Archive for April, 2009

4/30/09: Edinson Volquez Shuts Out The Astros On A 1 Hitter

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

What happened is that the Reds saw that there was no Lance Berkman in the lineup and were energized immediately. Yeah, no Lance. If he’s not hitting in Cincy, something is wrong and he knows it, so he asked for the night off.

Not that he would have hit anyway, as Volquez was ON tonight.

Paulino wasn’t terrible, but tonight, as he did in his last start, he seemed to lose it after 4 innings, and by lose it, I mean he left pitches up, mid plate and he got hit. Coop yanked him much more quickly than he did last time and Chris Sampson shut it down, but the guys didn’t hit and there went the ballgame.

Brocail was lousy again, having incredible trouble finding the strike zone. 32 pitches, 17 strikes, 15 balls (and he didn’t get 2 borderline calls that would have helped) - an IF single, 2 walks, a sac-fly and a K (of Alex Gonzalez on a FB that was waaaaay outside.)

Don’t know if he isn’t really healthy or if he’s just lousy – he was all over the place with both the FB (I mean, ankles to shoulder to 8″ off the plate) and the slider, so it isn’t that he has one good working pitch. Maybe Paulino could replace Brocail/Geary as he seems to be able to pitch one effective inning.

Day off tomorrow, and I’ll check out the minors and see how guys are doing.

4/29/09: Wandy Beats Cincy With A Lil Help From Darnell McD And Ramon Hernandez

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Husband is sitting comfortably on the couch, watching Astros Live with Alyson Footer and Patti Smith. Husband would watch every game without moving if he got to watch them announce the entire game, instead of Brownie and JD – unlike a lot of men, he LIKEY females who are knowledgeable about the sport they are discussing. And, to be accurate,what Husband likes the VERY most about the Astros is Alyson Footer, who he thinks is teh HOTTT as well as teh SMARTTT. He isn’t real too impressed with Ms Smith, whose main job is to talk to people in the crowd and ask a few ballplayers some dumb questions at the end of the game, but he sure LUUUUVVVVS Alyson.

I don’t mind. Not only does she know baseball, but she hasn’t blonded herself out and expanded upon her mammaries. Besides, if I objected, I would probably have to throw out my poster and bobbleheads of Bradley Awesomeness.

And speaking of awesomeness, Mr. Wand-erful has now thrown 5 consecutive QS and boasts a 1.69 ERA. Might could I remind folks that 2 of those QS have come on the road. Might could I also mention that 4 out of 5 times he has pitched, he has been featured on BBTN’s “That’s Nasty.” AND might could I remind folks that I am proud to have been a Wandy fangrrrrrl since 2005. I say it LOUD, I say it PROUD.

The Magic Wandy had a shaky 1st inning – walked Willy T on 5 pitches (yeh, Willy T), then gave up a single (reached out and hit a good pitch on the outside corner), then a run on a GIDP on that exact same pitch on the low and outside corner, then a double, then a steal of 3rd, then a GO. 18 pitches, 8 balls. But the curve was already nasty.

He pitched 1,2,3 out efficient innings in the 2nd and 3rd, Votto led off the 4th with a 7 pitch walk, but Wandy quickly got the next 3 outs with 10 pitches. He got 3 outs on 1 pitches in the 5th, too, ending up with a 3 swinging strikes K of Astro Killah Micah Owings. Hehhehheh.

He needed 14 pitches for the 6th – got an out, then a double, then an out, then an advance to 3rd on a WP, then an inning ending grounder.

Out he went for the 7th, got an easy popup, then gave up a single to Ramon Hernandez, then another single off the LF wall to Darnell McDonald (who had already gifted the Astros with 2 UER) and Ramon Hernandez, one of the 3 slowest runners in the majors, decided, for some unknown reason, to try to go from first to third (and this is like me trying out to play defensive tackle in the NFL in terms of pure suicide/stupidity) and even Carlos Lee and his soggy arm had him thrown out by 15 feet at the VERY least.

Ramon he need to go on the video for that country song “What was I thinkin? I musta been drinkin.”

So with 2 out and a man on second instead of 1 out, men on first and second, Wandy easily got the last out. And actually, I would bet that at 98 pitches, if the Reds had gotten 3 outs in the top of the 8th, the Wand Man would have been right back out on the mound.

As it was, the Astros were up 8-1 bottom of the 8th and with Wandy having been pinch hit for, Geary went out, left a meatball over the heart of the plate and Laynce Nix promptly deposited it over the LF wall. He then got 3 quick outs. Wesley Wright went in to mopup the 9th and had a bit of trouble – gave up a leadoff homer to the slumping Brandon Phillips, walked the next hitter, gave up a screaming liner to second, then a long flyout to deep center, then a game ending flyout to the LF wall.

