Archive for July, 2008

7/31/08: Excitement Galore!!! Ed Wade Gets Top Notch Middle Reliever LaTroy Hawkins

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

All the national baseball writers are laughing their heads off in print about the Astros insistence that they will not be sellers, but are going to busy acquiring players for our push to the playoffs.
I just love it when my baseball team is one of the national laughingstocks. Like I keep hearing how this team is supposed to have such great offense, but we’re 12th in runs scored in the NL.
All I can say is that either Drayton McLane is seriously insane and he thinks this lousy team has a snowflake’s chance in heck of actually competing for something besides 4th place in the NL, or he figures that this is the only way to keep butts in the seats in the ballpark and keep the season ticket sales strong.

sigh

Anyway, Ed Wade just obtained RH RP LaTroy Hawkins from the Yankees for Matt Cusick, our 10th rounder from last year, a 22 year old second baseman who has an .807 OPS in the Sally League.

Fightin Eddie had his little self a rep about his LUUUUVVVV of crappy middle relievers when he was with Philly…

LaTroy is 35, was drafted by the Twins in the 7th round in 91. He threw 20 something innings in 95 and again in 96, then was up for good – he was a starter on those terrible Twins teams of the late 90s – He had a 79, 90 and 76 OPS+ in the 3 years he started – 97-99, and then he was converted to reliever, and he did much better.

If I remember rightly, he was made into the closer in the second part of the year when the original closer went down/sucked and he did well, so he was made the closer the next year, 2001, and he, um, well, let me be a nice sweet grrrl and say he had his ups and downs. And finally, he went back into the setup role, where he excelled.

In 02 and 03 as the setup man, he posted OPS+ of 210 and 243 for the Twins.

He signed as a FA with his “hometown” (actually, he’s from Gary, Indiana, home of the Jacksons, but I digress) Cubs as a setup guy, but ended up closing (again) when the closer (I think it was Borowski) went down. He kind of had a Brad Lidge 06 year with a lower ERA – 25 saves, 7 BS and 3 losses and Cub fans, uh, were not happy – you know how THEY are. Anyway, the hate kind of carried over to the next year and he blew 4 saves and lost 2 more games in spite of his 133 ERA+ so he was traded to the Giants on May 28 for Jeremy Accardo and David Aardsma (who did not exactly excel with the Cubs either.)

He threw 37 innings of 104 ERA+ ball for the Giants and blew 5 saves and lost 4 more games with 1 save.

The Giants traded him to the Orioles at the end of the 05 season and he threw 60 innings of 102 ERA+ ball where he blew 4 saves and won 2 games.

He then signed as a FA with the Rockies for the 07 season and did amazingly better, throwing 55 innings of 140 ERA+ ball – 5 BS, 3 L and 2 W.

He signed a FA contract with the Yankees this year and immediately received an outpouring of hate from Yankees fans when they discovered that he was wearing the uni number of – get this – The Sainted Paul O’Neill – who has been retired for like 8 YEARS. You remember him – the biggest whiner and tantrum thrower I have ever seen play MLB – whined to the umps about every strike call, every strike out, threw bats, stomped around, acted like a 2 year old who needs a nap. And Paulie Poo is HARDLY a guy who deserves to have his number retired, for goodness sakes – he didn’t even last a year on the HOF ballot.

Anyway, LaTroy didn’t exactly do real too good in NY – 41 IP, 5.71 ERA, 1.44 WHIP – but only 1 W and 1 L/BS in his 33 appearances – seems he was used for mopup. He was DFA on the 26th.
Wonder who he’s gonna replace? Yeh, we could REALLY use that 5.71 ERA, we surely could.
Well, at least we didn’t give the Yanks 2 of our best players for some really really crappy AAA/AAAA guys and an A-ball guy who has a serious attitude problem. Or trade our HOF to be catcher who is hitting .295 for Kyle Suckulous Farnsworth. Now watch – this Cusick guy will turn into Joe Morgan and go to the Hall and the Astros will go down in the Hall of Worst Trades Of All Times.

sigh

I really need to just get used to the Astros being one of those teams with a lot of lousy major leaguers, empty farms and a big FA signing every year to keep people coming in to the ballpark. Drayton is just not gonna do what he should do – I mean, the guy should look over at the Giants, the Pirates, the Reds.

I’m glad I got to go to playoffs in 04 and I am glad I got to go in 05 and to the WS – I seriously doubt I’m going to see this club sniff playoffs for years and years – with the direction the owner is taking.

shrug

I can’t get myself real too Up Set – it is his club and he is here to make money – if he just happens to win, that is gravy. He’s not driven, like Steinbrenner, he just isn’t.

Now I’d like to see if Wade can, for a second, drop his obsession with lousy middle relievers and go get Greg Zaun from the Blue Jays – he wants out of there. Gregg is no Brain McCann, but he’s a HECK of a lot better than Quintero, who SUCKS. He’s 11 fer 57 with 2 doubles, no walks, 6 GIDP and 10 K.

