Archive for April, 2006

Taylor Buchholz Wins Against Reds, Lidge Saves

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Taylor Buchholz pitched an excellent game – almost unhittable for 5 innings. He began to lose it in the 6th, gave up a single, walk, a GIDP, and then a homer to Adam Dunn, then got the final out. He went back out to start the 7th, got a quick GO, then gave up an 8 pitch walk and an 11 pitch walk, and it was obvious he was having trouble locating and was tired, and Phil did exactly the right thing and pulled him, even though he had only thrown 90 pitches. Chad Qualls came in and shut it right down.

Now WHY is it that Phil doesn’t seem to have any trouble pulling a rookie when it is obvious that he has lost it, but he refuses to do this with his veterans?

Lance Berkman and Jason Lane hit homers again, Lance going opposite field. Preston Wilson again left 2 RISP with 2 out in the 5th. Time to stop thinking of him as an “RBI man” as he only has 11 of them and 5 have come from HRs – all solos. Actually, he has his very best numbers leading off an inning – maybe we should bat him there.

I guess yall gonna point out how he only has 4 BB and his OBP isn’t EVEN .300 and yall got a point. In fact, Preston still has more Ks than hits (26 – 22).

On the other hand, maybe Jason Lane should lead off – he has an OBP of .394 and he has 22 walks in 104 PA – last year, he had 32 walks in 552 PA. In fact, believe it or not, he leads the TEAM in walks with 22 – Mo is next with 21.

Adam Everett looks as though he’s lost his swing – I think his hand is still hurting.

Brad Lidge has got back in the swing – 5 batters, 3 swinging Ks – 2 of them at balls in the dirt, 1 walk and 1 soft hit to left. He looked better – only 10 called balls of 23 pitches. So I guess blowing 2 saves in a row don’t always mean you are finished (see Mariano Rivera, last April vs Red Sox…)

Last but not least, you KNOW we are calling Roger Clemens’ agent – leaving a message on his cell at 1 microsecond after midnight. So – will he or won’t he? Well, it’s too close to call – I figure if he had wanted to sign with the AL teams, he wouldn’t have waited, so I just wonder if he really wants to pitch at age 44. Of course, we are basically talking about half a season, so he hopefully won’t be worn out by September, as he was last year.

Taylor and Wandy are doing VERY well, and we COULD use a long man, who would be Nieve, so I can see this. Of course, we have NO idea if Brandon Backe will be coming back, and as far as I know, he’s going to be re-evaluated in late May, early June, and then IF he doesn’t need surgery, he has to rehab. It may be near the allstar break IF he can come back.

I hear rumors that Drayton will offer to call Koby up from A ball in Sept (he’s on the DL with a broken hand right now) so that Roger can play with his son – but if the WC race is as tight as it was last year, I can’t see us playing an A ball guy unless there is a blowout. I know he’ll cost plenty, but Roger is a box office draw all by himself and Drayton knows it. And the press will be writing Roger stories every day and the fans will be falling all over themselves to buy Roger tickets

Sigh

I sorta sound like the father in Fiddler on the Roof – on one hand, on the other hand…

But actually, I sound most like my kids – Ida know.

4/30/05 – Taylor Buchholz vs Elizardo Ramirez

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Taylor Buchholz, RHP vs Elizardo Ramirez, RHP

The Reds have never faced Taylor and we’ve never faced Ramirez. This is gonna be interesting. We’d better start winning because we’re already 1.5 games behind and catching up is for the birds. I hope. hahahahaha

Taylor Buchholz, RHP:
1-1 in 2 GS and 2 in relief – 2 HR, 4 BB, 12 K over 20 IP with a 1.80 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and a .132 BAA
- his last game, I’m sure yall remember, he came 1 out and 1 batter short of a CG 1 hitter against the Pirates. These Reds are a LOT more patient and there are a LOT more HR hitters, so Taylor better have his best stuff ready and not freak if he walks more guys than he’s used to. Taylor had better be remembering how he pitched in his last game – because the way this team has ben playing, he’s gonna need to pitch like that if he wants to win. And I sure hope this team is not repeating last year’s habit of losing on the road because it took several months to kick it.