Bad news is that Lance is still having very bad ABs and appears to be looking for the walk. He is having weak grounders and a lot of limp flyouts to opposite field.

Good news is that Ivan Rodriguez hit 2 balls with authority – a homer that went around 410′ to straightaway center (and would have been out at home) and a double high off the LF wall. And, might could I add, he got Willy T out on one of his patented bunt for a hit in front of the moung – threw him out by a half step.

Michael Bourn is still appearing to have been Bourn again – he reached on error, stole a base, then walked and scored, then walked and stole another base. Unfortunately, he ended his night by striking out on a 3-2 count with 2 on. He went to a 3-2 count on 3 of his 5 PA and took 26 pitches in all – over 5 pitches/PA. This is most definitely heading into leadoff man territory and he has improved greatly since last year. He’s lucky that he’s Ed Wade’s pet, or he never would have had the chance. At least with THIS team.

Kaz went 3 fer 5 with 2 RBI, 2 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. AND he made a fine leaping catch and turned an excellent DP.

Carlos only had 1 hit, but it was a double over Willy’s head to deep center and it scored 2 runs – and of course, he threw out the incredibly dumb Ramon Hernandez.

Miggy hit the hardest hit ball I’ve seen him hit all year – went for a double to right center, and he scored a run. And didn’t GIDP.

Pence was ofer, didn’t hit any balls very well.

Geoff Blum went 2 fer 4 and scored a run. He’s hitting .328 overall, but only .183 with RISP and only .143 with RISP, 2 out. Over 70 PA, he’s only driven in 4 runs and he’s GIDP twice.

Tomorrow, it’s Edinson Volquez vs Felipe Paulino, the re-match.

Moehler and Backe are still rehabbing, still needing to throw longer and longer starts, and if Paulino pitches as he did in his first start and not his second, it will be MUY interesting to see what happens when either Moehler or Backe is ready to pitch in the bigs. Also, right now, Valverde has FINALLY been put on the DL so that his leg can heal and Fulchino has been recalled. It might could be that Paulino would take that spot if Valverde is still out when either starter is ready.

Youneverknow…

4/28/09: Astros Beat Coco Cordero To Defeat Reds

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

When Hitter Pence hit a double to right to drive in 2 runs, I jumped up and started screaming – OHMIGAWD we’re FINALLY gonna beat Coco Cordero. After all these years we FINALLY scored some runs against him.

My niece, sitting on the couch next to me said – but we beat him last August – remember? And Chris Sampson won that one too. Actually, I didn’t remember at all, which was strange, until I went and looked it up and saw that I’d been on a weekend away with Husband. A baseball-free weekend.

Roy pitched very well, as usual. He went 7 innings, gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, 2 K and 1 run. I thought he was fer SHER going to pitch a complete game, but he ran into trouble in the 6th. He got 2 quick outs on 6 pitches, then suddenly lost command, giving up a double, an RBI single, then another double. He then intentionally walked lefty Votto, then FINALLY got the last out on Encarnacion. 28 pitches, and there went his lead and CG.

But he came in and pitched a good 7th, getting a single, a groundout and a GIDP. The GIDP was his best friend, seeing as how he sems to have lost his ability to strike out guys. He almost got into trouble in the 4th, with Miggy not turning the 1-6-3, but the NEXT batter did him a favor and also GIDP.

Lance hit homer #5, but the rest of his ABs weren’t good. He had a 6 pitch walk in the first inning, but he just looked at 2 very hittable fastballs – midthigh, outer third. In the 4th, he swung at a FB straight down the middle and only fouled it off. He struck out looking at another decent pitch midthigh, outside corner. Something is STILL terribly wrong. I hope he gets it together because it sure seems to me that his timing is off. Maybe he needs lasix?

sigh

I hope he doesn’t go all Dale Murphy.

Chris Sampson pitched 1.1 innings and got the win. He now has 2 wins – 1 more than Wandy, 2 more than Roy. This is, um, sort of ironic, seeing as how the team was always determined to find some excuse to not let him start and now he has more wins than the top 2 starters combined.

And speaking of Wandy, he faces Harang tomorrow. Harang had a terrible year last year, but he’s recovered quite nicely this year, going 2-2 with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP with 5 BB and 19 K over 27 innings.

I hope that for once, Wandy gets a little run support.

At the GAB, Wandy is 2-0 over 27 IP – 5 HR, 10 BB, 19 K with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. The good thing is that he won’t be facing Griffey, who knocked him all over the place.