7/30/08: Wandy Continues Hate Affair With Reds

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

His worst outing of the year – FB didn’t have good movement – he left 2 meaty ones mid plate waist high for Adam Dunn and Junior Griffey and they hit they waaaaay out of the park – and Adam Dunn hit another hanging curve out. Wandy was pulled with a runner on first after allowing 5 ER on 3 homers and Paronto, the reliever, promptly gave up a homer and let the run score.
Good news is Hunter Pence sems to be hitting the ball better – not so many lousy weakass groundouts to short.

And fortunately, the Reds SS made TWO errors in a row – he should have had an easy 6-3 on Erstad, then he should have had an easy 6-4-3 on Quintero’s grounder. Then Wiggy had a pinch hit 3 run homer. That was good.

By the way – since replacing Bourn as the regular CF, Erstad is 12/60. And Quintero is 1 fer July (since he came back from the DL.)

7/29/08: Brian Moehler Almost Throws A Complete Game And Carlos Lee Hits A Grand Slam

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Brian Moehler had a chance to finish it, but he tired out in the 9th – he gave up a run on a double, then a fly out, then a groundout, then he gave up a single, then a walk on 4 straight pitches. Wesley Wright came in to get the last out.

But Moehler has come the closest to a CG this year (Chacon really should have at Philly – he threw 8 shutout innings and Cooper pulled him for no obvious reason to let Valverde pad his stats and, um, if didn’t work out real too good…) He gave up 7 hits – 4 doubles (3 of em to Clank) and 3 singles, 1 walk, 3 K and 1 DP. He threw 100 pitches, 68 strikes.
Darn good.

Miggy is still hitting in the 2-hole and doing fine. Lance is still slumping.

Tomorrow, it’s Wandy vs Edisin Volquez, the probable ROY. He hasn’t faced the Astros yet this year, but he’s 12-4 in 20 GS and 1 in relief over 126.2 IP: 105 H, 8 HR, 61 BB, 134 K: 2.77 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and a .224 BAA.

The Wand Man got his work cut out for him, he surely do, especially with his nemesis Junior Griffey sure to be in the lineup… He’s 2-2 in 7 GS with a 5.59 ERA against the Reds.

7/29/08: Checking Out Ed Wade’s Phillies Draft History

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Ed Wade has the reputation of having good drafts as the Phillies GM. He certainly did very well with 4 of his first rounders, fer SHER. But, there ARE a whole lot more rounds, so I thought I’d look at them, see how well he did with picks reaching the majors – that is, guys who had more than a cup of coffee – at least 100 AB/50 IP in the majors.

1998: signed 39/44 picks – the 5 unsigned never were MLB players
- Pat Burrell – 1st round, 1st pick, 1B/LF – Big Star
- Eric Valent – 1st round, 42nd pick, 4th OF – 480 ML AB scattered over 5 seasons, was traded to Reds for Kelly Stinnett in 03 – last year in ML 2005
- Jason Michaels – 4th round OF – came up in 03, is a 4th OF, traded to Indians for Arthur Rhodes after the 06 season.
- Ryan Madsen – 9th round RH RP – came up in 04, unsuccessful starter, good reliever, still with team
- Geoff Geary – 15th round, RH RP – came up in 04, good reliever, traded after the 07 season for Brad Lidge
- Nick Punto – 21st round – utility IF – came up in 04, traded after the 06 season for Eric Milton, “All-Star” and a pitcher Who Knows How To Win.

1999: 37/44 drafted; 3 of first 10 picks went unsigned and one of those, Joe Saunders, is now #2 ML pitcher. Another unsigned pitcher, Kameron Loe, has been a SP/RP for the Rangers for 4 years.
- Brett Myers – 1st round, RHP – came up in 02 as SP – labeled ace, but was better than league average only in 05 and 06. Mediocre closer in 07, lousy in 08, sent to minors
- Marlon Byrd, 10th round, CF – came up in 03, touted as The Next Doug Glanville Only Better – which he wasn’t, not by a long shot. Had decent season in 03, terrible one in 04, traded to the Nats in 05 for Endy Chavez. Played in majors for 6 seasons, career 726 OPS.

2000: signed all 33 of the first 38 picks. 4 players made ML, 2 of whom had just a couple appearances.
- Chase Utley – 1st round, 2B – superstar. Rookie season in 04 was OK, but has been a stud since 05
- Taylor Buchholz – 6th round, RHP – traded as minor leaguer after the 03 season for 2 outstanding years of Billy Wagner

