Archive for June, 2007

6/30/07: Mark Loretta Beats Brian Fuentes With A Walk Off Homer

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Sorry yall, no column today – my best friend is having a baby so I’m busy.
Astros with a walk off homer in the 9th – I don’t think we’ve had 2 walk off wins in a row, ever. But I’ll check it out later.

6/29/07: Roy Oswalt Gets 4th ND This Year Pitching 7 Innings And Giving Up 0-1 Run

Friday, June 29th, 2007

I should just get a form to write these games up. Roy pitches a great game, gives up 9 hits – only 2 well hit balls, a homer by Ianetta and a triple by Matsui, 2 walks and 4 Ks – 1 ER, and leaves with the hitters scoring only a single run for him. Pence and Berkman left 2 on in both the 3rd and 5th, and Ausmus and Bruntlett left 2 on in the 4th.

I also suppose I should 

get a nice form†talking about the Francoing going on in the bullpen.†Purpura kept his word and made†2 of 4†changes in the pen that needed to be made -†Rick White was released and the Steve Randolph Project was called off and he was DFA’d. Matt Albers and Mark McLemore were recalled, and hopefully, they won’t just be wasting space on the bench.

The bullpen wasn’t uh, at its best tonight. Trever Miller came in to start the 8th, got lefty Todd Helton out, then was left in to pitch to righty Garrett Atkins, who promptly doubled. Qualls was then sent in to face PH righty Spilborghs and promptly gave up a 2 run homer. He then gave up a single to short that Bruntlett doesn’t get (is anyone missing Adam Everett yet besides me?) , then a SB, then another run on a single to right. Borkowski comes in and gets the DP to end the inning.

He’s then done for the night and Dan Wheeler comes in, looks like the old Dan Wheeler, pitches 2 beautiful scoreless innings, striking out the side in the 10th. (Naturally, the hitters don’t reward him for his excellence by scoring any runs)

So guess who comes in to pitch the 11th? Albers? nope. McLemore? nope. Ex-Tiger Brian Moehler? yep.

So all yall know the ending without checkin the Box score, hunh… Well, you’re right that Moehler gave up the go ahead homer all right.

BUT

Here’s The Rest Of The Story:

Craig Biggio, on His night,†his first 5 hit night†since Opening Day 2001, went up to the plate facing the Rockies closer, Brian Fuentes with 2 out, and beat out an infield single. There is always a whole lot of talk about “playing the game the right way” – gawd knows exactly what that means, but the ONE thing Biggio always, and I mean ALWAYS does is run out every single grounder at full speed, even if he is going to be out by 30′ and this was the second time tonight it paid off.

Then, with Biggio on third and Hitless Hunter at the plate, Hunter got his first hit of the night, a double to† center, advancing Biggio to third. Fuentes is a lefty, so with Berkman batting righty, I just prayed that maybe he could just hit it up the middle to tie the game, as he has lost all power from the right. But Fuentes hit him and Carlos Lee, who hadn’t done diddly all night is at the plate.

And Carlos hits the first pitch into the Crawford Boxes.

I haven’t hear screaming like that since Jeff Kent hit the walk off 3 run homer off Jason Isringhausen to win Game 5 NLCS 2005.

Interesting that although Fuentes has saved 20 games this year, he has blown his last 3 saves and lost the games. Happens to every closer, not just Wheeler, who, hopefully, is back on track.

Maybe I should have waited for a few more games to post the tombstone entry…

Craig Biggio Hits # 3002, Passes Clemente

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Biggio came into tonight’s game needing just 3 hits to reach The Big One and he singled in the third, singled in the 5th (it should really have been a ROE as Atkins should have had more than enough time to throw him out, but hey, it was the hometown scorer) and drove in a run with a single he tried to stretch into a double in the 7th, ruining Aaron Cook’s shutout bid.

But the night was far from over.

Biggio singled to lead off the 9th, but was erased on Pences fielder’s choice. He then beat out an infield single to short with 2 out in the 11th – hustle all the way, every hit, every time, no matter the score. And this was the first time he had a 5 hit night since Opening Day 2001, and he hammered the first nail into the Rockies coffin in the Astros 4th come from behind win in the bottom of the 9th victory this year.

