hit Jenks bettern leftys. Just because something works don’t mean it was a good idea. My mama explains it like this – just because you had unprotected sex with a person who has AIDS and you didn’t catch it don’t mean it was the right thing to do in the first place…

Andy Pettitte pitched VERY well and would have done better if Ensberg had managed to field a grounder, if Biggio hadn’t dropped an easy pop fly and if Burke had caught a FB to left that even Berkman woulda had. I know some statly folks don’t like hearing this, but a pitcher is helped/hurt by fielders because DIPS is just a number for rotisserie games and in reality, no pitcher gonna throw 27 K games and balls gonna get hit. And if fielders don’t catch catchable balls, the pitcher gonna go down.

One more thing – a LOT of folks thinkin that Phil made a mistake sendin Qualls in to face Konerko with bases loaded instead of Lidge. Question – it’s the postseason and you can’t just do the usual – you hafta ask WHO has been unhittable and who has looked terrible? Answer – Qualls WAS the right choice – he just didn’t get the job done.

I’m hoping that our team hasn’t played as well as I think they should have – both these games were most definitely winnable – the Sox pitchers haven’t exactly given these super-ace performances like the media been talking up over and over and over. In the first game, our hitters let us down – and so did Phil bu not sac-bunting at the right times – sometimes you HAFTA play for 1 run.

In the second game, our usually good defense and bullpen let us down. These have been great games and the teams have been pretty evenly matched and they haven’t been all these 1-0 hitless affairs that the media been screechin about in their predictions about the terrible terrible yankeeless/redsoxless/cubsless series.

Is it AWESOME or what how well Taveras and Berkman have been doing???!!!

So we’re coming home and they gonna hafta face Roy. SO I haven’t given up hope…

World Series Game 2 – Pettitte vs Buerhle

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Andy Pettitte, LHP vs Mark Buerhle, LHP

You might could call this the tortise vs hare – Andy works slow and Buerhrle works fast. Actually, I was really hoping for a Buehrle vs Oswalt matchup to see how unhappy Fox would be if the game finished in 90 minutes or something.

Of course Andy has faced the Sox (well, some of them) before and pitched in the Cell when he was a Yankee.

Yall know that this year, Andy Pettitte had the best stats of any pitcher in the NL after the ASB: 11 – 2 in 16 GS with a 1.69 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and a .278 BAA and he averaged 7 IP/ GS.
But he got hit in the knee just before Game 1 NLCS and it showed:
- in the game he won vs Atlanta, he gave up 4 hits (2 HR), 2 BB, 7 K in 7 IP
- in St. Louis, the game he got hit, he gave up 8 H, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 K and 5 ER in 6 IP
the next game, he was luckier than sharp – 7 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 ER/ 6.1 IP

Playoff Pitching Statistics: 14 – 9 in 33 GS – 206 IP, 94 ER, 8 HR, 58 BB, 130 K – 3.19 ERA
Has played in 6 WS (before this one – has 4 Ringssss)
3 – 4 in 10 GS – has a 3.90 ERA – (note that this includes the 2001 game against the D-bax where they realized he was tipping his pitches and scored 9 ER in a few innings – his only other bad game was against the Baves in 99 where they scored 5 ER in 3.2 IP – otherwise, he did quite well.)
- he doesn’t have a good record against the White Sox, or at the Cell, but then again, he’s not facing Frank Thomas, Magglio Ordonez or Carlos Lee, neither.
- Career vs. CWS: 10 – 7 in 19 GS with 3 CG – 55 10 HR, 48 BB, 73 K over 115.2 IP with a 4.28 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and a .278 BAA
@ the Cell: 3 – 6 in 10 GS – 6 HR, 26 BB, 32 K over 54 IP with a 6.33 ERA, 1.72 WHIP and a .310 BAA
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Mark Buerhle, LHP
drafted 38th round by the White Sox from junior College in 1998. And here he is in the WS. (And by the way, Aaron Rowand, Adam Everett and Brad Lidge were first rounders in the same draft…)
He’s never faced the Astros before.
this year: 14 – 7 in 30 GS with 3 CG and 1 SO – 18 HR, 35 BB, 137 K over 214.1 IP with a 3.11 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a .261 BAA
averaged a little over 7 IP/ GS
5.76 K/ 9 IP
3.91 K:BB NOTE – he throws strikes
0.75 HR/ 9 IP

In this year’s playoffs:
2 – 0 in 2 GS with 1 CG – 5 ER/ 16 IP with 1 HR, 1 BB and 6 K – a 2.81 ERA, .261 BAA
@ the Cell: 46 – 24 in 88 GS and 15 games in relief with 7 CG and 2 SO – 73 HR, 138 BB, 392 K over 642 IP with a 3.57 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and a .261 BAA
5.49 K/ 9 IP
2.84 K:BB (looks like he’s gotten better this year)
1 HR/ 9 IP

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