2001: signed 40/46 draftees, and only one of the unsigned players made the majors, had cup of coffee as RP.
- Gavin Floyd – 1st round, RHP – threw 110 innings over parts of the 04, 05, 06 season – Phils completely gave up on him, traded him after the 06 season to the White Sox for Freddy Garcia, who provided the Phils with 58 innings of 78 ERA+ ball and 2 club victories over 11 starts. Floyd got straightened out by the White Sox staff and is now a solid #2 guy.
- Ryan Howard – 5th round, 1B – superstar. In 03, he had just finished A ball, had an 888 OPS, and the Phils signed Jim Thome to a 6 year contract. Howard had an .897 OPS in an 04 cup of coffee, but was only called up to the majors in 05, in spite of a 1.157 OPS at AAA because Thome was down for the year with an injury. Howard won the ROY, and the Phils had a choice of trading their new superstar or Thome. They would have gotten bad pub trading their new STAR who won ROY, so they sent Thome and a LOT of $$$ to the White Sox for 1 year of Aaron Rowand. And yes, I know there is a lot of discussion even now about how the Phils thought that Howard was too ham-fisted to even handle 1B and how he struck out too much to succeed – um, wrong – not that Howard will ever MERIT the Gold Glove (notice I said MERIT, and not “receive” because we all know that the GG has more to do with BA than defensive prowess, ain’t that right Derek Jeter????)

2002: signed 41/47 picks: of the unsigned picks, only one had any ML time – a few lousy relief innings in 06. 3 of the signed picks had a couple of lousy innings in the majors, and none of them will be major leaguers. 2 others made AAA and one of them is already OOB and the other will not make the majors.
- Cole Hamels – 1st round, ace LH SP. Called up as 22 year old in 06, threw 134 innings of 110 ERA+ ball, and has been an ace ever since.

2003: signed 44/48 picks – of the unsigned picks, only 1 has excellent stats, but will not make the majors because his organization (Seattle) prefers a player who is really lousy. Another just made the majors with the other team who signed him – he’s a RP.
- Michael Bourn – 4th round – CF – looks as if his destiny is to be a 4th OF/DR, but he was traded for ace closer Brad Lidge, so he fetched a LOT more than he was worth as a player.
- Kyle Kendrick – 7th round – RH SP – one of those guys who was just supposed to be a career minor leaguer, but was called up from AA last year when some SP was injured and he stunned the Phils by throwing 121 innings (20 GS) of 3.87 ERA/ 1.27 WHIP ball with a K rate of 3.64/9 IP – those guys are not supposed to succeed, but sometimes, hey, they don’t CARE what baseball wisdom sez. He’s the #3 starter for the Phils this year – not quiiiite as good – 4.87 ERA over 20 GS in 109 IP – same low K rate of 4.05, but BB rate is up to 2.72/9 and homer rate is incredibly low (for CBP) at 1.24/9 IP. A gift they never expected.

2004: signed 46 of 50 players and everyone in the first 10 rounds. Their first rounder, an OF, is still at AA and has a 5 year minor league OPS of 710. The second rounder, a catcher, is now 25 and has spent the last 2 years in AAA and has a 697 OPS; they look like total flops to me. The only other player to reach AAA as a Phil is the 5th rounder, a pitcher, who sports a 4.87 ERA as a starter and reliever – and his 5 year minor league ERA is 4.50. He has a very low HR rate – 0.67 and a very low BB rate of 1. 75, but he only Ks 5.85/9 – still might could manage to relieve in CBP – youneverknow. And that is IT, except for
JJ Happ – 3rd round – LH SP – has thrown a couple of games in the majors, 2 good, 1 bad – looks as if he will get his chance now that Adam Eaton has been sent down.

2005: signed 47 of 49 picks. No first rounder. Only 2 have made AAA, the second round pick, Mike Costanzo, whose entire value has been as trade bait – first to get Brad Lidge for the Phils, then to get Miggy Tejada from the Orioles. The 3rd rounder, LHP Matt Maloney, was traded at the trade deadline last year for 2 months of Kyle Lohse, who gave the Phils 61 innings of 98 ERA+ pitching, PLUS a loss in the crucial NLDS game 3. Maloney looks as if he might could have a chance to play in the majors – ERA is 4.19, but WHIP is 1.23, HR is .97/9, BB is 2.58/9 and K is 8.58/9 – yeh, not exactly ace, but it isn’t like the Reds are stocked with awesome SP. Costanzo is a lead gloved 3B with a .741 OPS and a .406 SLG at AAA. AND 120 K over 350 AB.
The only guy to make the majors is Mike Zagursky, 12th round, who threw 21.1 relief innings last year with a 5.91 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP and is currently on the DL with leg problems.
That is all she wrote, unless one of the guys who is suckage in the low minors suddenly and unexpectedly succeeds when called up to be filler – srt of like Kyle Kendrick.