Also, I think that Valverde won’t be available again as he said that pitching last night made him worse. Maybe Sampson will be made the closer in absentia. It would be kewl because he sure as heck doesn’t fit the stereotype one bit.

4/27/09: Bullpen Clings To 1 Run Lead For 4 Innings And Astros Beat Brewers

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Russ Ortiz has 2 wins and an ERA of 5.40 over 18.2 innings and Wandy has 1 win and an ERA of 1.80 over 24 innings. You see, Russ, like Jack Morris, just knows how to win. Yep. He has discovered the winning formula – your teammates outhit the other guys and your bullpen holds the lead.

And of course, IRod needs to hit a solo homer over the LF bullpen to get that extra run on the board.

I should again point out that the guys did their usual leaving guys on base thingy. Even in the 3rd, runs were scored with 2 on 2 out only because Weeks screwed up Lance’s groundout. Carlos wouldn’t have driven in his run because there wouldn’t have been anyone on in the next inning.

1st inning, Lance and Carlos leave Keppinger on second.

4th inning, Bourn and Keppinger leave 2 on.

5th inning, Miggy and Pence leave Lee on first. (And Parra only needed 4 pitches to get the out, too)

6th inning, Jason Smith left Blum on first (at least he hit the ball deep into the OF) and then Keppinger left Bourn and Blum on. Yeh, Keppinger doesn’t strike out much, but it doesn’t matter if the 3rd out is a GO, FO or a K.

8th inning, IRod, Blum and Erstad leave Pence stranded on first

Sometimes you are good and sometimes you are lucky. And tonight it was the luck of a Brewers fielding error that made the difference.

Brocail is back and Fulchino got sent back down and he needed 29 pitches to get through an inning – gave up a single and 2 walks before getting Brad Nelson staring at strike 3.

Hawkins got a GO, gave up a single to Kendall, then got a strikeout. With 2 out and a 2-1 count on Weeks, Kendall decided to steal second and got thrown out. Dumb decision for them good decision for us.

Jose Valverde wasn’t sharper tonight than last, but he was luckier because the HP ump gave him strike calls on pitches that were out of the zone.

But the good news is that the Astros are off to Cincy, where Lance looks bettern Barry Lamar 2001 and Roy is almost invincible. Let’s hope that the GAB is the magic elixir which will restore Lance’s vanished hitting prowess. He’s been hitting .167 since last September 1.

 

4/25/09: Mike Cameron And The Astros Bullpen Defeat Astros In Extra Innings

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Sorry I didn’t get anything posted last night.

Husband took me to the game to make up for Thursday (ahem) and the game didn’t end until like 10:30 and we went out afterward and anyhow, I was too tired for a recap.

The real story of the game was the HP ump’s erratic strike zone. Well, let’s say that he called low pitches and outside pitches on Astros batters strikes – I mean, he even had Lance Berkman, who almost never complains to umps, saying a lil somethin somethin.

The first 3 innings were pretty boring – neither Hampton nor Suppan had what you might could call good stuff and the most exciting play was Michael Bourn’s AWESOME catch of Mike Cameron’s 400 something foot drive to Tal’s Hill. And Bourn stealing second in the second. Kendall’s arm has gone limp, looks like to me.

Hampton hung a slider to Prince and he did what ML hitters do to hanging sliders. And in the bottom of the 4th, the Astros got lucky. Suppan walked Lance, then Carlos hit a ball to the 99 flag and there we were, up 2-1. The crowd, the biggest I’ve seen since Opening Day, then REALLY got into the ball game. Suppan proceded to get the next 2 outs, and then got Blum to groundout to third. Blum did NOT exactly hustle down the line, but Hall’s throw was a little offl line and Prince couldn’t come up with it. Then Suppan walked IRod (of ALL people) and Hampton knocked in Lance with a single up the middle (crowd SERIOUSLY luuuuvvvved that) and it’s 3-1 Astros. Nothing cooler than pitchers knocking in runs.

Hampy, feeling confident, got an easy 1,2,3 and then Michael Bourn led off with a 410′ homer OVER the RF bullpen. Yes, you read that right. Michael Bourn. The crowd was VERY appreciative, but you best believe there are more than a few fans grumbling that he shouldn’t be hitting home runs, just hitting the ball on the ground.

sigh

If you see a fat hanger mid thigh mid plate you SHOULD hit it out. Heck even Roy hit one out a few years back and you didn’t see folks grousing that he should have just bunted.

In the top of the 6th, Cameron broke up the DP (yeh, he LIKEY hitting the other guy, but fortunately, Kaz was OK) and Hall, the next batter hit a nice fat FB into the Crawford Boxes with 2 on and there went the ballgame.