I know it’s not good for marketing purposes, but THIS was the way to make a mark.

Biggio NEEDS to be remembered for being the great player he was for so many years – one of the 10 best players of the 1990s. I wrote a retrospective on Biggio’s career for his 40th birthday a few years back – click here to read.

He was a no doubt about it Hall Of Famer at that time. This was just gilding the lily, as the saying goes.

6/27/07: It’s Tombstone Time On A Platter

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

On a day when Woody actually pitches a decent game – 3 runs in 6 IP with6 H, 1 walk and NO HOMERS, and Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler both pitch 2 beautiful, sharp scoreless innings, and Miller gets his one lefty out, Borkowski, who had a 3.10 ERA just 10 days ago, can’t get a single out, giving up a double, an IBB and a 3 run game winning homer to Damian Freaking Miller – as bad as Lidge giving up a game winner to Scott Podsednik -and my Stros lose to Astros killer Dave Bush and we get swept. And let me not forget that Mo Ensberg, Mr Glove, is the one whose error lost the game for Woody.

So
These old songs are goin through my head…†

They asked me how I knew
My baseball team was through
Oh, I of course replied
We’re 32 and 45, it cannot be denied

They said someday you’ll find
Astros fans must be blind
Oh, if your team seems on fire
You must realize
Smoke’s got in your eyes

So I chaffed them and I gaily laughed
To think they could doubt my Stros
Yet today the season has flown away
Cuz they blew too many games

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I can not hide
Oh, so I smile and say
When a bullpen dies
Gives up waaaayyy too many flies
Smoke gets in your eyes

(apologies Jerome Kern)

and let me not forget:

Gloom laden scores of games are falling, it’s Tombstone Time
Out of the Box Stros fans are calling, ’tis Tombstone Time

When other teams bigger numbers mark the end of games
I hear you, my friends, it’s Tombstone Time

Deepening shadows gather sorrow as games are lost
Fingers of stone will soon surrender the losing run
I count the moments, Drayton, till you see the cost
The Stros are, at last at Tombstone Time

Deep in the Box the hits could thrill me like days of old
Lighting the spark of wins that fills me with dreams untold
Each day I pray for the time that you want that too
So there would be no more Tombstone Time

(apologies Ram Buck)

6/26/07: Phil Garner Does Not Understand That Doing Nothing Is Doing Something

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Far as I’m concerned, this game ended at 9:20 when Wandy lost control, walked 2 guys on 8 straight pitches, gave up a single to left (not fielded baseball – ahem) then a “single” to the RF wall that Luke Scott didn’t handle very well, then when I saw Rick White going to the mound, I said to Husband, well, THIS game is now OVAH.

One of Phil Garner’s many weaknesses as a manager is his inability to recognize the time at which a pitcher should be pulled – he’s had this weakness through 2 pitching coaches, so it is not the fault of the pitching coach. He pulls pitchers when they are not tired and are going strong and he DOESN’T pull pitchers when it is clear that they have lost it.

Tonight was just another example, the most infamous of which, in my opinion, was leaving Roy Oswalt in Game 3 of the WS to throw 41 pitches and give up 4 runs in one inning in a can NOT lose game. Phil didn’t so much as move, let alone go to the mound, try to break the rhythm or get any pitcher warmed to relieve.

Jeff Angus, the author of Management By Baseball, a great book which anyone who has anything to do with business or even managing a lot of other people should read, says (on page 83)
          “Not making a decision, as the father of American Psychology and noted fan of the National League’s miserable Boston Beaneaters William James said ‘is itself a passional decision – just like deciding yes or no – and is attended with the same risk”…

And it is beyond time to make some very drastic changes in the bullpen. For example, it is time to realize that the other 29 teams were right and Rick White was finished last year and that he hasn’t been a guy who could pitch more than 1 inning at a time for over 3 years. Tonight he gave up a 2 run homer, a walk, a double, an intentional walk and a grannie to Tony Freaking Graffanino.

And I hope, by the way, that this series with the Crew has been SOME kind of wake up call about the need to have a good farm system to develop players.