Summary:
1998 – Excellent draft. 1 top star for Phils; 2 good relievers†still playing†in majors†for the past†5 years; 1 utility IF who got them a ML starter in trade, playing for 5 years; 2 4th OF, 1 still playing for past 6 years, the other played for 3 years – neither did much for Phils
1999 – Less than average draft – 1 SP for 5 1/2 years, NOT the ace he was supposed to be, and one mediocre OF for 2 years who did not yield anyone useful in a trade.
2000 – Good draft – one superstar playing 5 years with Phils, 1 pitcher traded for 2 excellent years of superstar closer.
2001 – Good draft, but poor utilization of good ML pitcher who is now star for another team, for whome the Phils got essentially nothing in return and one superstar, whose prowess was seriously misjudged when he was a minor leaguer, which led Fightin Eddie to sign a hellaciously expensive FA for 6 years: The Phils lost significant $$$ on the deal, and received one excellent year of a CF.
2002 – OK draft – one ace pitcher and absolutely no one else of any value whatsoever
2003 -†Not a good†draft, AND no 1st or 2nd round picks. They got a 4th OF, who they traded for a great closer whose team didn’t want him there no mo, and a #3 SP who wasn’t expected to be a major leaguer. 1 other guy has made AAA, and that is it. I would have called this a lousy draft, except for the fact that one of their players was flipped by the CURRENT GM for an ace closer.
2004 – Really lousy. The only guy I see who even has a chance is a LH SP, who now has 18 ML innings, and no telling how he will do.
2005 – Massive suckage. The only good thing would be using Costanzo to get Lidge.

Conclusion – Fightin Eddie hasn’t had a good draft since he picked Cole Hamels in 02. Except for Ryan Howard, all his great picks were first rounders, and his last 3 drafts as a GM were piss poor.

In my opinion, his rep as a great drafter is based on his outstanding 98 draft, as well as the success of 3 other of his first rounders. Very very few of his picks even made AAA, which is worrisome. VERY worrisome.
However, I must add that his scouting director was Mike Arbuckle, NOT Bobby Heck, and I have no idea how much input Wade’s scouting directors had/have on his judgement. But more than a few guys should REACH AAA.

7/29/08: Roy Oswalt Beats The Reds For The 20th Time

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Yeah, he’s 20-1 with 3 ND. I guess it is one of those things. He certainly didn’t have what you might could call ace stuff, although striking out the side in the second after giving up a double and single was vintage Roy. Giving up a granny to Adam Dunn – that kind of thing happens when you throw a mid plate waist high FB –  however, was not – I only remember him giving up one granny ever and I am too sick to look through 8 years of game logs. He was taken out of the game after 5 innings and 72 pitches, which was a good idea. No point in pushing things in a year in which we are not contending for anything but 4th place – sorry Drayton, I’m not buying your, um, uh, PR. Anyway, Lance only really gave up 3 hard hit balls – 2 hits and an out – and 7 hits, 1 BB and 5 Ks – enough for a contender???

The bullpen managed to hang onto the 1 run lead for the next 4 innings – Byrdak got bailed out by Erstad, making a great catch on Encarnacion’s drive to the LF bullpen. Geary threw 1.2, then Wesley came in to do the leftylefty thing. Poor guy, he’s too good to just be strictly a LOOGY. Ah well, it beats AA, hunh dude?

Geoff Blum has taken up the slack for Lance and Clank; he drove in 3 and hit the game winning 2 run homer – yeah, it was in the 3rd, but hey, in spite of all the “clutch” stats and Win Probability stuff, a game winner in the 3rd is just as valuable as a game winning walkoff in the bottom of the 9th.

Miggy seems to be a LOT better in the 2-hole: he is basically a singles hitter these days (remember all the fans who were SOOOO sure he’d hit 50 homers into the C Boxes? giggle…) and he just isn’t driving in runners. Lance is still slumping – yeah, it sounds funny saying a guy with a .344 BA is slumping, but tonight he hit his first double since the ASB – heck, since July 5, and he’s stranding a lot of runners.

Hunter Pence still isn’t really doing much and Erstad is like 5 fer July.

Ah well, a win is a win.

Tonight, Brian Moehler tries to forget about his BP outing at PNC and will try to beat Bronson Arroyo who has been both good and lousy this year. If we beat the Reds, we’ll pull into a tie for 4th!!!! Isn’t that exciting??????

7/27/08: Astros Take Series From Brewers In Spite Of Ryan Braun

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

It was right after Wandy, who, by the way, was simply awesome, had struck out Corey Hart, swinging, fooling him with a sizzling FB juuuuust a bit higher than Corey was expecting, that #2 son, who had been standing silently next to me for the entire AB (which SHOULD have warned me) said – Mamiiiiiii, I don’t feeeeeel gooood. Sort of like the Brewers facing Wandy, who also didn’t feeeeel gooood, lookin at that nice crisp FB, great curve and rare but very useful changeup – the Crew only managed 3 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings and Wandy Kd 7 and got a GIDP, but gave up a balk (which led to the only run he gave up which he shouldn’t have given up because Ball 1 was actually strike 3…) Where was I?

Oh yeah, I should have moved juuuust a little faster because when somebody doesn’t feeeeeeeel goooood it means his stomach hurts and naturally, most kids don’t tell Mami in time to get to the bathroom in time so there’s a mess you know what I’m sayin. And don’t get me started with how Dogsss are about Things That Smell Bad.

