Archive for May, 2007

5/31/07: Woody Breaks Losing Streak!! Berkman Homers!!!

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Every single guy in the lineup got at least one hit!!!!!
And Luke Scott PROVED that he CAN hit leftys so hopefully we can now end all the platoon crap, he can stay in right where he belongs and Lance cen stay at first where HE belongs.

Biggio got 3 hits – 24 to go until the silly drama ends.
Woody gave up only 2 runs in 5 IP. White pitched poorly but somehow managed not t give up any more runs. Lidge was lights out – 3 outs with 10 pitches.

Now, I wanna see my Stros go on a 10 game win streak!!!
Look, a grrrrl has to have her fantasies or what’s a heaven for?

5/31/07:10 In A Row – Losses, That Is

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Sorry, I’m not going to put all the blame for last night’s loss on Wandy. He had a hard time finding the strike zone in the first and gave up 3 ER on 4 hits, but he got better and stronger each inning. He was pulled in the 6th for Jason Lane to pinch hit and Jason struck out.

It looks as if Adam Everett has recovered his bat, but as I have said a zillion times, even with his average below the Mendoza line, he is NOT the problem with this team. A lot of fans have complained bitterly that the Astros are not swinging at the first pitch, but the fact is that they are taking so few pitches that the likes of Micah Owings are throwing easy complete games. Aaron Harang just threw the 5th CG against the Astros this YEAR. I know we aren’t getting shut out all the time as we were last year, but the hitting is still lousy.

Lance Berkman’s slump is getting worse by the game. His swings are poorly timed and he is not getting any balls in the air. Lamb, whether in the lineup or pinch hitting has been in a funk for 3 weeks.

Sigh

Tonight, it’s Bronson Arroyo vs Woody Williams and you KNOW that Woody is going to give up 3 runs fer SHER over 5-6 innings and so the guys know they HAVE to get at least 3 runs. Maybe Biggio better get hit by a few more pitches or something. But unless Miracles Happen, looks as if we are going to tie the 11 game losing streak we been on since 1995.

Alan Ashby Receives Props As A Blue Jays Announcer

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

As we all know, for some reason I don’t know, and if the sportswriters know they won’t say, Alan Ashby was thrown out on his rear without warning before last season and replaced with 2 other guys who are, in my opinion, the worst baseball radio announcers besides Hawk Harrelson and the John Sterling/Susyn Waldman/Michael Kay team.

Alan did a pregame Astros show working for 790 last year, but this year he accepted a job as the Blue Jays color man, and at least one very knowledgeable Jays fan, John Brattain, thinks Ashby is VERY good. From his latest column in The Hardball Times. He says the radiocasters are

” Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby, a veteran catcher and original Blue Jay. Although it’s not quite the same with Jerry ‘n’ Alan as it was with Tom ‘n’ Jerry, I’ve been impressed with their work thus far….

Ashby comes across as, well, a catcher. Catchers have a unique perspective on the game. In Ashby’s case, he spent 17 seasons watching the game unfold in front of him. It’s hardly a coincidence that a lot of catchers went into broadcasting: Bob Uecker, Tim McCarver, Joe Garagiola. etc. What impresses me about Ashby is that despite his experience playing in the major leagues, he respects the fact that Howarth, although not a MLBer, has learned a lot about the game from his vantage point. Also in his favor is that despite his vast experience in the game, doesn’t feel the need to expound his opinion on every little matter as if it were the word of God (or Red Barber).

A quality about both that I like is that they’re not afraid to criticize but they never come across as being critical. When they critique something, they approach the subject matter from a logical, rather than visceral, point of view. One thing that I’ve noticed of this duo (and Jays’ broadcasts in general) is that they don’t feel the need to have chatter every second of the broadcast. They are content to let the sounds of the game filter through to the audience.”

I STILL want to know why someone as good as Ash was replaced by the two guys who are simply awful. And before you ask, yes, I did try listening to them again this year – I lasted about 15 minutes before shutting them off. They still don’t know when to talk, when to shut the heck up, they still don’t give ball/strike counts properly, still forget to give the score, still talk on and on about irrelevant matters instead of the game while it is going on and still don’t understand baseball.