- sad smile

Yall know Adam Dunn wanted to play here for his hometown Stros. But the Organization didn’t want any part of him and his strikeouts and his low BA and went after Preston Wilson instead. Anyone else think they picked the wrong strikeout king?
——-
Elizardo Ramirez, RHP, age 23
signed by the Phillies out of the DR in 1999, came up in 04, pitched in 7 games in relief over 15 innings – 17 H, 5 BB, 3 HR, 9 K and 8 ER.
traded to the Reds in August as part of the Cory Lidle deal and spent the rest of the year in the minors.

Was called up last year when Ramon Ortiz went on the DL – went 0-3 in 4 GS and 2 in relief with 33 H, 5 HR, 10 BB and 9 K over 22.1 IP

Called up this year when Eric Homerun Milton went on the DL. Faced the Nats, gave up 6 hits, 1 BB and 4 K – 2 ER over 7 IP (his best outing ever)

Career totals: 1-3 in 4 GS and 9 in relief – 8 HR, 16 BB and 22 K over 44.1 IP with a 6.29 ERA, 1.62 WHIP and a .306 BAA

It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Last Year – Astros Don’t Hit OR Pitch

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Andy Pettitte looked pretty sharp through the first 3 innings. Brad Ausmus even helped him out by picking off Jason La Rue, who was caught leaning a lil too far off first.

But then it went to heck in a handbasket (as my grandmother would have said…)

4th inning and Andy can’t seem to hit his spots. Rich Aurilia hits a comebacker to the mound on a low inside pitch for an easy 1-3. But then, stuff hits the fan (so to speak.) Adam Dunn walks on 5 pitches -and the fouled off 3rd pitch wasn’t even close, then Andy walks Adam Kearns on 4 straight pitches.

It gets worse.
Edward Encarnacion hits the 7th pitch (and only 1 of those was in the strike zone) for a double to left and Dunn scores. But wait – there’s more – Phillips is up and Andy throws him 5 pitches – ALL low, but he can’t pick up a dribbler to the mound (off a ball at the shoe tops) and throw accurately to second and 2 runs score on his throwing error. Then Jason La Rue fouls off 2 inside pitches and swings at another ball in the dirt (for some reason) for strike 3.

The pitcher is up, Andy manages to throw 2 balls down the middle, and Harang hits the second for a single. Freel is up, and he takes the first pitch down the middle. Brandon Phillips steals third and scores on a WP, and then Freel walks. 7 pitches, only 1 in the strike zone. FINALLY Lopez rescues Andy by swinging wildly at 3 pitches out of the strike zone. 35 pitches in 1 inning, and only 5 of those looked like they were in the strike zone. And a WP.

AND a throwing error, which he very seldom does.

Seems to me he’s all Arm Gone Wild. We are talking 3 walks in 1 inning, a 2 base throwing error, a run scoring WP and 30 of 35 pitches out of the strike zone. Actually, I’m hoping it’s not Arm Gone Hurting.

BUT

there he is, back out there for the 5th – WHAAAAAAAAA? (This is after Harang goes thru the side 1,2,3 in 4 minutes.) I can’t hardly believe my eyes. I think this is dumb, dumb dumb.

 And I’m right. Look at this:
- Aurilia – ball, strike (borderline) – HR to deep center
- Dunn – ball, ball, double to RF warning track
- Kearns – strike down the middle, swinging strike at a ball low and inside, ball in dirt, ball in dirt, foul on low and outside, ball high and inside, single to center on pitch on outside corner, Dunn to third
- Encarnacion – ball inside, foul on low and outside, ball low and inside, ball almost hits his arm, K on swing on ball that is blocked in dirt (this is called getting your own self out when you shoulda kept bat on shoulder)
- Phillips – strike down the middle which he GO into a 5-4 FC, but the run scores
- La Rue – swing at ball in dirt, ball, ball in dirt, single on pitch down middle of the plate
- Harang – foul on low inside strike, foul on strike down the middle, FC on strike down the middle.