So anyway, I missed watching the Stros do the decent thing and give Wandy a reward for such a stellar pitching performance (AND at Miller Park, I might could add – so much for – he can’t pitch away) by taking advantage of Manny Parra, who Yost left in 10 pitches too long who loaded the bases with a walk, a single and a ROE. For ONCE, the guys actually managed to hit with MOB and scored Wandy a couple of runs. Chris Sampson pitched 1.2 IP, Cecil pulled him with Fielder up to do the leftylefty thingy he learned so well from Phil, then Valverde pictched a 1,2,3 out. Not that it will do him any good, mind – I mean, we’re still pretending that this team is “competitive” right?

Lance drove in his first run in like forever (but HEY, where did the power go???) and Loretta and Kaz drove in runs with sac flies. Miggy, as usual, left all his runners on.
And Saturday, you ask? Why didn’t you write on Saturday?

Well, all yall who have kids know good and well that the only thing that kids LIKE to share are germs. So by Saturday afternoon, there were 4 kids and 1 grown man who ALSO didn’t feeeeeeeel goooood and so I was kind of busy fixing soup and crackers and tea and cleaning Bad Smelling Things before the Dogsss got to investigating. Therefore, I didn’t watch the game until it†was over and I caught the replay. Backe was pretty darn good, considering it was Miller Park, where he gets KILLT – gave up 4 hits, 4 walks and 2 runs over 5.1 IP – don’t ask me why Coop pulled him after a popup and an infield single at 87 pitches, but that’s Captain Hook for you (it’s not like he had trouble the inning before, neither.) Anyway, Geary did fine getting out of the inning, but the next inning, with 2 out and Durham on with a walk, he hung a nice fat juicy curveball to Ryan Braun, who pounced on it like Dogsss on Things That Smell Terrible And Are Full Of DisGUStime Germs. Tie game. And “Brokey” (one more piece of proof that Milo has lost his mind) coughed up the 2 losing runs. Backe can’t win – hahahaha.

NOT that Bush, who is usually an Astros killer, was any good. Miggy didn’t leave any MOB this time – mostly because Coop moved him into the 2-hole, where he went 4fer 4, but unfortunately, tons of runners were left on base – 5 by Clank, who drove in 2 and left 5, and Pence, Quintero AND Wiggy GIDP. In fact, there were only 2 innings in which no Astro reached base and they left bases loaded twice.

sigh

And the bad news is that Michael Bourn hurt his ankle sliding into second – got CS – and he’s been hitting fine since being put back in the lineup after Erstad went 2fer 20 something. Hit great in both the 2-hole and the 7-hole: guess it’s just leadoff that makes him nervous.

Kids felt MUCH better this morning and Husband wanted food for the first time in 2 days, but it was Mami’s turn to not feeeeeeel goooood, so I missed the game this afternoon and caught the replay. I like replays – I miss a lot of what I didn’t want to see anyhow.

Like Randy Wolf’s pitching. He seriously SUCKS. He gave up 7 hits, 4 walks, i homer to Ryan effing Braun – 4 R/3 ER and struck out the pitcher and 2 leftys over 4.1 innings/108 pitches – don’t ask me how he lasted that long. Dude wants to go back to California next year and I hope he does. Woody Williams looked better.

Chris Sampson pitched 2.2 innings, giving up 1 run, for the W. They should put him back in the rotation and make Wolf pitch out of the bullpen because the way he looks, dude isn’t even going to be a Type B FA (translation – no picks if we offer him arb and he walks.)

Fortunately, Suppan was teh suck and gave up 11 hits, 2 HR (both to Geoff Blum) 1 walk and 8 runs. Brad Ausmus went 4fer 4, drove in 2 and scored 2 and raised his average to a studly .248. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Quintero still sucks. And Clank lets at LEAST 3 balls fall in for hits every single game and he can’t throw out anyone, even from shallow left. But hey, we all knew that.

So we’re off to Cincy – you know, the place where Lance LUUUVVVVSSSS to hit and the place Roy LUUUUUVVVVVS to win- and Roy is coming off the DL tomorrow in time to pitch – after all, if he’s going to be traded, he’d better show that he can actually pitch.

Oh yeah – I forgot – now that we took the series with the Brewers, we’re back on a winning track, hunh Unca Drayton???

And speaking of Unca Drayton, I hear tell he agreed to pay the 8th round pick 3rd round money. Buddy boy must be hopping mad.

And Buzz Bissinger, hater of any writer who doesn’t work only for a newpaper or magazine, complained bitterly that overpaid athletes are taking money out of the mouths of other American Workers. Ever notice that Buzz and his little friends never complain that OWNERS are taking millions from TAXPAYERS to make millions for their own selves and thereby taking it from the American Workers? Or how the OWNERS never donate money to those self same unfortunate workers?