I’m just glad Brownie and Deshaies are so good and that I can record every game and listen to it later if I want to. Perhaps Tom Franklin, who does the post game show, could be considered to replace the 2 guys there now.

5/29/07: Adam Everett Was Too Safe On An Inside-the-parker!!!

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

What??? You ask? Adam Everett hit a ball to Tal’s Hill, shocking everyone on the Reds as well as the entire crowd, driving in Biggio. He actually beat the tag for an inside the parker, but the ump blew the call, as his vision was obstructed. Adam made an AWESOME freaking slide and Moeller missed the tag. It is really too bad because that blown call cost us the ballgame.

And WHERE, may I ask, was Phil? He should have been out there going all Lou Pinella – I mean how Lou used to be before the Cubs tired him out. Yeh he would have gotten tossed – maybe Cecil would have done a better job… But at least he NEEDED to raise a ruckus, SOME kind of emotion – it looks as if he’s not supporting his team. You KNOW Bobby Cox/TLR would have been out there at the second the out call was made.

And the Astros got exactly FOUR hits off the very worst pitching in the NL. Three of the hits from whippng boys Everett, Ensberg and Biggio. Carlos Lee grounded into a double play with bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th to end the game. Fan faves Loretta and Pence were ofer.
Berkman is looking worse with every AB – he is missing fat ones down the middle, swinging late on pitches he used to crush. This is SAD.

Jason Jennings started off VERY shakily – single, walk, 6-4-3 GIDP, walk, groundout. 28 pitches, 16 balls. I thought omigawd, but he straightened himself out and pitched 4 more very good innings giving up no runs. For some reason, Phil pulled him after 5 innings, just 79 pitches, sending Orlando Useless Palmeiro up to get an out. Pretty stupid – Jennings is a better hitter.

When I saw Rick White walk out to the mound to start the 6th, I looked at Husband and he looked at me and I said – Phil just WON’T learn. Goodbye game. Sure enough, White gives up a double, then a single without getting an out. He gets pulled for Trever Miller, who walks Griffey. Peachy. Now we have bases loaded and so he calls Lidge who gets a K, a RBI sac-fly and a foulout. Game tied.

And the media insists that Phil is doing a good job.

I still can’t believe they actually thought they could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear with Rick White.

Sigh.

And I’m not even going to talk about his pinch hitting Lane instead of Luke Scott against a lefty pitcher when Scott hits leftys better than Lane. Phil and his indefensible lefty-righty obsession.
Sigh. He had a good pitcher, McLemore, who sat in an unmoving, unused blob in the dugout all road trip because Phil wouldn’t use him. They sent him down this morning after wasting a week of his time and making him miss a start for – WHY??? Then they had a chance to make some needed changes, such as getting rid of Palmeiro and Moehler and bringing up basically ANY minor league hitter, who HAS to be better than Palmeiro and bringing Randolph back up. As well as either releasing White or putting him back on the DL.

I understand that Phil thinks that Palmeiro is – now what were his words in his interview on 790 – Palmeiro is one the best hitters ever – just a classic hitter. I can’t put it in quotes because I was too shocked, but that is about what he said.

Dear Lord.
Serious changes need to be made and I do NOT mean releasing Adam Everett – he’s too valuable, Mendoza Line and all.

Sigh

Mitchel Lichtman: In Defense Of Adam Everett

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Some Astros “fans” have been quoting an article by Larry Dubrow (who usually writes for “men’s magazine” Maxim) on cbs.sportsline.com, in which he lists Adam Everett as one of the 10 worst players (not hitters, mind – players) in MLB.

Many fans do not believe that defense matters a plugged nickelunless they player makes an error. They don’t mind if a defender misses a ball for a hit – or throws badly and lets a run score. That doesn’t count. Problem is that most fans play fantasy baseball and there, defense counts for exactly zero. It matters none if a center fielder can’t throw and runners easily turn singles into doubles, score easily from first on a single, advance from second to third on an easy flyout.
These days when too many Gold Gloves are won with batting average (yeah Jeter, I’m lookin at you) too many people think that you ain’t all that if you don’t win a GG.