Well, not quite.

From then on, it was the Battle Of The Relievers and in the end, their relievers were just bettern ours as both Hawkins and Valverde gave up 2 runs each.

The highlight of the game, however, was the, um, uh, interesting discussion between Pudge and the HP ump when he called a pitch to Mike Cameron a ball which he had called a strike to Astros hitters all night. I believe Pudge said something like – excuse me please Mr. Umpire Sir. I am quite certain that Jose Valverde would be more than willing to let you borrow his glasses as you seem to be struggling to identify pitches. And then the ump, uh, took umbrage and next thing you know, Pudge was yelling that he was just trying to help and it just might could be that he put it in slightly stronger words, couldn’t see their lips, but Hawkins, who is not exactly small, and Dave Clark came in between the angry catcher and the hot ump. Coop came running out and explained that his catcher just might could have not clearly expressed the nature of his unhappiness and Coop got the ol heave ho too.

So out went Pudge and in came Towles, who had just arrived from RoundRock, to finish up the game. So Cameron singles, Hardy walks (on another one of those questionable calls) and the fans boo. VERY loudly. The crowd is now the most into the game I have seen since the playoffs. Really. And there were maybe 28K people actually in the stands and it was LOUD with the roof closed.

Oh yeah. the roof was closed because it was nasty out and the wind was a GOOD 25-30 MPH. And as you’ve noticed, it didn’t exactly stop baseballs from flying.

Where was I? Oh yeah. So Hawkins gave up 2 runs and it was Crew 6 – Astros 4. In comes Coffey, their closer in absentia (Trevor Time on the DL) andhe got 2 easy outs, then Blum hit a GR double down the LF line, then Towles knocked him in with a single over the SS. Erstad, who has looked like Jason Smith with the bat, managed to beat out an IF single that went just over the pitcher’s mound. Kaz then hit an opposite field double to the LF corner and it’s Stros 7 – Crew 6.

So it’s Valverde time. But I guess that leg wasn’t ready because he had trouble finding the strike zone (and for once, it wasn’t the ump’s fault) and the first time he threw a strike, Hart hit it above the LF bullpen but juuuuust below the yellow line. Braun grounded out to Blum, who had exactly enough time to make the throw to Lance and Hart alertly went to third. THAT is what is called good baserunning. Hart is a VERY good baseball player. Interesting that the Brewers didn’t think much of him and were gonna use him as a PH/DR even after it was clear that he should be a full time player and he only got the job because they needed to clear salary by getting rid of Jenkins. He’s much better than a couple of their highly touted guys, suck as Rickie Weeks.

but I digress

Fielder then fouls off a couple, then sends a belt high inner third FB over the Administaff sign just to the left of the RF foul pole. Maybe 340′ but it got the job done. Unfortunately.

Crowd groans because it is now Crew 8 – Stros 7. About a third of the crowd begins to file out. But the game is NOT over. Nosirree. Because the Crew sends out Carlos Villanueva, who the Stros have historically pounded and there is HOPE. (Even Husband isn’t dumb enough to suggest we beat the traffic.)

So he hits Lance. Then Romero (acting manager) sends up Keppinger and has a .400 something hitter SAC BUNT. You talk about a stupid STUPID waste of an out. Why not send up Roy Oswalt to bunt, for goodness sakes? WHY get rid of your best pinch hitter? DUMBDUMBDUMB. Then Miggy pops up to center and it’s 2 outs. I feel Husband sneaking a look at me. But then Pence reaches on error, the ball goes flying and Berkman goes to third. Blum fouls off one, then takes a called strike, then miracles of miracles, Kendall doesn’t catch strike 3 – it’s a passed ball, Lance scores. Tie game. Blum is then IBB and Towles runs the count to 3-2 (and 2 is another one of those questionable strike calls) and then he grounds out. Which is a shame, because if he had won this game for the Astros, it would be a LOT harder for Coop to send him back down, where he’s hitting .344.

So now, Geary and the leftys are the only ones left. And in comes Geary to pitch the 10th and he gives up a single to the pitcher, Villanueva, but gets the others out on 10 pitches.

Then Astros are up!!!  Erstad Ks on a ball in the dirt. Matsui Ks. Bourn hits a double to the RF corner, so Lance is IBB. And no, I don’t blame Macha one bit because you never know when a slumping excellent hitter is gonna come out of his slump. Keppinger is walked on 4 pitches.

