Archive for April, 2007

4/29/07: Carlos Lee Is Not Pulling, I Mean Hitting His Weight

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

I am getting tired of using titles like “Starting Pitcher Gets No Run Support For His Quality Start” and The Designated Saviour didn’t come through with bases loaded one out when it was Time To Shine, so it’s not about him neither.

Nope.

Now that we have disposed of Designated Goat Chris Burke, who, by the way, hit his 9th double of the year as a pinch hitter, it is time right now to take a good long look at the Man Who Should Be Called The Goat, 17 million dollar a year man, Carlos Lee.

He was signed as an “RBI man” a good contact hitter who wouldn’t walk or strikeout (not sure which one is worse in the eyes of the Astros fans) and solve the Astros 4 year problem of leaving too many men on base. Well, I sure am hearing all about the 22 RBIs – but you are NOW hearing that he should have a LOT more and that he hasn’t done squat since the team left on the second leg of its non-stop road trip on the 17th and he drove in 16 of his 22 runs before then.

Let’s look at what he’s done since April 18th:
4/18 – o fer 2 with 2 walks, an RBI sac fly and none left on
4/19 – 0 fer 5 with 2 left on
4/20 – 1 fer 4 with 2 left on
4/21 – 1 fer 5 with 2 RBIs and 6 left on and a GIDP
4/22 – 0 fer 3 with a walk and 1 left on
4/23 – 1 fer 4 with 1 left on
4/24 – 0 fer 3 with 1 left on
4/25 – 2 fer 6 with a sac fly RBI and 3 left on
4/26 – o fer 4 with 8 left on and a GIDP
4/27 – 1 fer 4 with a RBI single and 1 left on
4/28 – 1 fer 4 with 3 left on and a GIDP
4/29 – 1 fer 5 with 5 left on and a GIDP

That, my friends, is batting .172 – 7 singles and a double, 6 RBIs – and 2 of those with sac-flies. Which is NOT acceptable from a guy in the #4 spot, ESPECIALLY with his salary. That is 4 GIDPs – and it would have been 5 if Lance hadn’t gotten himself picked off first the other day – more than Ausmus, Burke and Everett combined.

And it’s not that I’m exactly letting Lance off the hook, neither, as all yall know.
But I just KNOW how I’m gonna be reading/hearing that now that Burke is gone, it’s Ensberg and Lane’s fault – and most assuredly Brad Lidge’s fault, too, cuz he didn’t volunteer to get traded for David Ortiz. Or was it Manny? I forget.

The guys have a day off tomorrow to rest and get ready to start a new month which I certainly hope is not near as bad as this one has been.

And before I forget – thank you, Mike Lamb, for making sure we didn’t get shut out.

And last, please, let’s all remember Josh Hancock’s family, friends and teammates in our thoughts and prayers.

4/29/07: Chris Sampson Defeats Dave Bush

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Husband was supposed to take me to the ballgame tonight, but by 4, I could tell he was gonna try to get out of it, which was actually fine with me because I KNEW I could just take Lil Miss and he’d get stuck with 3 furious screaming crying little boys wanting to know why they can’t go tooooooooooo.

So men, you see what happens when you try to get out of a date with your wife????!!!!

So it was indeed grrrrls night out – the baseball stadium has just gotta be one of the best possible places to go. Sometimes I really envy the real reporters – they get PAID to go there and watch baseball games. I know what Annie Savoy means by the Church of Baseball.

And in fact, I got to see something at the baseball game I had never before seen at the Box – actual genuine Brewers fans. I asked, and they said they had flown down from Milwaukee for the weekend. My goodness – just like Cubs fans, only with good manners (sorry – waaaay too many of them who come to the Box are, um, not uh, um, well, if their mamas ever taught them manners, they left them back home in Chicago. Yeh, let’s put it that way) Amazing what getting rid of Bud Selig, getting a good owner and a smart GM will do for a ball club. That and a whole lot of GOOD top draft picks. (Does anyone besides me think that Tom Hicks was an IDIOT to throw away Doug Melvin for John Hart?)

And of course we got there in time to listen to the lineup announcement – Hunter Pence got a big hand, but Brandon Backe, who was catching all of the kazillion first pitches, got a bigger hand. And of course, there were a few grrrls with a sign saying – Brad, You Can Catch Me ANY Time. There really IS somethin bout that boy…

Anyhow, about the game – Phil THIS time had the sense to leave Adam Everett at short where he belongs because Sampson gives up ground balls pretty much exclusively to short and up the middle and Loretta is worse than useless at short. Now Roy, on the other hand, gives up a lot of ground balls to third as well as short, so he NEEDS Mo Ensberg there as well as Adam at short.
I was actually surprised to see Loretta at third – I thought it would be Mike Lamb, but maybe Phil is coming to his senses about the lefty/righty thingy and realizing that it is not necessary to run platoons with everyone. Fortunately, only one ball was hit to third and it was an easy grounder, which Loretta didn’t screw up. He also handled an easy popup.

Sampson was absolutely marvelous, stupendous, outstanding, Roy-like. He can’t throw as fast, of course, and he’s not quiiiiite as quick to the plate, but that boy is GOOOOOD. I was a bit surprised to see Phil pull him in the 7th after only 84 pitches, but then again, we WERE leading 10-1 and it IS a long season.

He gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, 1 ER, NO homers, 8 K over 6.1 IP. IF you give him a shortstop who can field, he’s gonna be a REAL winner. He was the guy I thought he was gonna be when he 3 hit and shut out the Cubs last year. I really think he’s a LOT better than Jennings.

Brad Lidge had his second day in a row of excellence. Some despicable *&(%&%@! were booing him as he came in to relieve Chris in the 7th, but fortunately, the cheers drowned out the boos. And let me tell you, the FB was snapping at 95-97 AND he was locating it VERY well. And let me tell you, he was throwing the sliders for strikes and the guys were swinging and missing at BOTH the fastball AND the slider.

He gave up 2 hits, a piddly little slow rolling infield single to Rickie Weeks who runs like lightning and one of those annoying popup bloops down the RF line that almost went foul. But other than that, he was nails – a groundout to first, a can of corn to center and 3 swinging strikeouts. And the cheers were pretty awesome when he struck out the last guy – it’s too bad so many people left after the 6th inning and missed it.

(Lil Miss wanted to know why everybody was leaving after the 6th. Because they have seen enough and figure that if we are ahead by 9 runs, the game is as good as over I said. But it ISN’T over, she sez. It’s not over until it IS over. My own lil Yogi Barrette…)

Back to Lidge – I am telling all yall he looked like BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDD again. Oh I hope he really is, because I want all those sneering *($%! who have been saying he’s cooked, mental, finished, should have been traded/released/sent down/waived to eat their words. ESPECIALLY all the “fans” who have been booing him, saying he’s a drag on the team.

And Trever Miller was sent in to face – and NO, I am not kidding – rightys. Maybe Phil IS getting ready to leave the LOOGY only stuff for when he really DOES need a LOOGY or when he really DOES need a platoon, which is NOT every single time no exceptions. He was a little shaky, giving up a walk on 4 straight pitches and a single, but he got his 3 outs without giving up any runs.

And now, the rest of the story…
Lance must been feeling pretty bad about costing Chris Burke his job, and possibly his career, because he seemed to have taken it upon his “leader” self to change his hitting, fielding and running ways. He seemed a LOT more purposeful and determined out there today. He struck out in the first inning, but took what he had seen about Bush and how the ump was calling balls and strikes and the very next at bat, firmly hit a changeup for a solid single to center. Of course, then Carlos grounded into one of his many double plays (one of the problems with a contact hitter, by the way)

In the 5th, Lance came up with bases loaded, two out. And instead of grounding out to second as he has already done so many times this year, he hit a pea down the first base line. Now, here’s where it gets to be fun – Sampson and Biggio scored easily and Mansolino held up the stop sign for Loretta at third. Lance had overrun the bag a bit, and Hart, the RF, threw the ball into the second baseman and Lance was caught in a rundown. He managed to avoid the tag, until Loretta, suddenly coming to his senses and realizing that the infielders had forgotten ALL about the runner on third, sprinted for home without drawing a throw and then Lance let the fielders tag him out.

A three RBI single. How about THAT?
I had FUN explaining all that to Lil Miss, who is just beginning to get the basics down.
It’s making up a little for him dogging it down to first yesterday and overrunning first.

Most of the damage was done by the bottom of the lineup – Adam Everett, Brad Ausmus, Chris Sampson who scored TWO runs and hit a single up the middle thru an infield expecting a sac-bunt and Biggio, who hit an RBI sac fly to left, walked, hit a 2 RBI triple (this was a REAL one, not a single and a 2 base error like the one the other day) scored 2 runs and drove in 3. Carlos Lee didn’t do squat. Luke Scott walked and scored a run. Loretta went 2 fer 4, drove in 2 and scored a run.

And of course all yall want to know how Hunter Pence did. Well, his feat of the night was his 12 pitch strikeout in the second inning. Bush, wisely figuring that a AA guy would hit fastballs and probably not hit ML breaking stuff, threw him 9 of 12 different breakers, but K’d him on a fastball. Fouling off 9 pitches? Now THAT is impressive for a real major leaguer and is AWESOME for a guy who had exactly 3 weeks of AAA in his baseball career.

And NO Milo, he did NOT get a standing O for that. I was freaking THERE, OK? He got a hand, not a standing O. Pence also was hit by a pitch and singled on a fastball thrown by the tiring Bush.

He DOES run fast. He’s not as fast as Willy, or even Everett or Burke, but he has surprising speed for such a large person. He ran back to catch a fly ball on the warning track (and yes, it was a FB that even Burke would have caught – I’ve seen him do it) and I was VERY pleased to see that unlike Willy, he took a direct route to the ball. And NO, Milo, it was most definitely NOT a spectacular play, not by a LONG shot. It was just a long fly ball that 99% of ordinary center fielders catch.

So far, just fine, but he only had 3 plays and I want to see how he does with both the tricky corner in left near the bullpens, with the corners near the hill, and with the open area near the RF bullpen. I ALSO want to see if he can come forward to catch a ball and not let it drop in front of him so he can catch it on the bounce – Burke had his faults fer SHER, but that wasn’t one of them. I ALSO want to see if he can hit the cutoff man, unlike Willy.