Of the starting lineup, only Mench (obtained in a trade) and Estrada (FA) are not recent products of their good and deep farm. Bill Hall is 27, Corey Hart is 25, JJ Hardy is 24, Ryan Braun is 23, Prince Fielder is 23 and Rickie Weeks is 24. This core of excellent players are going to be together for at least 4 years straight.

And speaking about making decisions, the most important ones need to be made by McLane, and soon.

Mr. 3 more to go will get the Big One this weekend, thank goodness THAT will be over, and then it is come to Jesus time for McLane. He is the kind of guy who will hate to admit that the season is OVAH before the ASB, but he should. He needs to seriously ask himself if he should continue playing GM or he should actually HIRE someone who can do the job, as he himself is not that man and Purpura is CLEARLY not that man. As many people have commented on my blog and others, he hasn’t made a good trade OR picked up any useful players from the scrap heap, like, say Dan Wheeler. I have no idea whether or not we were ever interested in signing Troy Percival, but I would think he would be a much better candidate for success than Chan Ho Park, who is wasting a roster spot at AAA.

I have absolutely NO idea how much credit/blame to assign him for the Pettitte/Garland/Jennings debacle. I will say that I still stand by my stated belief that it was a good idea to do something else besides play patty cake with Pettitte the minute he started this – oh, ida know if I wanna retire or not, oh whatEVAH shall I do – crapola. I wouldn’t have given Pettitte any 2 year deal my own self – this from a guy who had said for a few months that he just didn’t KNOW if he wanted to retire, a guy who had elbow problems. I don’t know why they WANTED to get rid of Hirsh, but they did, but trading 2 cheap young pitchers for a year of a rent-a-pitcher when he isn’t The One Missing Piece, as Randy Johnson actually WAS, is not a real too good idea, you know what I’m sayin.

The Aubrey Huff trade was flat out stupid, no question. Replacing Springer with White was flat out stupid. I have NO idea whether or not Willy was a throw in on the trade, or McLane decided he wouldn’t have any Boras clients on his team, even cheap ones – so I can’t judge there neither.

But I don’t see one single SMART move that Purpura has made.

I actually credit Phil with Borkowski (yes, Phil was right on that one) as much as I blame him for Moehler and his fetish with other ex-Tigers.

It is now time for McLane to remove his head from the sand and take a good long look at this mess of a team and farm then go take a good long look at the man in the mirror. It’s time for him to fire Purpura – I wouldn’t trust that man to make a trade with anyone and not get the very short end of the stick. It’s time to hire someone who has smarts like Hunsicker and let the man DO HIS JOB. It is also time to fire Phil, who has reached the end of the cycle of his usefulness. It is time to play Scott full time in right, time to play Burke full time at second OR trade them for useful prospects, if possible. I know there aren’t many players on this team who would bring good young players, but it is time to try. There is no way McLane will purchase enough good free agents to play the positions that need fulling.

Time to rebuild.

I’d rather go back to the teams of young players learning (and losing) I watched when I was a child than keep watching this hopeless mess. And I think that most Astros fans would feel the same way.

And I most CERTAINLY know that simply because a player is a very good AAA player – see Todd Self, Mike Burns for a few examples, that does not mean he will succeed at the ML level. But with the season firmly in the toilet, it’s time to try some of them out anyway.

6/26/07: Astros Hitters, Not The Astros Bullpen Lose Jennings Game

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Well yall, this is gonna be short.
Jennings pitches 7 innings, gives up 3 ER on 5 hits and 4 BB – as well as THREE stolen bases and 2 WP. So not too much damage with not stellar defensive catching or fielding

Unfortunately, Ben Sheets only gave up 1 ER (5 hits) over 6 IP and the Brewers bullpen shut the door. (I really WAS shocked to not see Biggio in the lineup. Imagine sitting him against a tough righty away. How puzzling. It’s not like he would have gotten any closer to that magic number which defines this season) Ah well, he wouldn’t have done worse than Loretta today and he should have SOME chance of getting one hit off Vargas.

Our bullpen? Well, Steve Randolph, uh, well, um, lets say it’s not pretty.

Lefty Prince Fielder homers. Then righty Hall doubles, then righty Estrada doubles, then lefty Jenkins doubles, then lefty Counsell K’s. Borkowski comes in, gives up a sac fly and a groundout.
It will be interesting to see if they give him more of a chance than they gave Mike Burns.
Carlos Lee scored the only run with a homer off Sheets. Thank you Carlos for making sure we didn’t get shut out.