Macha pulls Villanueva and sends in a guy I don’t remember seeing – Mark DiFelice, a righty. He gets Miggy, with bases loaded, to popout to center again. Miggy had a BAD game. Ofer 6 and stranded 6 guys.

Geary comes back out and gives up a double to Hart, who then comes around to score on Braun’s single. He IBB Prince, walks Cameron (poor guy – he doesn’t get to run into anybody) then Ks Hardy and gets Hall to GIDP.

Crew 9 – Astros 8

Di Felice comes back. Pence singles (NOW he gets a hit???!!!) then Smith is sent up to bunt. He can’t even do THAT, bunting 2 foul and then popping up. One more time – the manager should be sending up someone who actually CAN bunt – like a pitcher!!!! He then Ks Towles, who again went to 3-2, on a NASTY slider and then gets Erstad swinging on a pitch low and inside.

Game ovah.

Bourn, who was supposed to be this terrible weakness of the team, has actually been VERY good with bat, glove and feet.

The bullpen, which was supposed to be the strength, has, um, not been good. Brocail is supposed to be back today and I guess Fulchino will be sent down, but he hasn’t exactly been the problem. Byrdak, Hawkins, Geary and Valverde have been.

This afternoon, it’s Russ Ortiz vs Manny Parra.

I just hope their guys are as tired as ours.

4/25/09: Yet Another Pitcher Throws A Complete Game VS The Astros

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

The Astros looked like their usual pathetic selves again.

I have NO idea what in the name of GAWD is wrong with Lance Berkman, but he can’t catch up with fastballs and he’s missing breakers. And, naturally, he’s leaving guys on base. LOTS of them.

But, you know, it’s not just Lance.

Gallardo threw a CG with 105 pitches, barely broke a sweat, giving up exactly 4 hard hit balls, only one of which was a hit.

1st – 12 pitches
2nd – 7 pitches
3rd – 11 pitches
4th – 23 pitches (the one in which the Astros actually scored)
5th – 10 pitches
6th – 12 pitches

anyone see a pattern???!!

7th – 8 pitches
8th – 11 pitches
9th – 11 pitches

And let’s look at each of the guys in the lineup and see how many pitches each had/AB:

Matsui: 2 (1B),5 (K), 1 (GO), 4 (GO) = average 3 pitches/AB
Bourn: 1 (sac-b),3 (1B), 6 (1B), 5 (K) = average 5 pitches/AB
Lance: 5 (GO), 6 (K), 3 (K), 5 (K) = 5 pitches/AB
Lee: 3 (FO), 4 (HR), 2 (FO), 2 (GO) = 3 pitches/AB
Miggy: 2 (GO),7 (FO), 2 (FO) = 4 pitches/AB
Pence: 1 (GO), 3 (FO), 1 (1B) = 2 pitches/AB
Blum: 4 (LO), 4 (LO), 5 (GIDP) = 4 pitches/AB
Q/IRod: 3 (GO), 2 (GO), 3 (FO) = 3 pitches/AB
Pitcher/PH: 3 (GO), 3 (K), 4 (K) = 3 pitches/AB

BAD, isn’t it? Of Gallardo’s 71 strikes, only 15 were fouled off, and 5 of those were not in the strike zone.

Paulino did fine until he lost command in the 5th and threw waaaay too many pitches in the middle of the plate, which is how I remember him pitching last year. He threw 17 strikes, 7 balls, and every pitch which was hit for a single was up and over the plate.

sigh

Fulchino pitched 3 innings very well giving up only a solo homer and no walks. Good that he gave the rest of the bullpen the night off, so they best have no excusees about being too tired tomorrow – well, except for Valverde, who is still too hurt to pitch.

Lance best remember how to hit or this is gonna be a LONG LONG LONG season.

Also, I am getting pretty freaking tired of people blaming Michael Bourn for the team’s lack of success. Good grief. He is outhitting both Lance and Carlos. And that is NOT a good thing…

By the way, Bradley Awesomeness hit the game winning single for the Dodgers bottom of the 9th. He soooo ROOLZ.

Speaking of catchers, Quintero looked to be pretty shaken up in that collision with Mike Cameron. Brad never got into collisions, you know. Wonder if he is going to go on the DL or just sit on the bench.