I’m willing to give the guy the same 30 AB the rest of the Astros fans gave Chris Burke. Hey, that’s generous – most of them didn’t even want him on the freaking TEAM and didn’t want to give him even ONE AB. Either he looks like Beltran out there by then, or I’ll be screaming that he’s had his chance and needs to be sent back down where he belongs. Same thing the FIRST time he misplays a ball. Fair is fair.

And the first time he doesn’t hit with men on base AND we happen to lose, I’m gonna blame him for losing, just as everyone felt it was right to do to Chris Burke. Seeing as how it was all his fault. You take him off the roster and we only leave 3 guys on base AND we win. Pence most certainly didn’t win this game for the Astros, that’s fer sher. So until he starts doing that, I’m not gonna annoint him The Saviour.

And the boy he’s gonna get his chance to show defensive skills tomorrow fer SHER because Woody Williams is an extreme fly ball pitcher and there will be a LOT of balls hit out there.
Woody has been good vs Milwaukee – 12-5 in 17 GS and 9 in relief: 10 HR, 37 BB, 97 K over 129.2 IP: 2.98 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and a .238 BAA.

He faces Claudio Vargas, RHP who came up with Montreal in 03 and was picked up by the D-Backs when he was released mid-05. He signed a FA contract with Milwaukee this past offseason.
He’s 2-2 in 4 GS and 2 in relief against the Astros. 6 HR, 14 BB, 26 K over 25 IP – 4.32 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and a .268 BAA
Claudio is a #4 or 5 guy who has a career 4.92 ERA -†93 ERA+ which has been reasonably steady from year to year.

Oh, I forgot.
Sorry.
Of course yall wanna know if grrrrlz went out on Grrrrlz Night Out. Of COURSE!!! She screamed and I screamed for Ice Cream and there’s no place like Hank’s. And of course Husband hadn’t put the kidsss to bed and so when Mami got home Mami had to hear it about whyyyyyyyyy did Lil Miss get to go and they dinttt?????!!!!!!!!

Because, I said, there was only one ticket and it was her turn. Shut them up but good.
Men never think of the obvious….

4/28/07: It’s All Chris Burke’s Fault Roy Oswalt Got Clemensed Again

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

I WAS gonna call this The Saviour Commeth, but, um, decided it didn’t look quiiiiiiiite, um, kosher. So to speak.

You see, Lance Berkman isn’t hitting, Carlos Lee isn’t hitting and he fields like Manny Ramirez and Mo, Lane and Scott aren’t hitting and it is ALL Burke’s fault. You can’t blame guys who are getting paid 15 and 17 mill, you can’t blame BOTH right fielders when you don’t have another, you NEED a guy who can play at third and besides, he gets paid more than Burke, so that leaves Burke = Designated Goat.

As Tim Purpura said to Alyson Footer: “It’s unfortunate, but when a club struggles like we’re struggling, it’s the younger players, the less experienced players, who sometimes have to bear the brunt of it and lose playing time.”
Yeah, it WOULD be Everett’s fault, but you know, SOMEbody gotta actually be able to field on this here team.

Biggio led off the game with a patented Biggio double down the LF line – hit # 2952. Burke reached on a HBP. Lance grounded into a double play. Carlos hit an RBI single up the middle for the game’s ONLY run, Mo walked and Lane hit a grounder that the second baseman made an outstanding play on to get him out. And there, my friends, you have the sum of the Astros scoring all night. Freaking pathetic.

Reminds me of last year – every time we got one hit I said – well, at least we won’t be no-hit. Every time we got a run, I said, well, at least we won’t get shut out again. Same stuff, next year.
- Besides the leadoff double, Biggio was ofer and left 1 on.
- Burke was ofer 2 with a walk and a hitbypitch and left 1 on.
- Lance had a bloop single to shallow right, almost by the foul line, and proceeded to get his fool self immediately picked off first 9-1. It didn’t end up mattering because Carlos Lee hit the very next pitch back to the pitcher and it would have been a double play 1-6-3 anyway. But still, Lance has been playing poorly all year and this is just a sign of it. And him dogging it by ambling down the line when he hit a grounder to short in the 5th that Weeks bobbled – if he had Biggioed his way down the basepath, he would have reached on error. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered because Lee would have grounded into a 6-4-3 instead of an easy 6-3 for the one out. AND it would have been Lee’s second DP of the night. Anyhow, Lance left 2 on.
- Carlos Lee had an RBI single, otherwise was ofer and left 1 on.
- Mo Ensberg was 1 fer 3 with a walk
- Jason Lane was 1 fer 3 and left 2 on.
- Adam Everett was ofer 3 with a walk
- Brad Ausmus was 1 fer 4 and left 2 on.
- Lamb and Palmeiro were ofer.

Roy pitched OK. He gave up FOUR walks, so you KNOW he’s not himself and he had something weird goin on in the 4th, when he turned from the machine gun into the Human Rain Delay, having 5 conferences on the mound, walking off, walking around, missing his spots, cleaning his cleats, throwing 27 pitches including a wild pitch and escaping from a bases loaded jam. He came back and threw two 1,2,3 innings, but then ran into trouble again in the 7th, thank you Carlos Lee.

Carlos really reminds me of Manny Ramirez out there – he can catch bout any hanging fly ball, occasionally he shocks you by coming forward to catch a ball, but he just kinda lopes after any grounder and lets balls fall in so he can take it on a hop. You figger he’s never gonna get to anything and that’s what Geoff Jenkins thought on a single to left that Carlos managed to get to in time to throw him out by a hair at second. Same thing happened in the 9th when he caught Corey Hart off second.