Uck

Sigh

Amazing that both the Astros and the White Sox, who were in the WS only TWO years ago, both have declined so badly. It’s time to think about next year.

6/24/07: Chris Sampson Pitches Great But Dan Wheeler Pitches Lousy

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

I am getting TIRED of writing it. Chris Sampson pitched another, yes, ANOTHER QS and left after 7 innings, having given up 5 hits, no walks, 1 HR and 3 ER with the Astros leading 7-4. Now it is true he was pitching lights out, having gotten a nice 1,2,3 out each of the last 3 innings. But he was up to 96 pitches, and I guess Phil hoped that the bullpen could hold a 4 run lead for 2 innings.

Nope.

Rick White came in and gave up 2 singles. Phil pulled him immediately and sent in closer Dan Wheeler to pour gas on the fire. He got the first out, but then gave up a WP, then a 2 run single, then a 2 run homer. Good Bye Win #7 for Chris Sampson.

So in the 9th, Loretta hits a 2 run single, Astros lead 9-7.

Can Wheeler hold THAT one?

Heck no – he gives up TWO solo shots. We are talking our closer giving up six earned runs in 2 innings, 2 of them charged to White.

We score 3 runs in the top of the 10th. Chad Qualls nails down the save. FINALLY.
Astros fan Skip asked me to please post the numbers of the relievers. Dude is a glutton for punishment fer SHER. OK, here we go:

Rick White: On May 18, he had 12 appearances, had pitched 18 innings, gave up 9 hits, no homers, 8 BB, 7 K, 3 ER and had an ERA of 1.50. Since then, he has appeared in 9 games, pitched 10.1 innings, given up 22 H, 2 HR, 15 ER (Phil left him in to rot for 0.1 horrible innings against the Dbacks where he gave up 7 ER) and he now sports a sparkling 5.72 ERA, a 1.52 WHIP and a .282 BAA over 28.1 innings.

I hope ol Timmy Purp shudders when he sees the numbers of the guy he threw on the garbage heap to replace with White – yeh, Russ Springer, who has pitched 27.1 innings and has a 2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and a .191 BAA. Well THAT sure was a good tradeoff, hunh? And Springer WANTED to stay.

Trever Miller, LOOGY Extrordinaire? UGH – ERA 7.71, WHIP 2.20 and BAA .312. His ERA dipped to 3.86 on April 28th, rose, dipped to 4.38 on May 17, and has been in the 6 – 7 range ever since. AND he has 3 BS. Not exactly sure why he’s on the roster still, but hey, no one thought that a guy who had a career year at age 33 just might could regress TO his career levels. Or below.

Dave Borkowski – actually he has pitched pretty darn well. He had that terrible day in LA where he couldn’t find the plate and gave up 4 ER in 0.1 IP, which raised his ERA from 3.23 to 4.35. Of course it hurt that he gave up 2 walks and the game losing hit the day before. But he has been in the mid 3 in ERA all year and has been the only good pitcher besides Brad Lidge.
Moehler – simply dreadful – his ERA has been in the 6-7 range for 2 months. He’s now at 6.12 with a 1.60 WHIP and a .330 BAA. It’s not defensible to even have this guy on the team. Well, it wasn’t in the first place, but he IS one of those all important ex-Tigers Phil LUUUVVVVVVS so much.

Dan Wheeler: was sailing along at the end of May – 9 saves, 1 BS, 23.2 IP, 15 H, 3 HR, 6 BB, 27 K, 8 ER for an ERA of 3.04. Then something terrible happened. In June, he has 3 losses, 2 saves and 3 BS. 10.2 IP – 11 games, 16 H, 5 HR, 12 K, 3 BB, 17 ER. He gave up runs in only 5 of those 11 games, but he gave up 3,3,3,4 and 4 ER. He now has a 6.55 ERA. Yeah, you read that right.
Chad Qualls: His ERA has averaged in the mid 3s to mid 4s for the past 2 months and now stands at 4.38 – not great, but awesome compared to the other guys. Overall, he has 2 BS, but got the W because the team came back as well as 2 saves, 2 more W and 2 L. A lot of people are grousing about him because he gave up a few runs yesterday and 3 runs the game before, but he had 8 straight scoreless appearances before that.

