Archive for August, 2006

Summary Of Problems With The 2006 Astros After 130 Games

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Hello from the library – computers here work. Because they have things like electricity. AND cable…

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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.

Sorry.

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…

What weaknesses?

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…

8/20/06: Movin On Out While Astros Play Brewers

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

Well, my friends and faithful reader (HI MOM!!!) – yeah, I KNOW I stole that line from John Brattain – anyhow, this is gonna be the last post for a few days or so because we’re moving. So we are talking packing, moving boxes, keeping kidsss and dogsss out of the way, and yall know what I’m talking about.

I had meant to comment on Backe’s game this morning, but…

Anyhow, I was very surprised that Phil pulled him after the first out in the 7th – he was cruising. I STILL haven’t heard why he was pulled. Yes, I know he went on the DL this afternoon, but he didn’t tell anyone he was hurting until AFTER the game. I do not agree with Phil’s moves with the pen – with a tie game, and we’ve had 2 18 inning games already, it’s stupid to use up a reliever pitching to only 1 batter. And Brad Lidge clearly wasn’t on – why send him back out for a second inning? Yes, he ended the first with 2 swinging Ks, but it took him 7 pitches for both batters. And Wheeler is as much to blame – after all, he gave up the hit. And Berkman, well, he isn’t fast out there…

And when I turned on the radio for the Saturday night game, I was absolutely FLOORED to hear that Wandy was starting. He’s done WORSE since he was sent to AAA. Why not start Sampson? What does the Organization have against him, for goodness sake??? Yall KNOW I LUUUUVVV Wandy, but… He looked just fantastic for 3 innings, but lost it completely in the 4th – walked 3 in a row, gave up a single, then another walk, a K, then another single – 4 ER, and that was all she wrote. Sigh. But we missed some scoring opportunities – particularly in the first, when Huff Kd with men on first and third, and in the 4th when he GIDP. Huff had a lousy night. Actually, I would say that Huff has been a bust.

My Mama just called and said that Luke Scott is the only hitter who did not once swing at a pitch out of the strike zone. She also said that the ump was calling the low inside pitch a strike for Bush and that over half of the Stros outs were on pitches swung on out of the strike zone. You don’t get hits when you swing at pitches out of the strike zone, almost ever.

Good for Jason Lane, getting a pinch hit and scoring a run.

And I hope I’m not gonna be hearing how Mo Ensberg is a poofter for not swinging at 4 straight balls. We should have had at LEAST 4 more walks (instead of outs) if guys hadn’t been wildly swinging at everything Bush threw up there.

Brad Lidge – sigh. That boy is messed UP. 3 walks and a single = another run. I just KNOW we gonna trade him for some piece of crap and he’s gonna go out there and be Mo Rivera somewhere else. Sigh.

Let’s also say that Chad Qualls didn’t have a real good night, neither.
Nieve didn’t look sharp, and he sprained his elbow, just like Brandon – guess he’s going on the DL, too.

Now I was listening to the game, not watching, and all I can say is I wish it was the ump and not the pitcher. Or the catcher.

And, um, Phil, if we HAD come back in the 9th, who were you planning to use to close? Nieve? oops Wheeler? oops Qualls? Lidge? oops Pettitte? Oswalt? – oh yeah, nevermind… lemme guess – Borkowski????

And, um, Phil, Munson is not really a better hitter than Ausmus, now, is he?

Oh yeah – and for all yall who were noticing that Preston Wilson hit a homer for his new team the Cards – I say – like yawn, he hit a homer in his first game for us, too. Today he went 0 fer with a (gasp of shock) GIDP. All I can say is I wish we had called up Luke Scott sooner

But I’m nice and calm, you see. I KNOW that we aren’t gonna miss Big Game Backe in October, because we aren’t gonna be playing in October. And so I’m gonna miss the upcoming away games with the second place Reds and last place Pirates (hey, I’m glad SOMEbody is worse than us.) I’m OK with that. I SHOULD be back watching Stros next week when we have the rematch with the Brew Crew at home, from our new home.