But anyhow, In the 7th, after he didn’t get near Jenkins bloop single to left, he misjudged a flyball, which banged off the scoreboard for a double and there were men on second and third with no outs. After Counsell FINALLY struck out, there was a big powwow on the mound.
Seems to me that every time that Garner goes out to ask Roy – howya doon, Roy sez fine, I kin get these here guys and Gar sez OK ace yew gettumout. But somehow, it never turns out that way and after Tony Gwynn Jr walked on 5 pitches, Gar gambled and left Roy in. Weeks hit a weak dribbler to short and Adam’s only play was at first – no chance for a double play.

Tie game.

Then Hardy doubled down the LF line, 2 runs in, goodbye ball game.
So now all yall see why this is Chris Burke’s fault, right? It’s like the fans have been screaming for weeks, he has no business on this team. Get rid of him. And now they have their wish. (Of course they also want Lane, Everett, Ensberg and Lidge gone and replaced with – well, Lamb at third, Loretta at short, Lidge with any warm body from AAA or heck, even AA and Lane with anybody.)

Hunter Pence will be joining the team for game tomorrow. Yessiree, he’s gonna make Lance hit something besides double plays and piddly singles and make Lee hit more than a few singles up the middle and sac flies. Lee’s actually hitting better with bases empty than with runners on.
I’m dying to know how long the fans are gonna give Pence before they demand he gets sent back down if he fails. He’s gonna get SOME kind of honeymoon, just as Lee is getting.

Meanwhile, Randolph is going back to AAA after pitching 1.1 innings and giving up 1 homer. That one was easy. What is NOT going to be easy is to decide what to do when White comes back – I suppose Albers, no matter how well he is pitching, is going back down when Jennings comes off the DL. I would guess that they are kind of going to give a 2 week window to Pence and see what he does. If he tears it up, they are gonna hafta send SOMEone down/release someone and that isn’t gonna be pretty.

Interesting that Chris Burke has gotten the same kind of screwing from this team that Jason Lane got. They should be fair to the poor guy and work out some kind of trade – yeah, I know they own him for another 3 years and he can spend it in the minors for all they care, but it looks bad, it really does. It’s all a business, as Bagwell said so bitterly last year, and there is no such thing as either loyalty or decency and McLane’s putting Biggio’s 3000 hit parade above everything else is showing its weaknesses. Biggio is gonna play basically every home game, and probably every away game against leftys until he gets 48 more hits, and then Loretta will take over. There is absolutely no place for Burke on the team. Poor guy.

Man, I would love to be a fly on the wall in that clubhouse – I would bet there are some VERY unhappy, VERY angry guys. (Lance is the only one who has come out and said so – as he told Alyson Footer: ” benching Burke is a horrible move. You have to let a guy settle in a little bit,” he said. “Look at me, I’m hitting .200. Does that mean I’m going to end up hitting .230? Absolutely not. As an organization, you have to identify your talent and say, ‘We believe in this guy,’ and then give him a chance to play. Seventy at-bats is not a chance. That’s a very, very small sliver of the season. Nothing against Hunter. I think he deserves to be here. I think he’s going to do great when he gets a chance. But then my question is, what if Hunter comes up and struggles after 60 or 70 at-bats? Then you’ve got two guys thinking, ‘What’s going on here — do I belong in this organization?’ and that sort of thing. I don’t think that’s the right move, putting Chris on the bench.”)

But there isn’t a thing he can do, the Designated Goat has been named and there you are. And since the problem is strictly (no) hitting, it just CAN’T be Lidge this time.
Fact is that Lance Berkman himself is looking like heck, needs a day off and Lamb can start at first. It is not reasonable to sacrifice Chris Sampson, a strictly groundball pitcher, by letting Loretta pretend to play shortstop and Lamb try to play third, but I bet that is exactly what they will do. You saw how well THAT worked last week.

And you can have plenty of hitting but if you have no defense, you are gonna lose. It might could be true that Pence may be the second coming of Carlos Beltran – that I’ll hafta see to believe, but he won’t be dealing with the left side of the diamond and he can’t play everywhere.

Phil has to take responsibility for some of this too. He needs to pull his ace when he’s tired and he needs to not have an entire defensive infield composed of grossly sub-par defenders. He needs to change strategies when the guys are in simultaneous slumps, and yes, I can’t fault him for trying to find a lineup that works, but it seems pretty obvious to me, and probably everyone else, that Mo should bat second. Period.

Oh, by the way, did you see Lidge strike out Billy Hall? He looked exactly like BRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDD used to last year. Unhittable 97 MPH fastball, 3 unhittable sliders – and mind you, Billy Hall is a VERY good hitter and he knows Lidge – it’s not as if he’s just up from AA or something. That is the best I’d seen Brad look all year. Maybe he is starting to click – youneverknow…

4/27/07: How To Fix The Astros’ Massive Suckage

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Since the team is not playing because of the rainout, guess the ballplayers will be sitting staring into corners like the bad little boyz they are until they can say they are sorry for last night’s dreadful game.