So, it just might could be time to, uh, re-assess the bullpen. Because they have now lost 14 games. This is bad. (Ask Roy, Chris and Wandy you disbelieve me)

Anyone around here sorry we didn’t trade Brad Lidge away just yet?

As one fan asked, is it POSSIBLE for anyone from AAA to be worse? Unfortunately, yes. But we won’t go there just yet…

And we’re off to see Milwaukee, the best team in the NL. Jason Jennings faces Ben Sheets. Any bets on whether Biggio gets one of the 4 more hits he needs against this ace righty?

6/24/07: They Left Their Game In California

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Dear gawd what a debacle.

The Astros are facing Jamey Wright – a pitcher so bad he makes Woody look good. He gives up six walks and only THREE freaking hits in 5.1 innings and the Astros score only 2 measly runs. Of course, the Astros left men on base in 5 of the 6 innings he pitched, and neither Pence not Lee hit. (Berkman sat this one out with a bruised hand, said the guys on the radio)

Roy gave up 3 runs in the 5th, then got a 1,2,3 out 6th, then walked 3 straight batters in the 7th before Rick White came in to relieve and left all 3 runners stranded. Roy was delighted that he wasn’t Francoed, even if he was Clemensed AGAIN. Not that I blame Phil for sending Roy back out in the 7th – he looked strong the inning before and the bullpen HAS sucked…

Poor Roy – he must be ready to strangle the hitters and the bullpen. I know I am and it ain’t me who is losing yet ANOTHER Cy Young.

White gave up a solo homer in the 8th, then a single, then a sac-bunt. Then Miller came in to “relieve” and got the first lefty out, them walked Lofton. Miller sure is walking a LOT of batters this year, isn’t he? Then Qualls comes in to relieve Miller, who is pulled with pain in his leg, and gives up a walk, 2 singles, and 3 runs. Lidge picked a bad time to quit smoking – or was it sniffing glue (yeah, joke, JOKE)

I like how Phil sends Biggio up to pinch hit for Bruntlett against Eric Gagne. Good grief. Biggio against what is left of Gagne – no contest at all.

Sigh.

I just hate watching Biggio this year. It’s so unfreakingbelieveably painful. I mean, I was 8 years old when I first watched him and he was so GOOD – 22 years old and an instant star – and he was what everyone thinks Pence is. 

The Astros Biggest Rookie Star doesn’t remember Biggio. (Or Bagwell, but I digress) And then he spent the decade of the 90s being absolutely GREAT. I remember him as a force to be reckoned with. He sprayed doubles everywhere, stole bases, took the extra base, was the guy the opposing team HATED to see at the plate. I remember him as a 5 tool catcher with a great arm who could hit. And run. And block the plate, small as he was. I was SO disappointed when they put him on second base and replaced him at catcher with 2 guys who were so much worse at everything than he was. And somehow he learned to play another position and didn’t lose a beat. You see, I want to remember him for the greatness he was, not this, this faint shadow of him.

You know he is one of the 7 greatest, possibly 5 greatest second basemen of all time. It just kills me when my children look at him and ask why they let him play when he can’t hit or field. They don’t understand the explanation – well, because he USED to be great, and in truth the owner is dissing him by making sure he gets 3000 hits in order to FINALLY get an Astros player in the Hall when Biggio was a no DOUBT about it Hall of Famer 3 years ago. The owner is also using Biggio’s last year of horribly embarrassing himself to milk as much money as he can for marketing purposes. They think I’m making that up and I only wish I was.

I just HATE HATE that their memories of Biggio will be what they are seeing now, a guy on his last legs who has nothing left but his hustle, a guy whose career death throes are the basis of this year’s Astros marketing campaign.

I’m almost glad that this team is so terrible that Biggio’s awfulness is masked somewhat by the failure of almost everyone else. Ah well, only 7 more hits to go until The Big One.