Can we at LEAST get a split here?

Roger Clemens, RHP vs Doug Davis, LHP

Doug Davis was beaten 1-0 by Roger Clemens 3 times in 04 – talk about clemensing!!!
But he got back last year. So let’s hope for a repeat of 04 – he hasn’t pitched as well as usual this year.

Roger this year: 4-4 in 11 GS: 5 HR, 15 BB, 55 K over 66.1 IP with a 2.71 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a .231 BAA
@ Miller Park: 0-1 in 2 GS: 2 HR,8 BB,14 K over 10.1 IP with a 4.35 ERA, 1.74WHIP and a .256 BAA
vs Milw: 15-11 in 32 GS: 11 CG, 3 SO: 12 HR, 61 BB, 246K over 234.2 IP – 2.22 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and a .214 BAA

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Doug Davis, LHP
this year: 9-6 in 26 GS: 16 HR, 79 BB, 115 K over 154 IP with a 4.97 ERA,1.58WHIP, .278 BAA
@ Miller Park: 18-13 in 53 GS with 1 CG: 31 HR, 151 BB, 301 K over 339.2 IP – 3.39 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .231 BAA
vs Hou: 3-8 in 14 GS: 9 HR, 43 BB, 76 K over 83 IP – 4.55 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and a .259BAA

8/19/06 – Some Astros Pitcher vs David Bush At Miller Park

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Well, here I am writing this Friday night and I am not sure if Roy can even pitch, because of his getting hit last start – last I heard, he couldn’t throw a curve. If he doesn’t go, then David Borkowski, the long man, will get the start, his first in over 2 years. Of course we can’t call up Sampson from AAA because of the waiver problem, and it’s too important to keep Nieve stuck in that all important middle relief mopup role, so Borkowski is gonna go. Maybe.

In case Borkowski pitches, here are his stats:
career: 6-14 in 21 GS, 59 in relief: 26 HR, 90 BB, 168 K over 219.1 IP – 5.66 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and a .274 BAA
this year: 1-1 in 29 relief appearances: 3 HR, 13 BB, 42 K over 51.2 IP – 3.48 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and a .232 BAA
vs the Crew – 3 scoreless innings, 1 hit, 1 BB, 5 K

——-

Roy Oswalt, RHP
this year: 9-8 in 24 GS, 1 in relief: 2 CG: 15 HR, 29 BB, 113 K over 164 IP – 3.24 EA, 1.24 WHIP and a .279 BAA
- this poor guy is like Roger Clemens last year – it’s all he can do to buy a W. I HOPE the Organization isn’t stupid enough to use this to try to hose him in arb…
@ Miller Park: 4-5 in 10 GS: 5 HR, 16 BB, 50 K over 56.2 IP with a 5.08 EA, 1.34 WHIP and a .275 BAA
vs Milw: 10-6 in 18 GS with 3 CG, 2 SO 9 HR, 26 BB, 108 K over 118.2 IP – 3.34 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and a .246 BAA

-

David Bush,
this year: 8-9 in 24 GS, 2 relief: 2 CG, 1 SO: 22 HR, 33 BB, 125 K over 155.1 IP – 4.69 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .259 BAA
@ Miller Park: 5-4 in 11 GS, 1 relief: 2 CG, 1 SO: 9 HR, 19 BB, 68 K over 79 IP – 3.65 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .208 BAA
- I am really not understanding why the Blue Jays gave up on this guy. (And on Gabe Gross, too. Oh, well, not my team…)
vs Hou: ND in his only game: 9 H, no BB, 1 HR, 5 K 3 ER over 6 IP