Wonder when teams are gonna stop running on Pence…

4/24/09: Wandy Gives Up One Run And Loses To The Dodgers

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Well, I HAD intended to sneak out and go to the game, picking up one of those 5 buck tickets from scalpers. Had dinner made, had my cousin and her 2 kids over to distract MY kidz when Husband walks in and says – you wanna to go to the ball game because Wandy is pitching and of course this means that the kidz ALL wanted to GOOOOOOOOO and my cousin was no help because she had never gone to a ballgame and was curious and so off we all went (AFTER stuffing food in everyone and explaining that we were NOT buying anything to eat/drink which naturally all kidz being deaf whenever they wanna be, which is already too much, were all saying – ohhhhhhhhh mannnnnnnnnnnn.)

sigh

You know, it was INCREDIBLY much easier when they were 2 and 3, believe it or not. Now they wanna go to the kidz zone, they wanna stay in the Squeeze Play, they wanna get this, they wanna get that. No WONDER baseball owners WANT kids in the ballpark. Trust me on this, they were smart to make the ballparks a “family atmosphere” because I am POSITIVE they make tons more money off kids than they ever did with the drunks and all their beers.

Meanwhile, I had a few people staring at my Wandy t-shirt, asking me where did I get it – which was a first. Must be his string of QS and less than 2 ERA. Naturally we got to the park FAR too late for BP for me to get to the Other dugout to tell Bradley Awesomeness how much I LUUUUVVVVV him and ask him to sign my bobblehead and besides, it’s hard to tell some guy how much you just LUUUUVVVVVVVVV him in front of your husband you know what I’m sayin.

So between delays getting to the darn park in the first place and getting the kids out of Squeeze Play and warning my cousin not to start down that slippery slope of letting the kidz “share” some cotton candy – well, I heard and didn’t see Wandy walk Furcal on 5 pitches.

Today, he had a leeeeetle trouble locating, especially in the first few innings and sometimes the curve was filthy (check out Manny’s K looking in the 5th – stupendous!!!) and sometimes it wasn’t any good and the change just was NOT working at ALL – took him until the 4th to get everything really working well and by then he was already up to 85 pitches. Anyway, Miggy should have handled Hudson’s single, then Manny hit a VERY good pitch low and inside for a single and there was 1 run.

Which, by the way, was all the Dodgers needed because the Astros hitters weren’t making Billingsley do ANY work.

Quick

- which Astros hitter saw the most pitches from Billingsley over his 3 AB? YES, you got it – Michael Bourn!!! Who, by the way, went 1 fer 2 with a 9 pitch walk, made 2 excellent catches in center that Jason Michaels wouldn’t have touched AND got the Web Gem assist of the night, playing Orlando Hudson’s drive off the RF bullpen wall, relaying it to Kaz who got it to Blum juuuuuust in time to get the O-Dawg out. AND he was the guy who knocked Billingsley out of the game with a 7 pitch single. (You will notice that unlike Willy T, Bourn always, ALWAYS hits the cutoff man.)

The Astros were swinging at too many first pitches, at pitches up at their necks (CARLOS!!!) and in the dirt (LANCE!!!! and BLUM!!!!) Of course, this is a serious weakness of this team – the guys just do NOT take pitches. Billingsley was at only 50 pitches at the end of the 4th. Of course, he was helped by THREE double plays – Pudge and Lance grounded into one each and Pudge decided to steal second with Bourn with a 3-2 count and 1 out. Bourn had to swing at Ball 4 and Martin got Pudge stealing. Pudge really shouldn’t be stealing bases, and playing hitnrun with Bourn is silly, as he is not what you would call a contact hitter. Trouble is, there are too many guys on the team who seldom walk, seldom K and ground into a LOT of double plays.

Miggy didn’t make a couple of plays that he should have, including bobbling Kemp’s “single” in the 7th – he came around to score, not that it mattered, but he redeemed himself in the 9th, catching Kemp’s screaming liner, then doubling Loney off first. He was also the only Astro (besides Lance, who hit a ball to the warning track in dead center) to hit a baseball out of the infield, doubling off the LF bullpen wall.

I guess I should mention that we left after Wesley pitched the 8th. I had to grin at Manny getting called out when he sure as heck looked safe. I also guess I should mention that my cousin got HER kids more junk food (complaining about the ridiculous prices) and so OUR kids wouldn’t shut up – whining for stuff, so we finally got 2 burgers at 6 bucks each and made them split them – which they whined about more. I see where the numbers about families spending 200 bucks for a game comes from.

So we got back to the car in time to hear Lance strike out bottom of the 9th, 1 on, no out and all I can say is I don’t think it is possible for me to hate the Astros broadcasters more than I already do. The worst broadcasters in the league, NO contest. If I win the lottery, first thing I will do is call Draytie-poo and offer him the extra hundred bucks it would cost to hire someone actually good. Of course, he’ll NEVER make Milo retire and Milo has long since passed overcooked and gone into senility.