But too many people are wrong about Adam, currently mired in the team wide hitting slump that has only not affected Carlos Lee. And here to defend Adam is well know defense wizard Mitchel Lichtman, inventor of the well known UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating)

“It is hilarious how much Everett does not belong on the list. You have to have some knowledge of the advanced defensive metrics and a knowledge and understanding of how many runs a good, great, poor, horrible, etc. defender actually saves a team, as well as a knowledge and understanding of how any reasonable hitting metric translates into runs, not to mention the relative value of the positions on the defensive spectrum, in order to make a list like this.

While I give this author cedit for not just presenting players who are having a bad season (IOW recognizing the fluctuations that go along with 150 AB’s or so), he obviously has no idea as to how an offensive metric translates to runs and how many runs a particular player may be worth on defense. Nor should ANY catcher or SS (especially catcher) probably be on a list like this, as it is REALLY hard for a player at those positions to hit and field bad enough relative to the average player at that position to be “one of the worst players in baseball.”
Again, not only is Everett not one of the worst players in baseball, he is actually an above average player (SS), not withstanding his hitting performance thus far in 2007 (I assume that the author is talking about true talent and not what they have performed thus far this year). Everett is a once in a generation defensive player, maybe the best ever at any position. Even if that is an exaggeration, ALL of the advanced metrics (and not-so-advanced ones) have Everett at somewhere north of +20 runs a year in defense. I have him projected going into 2007 as +23. There is no possible way that a player can be a poor enought hitter to make a plus 23 defense turn into one of the worst players in baseball. Even if he were -25 in offense, which is about as bad as you can get (true talent-wise), and which he probably is, that makes him around -2 overall. The AVERAGE SS is -9 overall! That would make him an above average SS!

In order for Everett to be even replacement level, and there are lots of those in MLB, even as evereyday players, he would have to be over -50 in offense! There is no such animal in MLB. Not even close. Even if you are a skeptic of the +20 or so on defense (although I have never heard anyone credible NOT admit that Everett is one of the best if not the best defensive players in baseball), there is still NO POSSIBLE WAY that he can be close to one of the worst everyday players in baseball. Let’s give him +15 on defense. In order to be a replacement level SS overall, he would have to be -43 on offense. Again, no such animal in baseball. The last 4 years, Everett has been -19, -11, -30, and -25 on offense. Those are some of the worst offensive numbers in baseball. There is no doubt that he is one of the worst hitters in baseball. That still makes him AT LEAST and above average SS, again, given that he is plus some high number (15, 20, 25) on defense. There is simply no way to spin this to make Everrett anything less than an average player at worst and NO POSSIBLE WAY ON THE PLANET to make him a replacement level player (one of the worst everyday players in baseball), unless you make him an average SS on defense.

If someone wants to hail him as an average SS, that person has zero credibility anyway.”

WELL SAID!!!!

5/27/07: In The Big Inning Roy Oswalt Lost The Game

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Roy looked a little bit off it even in the first inning. Although he’d gotten a strike out to start the game, Callaspo, the next hitter took the very next pitch to the warning track in deep center – and that is NOT a good sign. Sure enough, the next hitter singled and the next one walked. I had a bad feeling this wasn’t going to be one of his better games.

I was right.

In the second, Jackson hit a single up the middle, then Quentin hit into a 6-4 FC, then Montero lined to Loretta, who threw to first to pick off Quentin – bad rookie baserunning. Roy had a 1,2,3 3rd and 4th, but I didn’t think his pitches looked as sharp as usual and he started off the 5th with a walk and a homer.

Husband said – well Baby, there goes the ball game, they ain’t coming back. I figured he was right, but I wasn’t going to tell him that.

Sure enough, Montero then hits a ball up the RF line that Lamb misses, Livan grounds out, Young singles and Montero scores. Callaspo singles – Loretta doesn’t get it (he doesn’t have much range at second – he’s not much bettern Biggio even though his arm is MUCH stronger) but then Roy gets the next 2 outs without giving up another run.