8/18/06: Stros Hit, Stros Win For Hirsh Against The Brew Crew

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Well, Jason Hirsh lasted 1.1 innings longer than his last outing. Although when Corey Hart, the leadoff man, homered on the second pitch of the game, all I could think was oh NOOOOOOO, here we go again. Then Graffanino hit the ball deep, but fortunately not quiiiiite deep enough – reminding me of that last 3 HR inning. Hirsh couldn’t find the plate, hitting Fielder, walking Gross, then Hall flew out to center (didn’t quiiiiite get it all cuz it sure looked to me like the ball was in the middle of the plate again) then Geoff Jenkins Kd. What on EARTH has happened to Jenkins? He’s sunk more than Jason and Mo combined, lemme tell ya. Well, I guess that he’s just at the end, because he can’t see the ball,and he can hardly run or field any more and it was only 2 years ago that he was the best glove in LF in the NL…

I was afraid of what would happen in the second inning, but seemed that Hirsh managed to get control of himself a little better – or else Hickey changed the pitch sequence (Munson was catching and Hickey calls pitches when Munson catches, like they do with Little Leaguers) and Hirsh got a nice 1,2,3 out inning.

In the 4th, Hirsh had, um, a little trouble finding the plate again – walked Gross on 4 pitches. Then Hall looks at strike 1 (I would have, too) then at ball 1. Then Hirsh tries to pick off Gross – you know, the guy with 4 career SB and 3 CS. UM, what the **** is he doing???? Like, dude NEEDS to find the strike zone first. Then another ball, then Hall swings through ball 3. Then a WP and Gross is on second. Then Hall pops up ball 4 to Lamb. You talk about luck – Hall usually doesn’t swing at pitches out of the strike zone like that. Then Jenkins is up, fouls off the first 2, then swings through strike 3. Maybe I’m wrong, but Jenkins just acts like he stopped caring a long time ago whether he hits the ball or not – I mean, he always struck out a lot, but he didn’t look like that… Then Bell is up, and Gross goes to third on a 2-2 WP. Then he singled juuuusssst past a diving Huff and Gross scored. Fact is, Hirsh was darn lucky to get out of that inning with only 1 run and he was helped by the Crew insisting on getting their own selves out.

OK yall.

Let’s put it like this – would Ausmus have gotten those WP? Would Ausmus have told Hirsh to try to pick off Gross? Yall go look at the game tape. Too many people complain because Ausmus is no great hitter. But somehow, no one thinks that what a catcher does with a glove, or how he calls a game is worth anything and that any old guy can catch a ball a pitcher throws. And take a look at how Ausmus frames pitches to get a strike call, then watch Munson. Then maybe yall can see, bat or no bat, why Ausmus is so valuable, and Munson is not (yes I would take this back if Munson hit like Uncle Albert…)

Hirsh pulled himself together for a 1,2,3 5th inning, but lost control in the 6th. You see, I think that maybe the Brewers hitting coach just might could have said a few things to the hitters like this – look guys, this guy doesn’t have good command. He’s gonna go out there and throw a first pitch strike IF he can. So hit the first pitch. And if I catch one of you swinging at stuff outta the strike zone again, I’m gonna eat your children for dinner.

So Prince Fielder doubles on the first pitch. Hart swings at strike 1, but doesn’t get enough of it. He fouls off a few, takes a mighty swing, just gets under it and pops it up. Then Hall is up. THIS time, he doesn’t swing at balls, and he walks. Jenkins swings at strike 1 like a good boy, but misses. But he doesn’t swing at any balls this time (he loves his kids) and he walks, too. Bases loaded.

