Hello from the library – computers here work. Because they have things like electricity. AND cable…
We weren’t able to move IN to the new house quiiiiiiite on time, although we had to move OUT of the OLD house. So between getting kidsss to skool and a whole lot of other things, we won’t be moving IN the new house until Monday, so I don’t think I’ll be writing any more until Tuesday.
Unfortunately, the Astros are sorrier than me. You know, this season is reminding me of the Angels the year after they won the WS – remember, the year everything went right, Mike Scoscia was a geeeenyuss, that things would ONLY get bettah. And they didn’t.
Jeff Angus, who writes the excellent blog, Management By Baseball (and who has just finished his book of the same title, which I promise to review VERY soon), talks about this situation in that book. I call it head-up-butt syndrome. He is a lot more, um, polite about it. But you know, that is the great thing about Jeff – he got a LOT of good common sense.
Head-up-butt syndrome is saying if something worked once, that is THE way things gonna be done and nevah change. Like the way, the Angels didn’t change anything in their roster, didn’t anticipate or plan for something just might could go wrong this year and there best be a backup plan.
There were glaring weaknesses in the Astros heading into this year. Yes, we HAD just won the NL pennant, BUT…
1 – Phil Garner is NOT a good manager. He is unable/unwilling to change any strategy that doesn’t work. He also got a serious problem with the kind of hitter who hits for power, walks and Ks a lot – hello Mo and Jason (he was like that with Milwaukee and Detroit, too…)
2 – Brad Lidge had had a spectacularly bad playoff/WS and it just MIGHT could have been possible that he just might continue to have problems and nobody thought we just might could need to think bout who would close if Brad kept on having problems…
3 – Insisting that Craig Biggio reaching 3000 hits is more important that team performance – he is OBVIOUSLY not an everyday player any more, even though his glove is still decent. (This whole he gotta get 3000 hits is ridiculous anyhow – I can NOT believe that Biggio’s getting into the Hall depends on his getting 70 more hits and he wouldn’t get in with his creds if he retired at the end of the year…)
4 – Not trading for a good hitting lefty OF bat before the season began and signing Preston Wilson instead (yes, I KNOW there was nothing worth signing on the FA market)
5 – Not signing/trading for a good righty for the bench
6 – Thinking that Eric Munson had suddenly learned how to hit after years of suckitude with the pathetic Tigers
7 – Waiting for Roger to come back and thinkin he could cure everything – and no, he don’t count on the payroll cuz he pays for himself so he can’t be blamed for not taking on salary
8 – no backup plan for unanticipated unpleasant surprises – such as – Andy Pettitte pitching lousy almost every start until August, Jason Lane and Mo Ensberg suddenly not being able to hit at ALL (and me, I wanna know WHY,) the defensive suckitude of the outfielders – remember that BOTH Lane and Wilson were at the very bottom of defensive statistics and you REALLY have to suck to be worse than Adam Dunn…
9 – playing Willy Tavares and THEN refusing to allow him to use the only two skills he really has – the ability to get on base with infield hits/bunts, and his running game. He is NOT going to be a power hitter and trying to force him to hit the ball much farther than the infield is pretty much silly, and yes I DO know he manages to reach the OF walls every now and then – big deal – so did Brett Butler – trying to make a guy who is good at one thing concentrate on trying to be good at something he WON’T be good at is just flat out stupid.
10 – complaining that Adam Everett, the best defensive player in the majors, hitting in the #8 spot in front of the PITCHER, isn’t hitting. DUH. He is NOT in the lineup for his bat – unless you’re gonna bat him second – Jimy Williams did SOME things right.
11 – not bunting in the obvious situations. Yes, there IS a GOOD time for a position player to bunt. If you have 3 banjo hitters in a row, well, expecting the 3 run homer is just stupid. Yes, Weaver is right that playing for 1 run gets you 1 run, but the other side of the coin is that one run is more than no runs and we’ve lost a WHOLE lot of 1 run games. And along with that comes the REALLY bad problem of trying to swing for fences with MOB. Yeah, homers score more runs. But GIDP and Ks and GO do not. And if a guy is in a slump, hitting a single is better than not hitting anything at all. Guys get all nervous when they go up there and think they HAFTA knock one out instead of just keeping the inning going.
12 – I know a whole lotta people don’t think that anything matters except offense, but they are wrong. Lamb at first, Wilson in left, Willy in center, Berkman in right – well, you gonna get pitchers with high ERAs, and the team is gonna give up a whole lotta runs. Don’t nobody believe me, but confidence is an important thing and if the pitcher isn’t confident that hit balls are gonna be turned into outs, they try to get Ks and if they are not Roger Clemens, that adds up to a lot of home runs.
13 – we had a LOT of young pitchers this year and they ALL failed. ALL of them. Gallo pitched himself back to AAA, Qualls didn’t repeat his good rookie year, Wandy started out decently then fell off a cliff, Taylor pitched (almost) 3 shutouts with his electric stuff, then came apart. Nieve got shoved into middle relief/mopup, and he’s bettern that. Sampson was given one start, did VERY well, then got sent back down, did VERY well as a starter and has now also been shoved back into middle relief for some unknown reason – I call that failure. Hirsh, one of the best pitchers in AAA this year, came up and basically threw BP, and I can’t just blame Munson, because he was just as bad with Ausmus. EVERY SINGLE good young pitcher is a failure?
SOMEthing is wrong here.
14 – Purpura. Problem is I don’t know how much Purpura has to say about anything. I know it was Phil who wanted all those ex-Tigres at spring training (especially Steve Sparks, who got an obscene amount of innings when it was obvious that he was not any good from the get-go) and who insisted on Munson. Of course, yall know that Gerry Hunsicker quit (OK, substitute any other word for quit you want) because he didn’t just blindly obey Unca Drayton. And yall best believe that Unca didn’t want another uppity guy, so he put in a yes-man. I give Purpura a pass for Baggy – all that mess was entirely Drayton’s fault. I also give Purpura a pass for Biggio and Preston – they were Drayton’s idea.
And let’s not count the Roger Clemens salary as a reason for anything – that’s not really got anything to do with the payroll or trades or anything else, although let’s be honest here – Brad Ausmus WAS resigned because Roger would not have come back if he wasn’t. And Drayton DOES want to win, but I’m not forgetting he ain’t a billionaire for nothin and Roger brings in the $$$. So the question is – what did Purpura actually WANT to do with trades, signings, and what would Drayton LET him do? I don’t know and neither does anyone else.
I get tired of all these guys callin in on KTRH acting like Purpura can do anything he wants. He can’t. Drayton real picky about the kind of PERSON he wants on the team – he didn’t have that slogan “Root For The Good Guys” for nothing. Preston Wilson might not have been a great ballplayer, but far as I know, he’s a good and decent MAN and that counts a LOT with Drayton. So forget trading for Brett Myers. And I would bet a whole lot that Drayton gonna refuse to ever deal with Scott Boras again after being lied to and humiliated in public like he was over the Jackal.
So anyhow, it’s almost September and with any luck we gonna call up a whole bunch of prospects and let em play and have some fun. And get Sampson and Nieve the heck outta the *$%^$! bullpen and put em back in the rotation where they belong.
Ida know bout next year. Let’s see how September goes.
Because it’s baseball and youneverknow…