We can’t have that kind of behaviour, you know.
- 3 weeks of the season are already gone and it seems as if the ballplayers aren’t perfect – they don’t hit every at bat, they screw up hitnruns, they can’t always move the runner like good little boys, certain guys who are responsible for playing stellar defense (don’t look at Lee or Loretta) have made some mistakes and this all adds up to one angry manager and many angry fans.

So after 3 weeks of reading other Astros blogs and the comments on them, I have come up with the perfect solutions to fixing up the Astros:

1 – bench Biggio and just play him at home against leftys. Unless he isn’t hitting. Then don’t play him at all. Actually, just release the guy. Yeh. That will show the fans that Drayton Cares About Winning all right. And that Drayton is all about pleasing the REAL fans who know that ML baseball is exactly like the fantasy leagues.

2 – lets do some trades!!!!!
- Lidge for Miguel Cabrera. Or maybe Arod – he misses Texas.
- or else we could trade Lidge for Josh Beckett (like Theo originally wanted to do because the Red Sox overloaded with good starting pitching) or Dontrelle or even Andy Pettitte who the Yankees are already disrespecting by making him pitch middle relief and he never wanted to leave Houston in the first place – all he wanted was just a lil bit of foreplay from Drayton before the screwing started and now he is stuck Up There.
- And of course, the best of em all – Lidge for Carl Crawford straight up – yeh, the D-rays would JUMP at that one. We could even throw in Ensberg because they need a third baseman (send Iwa whatziz back to Japan) and Burke (who needs that Upton guy and his 40 homers anyhow?) See, Carl will fill the team’s need for a Genuine Certified American-born Negro, and fortunately, he’s got enough color to him that Those Troublemakers can’t complain that he’s Not A Real Black Man. Too bad the Astros didn’t think of this before the Philly game. Ah well.

3 – put Burke on waivers – he’s useless. Then we can play Hunter Pence who will guaranteed hit in the majors just like he has done in AAA for a grand total of 2 weeks of his entire playing career which couldn’t possibly be a hot streak because ballplayers don’t go thru streaks and anyhow, every single guy who is hitting .342 after 3 weeks at AAA comes up to the ML and keeps it up. For the rest of his HOF career. See Todd Self, J.R. House – heck, even see Jason Lane. Oh, sorry I forgot. He was always terrible. AA and AAA – those were just scorer errors. Since we’ve gotten rid of both Burke and Biggio, we can bring up Brooks Conrad who is just as good and even cheaper.

4 – put Everett on waivers. He can’t hit homers, SS is an offensive position in the NL – and he couldn’t even get a sniff as a DR on any other ML team. Then play Loretta the All-Star because his Arod -like hitting will overcome any minor inability to get any baseballs hit his way, even those hit directly to him. Defense doesn’t matter at ALL unless we are talking about center field and about Chris Burke in particular.

5 – Ensberg is a wuss and worthless and (shudder) he WALKS – how unmanly can you possibly get – REAL men swing away at ball 4. Which is why we can only count on him to suck. He’s never done anything but suck and the pansy wuss even tries to play through pain instead of going straight to the DL like Real Man JD Drew. Put Ensberg on waivers and play Mike Lamb full time.

6 – Berkman is cooked. He’s through – must be off steroids or something. Maybe even off beer!!! Big Puma? HAH!!! More like Big Pew. Just put him on waivers so someone else will eat his contract. Either that or trade him for another LOOGY. Can’t never have too many LOOGYs, hunh Phil??? Then put Carlos Lee on first. How hard could it be to play first? Ask Mike Piazza.

7 – And Jason Lane , why he never did nothing good nohow. He just went 2 fer 8 last night and 0-4 the night before and his SLG is under .600 now. That is IT, he’s had his last chance. Put him on waivers in case someone is stupid enough to grab him.

8 – Luke Scott has lost it. 5 games without a homer = the end of his career. Send him back down. Release him, whatever. Bring up Bruntlett and stick him in right cuz infielders make great outfielders and besides, Bruntlett is gritty and clutch (Tm). He NEVER shoulda been sent down after spring training.

9 – put Miguel Cabrera in left – you remember, we got him for Lidge. Or Carl Crawford.

10 – trade Hector Giminez to the Royals for John Buck because we need another catcher and the Royals could really use a guy on the DL for the rest of the year. We could throw in Quintero for fun just in case they for some reason might could actually want a person in between the batter and the ump.

11 – DFA Brad Ausmus – hey it don’t matter who the catcher is – you could use some HS kid anyhow. They all the same. We’ll just call up that great hitter Eric Munson who will surely out hit Piazza 1999 if he just got a chance to hit every day. Yeh, dude go for the catcher record in homers, you’ll see. Him and his lifetime .686 OPS (80 OPS+)

Now HERE’S a great team – we’re missing only Willy Taveras to complete the awesomeness. Him and his clutch hitting and 500 OPS. and his 4 SB and 4 CS. And of course, his great fielding unless the ball is hit in front of him.

Now to clean up the pitching staff. We’ll get rid of everybody except Roy and
Roy?
ROY????
ROY??????
Hey dude, where you think YER going???

4/26/07: When They Were (at) Bat They Were Horrid

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Dear Jeezus Gawd,
I am feeling like a Royals fan, only worse.