It’s all the players’ fault.

right…

And now, back to bed. I STILL don’t feeeeeel goooooood. And Husband has to wait on ME.
hehhehheh

Happy 44th Birthday Barry Bonds

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Yeah, I miss him. Will be interesting to se what happens to him in the future – will he get railroaded into prison so that the Hall will have a legitimate reason to keep him out? And how will people talk about him when he’s an old man?

youneverknow

I suppose I need to talk about the Astros. I watched “ace” Brian Moehler throw BP on Wednesday, watched the Astros leave 10 MOB, watched the Astros send Cassel back down in favor of Runs Elvys, and read the Astros email explaining that now that we had thrown away 3-4 mill on Randy Wolf, we were now in great position for our usual annual run to the postseason.
I am significantly angrier at Drayton McLane (and his toadies) than I am with the lousy ballplayers, for having the colossal nerve to portray the signing of a #4 or 5 guy, to add to our collection of #4 and 5 guys, as the needed piece for the run to the playoffs. Either those guys need some drugs for mental health, or, more likely, they just figure – as did that tyrant from the not so distant past – that the bigger and more outrageous the lie, the more people will accept it.

I don’t know if Drayton is simply unable to ever admit he made a mistake and start all over, or if he figures that what is most important is getting people to come to the ballpark on the promise of putting veteran ballplayers on the field who “Know How To Win” or some such rubbish. Yeah, he’s still selling tickets all right, but the number of people who are actually showing up are significantly fewer than the stated attendence figures.

I don’t know if/when Drayton will realize that he has GOT to try to rebuild – probably when Roy and Lance and Carlos and maybe even Hunter Pence demand a trade – not that Hunter looks anything like the ballplayer he looked like last year.

sigh

I keep telling myself that after a while, I’ll be able to pick up tickets for a few bucks each so I can take the kids to actually see ballgames. I remind myself that it IS major league baseball and even if MY team stinks like yesterday’s diapers, well, at least the other team might could be decent,

youneverknow.

And now the Astros take on the Brew Crew in Miller Park. The Crew trades for Sabathia. The Astros trade for Wolf.

And we start with Wandy vs Manny Parra

Wandy hasn’t done real too well vs the Brewers, who simply KILL leftys – they are 23-7 vs LHP this year. Lifetime, he’s 2-4 in 9 GS over 52 IP – 57 H, 7 HR, 23 BB, 40 K: 5.07 ERA, .284 BAA.
And he’s especially bad at Miller Park: 1-4 in 6 GS over 31.2 IP – 40 H, 7 HR, 14 BB, 30 K: 7.11 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, .310 BAA

Manny Parra has faced Houston 3 times this year: he’s 2-1 in 3 GS over 15.1 IP – 23 H, 5 HR, 8 BB, 12 K, 11 ER.
However, he’s pitched pretty well overall – since May 30, he hasn’t lost a game and of 9 starts, only 2 have not been QS. This year, he’s 9-2 in 19 GS and 1 in relief: 107.2 IP – 102 H, 9 HR, 52 BB, 87 K: 3.68 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and a .260 BAA.
He’s been even better at home – giving up only 2 homers over 59.2 IP – 3.02 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and a .214 BAA.

sigh

I’ll be wearing my Wandy t-shirt anyhow…

7/22/08: Not Hungry For The Wolf

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Ed Wade tried to get Randy Wolf to sign with Houston as a FA this past winter, but he didn’t want to come here at all and took much less money to go to San Diego. But he forgot to keep Houston off of his not acceptable list and he found himself traded for a AAA guy named Reinecke who the Astros had no intention of ever using – it doesn’t matter what his stats were because no matter WHAT they were, the Astros preferred to use Runs Elvys to him and that tells you all you need to know, doesn’t it? Ah well, maybe the Padres will turn Reinecke into Scott Linebrink – youneverknow.

Ed Wade, of course, had Wolf in Philly, where he had his last league average year in 2004. He had TJ surgery in 05, missed that year, part of 06, the last half of last year, but Ed has been assured by the Padres trainers that Wolf is completely healthy. Like Purpura was assured by the Rockies trainers that Jennings was completely healthy????? And Wade hopes to sign Wolf to a long term contract.

Wade insisted to the media that the Astros are a MUCH better team than our record shows and we fully expect to win and we are NOT sellers. I am not making this up. I don’t know if this is his idea or he is getting his marching orders from Drayton/Tal, but I don’t see that anything is better getting a lousy, washed up lefty.