So Phil pulls Hirsh. Good call. (See, I don’t just say Phil does everything wrong…) If he can’t get them out and they won’t get their own selves out, it’s time to come out. Bases loaded and in comes Chad Qualls. Chad can’t find the strike zone neither and he walks Bell on 4 straight pitches, but then he gets Miller to GIDP. But no GS this time…

Hirsh’s line – 3 hits, 5 BB, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 4 K, 3 ER in 5.1 IP – 87 pitches, 55 K
I’ve watched Hirsh pitch 9.1 innings, now. I’m not very impressed. His stuff doesn’t look that good, but maybe it’s just because he has someone who isn’t a real catcher catching him, and he’s used to throwing to Quintero, who is a great defensive catcher. (Taylor, when he was on, had absolutely electric stuff, and I hope he gets straightened out in AAA.) But I don’t think he’s horrible or hopeless, like I thought with Zeke Astacio last year. I think Sampson has much better control.

But almost no one comes right to the bigs and pitches like Liriano/Verlander. And even fewer keep it up the next year (can you say “Felix Hernandez???” or “Zach Duke”???!!!) Even Roy didn’t look great his first few starts. Really. So this team ain’t going somewheres, let the boy pitch a few more starts, see what he can do.

And, for some unknown reason, the Stros hitters decided that maybe they should hit with MOB. That is generally a pretty good idea cuz if you hit with MOB, you have a better chance of scoring some runs, and you also have a better chance of winning when you score some runs. (who, me, being sarcastic??? nahhhh)

Luke Scott, as usual, hit. And Lance, who was 0 fer Cubs, he hit a nice 2 run homer. Aubrey Huff, who cost us Benny Zobrist, and who hasn’t done much since coming here, decided he really should hit, too. Good job Phil, by the way, chewing out the butt of your best hitter for not running out dropped strike 3 when he thought it had been caught. Important not to let a chance to criticize pass you by.

Mo Ensberg, who is out of the lineup again, hit a pinch hit infield single. Nice hustle there boy…
Now, if we can just manage to end up the year at .500…..

Brandon Backe, RHP vs Tomo Ohka, RHP
(all stats from thebaseballcube.com, yahoo.com and espn.com)
this year: 3-2 in 7 GS: 3 HR, 16 BB,17 K over 36.2 IP with a 3.93 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and a .275 BAA
- had a really lousy outing last time, which had followed 2 good ones, so let’s hope that this one is good.
@ Miller Park: 2 H, 2 ER in 1 inning in relief
vs Milw: 2-0 in 1 GS and 3 in relief – 1 HR, 1 BB, 10 K over 11.1 IP with a 2.38 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and a .209 BAA

-

Tomo Ohka, RHP
career: 47-56 in 156 GS and 12 in relief with 5 CG and 1 SO: 107 HR, 252 BB, 526 K over 913 IP – 3.97 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and a .281 BAA
this year: 3-3 in 12 GS: 7 HR, 26 BB, 38 K over 67 IP – 4.30 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and a .268 BAA
@ Miller Park: 3-5 in 17 GS, 1 in relief: 17 HR, 30 BB, 55 K over 97.1 IP – 4.90 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, .301BAA
vs Hou: 1-3 in 5 GS: 3 HR, 5 BB, 12 K over 23.1 IP with a 5.01 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and a .308 BAA

8/17/08: It Is OVAH Cuz It’s Ovah: Andy Pettitte Loses A 4 Hit CG To The Cubs

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Well,
it’s been 2 long years, but Michael Barrett and the Cubbies did to us what we did to them 2 years ago – put the last nail in the coffin of playoff hopes.

Andy Pettitte got Clemensed – a 4 hit CG and he loses.

When you get swept by the Cubs, when you leave guys on base in every single freaking inning, when you can’t manage moren 5 hits against a mediocre AAA pitcher, you is DONE.
It’s time to start thinking about next year, and just keeping loose because, face it, we’re not going anywhere and it would be nice to end up at .500, but I am not holding my breath, neither.