How about -  Wandy Is Royally Clemensed By Both His Offense And Defense. And The Ump, Too, who missed calling Freddy Sanchez out at first in the 6th. Wandy pitched absolutely FANTASTIC and now all we’ll hear is how he sucks and he can’t win from the fans who want Troy Patton up here because he’ll pitch perfect games every time up and win with no run support.

For all yall who think defense does not matter unless we’re talking about Chris Burke, take a look at Lance Berkman making an error (oh YES it was) on Castillo’s grounder and at Mike Lamb screwing up the tailor made 5-4-3 double play in the 6th AND then Luke Scott dropping the single to right that let an extra run score.

And because that idiot homeboy scorer decided to give Castillo a hit to help his 100 BA on an OBVIOUS error, poor Wandy got stuck with 2 “earned” runs in the 6th, and another in the 8th from getting Francoed by Qualls.

Now, we gotta hear how of COURSE Wandy has an ERA over 4, see, toldja he’s no good. Bullstuff. And by the way, props to Jim Deshaies for saying at LEAST 4 times during the game how well Wandy pitched.

We are talking a #5 guy who threw 7 innings – 101 pitches, 70 strikes – 2 BB, 5 H, 7 K, 2 GIDP, 3 “earned” runs and THAT is freaking AWESOME. Ida wanna hear nothing about well, he just doesn’t “know how to win” because it is his teammates who just don’t know how to freaking HIT. They left TEN guys on base during his 7 innings.

BAH!

And the “hitters” most DEFINITELY were, um, offensive. ESPECIALLY Lance and Lee. I am freaking tired about everyone making Burke and Everett and Ausmus into the goats when the 32 million dollars of bat aren’t doing squat. When you can’t hit Tony Gawd-awful Armas, you stink. I mean STINK.

Lance hits 2 little singles and a sac fly. Big deal. I would expect that from the #7 or 8 guy.
I keep hearing how Carlos Lee has all these RBIs. How he’s so “clutch” how he’s such a GOOD contact hitter. Well, there should be a heck of a LOT more hits and RBIs. Check this:
- In the 1st, he grounds out with one on one out.
- In the 3rd, he grounds out with one on 2 outs.
- In the 5th, he grounds out with 2 out, 2 on.
- In the 7th, with 2 on, 1 out, he grounds into a double play.Too bad he didn’t strike out instead of “contact hitting.”
- in the 9th – with the team behind by 4, 1 out bases loaded, he hits a sac fly. Big Deal.

And what REALLY pisses me off is how we are gonna be hearing how Adam Everett is the goat for making the last out with bases loaded. You don’t see HIM getting any 17 mill a year for 6 years for HITTING, do you????

oooooooh, I am STEAMED.

I am just glad it was the Pirates. Yes, that’s right. Glad. For the 2000 fans who actually showed up at the ballpark. Because with the ownership who keeps their 25 mill of profit a year for themselves instead of trying to win, those die hard 2000 fans deserve the few wins they get

4/25/07: Matt Albers Gets Clemensed Again

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

So the game starts at 6:05 and from the kitchen, I can hear the TV in the living room over the yells of the kids. We play small ball in the first inning and Chris Burke walks, goes to third on a Berkman single, then scores on a Carlos Lee sac fly. At least we won’t get shut out again.

Yeah, I know. I’m starting to sound like May 05, May 06…

And there isn’t much action until the 3rd, when we’re about to sit down and eat (and Husband does NOT like any delay in getting food in mouth) but Albers singles, then Biggio singles. AW RIGHTTT!!! No outs – we gotta get a run in NOW, right??? But nooooo. Burke flies out, Lance flies out, Carlos hits a piddly single to right and Mansolino hold the pitcher Albers at third.

Ensberg grounds out.
Husband looks at me, sez – they suck, let’s eat.
Man of few words, especially when he’s hungry.

In the bottom of the 4th, Albers, who hadn’t given up a hit, gives up 2 runs. Well, sez Husband, game’s over. Just as well cuz the Mavs come on at 8:30 and this mess will be over.

Then, at the top of the 5th, Biggio hits a sharp ball to right which goes under the glove of Eldred (who is actually a first baseman), rolls to the wall and Biggio ends up on third – I guess the scorer calls this a triple cuz he/she figgers Eldred can barely catch a fly ball, but a triple??? Anyhow, Burke is up and hits a grounder back to the pitcher who alertly throws to third and catches Biggio way off the bag. Biggio didn’t used to get caught like that. Good grief. Then with Lance up, Burke gets caught stealing.

When things go bad, oh they go BAD. Sigh.
Albers gives up a LONG homer to Eldred in the 5th, but pitches the rest of the inning and the 6th without a problem. In the bottom of the 6th, Ausmus beats out an infield single, so that’s all she wrote for Albers – 6 innings, 4 hits, 1 BB, 1 HR, 3 ER -84 pitches, 60 strikes. Pretty impressive.

But like Roger Clemens sez, you don’t get run support, you can’t win ballgames. And he oughtta know.

So Brad Lidge comes in and pitches a good inning – 1 piddly single, but otherwise nothing.
Top of the 8th, Palmeiro pinch hits for Burke and singles, then Lance walks and Carlos Lee is up – but no go and Mo Ensberg gets himself out and we strand 2 again. This is getting monotonous. Qualls comes in and pitches a good inning.