Not that anything will really change…

Final game (Rangers have won The Boot already) is Chris Sampson vs Robinson Tejada, RHP. Naturally, Biggio will be in the lineup. Sampson is PRAYING it is Bruntlett at short and Loretta at third because he’s remembering ALL the hits that “found holes” 5 days ago…

6/23/07: Woody Was Bad, Randolph Was Bad And The Hitters Didn’t

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

It took bout an HOUR to get through just the first 2 innings. At the end, Woody had already thrown 50 pitches and given up 2 ER – and let’s say he was not exactly helped by his defense. And of course, it’s the AL – who CARES about stuff like defense? What matters is interminably long baseball games with high scores because fielders can hit but not catch the *(^*^&$%! baseball.

Anyway, by the end of the third inning, Woody had walked the bases full, then managed to get the last 2 outs without any more runs scoring, but he was already at 84 pitches. And against the freaking Texas Rangers, the second worst team in the AL.

Somehow, he managed to get 3 outs in the 4th on 6 pitches. (And he’s FINALLY leading 3-2 because FINALLY, the guys manage to hit with RISP)

But it was a last gasp because in the 5th, he gave up a single to Young – went up the middle and of course, Loretta didn’t get anywhere near it, then Sosa’s 601st homer – a 335′dink to right, then a massive blast to Marlon Freaking Byrd – I think that ball must have gone over 450′, and there were are, 5 runs in 4 IP.

Seven hits, 4 walks, 5 runs. You know, I wish we had had Woody on the team back when he was good. Now he’s just sad, and switching from Q to Ausmus really hasn’t exactly helped much. I really don’t know what we’re gonna do about him – he signed a 2 year contract, not sure if he would be any good in the bullpen and I can’t see Drayton finding anyone who would trade for him, including the Cards, who are more than desperate.

Sigh

So in comes new reliever Steve Randolph – no one on base, at least. So he walks Frankie Catalanotto, strikes out Gerald Laird, then gives up a GIANT homer to Brad Wilkerson, then gives up a double on the very next pitch that almost goes out, then Kenny Lofton, age 40, beats out a single to short (but fielding doesn’t matter, does it), then he walks Kinsler – bases loaded – then he walks Michael Young, run scores, then Sammy Sosa singles and Lofton and Kinsler score.

We’re now down 10-3. Aat this point, Randolph has thrown 32 pitches, 16 strikes, 16 balls. He’s given up 3 walks, a homer, 2 singles and gotten exactly 1 out. That is 5 runs in 0.1 IP. Mercifully, he gets the next 2 outs without letting any more runs score. Interestingly enough, this was the exact opposite of what he did in AAA – almost no walks, lots of Ks, very few homers – and the homer and double were on FB mid thigh down the middle. ML hitters hit those.

Let’s have some discussion here about Phil and relievers. In the past week, we have watched Phil leave relievers in who clearly have exactly nothing who then lose the game or, like tonight, put it waaaaayyyy out of reach. You HAVE to yank relievers when they are CLEARLY not doing their job. I wouldn’t have objected to Phil letting Randolph get creamed out there if he had come in with the score 10-3 – you’ve already lost, what the heck. But letting Borkowski stay in the other night when he clearly had nothing, and hey, even the greatest pitchers have horrible games and Borkowski is merely an OK reliever, not great – and now doing the same thing with Randolph tonight – NOT good judgement on Phil’s part. (The situation with Qualls was different because he was getting GB – it’s just that we have grossly sub-par fielders that plays weren’t being made)

After Phil let Randolph run up the score to 10-3, the hitters all went 1,2,3 quietly. It didn’t help, of course, that Loretta left 1 on in the first, Chris Burke, Ausmus and Biggio left 2 on in the second, Lamb left men at 1st and 3rd in the third, and Scott left 2 on in the 5th. It WAS Kevin freaking Millwood with his 7 something ERA we are talking about here, not Johan Santana or Francisco Liriano.