OK

When it is MORE than obvious that your starter has completely lost ALL control, you leave him in there for HOW long? How many times in a GAME does Andy usually throw balls in the dirt? How many WP? What clues does any manager need to know that the starter has just completely lost it? You spot the other guys 6 runs WHY??? It’s not like our lineup is made of 8 Albert Pujols and the pitcher.

Borkowski starts the 6th, but the game was long since lost when Phil wouldn’t pull Andy in the 4th. Now if it was Fernando Nieve, he woulda been outta there before you could blink. But Phil is a firm believer in leaving veterans in there to drown (remember what happened with Roy in the WS? THE FREAKING WS?????)

There times when smart managing does win ball games. This wasn’t one of them. I honestly wonder if Brad Ausmus goes over to Phil and says – look, Andy couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a basketball, or if he doesn’t bother because Phil doesn’t care – he gonna ride a horse until it drops. (He does the same with hitters, too.)

Now I know it would help to have at least one good long man, and we’d have 2 in Borkowski and Nieve if Brandon hadn’t gotten hurt. But it is NOT necessary to pull a pitcher who is doing fine to make sure that you have a lefty facing leftys, which Phil insists on doing.

I looked over some of my entries from last spring. And from last July, when we really picked it up. And all I can say is – it’s easy to win when your starters pitch like aces, your hitters hit with RISP and you don’t have to make any judgements. Because, in my opinion, Phil has damm poor judgement when it comes to pitching.

So I’m gonna try to find something good to say about my team.

- Chris Burke got an infield hit and scored a run. He needs to be playing every day, but it’s not gonna happen because Wilson and Biggio are getting paid more. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
- Jason Lane hit a HR.
- Craig Biggio hit an opposite field double for the first time in several years (I think) but he looks like he most definitely NEEDS a day off.
- Dave Borkowski pitched 2 scoreless innings and got himself out of a 2 out men on first and third jam. He’s lookin good.
- Russ Springer pitched another scoreless inning and looked good.

Notice how I’m not mentioning how Willy isn’t getting bunts down and he can’t seem to steal bases any more or how Lamb and Palmeiro can’t seem to hit at ALL or that Preston Wilson, as usual, struck out with runners on second and third and 2 outs.

4/29/06 – Pettitte vs Harang At Cincy

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Andy Pettitte, LHP vs Aaron Harang, RHP

Last night, we got small balled to a loss. It’s not that the hitters didn’t hit – we hit and we walked, just not with MOB and too many guys got left on base. Also, the relievers had better get sharper or poor Andy is gonna get Clemensed again.

Andy Pettitte, LHP
(all stats from thebaseballcube.com, yahoo.com and espn.com)
Andy this year: 1 -3 in 5 GS with 4 QS – 6 HR, 10 BB, 23 K over 31 IP – 4.35 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and a .295 BAA

vs. CIN: 2 – 1 in 5 GS – 0 HR, 9 BB, 30 K over 32 IP with a 1.97 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a .248 BAA

@ the GAB: 1 – 1 in 4 GS – 0 HR, 8 BB, 25 K over 25 IP with a 2.52 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and a .267 BAA
-
Aaron Harang, RHP
who was actually the “ace” of the Reds staff last year…

this year:3-1 in 5 GS with 1 CG SO -5 HR, 7 BB, 26 K over 31.2 IP with a 4.55 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and a .280 BAA

- last game was a CG SO against the Brewers

vs. HOU: 2 – 5 in 10 GS – 12 HR, 21 BB, 44 K over 57.1 IP with a 4.87 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and a .291 BAA