So, what to do?
for the next 2 weeks
1 – don’t stress Roy, let him sit out the next few games until his hand heals up.
2 – let Nieve take his starts. I do NOT understand why the poor guy has been demoted to middle relief, anyway – he’s not THAT bad. He has 4 decent pitches.
3 – make Dan Wheeler the closer and let Brad Lidge pitch middle relief or mopup – his mind is fer SHER messed.
4 – do not play Lance in right – let him stay at first and let his leg heal properly.
5 – might as well let Mo work out his problems at third. He has a better glove than either Huff or Lamb (shudder) and since I would bet he’s gonna be traded anyhow as long as Phil stays, might as well let him work on his swing, look good and go be a star somewhere else.
6 – cmon, get Willy back on the bench and put Burke back out there. Burke is bettern Willy in every way.
7 – let Biggio play in every game, get as many hits this year as he can. McLane is gonna keep playing him until he gets to 3000, and since we aren’t gonna win anything this year anyhow, let him get hits so he won’t have to play next year much, because Burke should be the full time second baseman.
8 – turn Jason Lane into the second LOOGY that Phil has been craving.
9 – keep playing Adam. Bat him second after Burke, who should lead off. Then Berkman, then Scott, then whoever.
10 – Roy, Roger and Andy aren’t gonna agree to pitch to Munson – don’t even go there. Besides, Munson sucks.

After Aug 1, send Jason Lane back down to AAA to get his stroke back, because he won’t see much plate time up here. And you KNOW Phil wants him traded.

Call up House for a RH bat off the bench who is good.

Don’t call up Sampson unless you’re gonna stick him in the rotation. Let’s not waste yet ANOTHER starter in middle relief.

Call up Barzilla for Phil’s LOOGY.

Have fun.

Plan surfing vacations…

And this weekend, it’s Brew Crew Time. The Crew hasn’t done near as well as I expected them to this year. Their closer, Derrrek Turnbow, who was so good last year, um, went all Brad Lidge on them. Their starting pitching hasn’t been good enough and every pitcher they’ve called up from triple A has sucked (that’s because Yost didn’t have enough sense to start them against us – grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) and they’ve played a lot of rooks who are getting used to the majors – they’ll get better next year.

In case yall hadn’t noticed, their new closer is Francisco Cordero – yep, the Rangers’ old closer, who got in Buck Showalter’s permanent doghouse by sucking for 6 weeks straight. The guy still has a zero, that is ZERO for an ERA after 10 IP – 5 hits, 8 BB. And, by the way, he had NINE BS and 2 L for Texas – one team’s junk is another team’s treasure.

Jason Hirsh, RHP vs Ben Sheets, RHP

this year: well, in his last (only) start, he lasted 4 innings, and gave up 4 ER on a single and 3 homers. Hope the boy has learned not to throw the ball down the middle…
has never faced the Brewers

-

Ben Sheets, RHP
who was hurt most of last year and most of this year, too
- career: 58-66 in 157 GS- 11 CG, 1 SO: 120HR, 222 BB, 878 K over 1025.2 IP – 3.88 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .259 BAA
- this year: 3-4 in 8 GS: 3 HR, 4 BB, 52 K over 43.1 IP with a 4.98 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a .281 BAA
@ Miller Park: 30-33 in 82 GS with 5 CG: 60 HR, 108 BB, 478 K over 549.1 IP – 3.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .243 BAA
vs Hou: 9-7 in 18 GS with 3 CG: 16 HR, 22 BB, 109 K over 116.1 IP – 3.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a .248 BAA

8/16/06: Hungover – What Clemens And Lidge’s Pitches Did Over The Plate

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

As in one too many baseballs hung over the plate last night.
Roger didn’t look like Roger – 7H, 2 homers, 5 ER in 5 IP.
For once, the guys managed to come back and Brad Lidge managed to cough it up.
Again.