Husband was a bit surprised when I changed the station, but I told him I’d rather wait until we got home to check out Brownie and JD – win or lose, MUCH better for my blood pressure, which, trust me on this, isn’t exactly real too good right about now.

And getting sugared, wired, tired kidz into bed is NOT fun. But it is a LOT more fun than it is going to be getting them up at 6 AM let me tell you that. This is the Good Lord punishing me for my Bradley LUUUUUUVVVVV, you know this, right?

Anyway, it’s the Brewers in town for the weekend. They seem to have finally gotten their stuff together and so it will be interesting. Paulino will be pitching and we’ll see if he can duplicate his ability to actually throw strikes at varying speeds, as he did last outing. I heard from a couple of fans from Round Rock who told me that last outing was the best they had ever seen him throw, too.

So be it and shall it remain…

 

4/23/09: Roy Oswalt Loses Lead But Pence’s Hustle Recovers It

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Not sure why Roy the ACE hasn’t shown up yet this month except for an inning here and there, but he insists that he feels fine (and of course he also did last April when he was giving up home runs left and right – hahahaha…) He needed a lot of pitches to get through each inning and after 4 innings, had thrown 79 pitches, as opposed to Wolf’s 54. (You DO notice that Astros hitters don’t believe in making a pitcher work a little, hunh) He did get 1,2,3 innings in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, gave up 2 singles, got 2 Ks with 22 pitches in the 5th, and then in the 6th, all heck broke loose.

Not sure if Roy got his little self feeling a leeeetle too comfortable with the 2 run lead thanks to Hunter Pence’s 2 run homer just to the right of the Conoco pump window (and that is a LONG home run, folks) but…

Manny led off the inning – he’d gotten a good look at Roy – the slider, the FB, the curve which wasn’t working very well and then hammered a waist high inner third FB juuust OVER the Citgo sign and out of the park. Having seen both home runs, I am here to tell you that it was incredibly longer and harder hit than the infamous Uncle Albert offn Lidge homer. Then, very next hitter, Roy left another FB in the middle of the plate and Ethier got himself a CBox cheapie – juuuust over the yellow line. Loney grounded out (homeboy has a LOT of fans here in Dodger Blue – well, and of course all the lovesick female Astros fans missin our Bradley-poo) and then walked Russell Martin on 5 straight balls. He struck out Kemp on the same pitches which were called balls to Loney (yes I did check with Gameday because I was confused) and then threw an inside high-ish FB to Casey Blake who hit it juuuuuuust inside the LF foul pole all the way to the Union Station Building facade (never seen a ball hit there before.)

And there are the Astros, down 4-2.

But THIS time, they don’t give up. In the bottom of the inning, Berkman walks, Carlos singles and Jason Michaels, who has finally decided to stop completely sucking, doubled them in, tying the score and getting Roy off the hook for another L.

Chris Sampson pitched a 1,2,3 7th, but in the 8th, gave up a single and a double down the LF line that Clank bobbled long enough to let Ethier score. In the bottom of the 8th, Lance, hitting lefty, took an outside FB over the tracks, tying the score.

Man, that is THREE homers that left the building tonight. Might could the balls be a little bit lively this year?

Then, Pence hit a GR double over the RF fence. Blum went up to PH and Joe Torre quite reasonably told Martin to IBB him and pitch to Pudge, which was a VERY reasonable strategy, Heck, I would have done the same, seeing as how Pudge is reduced to just hitting ground balls and striking out and he has been hitting .195 vs RHP AND was hitting .083 with RISP and hadn’t gotten even a single with RISP and 2 outs.

So, Belisario, the Dodgers pitcher, while throwing an intentional pitch, throws one wide of Martin and Pence hustles into third. Then after Blum goes to first, Pudge hits the very first pitch right back up the middle and Pence trots in.

Hawkins gets it done in the 9th (Valverde is hurting BIG time after last night, but isn’t going on the DL – at least, not yet) getting a nice 1,2,3 inning with a little help from Lance.

Tomorrow it is the mighty Wand Man vs Clay Billingsley, and it sure nuff would be nice to see him pull his usual Box magic and help the Astros sweep the Dodgers. I am gonna head to the ballpark wearing my Wandy t-shirt, taking my Bradley Awesomeness Bobblehead and gonna head down to the dugouts and try to get a Wandy autograph and then head over to the Other side with the other umpteen thousand females to tell Bradley we love him, miss him, adore him, hope he manages our team REAL soon.

4/22/09: Jose Valverde Gets 1-Legged Save With Bases Loaded 1 Out

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Tonight, with their worst pitcher pitching, the Astros busted out the whuppin stick against Dallasite Clayton Kershaw WITH MEN ON BASE!!!! I mean, it was quite the night – even Jason Michaels managed to get a hit – a GR double into the 5-7 restaurant (and yes, it is the old 9 Amigos place, in case yall wondering) and Pudge Rodriguez hit 2 groundball singles.  