@ the GAB: 10 – 14 in 36 GS – 35 HR, 71 BB, 171 K over 218.2 IP with a 4.61 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and a .270 BAA

4/28/06: Sloppy Pitching + Slopping Hitting = Roy Loses To Reds

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Roy threw 122 pitches his previous outing – not sure why that was necessary, but I guess Phil thinks starters (except rookies) should throw until they faint. So Roy looked a little off it out there tonight. It’s not that there were all these well hit balls, it’s that Roy needed a lot of pitches to get outs and they scored runs on singles, SB, GO, sac-flies. 8 hits, 3 walks 2 SB, 3 ER over 6 IP. Just plain sloppy.

And Gallo and Challs let 2 runs score on bloops and seeing eye singles – if they hadn’t we would have had a good chance to come back on Lance’s homer in the 9th.

But fact is that Astros hitters hit the ball but not very well with MOB. 9 hits. 6 walks. 2 GIDP – and one by Willy Taveras, for heaven’s sake. 4 runs and 10 guys left on base. Just like last year.

The Reds don’t have great pitching or great hitting and it is just dumb to beat ourselves.

4/28/06 – Oswalt vs Brandon Claussen In Cincy

Friday, April 28th, 2006

We start 20 days straight without a break. We would have had an off day on May 8, but we have to make up the rained out game with San Francisco after Denver and before LA. It could be worse – it could have been between, say, Miami and NY games…

The Reds have jumped out to a very hot start – 15 – 7, their best start in years, and not just because they getting lucky against someone else’s closer, the way they did a few years ago.

It’s not so much the team pitching (besides Arroyo, who looks like Cy freaking Young) – look at the team stats:
5.30 ERA; 1.49 WHIP; .292 BAA

BUT
- the BIG obvious difference in the Reds vs opponents is that the Reds TAKE a lot of walks and only give up half as many. Wonder how this is gonna play with our low walks team…

4/27/06: Let’s Talk About Lidge

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

First of all, Robby Bonfire giving the Stros a lil respect (even if the major news sources putting the **** 7-7 yankees ahead of us) – so check it out…
OK

Now, lets get down to it – Brad Lidge blew yet another 1 run save last night.

He walks Oscar freaking Robles (we are not talking Mr. Walk Person here – 31 BB in 364 AB last year) on 4 straight pitches – and not even close to the strike zone, neither. Repko pinch runs and takes second as Furcal Ks. Repko goes to third on a WP. Kenny Lofton walks on 5 pitches.

Brad has now thrown 11 balls and 4 strikes and JD Drew is up. Brad throws a strike, then IBBs him – guess they decide to try to get Kent to GIDP instead of trying to get Drew to K, as they would have in the old days…

Bases loaded, one out Kent up. Swinging strike, foul, and we tied on a sac fly on a FB in the zone. And it’s Nomah with 2 out and 2 on. He FO, but it’s a little too late to do the right thing now. We’re talking 3 walks, a WP, a sac fly, no hits and 1 run. Brad threw 27 pitches, 16 strikes, and 2 of them were swung on out of the strike zone. I don’t know WHAT is wrong with Brad, but something is not right.

Here’s what he said to the media:
“”I feel healthy,” he said. “For me that’s the most important thing. If I feel fine and healthy by the end of the season our team will do well and I’m going to feel fine and my numbers will be there.” Confidence-wise, I’m as confident as I’ll ever be. As long as I’m not hurt, I know I can get guys out.
“You have to throw your fastball. I just need to get that in a better area. I need to throw my fastball and locate it better. After that I can analyze that. If I’m getting guys out doing that, then that’s what I need to do. If I’m still not getting guys out or I’m not pitching as well as I want to, then I need to work on other things.”

translation – just glad to be here, gotta take it 1 game at a time, baseball is a game of failure and sometimes you gotta tip your hat to the other guy…..