But he was not the only goat – most of the hitters didn’t hit – let’s take a look:
Willy was 1 fer 9 (yeah, I know all about the hit streak – and it has raised his average 7 points)
Biggio was o fer 4
Lance was 0 fer 6
Jason Lane was 0 fer 5
Lamb was 1 fer 4

Who DID hit?
Luke Scott, natch – went 3 fer 5 with a BB (and this Organization hates him WHY????)
Aubrey Huff – went 3 fer 5
Adam Everett went 1 fer 7, but it was a 2 RBI triple that gave us the go ahead run – for a few innings
Brad Ausmus went 2 fer 6 with 2 walks
Chris Burke went 3 fer 4

The bullpen did fine until Dave Borkowski coughed it up in his 6th inning. Hey – that’s an entire start. And it was darn good, too – 4 hits, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 ER – a quality start, too. AND only 70 pitches for 6 innings.

Speaking of starting -
Fernando Nieve is still in the pen
Chris Sampson has been put in the pen at AAA, in spite of a 2.73 ERA as a starter
What IS this? Starters are valuable. Middle relievers are a dime a dozen.
And I guess Brad Lidge is gonna be back in middle relief or mop up for the rest of the year, now.

Rich Hill, today’s starting pitcher, pitched the last 2 innings. The game ended after midnight – I didn’t stay up…

But we’ll see if 6 or so hours of sleep will make Hill a little more hittable.
I hope so.
Because let’s be real here – a mid August sweep by the Cubs = The Last Nail In The Coffin.

Andy Pettitte, LHP vs Rich Hill, LHP

Good Andy better show up today…
this year: 11-12 in 26 GS, 1 in relief: 1 SO: 22 HR, 54 BB, 136 K over 159.1 IP – 4.86 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, .300 BAA
vs Chi: 2-3 in 9 GS: 8 HR, 18 BB, 44 K over 48.2 IP with a 3.88 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and a .242 BAA

-

Rich Hill, LHP – age 26
4th rounder by the Cubs in 2002
went from lo A to AAA in 2 years, but has really struggled in the majors. I seriously wonder if it has anything to do with his high walk rate – he lowered it this last year, but here are his numbers:
19-19 in 63 GS and 18 in relief with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP
7.02 hits/9
0.87 HR/ 9
4.84 BB/ 9 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (he’d lowered it to 2/9 IP last year at AAA)
12.59 K/ 9

Of course, Dusty usually has younguns on a VERY short leash, and this guy has exactly ZERO to prove int he minors, so with Greg Maddux traded to the Dodgers and Kerry Wood hurt as usual, they HAD to have a 5th man and Glendon Rusch is on the DL, so what else could they do???

Rich Hill has had a few starts, and been used as a LOOGY these past 2 years.
career: 2-7 in 12 GS, 6 in relief: 12 HR, 43 BB, 50 K over 66 IP – 7.91 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and a .280 BAA
this year: 2-5 in 8 GS: 9 HR, 26 BB, 29 K over 42.1 IP – 7.23 ERA, 1.70WHIP and a .291 BAA

- note that he has a problem with not just walks, but hits and homers, too. AND his K rate is about half his minor league rate. I wonder if guys take pitches here that they swing at there…
vs Astros lineup: Palmeiro is 0 fer 1

8/15/06 – Clemens vs Juan Mateo At Wrigley

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

Roy got clemensed. 2 ER on a single and a homer, no walks, 4 K – and he left after 82 pitches with a ?hurt? hand? after the 7th. Bruised by Cedeno’s comebacker? If he’s hurt, we might as well pack it in right now…

We’re leaving guys on base too many times again. Duh. Zambrano didn’t look very ace like – gave up more walks, 7, than hits,4, but Mo Kd with bases loaded and Ausmus is picking up where Preston left off and hit into TWO DPs. I’d rather see him sac bunt at this point. And isn’t it time to put Luke behind Lance instead of Huff, who isn’t hitting?

Yes, I know Willy has a 16 game hitting streak, but he’s not even hitting 300 during the streak – he’s raised his BA from .260 to .273 – raised his OBP from .309 to .325 – not impressed. I am STILL not understanding why Burke was suddenly pulled from the lineup – with his .837 OPS for Willy, with his .662 OPS. I just do NOT understand why so many people are so high on Willy. Tonight, he GO with men on second and third to end an inning, and he GIDP to end the game. AND he’s too interested in throwing out people at home, not in getting balls he has to run forward for.