And speaking of hitters, I’ve heard that Pence has been hanging with Biggio. And one thing fer SHER he has learned REAL good from the Bidge is how to give a Bull Durham interview, saying exactly nothing – check it out (from MLB.com)

6/21/07: Looking At Steve Randolph, Part 2

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

There has been some discussion about Randolph’s work at AAA. Now, I admit that I don’t watch the Express games, and the only info I have to go on is the data from MILB.com and the Express Web site – neither of which has box scores or playbyplay as do sites that report MLB.
From reading the recaps of every game on the Express web site (yeah, I know) it seems to me that Randolph was used as a mopup guy and a long reliever, mostly, and not a LOOGY. Because I don’t have box scores or playbyplay, I can’t tell exactly when he entered games unless the recaps specifically say so.

Because I have noticed that Phil really prefers to use leftys as LOOGYs (as he has done with BOTH Gallo and Miller and – shudder – Franco) I wanted to see how Randolph might do IF he would be used in the role that Phil usually prefers. (Yes, I KNOW Phil said he is going to use Randolph in the same way he uses Borkowski – several innings at a time if need be, but I’ll believe it when I see it. It’s REALLY unusual to see people act in a way that is opposite from their inclinations, and especially if Miller continues to, uh, not get the job done, I would find it REALLY hard to believe that Randolph wouldn’t find himself the new LOOGY)

Therefore, I would worry about how he does against leftys and pitching from the stretch. Based on comments in the previous entry on Randolph as well as emails I have received, opinions of fans who watch the Express and go to games is divided on how Randolph pitches if he is not used to mopup.

So, here are the game recaps of the 6 games Randolph won (from www.roundrockexpress.com)
6/9:
Two innings later, after Oklahoma had regained the lead 5-4, Ransom belted a 0-1 pitch over the left field fence, driving in Jason Lane but more importantly helping his club regain the lead.
Stephen Randolph closed out the ninth while just allowing one hit…
(looks as if he came in when the Express was behind and pitched the inning when his team took the lead)

6/2
With a two-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth, trusty reliever Stephen Randolph was sent on to secure the victory, but Sacramento had other ideas for the packed crowd of 14,197. First baseman Jeremy Brown came up to bat with two out in the inning and a man on first, having just nine extra base hits to his record this season. But with one swing of the bat, Brown had his 13th and 14th RBI and just his second home run, and game that was forced into extra innings.
(Blown Save – a stat not recorded in the minor league stats I can find)

After a scoreless 10th, Cody Ransom knocked a two-out, line drive single to left field that allowed Burke and Eric Bruntlett to score, giving them a two run lead to once again hand over to Randolph.
This time the lefty delivered, striking out the side with a base hit in between, but never a serious threat against the Express’ hard earned lead. Randolph earned his fifth win on the season and it couldnít have come at a better time as the clubís six game losing streak came to a halt and moved to within two games of the division lead.
(so he was pitching when his team came back and took the lead)

5/15
After tossing a scoreless eighth, Stephen Randolph entered the ninth with a 7-3 lead and immediately picked up his second strikeout for the Express. But Paul McAnulty dropped a single into center field and Luis Cruz followed with a single to left.
Vincent Sinisi lined out to shortstop Jesse Garcia, but Craig Stansberry drew a walk and Laforest turned on the second pitch he saw ñ a 92-mph fastball and evened the game at 7-7.
(another Blown Save)
Garcia struck out to open the bottom of the frame before Conrad drew a walk and Munson deposited a 1-2 delivery just over the wall in right field, saving Round Rock from its first extra-innings game of the year.
(but the team came back and won in the inning in which he was pitcher of record)

5/8
Left-hander Mark McLemore allowed just one hit on six strikeouts over four innings in the start and Stephen Randolph picked up win number three, working three hitless innings. Paul Estrada closed out the one-hit victory by fanning two over the final six outs.
(here he wins by pitching the 5th inning when McLemore was pulled after 4 – must have been a pitch count thing, as it sure looks as if he was dominating)

4/9
Left-hander and former Longhorn Stephen Randolph worked three innings of scoreless relief for his second win with the Express, who cranked out a season-high 10 hits.
(there aren’t any details in the game account that gives me any clue about when he came into the game and what the score was)

4/5
Fernando Nieve scattered five hits, three walks and three strikeouts over four innings in the start, allowing one earned run and University of Texas alum Stephen Randolph (1-0), Philip Barzilla and Paul Estrada combined to shut the Cubs out for the final five innings.
(looks as if Randolph pitched that all important 5th inning in a game in which they were ahead)