Looking at his game log this year, seems to me that when he faces over 4 batters/inning and gets less than 1.5 K/inning is when he gets himself in trouble.

And personally, I think this Uncle Albert ruined his life stuff is a pile of horse manure. What is ruining his game is not being able to locate fastballs, not hanging sliders. Maybe it IS time to use that split finger he was working on in ST.

And the guys better be getting plenty of rest because this is their last day off for 3 weeks and they are going to be on the road 5 days, home 2, then gone again 8 days before they have a nice 10 day homestand.

This year, Brad seemed fine for the first 7 appearances, then saves 5 and 6, he gave up hits, walks and ER – and threw a LOT fewer strikes. I hope this is not Steve Blass disease – don’t know why he can’t find the plate. He’s suddenly lost location and guys got the sense, mostly to wait him out. This is NOT good.

But I actually think he started having a LOT of trouble last year on the Sept 30th Cubs game. All the media people just LUUUVVVV the idea that ol Brad went to pieces after Uncle Albert took him downtown. They just can’t get enough of the ol Donnie Moore story I guess. John Kruk seems to be the only dissenter – he thinks that it just might could be that the NL Central hitters have seen him so much that they have him figgered out and he needs to change a bit (doesn’t explain the WS though, does it…)

I checked his game log last year. He had 41 saves, 4 BS (3 of them Roger’s games – the other was Andy’s). Of the 41 saves, he gave up runs in 3. In the other 38, he faced 3.3 batters, threw an average of 13 pitches, gave up 0.3 hits and got 1.4 K.

Now, look at his Sept 30 game and his post season game log – you can CLEARLY see the difference.

4/26/06: Wandy Don’t Need No Stinkin Cup To Pound The Dodgers

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Yeh, my boy Wandy did a job on the Dodgers tonight. He said the cup was hurting his groin (sorry, this site is G-rated) and he wasn’t gonna wear it. So all he did was ROOL – made exactly one bad pitch – hung a breaker to Repko with 1 on and Repko hit it into the Crawford Boxes. Wandy, he don’t even notice – comes right after Junior Cruz who reaches on error. Wandy don’t notice that neither, gets Drew, then Nomah out on easy FB with 1 pitch each. He cruises thru the 6th, then to my surprise, Phil sends him back out there for the 7th, but he gets a FO, FO, double, then another FO. 122 pitches, 78 strikes, 5 hits, 1 HR, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Yet another QS.

I think he sure nuff has learned how to pitch. I noticed that Brad Ausmus (not Munson) was catching Wandy today – we needed Brad’s bat in the lineup. Man how I like saying that. He went 2 fer 3 with an RBI and a run.

And props to Willy Taveras, who seems to have lost his fear of driving in runs – he got himself an RBI double and a RBI single.

Props to Lance, who by the way, CAN hit from the right – went 3 fer 4 with a HR off the RR tracks (Uncle Albert’s ball was lonely up there in orbit) and a walk, a run scored and 3 RBIs.

Props to Chris Burke, playing SS for the first time this year, went 3 fer 4 with 2 RBIs and a run (and an error, which fortunately didn’t cost.)

Jason Lane, who didn’t walk, for once (doesn’t that sound funny) went 2 fer 4 with 2 runs scored.

Biggio got himself an infield hit and he hustled all the way. 40 years old and he runs out an infield hit like it’s the game winning hit of the 7th game of the WS. And he hustles like heck from second on a double to right and barely beats the throw home. Smile. He plays that way every freaking game. Always has. And with Burke hitting like he is, Phil NEEDS to give Bidge a day off every few days.

Mo Ensberg seems to have caught Preston’s Sombrero Disease – he went 0 fer LA with 4 BB and 6 Ks – 4 of those Ks with MOB, too.