For the life of me I don’t understand why so many baseball fans really truly think that defense doesn’t matter, that only hitting matters. I keep reading about how people want Mike Lamb to be the starting 3B. I wonder whether the pitchers would pick him or Mo, if they had a choice. Remembering that Mike is a really really really bad fielder, even at first, where he’s a LOT bettern third…

Mo and Jason Lane need to hire one of those sports psychologists who can hypnotize them into believeing that when they’re facing live pitching, it’s really BP. Palmeiro hasn’t been hitting worth *(%@$$!@! in months – bout time to retire him as a PH too…

And we’re in a 3 game losing streak after the 4 game winning streak.
Time to Get Some Runs For Roger…

Roger Clemens, RHP vs Juan Mateo, RHP
Roger was supposed to face Mark Prior, but – believe it or not, he’s on the DL. Again. Hmmmmmmmm – might could he be hurt???? I am shocked, SHOCKED to find out the Cubs just might could have mismanaged his shoulder/arm/leg/other body parts for years….

this year: 4-4 in 10 GS (7 QS) – 3 HR, 14 BB, 50 K over 60.1 IP – 2.24 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and a .223 BAA
vs Chi: 5-3 in 10 GS: 4 HR, 20 BB, 52 K over 62.1 IP with a 2.89 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and a .231 BAA

-

Juan Mateo, RHP
signed by the Cubs from the DR in 2001
age 23 – his rookie year. He spent the year at AA and was just brought up when Prior went on the DL.
7-4 in 17 GS with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
this year: 1-0 in 1 GS, 1 in relief: 8 hits, 0 HR, 5 BB, 2 K, 5 R, 2 ER in 7 IP

We’ve never seen him before – and we SHOULD eat a AA pitcher alive…
but it IS baseball and youneverknow…

8/14/06- Oswalt vs Carlos Zambrano

Monday, August 14th, 2006

And here come the Cubs.
In spite of everything, they’ve somehow managed to have a winning record since the ASB. We played VERY badly against them our last series, and we need to start winning again. Backe didn’t have, um, good stuff last night, and too many guys were left on. And Amad Everett had 2 calls that went against him

But there can’t be excuses – and the guys can’t be going – oh NOOOO, not Zambrano again…

Roy Oswalt, RHP vs Carlos Zambrano, RHP

Roy hasn’t exactly been a Cub-killer ths year, and Michael Barrett, his old, um, enemy, has been eating him for lunch this year.
this year: 9-7 in 23 GS, 1 in relief with 2 CG 14 HR, 29 BB, 109 K over 157 IP – 3.27 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .280 BAA
vs Chi: 10-8 in 20 GS, 1 in relief with 1 CG: 17 HR, 22 BB, 107 K over 126.2 IP – 3.84 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .284 BAA

-

Carlos Zambrano, RHP
do I gotta keep talkin bout how this guy kills us, and what a good hitter he is?????

- this year: 12-5 in 25 GS: 18 HR, 89 BB, 162 K over 162.2 IP – 3.54 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and a .206 BAA
@ the Box: 5-1 in 8 GS, 2 in relief: 4 HR, 27 BB, 48 K over 53 IP – 3.06 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a .206 BAA
vs Hou: 7-5 in 16 GS, 2 in relief with 1 SO: 8 HR, 49 BB, 102 K over 111 IP – 2.76 ERA, 1.14 WHIP , .195 BAA

8/13/06: Backe vs Woody Williams Part 4

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Brandon Backe, RHP vs Woody Williams, RHP

yet ANOTHER re-match. Brandon won the last one – you GO boy!!!
this year: 3-1 in 6 GS: 3 HR, 14 BB, 14 K over 31.2 IP with a 3.69 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and a .252 BAA
vs SD: 2-0 in 2 GS: n0 HR, 6 BB, 5 K over 13.1 IP with a 1.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a .220 BAA