Let’s take a look: His last full, uninjured year was 2004, but he was an All-Star (like that means something) in 03, so let’s start there:
(03 – 06 with Philly: 07 with LA, 08 with SD – both extreme pitchers’ parks)
2003: 2oo IP, 33 GS: 27 HR, 78 BB, 78 K: 4.23 ERA (94 ERA+) 1.27 WHIP
2004: 136.2 IP, 23 GS: 20 HR, 36 BB, 89 K: 4.28 ERA (105 ERA+) 1.32 WHIP
2005: 80 IP, 13 GS: 14 HR, 26 BB, 61 K: 4.40 ERA (100 ERA+) 1.41 WHIP
2006: 56.2 IP, 12 GS: 13 HR, 33 BB, 44 K: 5.56 ERA (84 ERA+) 1.69 WHIP
2007 102.2 IP, 18 GS: 10 HR, 39 BB, 94 K: 4.73 ERA (97 ERA+) 1.45 WHIP
†home: 62.2 IP – 11 games – 5 HR, 20 BB, 60 K: 4.60 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .262 BAA
†away: 40 IP – 7 games – 5 HR, 19 BB, 34 K: 4.95 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, .290 BAA
2008 119.2 IP, 21 GS: 14 HR, 47 BB, 105 K: 4.74 ERA (82 ERA+) 1.42 WHIP
†home: 65.1 IP over 11 GS – 6 HR, 23 BB, 62 K: 3.17 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .243 BAA
†away: 54.1 IP over 10 GS – 8 HR, 24 BB, 43 K: 6.63 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, .296 BAA
vs Cubs: 72.1 IP – 11 HR, 35 BB, 67 K: 4.98 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, .259 BAA
vs Cards: 52.1 IP – 6 HR, 14 BB, 52 K: 3.96 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .244 BAA
vs Brewers: never faced, but the Crew is 23-7 against lefty pitchers this year
vs Pirates: 52.1 IP – 3 HR, 13 BB, 59 K: 3.61 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .217 BAA
vs Reds: 84 IP – 7 HR, 16 BB, 97 K: 3.20 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .218 BAA
@ The Box: 22.2 IP – 5 HR, 7 BB, 12 K: 4.76 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .271 BAA

To put it quite mildly, I am NOT happy. I don’t like this idiotic pretending this is a good team and the absolute refusal to fix the problem at its roots – the execrable farm system, the terrible manager and coaches AND the owner playing like he’s Kevin Bacon directing traffic during the riot at the end of Animal House. Either that or being that guy in the commercial who is inspecting a dam, finds a leak and patches it with chewing gum.

Getting Randy Wolf is a bad BAD sign that this team is headed straight for the bottom of the NL, where it is going to stay for a long LONG time.

To quote Richard Justice,
      “The Astros aren’t good enough to compete this year. Whether they admit that or not is another story. What they need now is a plan. Nothing else is important. It comes down to two choices: to keep pushing forward, spending on free agency while developing the farm system. Or they need to decide to show every veteran and load up on kids. Jose Valverde would fetch a young player or two. I think Oswalt would accept a trade elsewhere, but he needs to show he’s healthy. I don’t think Carlos Lee would. Not sure about Berkman. Bottom line is they’re in a mess. All these years, we’ve criticized Drayton for not spending enough money. In the end, he spent too much money. He should have spent less on the big league roster and more on player development. It feels like they’re going to keep kidding themselves, going to keep delaying the inevitable.”

You tell em Richard. Yeah, Drayton is NOT gonna be real too happy you got the cojones to actually write that.

And let’s be real – Drayton is NOT going to do anything different until the fans stop coming to the park and Drayton stops making money. Or he REALLY gets booed. Whichever comes first…

Oh yeah,
and the Astros had their butts handed to them by the Pirates – they managed 6 singles against 5 time Cy Young winner and MVP Paul Maholm. As usual, Tejada did zero with MOB and Lance managed only a single and a run scored while stranding 4 guys on base. Wiggy and Pence,†for once, managed to drive in a run. Bourn went 2 fer 4 – and yeah, he’s hitting singles, but hey, that’s what he does when he hits.

sigh

This team NEEDS to be selling of the parts it can, not acquiring crummy 5th starters – AND they should have spent that 2.5 mill on something worth while – like signing better prospects who want more money, like Latin players, like a better manager, like better teachers for the minors.

7/21/08: Runelvys Outpitches Valverde

Monday, July 21st, 2008

That was one ugly ballgame. Seems that every inning, both the Pirates and Astros left men on base. I wouldn’t say that either Runs Elvys or Van Benschoten had what you could call good stuff, but rather that somehow, in spite of all the midplate pitches, too few were hit. The Astros managed 6 hits and 4 walks and 3 runs off Van Benschoten and Runelvys gave up 8 hits, 2 walks and 3 ER. And, by the way, when the Astros who are getting XBH are Brad Ausmus with a double and Kaz with a double, you know this is not good – and you know that the Astros only hit singles in the last few games, right?

Actually, I’m kind of worried about Lance, who is hitting in Towles territory for July – and he Kd tonight with bases loaded and left 2 more as well. He’s walking, but not hitting. Miggy went ofer and left 5 guys on. Carlos drove in 2 and went 2 fer 4, but he also left 5 guys on. Pence went 1fer 5 with an infield single. Bourn went 1/3 with 2 walks and a run scored. Kaz went 3fer 5 with a run scored.

Valverde – well, that’s the worst I’ve seen him throw since he blew Chacon’s 8 inning shutout in Philly back in April. Pitches had no movement and were mid-plate. He got the first out, then gave up a huge homer over the conoco pump to Jason Bay on a inside FB that was upper thigh high. Then a single to left for Nady on a splitter that didn’t, then a opposite field homer to LaRoche that went clear across the hall in the Crawford Boxes on a luscious mid-plate mid thing meatball. Then a single on a midplate unsplitting splitter, then a 5 pitch walk, then an RBI single up the middle to Jack Freaking Wilson on a – yep, you guessed it, a fastball right down the middle.