Then their closer, Salomon Torres is on and Lane singles, then Adam Everett grounds into a fielders choice to short, but Castillo throws the ball away trying to beat Everett to first and he takes second on the bad throw. Luke Scott pinch hits and drives in Adam with a single. Loretta pinch hits for Qualls and singles. Then Biggio drives in Scott with a single.

OHMIGAWD it’s the comeback kidz again. I don’t believe it.
But Jim Tracy very intelligently pulls Torres out and sends in a lefty who retires Palmeiro and Berkman. We strand 2. AGAIN.

And Husband sez, very firmly – your suckulous sucks had their chance – it’s Mavericks time. So I watch the rest of the baseball game on the computer. Yecccccch.
Luke Scott strands 2 in the 10th.
Mo Ensberg strands 3 in the 11th.
Loretta strands 1 in the 12th.
By the 13th, we were out of hitters and Borkowski got to strike out for his own self.
In the 14th, Carlos Lee leads off and he FINALLY hits a ball a long way, doubling to right. But he’s stranded just as he left everyone else.
It’s the 15th, and Shawn Freaking Chacon has pitched 4 scoreless innings, which about tells it all. And after he turns the ball over to John Wasdin, it’s 15th verse, same as the first.
In the 16th, the “big hitters” Berkman, Lee, Ensberg and Lane are up and do nothing.
Moehler runs out of gas in the 16th, his third inning, and lets the winning run score with bases loaded and 2 out. I got to see THAT because the Mavericks game was already over. Just great.
Almost 5 hours – here we go again. Just like last year.

We had 16 hits, 6 walks and left 18 on base. I mean, really, tonight is the night Phil shoulda saved the angry for – not running into some kid pitching the game of his life.

I’m sure Burke is gonna be the designated fall guy, but really, it SHOULD be on Lance and Lee – they are supposed to be the big guns and they flat out are NOT getting it done at ALL. They are getting piddly singles when it doesn’t help and a few sac flies, which just will NOT cut it.
Fortunately, only like maybe 3000 fans were present in the stadium to watch – and I mean from the beginning. Amazing that the team has ANY fans left, not that the owners care.

Sigh.

Was it really less than a week ago I was praising Sean Berry? Dude needs to start kicking some serious Lance/Lee ass.
And Biggio went 3 fer 5 and he’s down to 49.

Hopefully it WILL rain tomorrow – the guys need a day off. Or SOMEthing…

4/25/07: Albers vs Duke

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

We’ve lost 4 games in a row now and it is time to reverse the streak. Lance and Carlos Lee have GOT to hit. And Loretta can NOT be put at short ANY MORE. He would have to hit like Arod is hitting now to justify that.

And ooooooooh Phil was NOT a happy guy last night. I bet the guys are each wearing a size smaller tighty whiteys from the ass-chewing they got…

So today, it’s Matt Albers, RHP vs Zach Duke, LHP
Even though Jennings has completed his 15 day DL stint, he’s somehow not off it and Albers is getting another start.
He got a ND in his last start – gave up 2 ER over 6 IP. He’s never faced the Pirates.
-
I’m sure Zach Duke is happy to be facing the Stros again – he got a ND when he faced us Opening Day – gave up 2 runs in 7 IP. He won his next start, but has given up 7 ER in 4 IP each of his last 2 starts. I’m sure he looked at Maholm kicking Astro butt all ovah the field yesterday and he can’t wait to do the same.
grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
career vs Houston: 0-3 in 5 GS: 3 HR, 13 BB, 12 K over 29.2 IP – 4.85 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and a .315 BAA.
—-
UPDATE: it’s pouring rain in Pittsburgh and it looks as if (according to weather.com) it will all day and all night. We may get a rainout, which it looks as if we NEED, seeing as how the guys all look like dog doodoo and they could USE a rest.

4/24/07: Woody Williams Gets Clemensed By Sandy Koufax For A Day

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Either that or Johan Santana, couldn’t tell.

Now, every single starting pitcher has been clemensed at least twice! Isn’t that special???
Anyhow, Woody Williams FINALLY pitches fairly well, has a quality start – 3 ER/7 IP, and wouldn’t you know, he runs into Paul Maholm, a crappy lefty who pitches the best game of his career, shuts the Astros out on 3 piddly singles.

And thank GAWD Biggio led off the game with a hit so I didn’t have to sit for innings worrying that we’d get no-hit, as I did moren a few times last year. We got shut out 13 times last year, in case you were curious, and 19 times in 05 – three by the freaking Pirates.

Well Woody, welcome to the Astros – you’ve got 2 QS and have a L and a ND to show for it.
Woody gave up 9 hits – 1 homer. Yes, it would have been only 2 runs if Chris Burke hadn’t dropped that fly ball in the first inning when he hit the wall, but we still would have lost 2-0. As usual, Woody gave up a lot of long fly balls, more in the first few innings, as usual. And Woody most definitely owes Adam Everett for saving him 2 runs when he stopped Paulino’s shot that would have rolled into left and scored at LEAST 1 more run – which is what happened repeatedly yesterday when Loretta was at short. I hope Phil was watching THAT.

Mo Ensberg was scratched from the lineup just before the game – I heard he had tweaked his ankle yesterday, but he pinch hit and his hitting streak is ovah.

Biggio got 2 hits and is now down to 52.