He got through the 6th giving up only a single, which was erased by a double play. I actually thought he was lucky to have escaped with only 3 runs at that point.
Let’s say I was NOT exactly thrilled when Brownie and DJ said that Rick White and Trever Miller were warming up. I know that Lidge is ready, Qualls is ready, McLemore is ready and I know that White has severly sucked for the last 5 appearances.

I simply do NOT know what on earth Phil could have been thinking. There is an old saying about a pitcher that has gone to the well too often. You see, White hadn’t been a multi inning pitcher for years and they have tried to turn him into what he ain’t. And it’s failing.
Top of the 7th, 2 out Adam Everett singled, Astros behind 1 run and NO pinch hitter. And Roy strides to the plate. Brownie helpfully notes that the BA of ML pinch hitters is .195. Well, whaddya know.

Fascinating.

Someone please explain to me why Chris Sampson, hitting over 200, was pulled last night after 6 innings/69 pitches, behind 3-1, 2 out, no one on base, and replaced with Orlando Palmeiro?

Of course, Roy wasn’t able to get on base.

Of course Phil sent him back out there. Of course things didn’t go real too well, and by the time Phil FINALLY pulled him, another run had scored and there were 2 left on base.

So in comes Rick White, he Francoes poor Roy – 2 singles later, both runs have scored. And of course White gives up ANOTHER run before he finally gets the third out.

And the score is Dbacks 7 – Astros 2

Well, looks like that’s that.

Phil, you’ve done some seriously crazy things, like batting Orlando Palmeiro leadoff, but that takes the cake.

The only thing that is good that I can think of about the Astros losing 8 straight is that all of the other NL Central teams have been losing almost as badly.

Well, I am hoping that the guys are breaking out of their slumps. Naturally we are having to re-discover that Mike Lamb is in fact a very very good bench guy and he is not a full time player let alone a leadoff guy. Lance Berkman, for the first time in like 3 weeks, hit a baseball over 350′ in the air – unfortunately, not quiiiiiite far enough. I noticed he wasn’t wearing batting gloves – I hope that helps. ANYthing.

Mo Ensberg has hit 3 HR in his last 4 AB. GAwd I hope he’s on his way back – we need the old Mo back.

Adam Everett has had 2 straight days of very very good AB – so be it and shall it remain.

Loretta was ofer today, but had several days where he actually hit a few doubles. Pence is still hitting singles, but now he’s hitting them to right again. People are so busy criticizing Adam Everett for not being Jeter with the bat that Pence is managing to slip under the radar.
And don’t get me wrong – I think that is actually a good thing because the last thing he needs to do is press and one of the few good things Phil has done so far this year is not put Pence in a position of great pressure.

Pence needs to talk to his teammates and talk about who is gonna catch what where because with all Phil’s roster changes and defensive substitutions, signals are getting crossed. Fans are all into his “enthusiasm” but it seems to be irritating his teammates. Sort of reminds me of when you have a young dog, you have to teach it not to jump up on strangers – you might could think it is cute, but it usually pisses off the person who has his/her clothes torn or muddied.

7/27/07: Adam Everett Goes 3 for 4

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Yeah, I know. But he had good ABs yesterday – going 1-3 with a walk, the only walk. Today, he hit the ball VERY well all 4 times. No bad swings, no popups. Hopefully, all that extra BP he’s putting in is going to get him off all the Astros fans poopoo list. I don’t care what the mass media thinks – if they even notice. Fortunately this year, Omar is hitting almost as bad, so Adam might could FINALLY get the Gold…

Through May 26, 2007, Lance Berkman Is Hitting Like Adam Everett

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Well, it’s true. Actually, Adam hit a ball today that almost left the park and that’s better than anything I’ve seen Lance hit in 3 weeks.

I have NO idea what is wrong with that boy but until he starts hitting, and I don’t mean piddly singles up the middle, this team is going to keep sinking.

Chris Sampson pitched well enough to lose. Again. 3 runs in 6 innings. Garner pulled him after the 6th – he’d thrown only 69 pitches, but I guess Gar figured he’d get killed the 4th time through the lineup – he started warming up the relievers after the 4th inning. Sampson gave up some very well hit balls on sinkers that didn’t sink.