Well, honestly, there went the ballgame. And in came Tim Byrdak, who Kd McLouth, then gave up a long long fly ball to Freddie Sanchez which went to the RF bullpen – Pence didn’t get back in time, but unfortunately it hit the fence at a weird angle that it bounced away and headed back to right and by the time Pence threw it back, Sanchez was sliding across home plate. It didn’t help that Ausmus let the ball roll under his glove, but looks to me like Freddy was safe anyway.
sigh

Cassel will start tomorrow – he’s an extreme GB pitcher and the guys best get ready to field. J.R. Towles got sent back down after getting all those catching opportunities these past 3 weeks (yeah, sarcasm) and Quintero will be back. Also, Borkowski was DFA again – I’d guess he’s going back down to AAA as I doubt he’s exactly high on the waiver wire desire…

7/20/08: Ryan Dempster Shuts Out Astros

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Well, I guess a sweep was asking a little bit much. I very carefully tried not to point out yesterday, that 5 of the Astros 6 hits were singles and that only 4 balls were hit to the deep OF.
Today, the boys managed 6 singles and 1 walk (by Towles) and couldn’t drive home a single runner with bases loaded. Towles had 3 of the worst swings I’ve ever seen from a position player, Backe was called out on ball 4 (oh yes it was – and I checked gameday, too and that pitch was called a ball every single time) and Kaz popped out.

Backe gave up 2 runs in the first when he couldn’t keep the ball down – in fact he only managed 2 strikes below mid-thigh that inning. But he certainly had the curve, change and slider working for the next few innings – the Cubs were flailing helplessly. In the 5th, Fontenot hit a cheapo homer just next to the RF foul pole on a slider that hung. He gave up a single to The Riot, but then escaped without further trouble.

Of course, it was in the bottom of the 5th that the ump called him out on ball 4 and Backe was upset and jumped up and down a few times. But Backe came back out to start the 6th and did a great job, striking out 2 and giving up a single to left. And the ump didn’t try to get revenge by calling every pitch a ball, neither. Good for him.

 In the 7th, Fontenot got a IF single that just got by Backe and Tejada couldn’t get to in time. Dempster sac bunted, then The Riot hit a single to left that naturally, Clank didn’t get to very fast and he made a really lousy throw home. If Erstad had been in left, he would have nailed that sucker – it was a pretty shallow hit.

And speaking of Erstad, anyone want to guess how he’s done with the bat since he’s supplanted Bourn? (Since July 12, he’s 2 fer 20 – if you’d rather use July 4, it’s 7 fer 40, not counting 2 pinch hit appearances†- worse than the guy he’s replacing.) Yeah, I know. Small sample size. But he’s not making himself look good for the trade market. Which Ed Wade is busy in, so he says. Along with the fact that he doesn’t like talking about “buyers” or “sellers” markets.

Speaking of trades, I figured this is as good a time as any to talk about Billy Beane and the A’s. Over the past year, he has traded every recogniseable star player who isn’t injured to re-stock his club, something he has been doing with increasing frequency over the past 4 years. He seems to want to trade a player after his 3rd year, and if not then, pretty much fer SHER after his 4th year, whether or not he is signed to a longer term contract or is just arb eligible. I know that many believe that fans root for teams, not players, but I think that is tougher to do when you as a fan are fairly sure that regardless of performance, you know it is best not to bother to have a favorite player because you know he’s going to be gone in a year or 2 – not because he is some “greedy FA” who wants to play in NY, but because your team is trying to play as cheaply as possible by playing only young, cheap players.

Seems that the only real recognizeable star of the A’s is Billy Lamar Himself. I don’t know if it is the team, the city or the ballpark, but seems to me that the stands are pretty empty unless one of the ESPN darlings is in town. (And I’m not sure that is going to change in an expensive, small new stadium located quite a ways out of town and quite a ways from public transportation…)

I don’t think Drayton really would want to go that far – I mean, it would be going from root root root for the good guys – to – root root root for the whoevers. There should be some ground between holding on to players waaaaay past their expiration date (Biggio) to getting rid of them as soon as you have to pay them more than minimum wage. Really, right now, the only long term Astros are Berkman, Lee and Oswalt – and as much as I grouse about Clank and his ponderous plodding to the vicinity of baseballs being hit and his spaghetti arm, I would hate to see the team’s players basically completely turned over every 3 years.

Anyway, Monday we get to watch the 2 worst pitchers in the majors, Runs Elvys Hernandez and John Van Benschoten battle it out. I would say – expect one of those football score games except that then fer sher it would turn into a 1-0 pitchers’ duel with both pitchers pitching CG no hitters and the final score of 1-0 which would occur because a guy got on because of a ROE, then a sac-bunt, then a groundout, then a WP.

Wouldn’t that be kewl?

Heck, it might could even get the Astros an actual appearance on the hour-long BBTN. Maybe even before the usual 20 minute discussions of the hangnails of the various Yankee/Red Sox players. Hey, it COULD happen…