Berkman didn’t hit and Carlos Lee looked sad. In fact, he’s been slumping since we went back on the road – he has 3 walks, 2 singles and a double in 26 PA – his average has falled from .340 to .260.

Boy was Phil PISSED OFF – he was really mad at Burke for dropping that ball – although he did make 2 other very VERY good catches – but as I said, losing 2-0 isn’t different than losing 3-0.
I would bet the guys are good and tired from the non-stop traveling and losing the off day. We’re facing a lefty tomorrow and so Biggio will play, and I hope Ensberg is able to play tomorrow because he’s the only guy who has been hitting consistently.

4/24/07: Woody Williams vs Paul Maholm

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

All yall Astros fans who wanted to see Everett and Ensberg off the team and replaced with Loretta and Lamb, respectively, now see what happens when you have 3 way below average gloves on an infield and Carlos Lee, who can’t deal with anything but a hanging fly ball in left. IF you want to give Ensberg a day off and start Lamb, you absolutely MUST play Everett as SOMEone must actually be able to field baseballs.

Is there REALLY anyone out there who still thinks Loretta can play short better than your Little Leaguer?

Let him play against rightys on the road and pinch hit until Biggio hits the magic number.
And before I forget – way to go Brad Lidge, bearing down and striking out the side after giving up a single and a 400′ double. Dude you need to act as if there are NO fielders to help you out out there EVERY SINGLE TIME because if Phil insists on running the Lambs and Lorettas out there like that, you might as well not have any fielders.
OK
Let’s see how the Astros are doing (before last night’s game) according to Lee Sinins – happy birthday dude!!! and many more:
Pitchers RSAA: (sorry, I can’t get this into a table format)
Chris Sampson …………… 4
Roy Oswalt ………………… 2
Rick White …………………. 2
Matt Albers ……………….. 1
David Borkowski ………… 1
Jason Jennings …………… 1
Chad Qualls ………………… 1
Trever Miller ……………. -1
Brian Moehler …………… -1
Dan Wheeler …………….. -1
Wandy Rodriguez ……… -2
Brad Lidge ………………… -4
Woody Williams ………… -7

Hitters RCAA – Team total is -6; the Mets are at +40. uhoh…
Chris Burke ………………… 1
Morgan Ensberg …………. 1
Adam Everett …………….. 1
Orlando Palmeiro ……….. 1
Mike Lamb …………………. 0
Jason Lane …………………. 0
Carlos Lee …………………… 0
Mark Loretta ……………… 0
Brad Ausmus …………….. -1
Luke Scott …………………. -1
Lance Berkman …………. -2
Humberto Quintero …… -2
Craig Biggio ……………….. -4

You know when Adam Everett has more RCAA than Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman COMBINED that the Stros are in a world of trouble. Unless Adam has suddenly turned into A-Rod 2002. Which, trust me, he hasn’t.

OK – we couldn’t beat Pittsburgh at home, so let’s see if we can beat em on the road. And as I’ve said before, Lance and Carlos had better start hitting.
And the – we’ll just comeback – thingy ain’t workin out no more, so it is time to score runs off the starters – enough runs to WIN.

Tonight, it’s Woody Williams, RHP vs Paul Maholm, LHP
Woody has not exactly got himself off to a good start. To be nice about it. 0-2 in 4 GS: 4 9 8 22 IP – 6.55 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and a .305 BAA (hey, this reminds me of Andy Pettitte’s first half last year)
vs Pitt: 7-3 in 14 GS:8 HR, 24 BB, 72 K over 91.2 IP – 3.63 EA, 1.25 WHIP and a .255 BAA
at PNC: 3-0 in 3 GS – 3 HR, 7 BB, 9 K over 19 IP – 1.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and a .188 BAA (so be it and shall it remain)
He took a ball off his shin in his last start and has been wrapping his bruised leg – let’s hope he isn’t worse. In any case, it might could help him keep the ball DOWN, which he hasn’t been doing.
——-
Paul Maholm has not done better than Woody so far. In his case, I would guess it is youth and inexperience instead of old age and weak arm.
so far, he’s 0-2 in 3 GS – 6.19 ERA, .354 BAA
vs Hou: 1-2 in 4 GS:4 HR, 17 BB, 10 K over 19 IP – 6.53 ERA, 2.13 WHIP and a .345 BAA.

Jackie Robinson Day 2007 – Better Late Than Never

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

I just spent 3 hours writing a post that vanished into cyberspace and I just don’t feel like doing it again so I will summarize it right quick:
- Jackie Robinson ROOLZ
- Mark Loretta is without question the poorest excuse I have EVER seen for a shortstop and he cost Sampson 3 runs tonight (go watch the 4th inning if you disbelieve me)

Sampson pitched absolutely terrible. Very few balls broke and he left em over way too much of the plate. He almost tripled his ERA – from 1.5 to 4.26. Yeccccch.

Lance Berkman FINALLY hit a baseball a LONGGG way over the fence. I hope this means he is breaking out of his 3 week slump.

Biggio hit his 51st career leadoff homer. He now has 284 career homers and 2956 hits.

So Purpura, please, the playing time you promised Loretta? Don’t ruin your pitchers by putting him at short again, hunh? Just platoon Biggio on the road. Yes, I DO mean Purpura – I would bet this wasn’t Garner’s decision.