Russ Ortiz wasn’t exactly good – five walks, 3 hits, 1 HBP, 118 pitches, 64 strikes. He didn’t have a single 1,2,3 inning, went to 3-2 counts on 7 of the 23 hitters he faced, walked 2 on 4 pitches. Somehow, don’t ask me how, he even managed to strike out Manny as one of his 2 Ks, and he only gave up the 3 runs he gave up in the first inning after giving up 2 leadoff walks and.

Wesley Wright pitched a good scoreless inning, Fulchino made a serious mistake to Manny who hit it like 800′ to deep center, Hawkins pitched a scoreless 8th and THEN, it was fun city with Valverde.

And oh MAN, it was one HECK of an inning.

Furcal who is FAST, hit a bunt just to the right of the mound which a good fielding pitcher would have easily handled, but Valverde overran. One on. Then the O-Dawg hit a 3-2 FB RIGHT up the middle, and it hit Valverde on the leg (or was it foot) and after hopping around and looking around, he managed, while falling on his back, to throw the ball to Lance, who caught it, don’t ask me how, falling across first juuuust before O-Dawg got there, but unfortunately, the first base ump called him safe and he was CLEARLY out. 2 on, no out. Uh-oh, because it is Manny at the plate. Unlike Casey, the Manny didn’t look at strike one and strike 2, but hit pitch #1 almost to the wall in deep right.

Sigh of relief.

But then, we notice that Valverde is limping badly, hopping on his left foot a good deal. Sampson is up in the pen, just in case. And Valverde has trouble finding the strike zone, walking Ethier to load the bases.

And somehow, he gets both Loney and Martin swinging at an inside splitter for big strike 3. 

Kaz Matsui had a good night – got an RBI on a groundout and one on a bases loaded walk – no hits, but 2 walks and he scored runs from those walks. Tejada had another good night – a bloop 2 RBI single and an RBI grounder double down the RF line. Carlos hit a ball out of the park. Keppinger has a 7 game hitting streak.

You notice that tonight’s game had easily twice the attendence of last night’s game – it was all us grrrls hoping against hope to see Bradley Awesomemus.

sighhhh

No luck. But you know what? We got to see Russell Martin, who is actually quite hot along with Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and James Loney – also VERY hot. Yessirree, I think I am most DEFINITELY gonna hafta to draft a few more of those boys onto my fantasy team, I surely am.

4/21/09: Geoff Geary, Tim Byrdak And Paul Nauert Send Astros To Loss

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Mike Hampton pitched his second QS in a row, going 6.1 IP with 8 H, 1 BB, 5 K and 3 ER. He looked shaky in the first, giving up 2 runs, but then sharpened up a bit. He had only two 1,2,3 innings and was helped by his defense.

At the end of 6 innings, he had thrown 94 pitches and I was a bit surprised to see him go back out as he had had a somewhat longish 6th – 19 pitches, 2 groundouts, a single, a walk and a K. But with solo homers by Lance and Carlos, the Astros had taken the lead and I guess that Coop thought that this would give Hampton the confidence to finsih the 7th and get to Hawkins and Valverde.

Nope.

Paul Janish singled, Arroyo bunted him over and he was done.

Unfortunately, Geary wasn’t any sharper tonight than he was last night when he gave up 2 runs to Micah Owings, giving up a single and a 4 pitch walk.

Coop again brought in Byrdak, who again was ineffective, giving up the game winning 2 run double to lefty Joey Votto and it was like 1 foot lower than the yellow line over the LF bullpen, which would have been a granny.

But the crowning blow was delivered by HP ump Nauert who called Pence out on Ball 4 - a knee high FB which had been called a ball the other 6 times a pitch had been thrown in that exact same location (I know because I just finished looking at Gameday Pitch fx.) Took me back about 3 years to when some ump called out Jason Lane on Ball 4 on a pitch from Jason Isringhausen at his ankles (with 2 out, 2 on, bottom of the 9th, game on the line.)

I suppose I should mention that once again the guys didn’t hit with MOB and that Pudge hit into yet another DP and so did Miggy.

Which reminds me – anyone besides me notice that Brad Ausmus hit better than Pudge and that Pudge is getting exactly zero heck from fans about his lousy hitting?????

Might could it be that Brad is hot and Pudge is not????

Anyway, Brad will be in tomorrow and I’ll be sure to let him know how much us grrrrrrls miss him…