No runs scored because of bad defense/plays not made that should have today.

I can’t really blame Phil for telling guys to steal – this is a team that is not hitting for spit and you HAVE to manufacture runs SOMEhow. Lance got CS to end the first, and Pence didn’t pull of his end of a bizarre double steal in the second. Pence wasn’t much of a base stealer in the minors, not sure if he’d ever stolen home before. That was just strange and one of Phil’s odder ideas and he has a LOT of odd ideas.

Qualls came in to relieve and gave up 2 runs – he wasn’t sharp at ALL – this is what happens when you let your relievers go too long between appearances. And those turned out to be the deciding runs because Carlos Lee hit a 2 run homer in the 8th that would have been the game winner.

Lamb should NOT be leading off – he’s been slumping as badly as Everett and Ensberg and Berkman these past 3 weeks.

Sigh

And no one has noticed, but Pence is hitting almost exclusively infield singles – he’s pulling everything to left. He hasn’t gotten a single ball in the air since we left the Box.

And you want to talk about bizarre unexplainable things Phil does? How about taking Pence out, shifting Berkman to center and sending Palmeiro out to play right in the 8th? Good God. Just because it didn’t cost us any runs doesn’t mean it was a good idea.

And by the way, would one of you readers who is male please explain to me how a “leader” gets guys to hit? I keep hearing this on the post game show, but no one has explained it to me yet. If “leaders” are what a team needs to get guys to hit, why have a hitting coach?

sigh

Roy goes tomorrow against Livan Hernandez. It really would be nice to not get swept again.

5/26/07: The Astros Have Gone To LLLLLL

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Well, changing catchers from Quintero to Ausmus didn’t help Woody one bit – same story – one big blowup inning, good the rest. Woody was absolutely nails for 4 of 5 innings – in the 4th, he just couldn’t get much of any strikes over and what was over the plate was up. The Dbax batted around and by the time the pitcher grounded out, it was Dbax 4, Stros 1. Woody came back the very next inning and got 3 outs on 12 pitches. I don’t get it.

Thing is that Woody IS gonna give up 3 or 4 runs every start and the offense just isn’t there to support him. He’s OK for the 5th starter, which is what he actually IS – for some reason, fans have this fantasy where all the starters are as good as Roy – who, by the way, usually has a couple of really bad games every year.

And it was a DARN good thing that Adam Everett, disrespected as he is by media and too many fans, was his usual spectacular self and because Woody got mostly gound ball outs tonight, saved a GOOD 3 runs with his glove – no one ever thinks that matters…

Phil FINALLY replaced Biggio at leadoff, but with LAMB, fer chrissakes, who has been in an even bigger slump since mid May than Biggio OR the much hated Ensberg. Biggio didn’t hit from the 6-hole neither and left 2 on base in the first.

In the 6th, stuff happened.

First, Edgar Gonzalez, who had been sailing thru 5 innings, was pulled and Juan Cruz started the 6th. Berkman grounded out. Which reminds me – there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with his timing, or swing or SOMEthing – he is hitting everything on the ground in the infield. Of COURSE he knows it – he says he’s had slumps before, but I really don’t remember anything like this where everything was on the ground like this. I hope he hasn’t gone all Roberto Alomar.
Anyway, back to the 6th. Lee doubled, Pence singled him in (finally hit a ball out of the infield), Biggio walked, then Ausmus struck out.

Then Phil made a fatal mistake – he pulled Everett for Palmeiro. It’s the lefty-righty idiocy because he’s pulling one slumping hitter for an even worse hitter in an even worse slump. He certainly should have had Everett bunt to advance the runners. Why Phil has such an obsession with Palmeiro I do NOT understand, but he does. Anyway, Palmeiro walks. Then the Dbacks bring in another pitcher who gets pinch hitter Luke Scott to ground out, stranding 3.