And speaking of Preston, let’s be real here – he isn’t hitting worth 2 cents, yesterday’s weak sac fly to limparm Kenny Lofton is not hardly an example of excellent hitting. He only had 2 Ks in his 4 outs, but he didn’t hit the ball well. In fact, I haven’t seen him have a well hit ball in over a week.

Zeke Astacio went out to mop up in the 9th with us leading 8-2. He gave up 3 singles without getting a single out. The few pitches he DID locate were down the middle, belt high. He’s lucky they were only singles. Dan Wheeler came in to finish the job and he did, but he allowed 2 singles which scored all 3 runners – he usually doesn’t let all 3 runners score. Astacio now has a nice 27.00 ERA to go with his 2 “wins” – and remember I said ALL of last year that Wandy was the better pitcher by FAR. And I was right.

4/26/06: Dave Borkowski Is A Winner

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

I forgot to say last night after 4 hrs and 48 minutes of nail biting-
Phil had already used up his 2 best relievers with the 7,8,9 th inning standard plan and when Brad blew the save, well, who was left?

First, Gallo, who scraped through an inning without giving up a run (he HAS been in a slump too.)

Then in comes this guy, Dave Borkowski, who has basically sucked through his 167.2 ML innings pitched when he was signed as an NRI this spring. He was called up when Trever Miller (thank GOD) went on the DL last week and hadn’t appeared in a ML game since last year.

Borkowski’s career ML stats are, to put it mildly, el sucko. We are talkin bout a 6.33 ERA, 1.60 WHIP
1.23 HR/ 9 IP
4.13 BB/ 9 IP
6.76 K/ 9 IP
And last night, he came in and threw 4 beautiful innings – 1 hit, no walks, 4 K.

I checked his gamelogs -
only time he ever did that well was a game against the Red Sox in 2004 where he gave up 3 singles over 7 IP with no walks and 7 K.

He shoulda been given the W last night, but we went 3 fer 15 with MOB (not real too good) and Zeke Astacio, who gave up a walk, SB, GO, 2 IBB then a GO got the W. He now has 2 elcheapo wins he didn’t earn. One of the reasons I HATE the W/L stat. Andy Pettitte, with 4 outstanding starts, has 1 W to show for it.

So anyhow, as far as I’m concerned, Borkowski was the real winner last night.

4/26/06 – Wandy Rodriguez vs Odalis Perez And The Dodgers

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Wandy Rodriguez, LHP vs Brad Penny, RHP

Wandy is doing so much bettern the “experts” thought. hehhehheh. He’s really stepped it up in his second year in the bigs and is lookin GOOD as our #3 starter.

this year: 3 – 0 in 4 GS with 3 QS – 1 HR, 7 BB, 15 K over 25 IP with a 2.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a .253 BAA

vs LA: 1 inning in relief – 1 hit, no BB, no K, no ER
-
Odalis Perez, LHP
Was signed as a kid by the Braves out of the DR – came up in 98, pitched for 2 years, needed Tommy John surgery in 2000, pitched a comeback year in 01, then was traded for Gary Sheffield in the 01 -02 offseason. He had a great year in 02 (the year the Dodgers signed Rickey Henderson halfway thru the year for offense), a lousy year in 03, a good year in 04 and an OK year last year – when he wasn’t hurt – he managed to pitch only 109 innings.

career: 54 – 51 in 148 GS and 19 in relief with 4 CG and 2 SO – 109 HR, 257 BB, 664 K over 927 IP with a 4.09 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a .257 BAA
this year:
did pretty well his last start against the Dbax – 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 ER over 6 IP

vs. HOU: 0 – 3 in 4 GS and 1 in relief – 3 HR, 20 BB, 18 K over 18.2 IP with a 13.02 ERA, 2.57 WHIP and a .346 BAA

@ the Box: 0 – 2 in 3 GS – 3 HR, 12 BB, 13 K over 12.2 IP with a 14.92 ERA, 2.61 WHIP and a .362 BAA