-

Woody Williams, RHP
this year: 4-4 in 14 GS, 1 in relief: 9HR, 23 BB, 48 K over 83.1 IP with a 3.89 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and a .274 BAA
@ the Box: 8-3 in 12 GS with 1 CG: 11 HR, 23 BB, 44 K over 68.1 IP with a 4.61 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and a .280 BAA
vs Hou: 10-6 in 20 GS with 1 CG: 16 HR, 42 BB, 79 K over 119 IP – 4.08 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and a .268 BAA

8/12/06: Hirsh Is Homered In His First ML Game

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

Welcome to the Bigs, kid.
ML hitters are a little bettern AAA hitters, hunh?

Here’s how it went:
1st inning: 15 pitches 7 balls, 8 strikes, 4 batters faced, no walks, no K, 1 hit
3-2 GO
1-1 PO
2-0 single
1-1 FC GO

2nd inning: 26 pitches – 10 balls, 16 strikes, 4 batters faced, 1 walk, 2 K, no hits
2-2 swinging K
3-5 walk (yeah, 3 fouls)
1-4 swinging K
3-2 FO
- and here we just finished the first time through the lineup

3rd inning: 30 pitches, 11 balls, 19 K, 6 batters faced, 1 walk, 1 K, 2 singles
0-2 single (by the pitcher!!!)
0-0 bunt single
2-2 pop out
3-2 walk (bases now loaded)
3-5 LO
2-3 swinging K
- he pitched out of trouble with the bases loaded twice – and he was really helped by Mo Ensberg’s NICE grab of that liner…

4th inning = trouble this time. 16 pitches, 5 balls, 11 K, 7 batters faced, no walks, 1 K, 4 hits, 3 HR, 4 ER
0-0 HR
0-0 FO deep center
0-0 HR (you noticing a pattern here??? – like the ball over tha plate???)
0-1 FO to mid- CF
1-0 single to right
3-1 HR (after like 4 or 5 pick off attempts)
1-3 swinging K
total – 7 hits, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 HR, 4 ER – 87 pitches, 54 strikes.

Phil did the right thing pulling him after 4 innings. Hirsh looked dazed and confused. Enough was enough – no sense going out there and getting kilt again. They should have let him finish his last start at AAA, perhaps.

As you can tell, he didn’t have good command of his pitches or the strike zone from the beginning, and when he decided to get first pitch strikes in the 4th, well, bad stuff happened. It wasn’t an accident that there were 2 FO to center…
We’ll hafta see how he pulls himself together next start.

Hats off to Lance for making sure we didn’t get shut out with his opposite field HR off Peavy – his 32nd of the year. AND RBI #100.

As yall know, it was Preston Wilson who was designated for assignment. Good choice. He was stunned – after all, he said, he has 55 RBIs. But he IS the worst LF in the NL with the glove, and was – 10 RCAA. And in fact, he is (-) 2.8 VORP which means he is 2.8 UNDER a replacement player (meaning Mendoza line type person, not EVEN league average.) It’s not he’s a bad guy, it’s he’s a lousy baseball player.

- smile

Now watch him get picked up by Yankees/Red Sox/Mets/White Sox/Tigers/Dodgers and beat us in the playoffs…..

- bigger smile

I heard that the Organization wanted to send Jason Lane back down, but he didn’t clear waivers. hehhehheh

See, there’s PLENTY of other clubs who know value when they see it – he’s having a down year (remember the year Konerko batted .202???!!! and he’ll bounce back – HR last game, double this game….) Truth is, since Phil is not going to play him, they SHOULD have left him in AAA to get his swing back instead of calling him back up to rot on the bench. OR traded him and gotten something of value instead of just a hot butt on the bench.