This organization already ruined one very good ballplayer in Jason Lane by wasting 3 of his best years having him sit on the bench. Now they are wasting yet ANOTHER good OF – seems they have already written him off. He’s never been platooned, he’s always hit leftys very well, he hit over 300 last year, but noooo. The same fans who were cheering him so vigorously last year have long since abandoned him after his average sank below .250 from erratic playing time and now want him traded.

sigh

So we’ve now left 6 MOB.

Now we’re playing without Adam in the field. Palmeiro is playing right, Berkman goes to first, Loretta goes to short (hint – this matters) and Lamb moves to third (hint – this matters.)
Score is 4-2 and we might could have a chance to come from behind. These days I DO have to say – might could.

So we want to keep the score close, right? not fall behind, right?

So Phil sends in Rick White, who had a 1.32 ERA when he came off the DL May 11. He had given up runs in 3 of his last 4 outings and in his last outing, gave up 3 hits and 2 ER in 0.2 IP.
WHERE was Chad Qualls? He hadn’t pitched in FIVE days – he needed work and he’s a better pitcher anyway.

White comes in and immediately gives up a standup triple off the centerfield wall (which, by the way, Pence got a very bad jump on but he’s Pence and not Burke so he gets a free pass). Then Drew grounds out and Lance makes an outstanding WebGem play to catch the ball and beat the runner to first, as White didn’t bother to cover the bag.

Then Hairston hits a bouncer up the middle for a single – it’s a play Adam makes but Loretta can’t. Run scores. OUT IS NOT MADE.

Then Carlos Quentin hits a ball down the LF line which Lamb doesn’t get near because he isn’t capable of stopping any balls hit up the line. OUT IS NOT MADE and there are runners on second and third.

Then Phil decides to have White IBB Montero, a 200 hitter, to face Tony Clark.

Bad mistake. Clark singles up the middle, 2 runs score.

White is having, um, bad luck, and he can’t strike guys out. Time to pull him? Nope. Eric Byrnes smashes a standup triple off the right center field wall and Montero and Clark score standing up.
The pitcher, a relief pitcher who never hits, is up. HE singles.

White is making Moehler look like Gagne 2003.

NOW, after 6 runs have scored, Phil pulls White and sends in Borkowski to clean up. So you say, exactly WHEN should Phil have pulled White? Well, you go back and look at his pitches – too many balls, no swinging strikes, only a few strikes looking, and the rest meaty ones over the middle of the plate. You see, if you have very poor infield defense, your reliever is going to have to strike guys out and in that park with Lee in left and Palmeiro in right and a rookie in center, getting guys to FLY out isn’t smart.

So Phil SHOULD have pulled him after the Quentin double when it was more than obvious that White didn’t have a strikeout pitch goin on. And IBB Montero hoping to get a GIDP from Clark was just plain crazy – look at the infield – they can’t turn a DP because ADAM ISN’T THERE ANY MORE!!!

I had a feeling the Rick White suddenly turning into gold after years of succulousness wasn’t going to work out – he’s been worked multiple innings many times and he hasn’t worked like that in years and it was bound to catch up. He gave up 7 ER in 0.1 IP today and his ERA went from 2.91 to 5.73 – not something great. And it wouldn’t have if Adam and Mo had been there to make the plays.

They should have kept Springer instead of signing White and brought up one of the AAA guys to pitch long relief instead of signing Moehler.

So there we are, down 10-2 at the end of the inning, because Borkowski, who came in to relieve White and get the final 2 outs gave up a 447′ homer to the new third baseman Reynolds, a kid up from AA because Chad Tracy just went on the DL.

Of course, Qualls came in in the 8th – it is his inning – or some such stupidity and gave up a homer to Reynolds. Chad Tracy is praying the ML scouts check out the holes in Reynolds swing and cool him off, just as Pence has been cooled off, before he gets off the DL in a few weeks.

Mo Ensberg came in in the 9th as a PH to face a lefty and hit a 3-2 pitch 400 something feet – looked like his old swing. Hopefully, he’s heating up at the same time that Lamb is slumping.
Of course, I’m sure there will be yet ANOTHER lineup tomorrow. Just as long as Loretta isn’t at short and Lamb isn’t at third or Sampson might as well not even bother.

5/25/07: Phil Garner And His Constantly Changing Lineups

Friday, May 25th, 2007

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
As a whole lot of yall have noticed, I haven’t been calling out Phil Garner near as much as I usually do. Why? Because I firmly believe, whether or not I am right or wrong about this, that Drayton McLane is actually making some of the decisions that should be left up to Phil and ALL of the decisions that should be left up to Purpura.

I believe that McLane, and yes, this is OPINION, decided that this year that he would go all out marketing Biggio and the Quest For 3000, since he decided not to deal with his other 2 primadonnas, who were who he used to heavily market the team previously.

I believe McLane ordered Phil to play Biggio leadoff and only rest Biggio when Biggio wanted to be rested.

So I will not criticize Phil for obeying orders. I also will not criticize Phil for keeping Berkman in the lineup. I also will not criticize Phil for batting Pence 5th or 6th instead of second because we need SOMEONE who can drive in runs. Berkman is still walking a lot, Lee often hits singles after Berkman gets on and we HAVE to have someone behind them who can drive them in.
And Pence is having a tough time adjusting to ML pitching – yes, I know he is getting “hits” but they have been infield dribblers to short and he has only gotten the ball out of the infield once in the past 5 games. He does NOT need any more pressure that would come from being moved up in the lineup.

I also will not poke at Phil for keeping Adam Everett in the lineup – this team is mostly groundball pitchers and there HAS to be someone who can vacuum GB and the other option, Mark Loretta, can’t catch a cold at short, as should be MORE than obvious to anyone who has seen him try to play there.

OK – now what do I have to complain about? Plenty!!!!! Phil has 2 obsessions that cause trouble
1 – his belief/hope that every player should be able to play anywhere. For example, Brad Ausmus never played any position except catcher in any regular season game until manager Phil Garner had him play games at first, second and third as a 2000 Detroit Tiger. He didn’t play out of position again until Phil took over. The only players he hasn’t done this with are guys who simply CAN’T play somewhere else. You KNOW Eric Bruntlett was his ideal player…
2 – his complete and total insistence on lefty righty matchups, both hitting AND pitching. Sorry, but I would rather see Qualls, Wheeler and, yes, Lidge facing a lefty than Trever Miller because they are simply far superior pitchers.

But he does strange things that simply can NOT be explained -
… such as – batting Palmeiro leadoff????? Refusing to play Luke Scott against lefties in spite of the fact that he hits lefties better than Lane.
… such as – not letting Qualls come back and pitch another inning if he only threw one pitch and got a GIDP to end the inning. WHY is it necessary to bring in another pitcher?
 …such as – throwing Brian Moehler out there to pitch one inning when Qualls needed work and hadn’t been used in 5 days. It’s not football we’re playing – there aren’t strictly offense/defense players and there shouldn’t be pitchers you ONLY call in to pitch in the 8th if we’re winning. I’ve heard of “roles” but that is absurd.

One of my personal friends emailed me and said:
“Mark Loretta playing first base and batting third? Are you freaking kidding me? Garner continues to use Jason Lane against lefties. That has to stop like RIGHT NOW.

I’ll tell you another thing that has to stop. Playing Mike Lamb and batting him second. 0-3 so far tonight, with 3 strikeouts and (EVERYONE GASP IN ASTONISHMENT) an error that led to three unearned runs. He’s batting .300 in May, but that’s only because of a 3-for-5 performance against Arizona on the 12th. Since that game, including his 0-3 so far tonight, he’s batting .080. No kidding. .080 WITH 7 strikeouts in 25 at-bats. And this is the guy he keeps batting second in the lineup. Completely absurd.

I know this isn’t the same team that went to the World Series, but Phil Garner has got to go. This team is too good to be playing this badly, and these managerial decisions are just too stupid for words.”

My friend is NOT one of the many people who insist that Lamb should be made the regular 3B and Mo Ensberg traded/released. As I keep saying, even the Rangers discovered that Lamb does NOT have the glove to play third and that was when he was YOUNGER and fielding ability DECREASES with age.