Archive for June, 2010

Wandy Squeezes Out A Win Over The Brewers

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

YESSSSSSSSSSSSS

Wandy looked like his old self this afternoon fer SHER!!! He threw 7 innings, 98 pitches, got better as the game went on, had 3 doubles, 4 singles, no walks, 1 IBB and 6 K.

Why did he look so good? Answer – in my not so umble opinion, it was because he went back to his old FB/curve combo and threw only 3 changeups. The curve was its old nasty self. Wandy threw 62 strikes and of those, 11 were swing and miss and 8 of those were on curves. Other important thing – he went to 3 ball counts only three times AND he only threw more than 5 pitches to any hitter once.

Tell you the truth, I was pretty surprised that he was pulled after the 7th, but it gave Jason Bourgeois a chance to PH and he walked after going 0-2. He is teh KEWL.

And Wandy also drove in the go-ahead run with a squeeze. Ah LUUUUVVVS the squeeze – and it was Blum on 3rd, too. Blum was within 20′ of home by the time Wandy actually hit the ball. This was especially kewl because Wandy had left 2 on in the 2nd and bases loaded in the 4th – and he is STILL hitting over his weight.

Besides the squeeze, Wandy had a great play with the glove. With a McGehee on second, Lucroy hit a comebacker to the mound. Wandy looked McGehee back, faked a throw to first, then whirled and fired to Blum at 3rd to get McGehee. Actually, JD and Brownie thought that he was actually safe. Amazing, because these are the kinds of calls that usually go AGAINST the Astros.

Best news though – CJ was back in the lineup – went 4 fer 4 with a 2 out RBI double that put the nail in the coffin. He handled his 4 chances at 3rd flawlessly including a great diving stop and tag the runner out. I don’t know what else the guy has to do to keep from getting benched again. This was his second 4 fer 4 game with at least a couple of RBIs in a WEEK and only Michael Bourn has had a 4 fer 4 game this year. But I guess that Fast Eddie has told Mills to give Feliz more PT, don’t ask me why.

Berkman hit an opposite field double for a RBI and walked twice. In fact, Astros hitters got SEVEN walks in this game. CJ and Castro have been a good influence here – Bourn and Berkman have been the only serious walkers. Bourn did in fact walk today, but couldn’t steal because there was someone in front of him. Castro also walked, but like Bourn, went ofer. He threw out 1 of 2 runners, too.

Blum had a very good day at the plate with 2 walks, 2 hits and 3 runs scored – he scored a run on a WP in the second. In fact, he and CJ were the only Astros to not leave men on base. Pence and Clank were both ofer 5.

And we’re off to San Diego to get stomped by the Padres again. Moehler faces Jon Garland, who beat the Astros in May by throwing 7 innings of 2 hit no run ball – another one of Paulino’s hard luck losses because he gave up 2 runs over 7 IP. Hopefully, CJ will be in the lineup again and will kick ASS.

Hey, you know the Phillies have lost their 3B to injury – maybe they’d like Feliz back. I wish…

Texican Yovanni Gallardo Hits A Homer And Beats Astros

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I missed the first 1 1/2 innings on TV and was listening to the Brewers broadcasters on XM. Interesting that they were really contemptuous of Berkman taking a called strike right down the middle on a 3-2 count AND of Castro’s sombrero last night as well as his taking the first 2 strikes today.

Me, I don’t have a problem with it. Especially if he doesn’t have any problem hitting with 2 strikes. And last night, he got called out on pitches which were NOT in the zone and which HIS pitcher didn’t get called for strikes. And tonight, the HP ump had a strike zone (if you can call it that) that was most assuredly NOT the rule book strike zone – had Erig Gregg outside pitches and the area at the bottom of the zone was, uh, inconsistant - and it wasn’t unreasonable for the catcher to take a good look at what was and was not being called a strike – at least most of the time. AND to try to get the pitcher to throw as many pitches as possible to get into the soft underbelly of the bullpen…

I walked in and turned on the game just in time to see Jim Edmonds hit a ball into deep CF and Michael Bourn make one of those running over the shoulder catches the HotDog always used to use against us. hehhehheh

And then I looked and saw Pedro Freaking Feliz back at 3rd. Don’t know what CJ did, but looks as if he’s on the Luke Scott poopoo list and I hope that the guy can get traded and get a real chance, just as Luke did. Yeah, I know he’s on the worst team in the AL, but at least he’s playing in the majors and posting good numbers every year, instead of rotting at AAA or the Astros bench.

And unfortunately, Feliz hits a solo homer and a single, so it looks as if CJ’s butt will be collecting splinters.

sigh

GAWD I am so tired of this team’s grotesque luuuuvvv affair with washed up vets and disdain of any young player who is not one of their pimpees. For example, you read/hear endless ooooohs and ahhhhhhhhhs about Jordan Lyles. But do you ever hear/read ONE word about Danny Arguello, also in AA, who is greatly outpitching Lyles? Heck, no. And can anyone tell me why Sergio Perez, who was pitching lights out in 4 starts, was suddenly removed from the rotation and given 2 innings to throw every 6-8 days instead? Besides the fact that he was drafted in the Purpura regime and Gawd Forbid that anyone of HIS picks should succeed???!!! (Same thing with CJ)

Where was I?

Oh yeah. The Crew scored 7 runs on 3 solo homers, a 2 run homer, a double, walk and a 2 RBI single before the relievers came in in the 7th and slammed the door with 2 good innings of 1,2,3 out. I gots to give props to The Prince, who hit one of those homers on an inside FB which was chest high and yeah, I know it was juuuuust inside the foul line, but it was still impressive. And Gallardo hit a FB that was waist high right down the middle to the upper facade in left center like 450′ – he hits like Owings. (All yall know he’s a Texan, right? And that he tried out in one of those open tryouts for the Rangers and they told him to take his ball and go home. Bad decision…)

Meanwhile, Michael Bourn (yes, him again) broke up the shutout by singling home Castro, who doubled and Navarro, who walked. Then Lance singled Michael home. And Michael, by the way, had 2 singles, a walk, 2 SB, scored 2 and drove in 2. Which I hope means that his slump is OVAH.

And speaking of Lance, he hit 2 singles and also hit a double to the base of the CF wall – the hardest hit ball I’ve seen from him in a LONG time – which drove in Bourn to close the gap to 2 runs in the 9th.

Clank had a single in the 5th and a walk in the 9th, but Pence, who had a BAD night with the bat, left bases loaded in the 5th and the tying runs on in the 9th. Ah well, baseball is a game of failure, and Pence excelled in that tonight…

Navarro did his usual excellent job with the glove, but he didn’t hit. Not entirely his fault tonight, because hitting anything whatsoever when pitches 5″ outside are being called strikes is tough. Here and all yall were complaining about Manzella’s bat…

Tomorrow, it’s Wandy vs David Bush. I hope good Wandy shows up. Bush has had very good success against the Astros – he’s 6-1 over 12 GS with a 3.25 ERA and a .211 BAA.

Michael Bourn’s First 4 Hit Game of 2010 Backs Gustavo Chacin’s First Win

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Yeah, I know I’m leading off (hahahaha) with Michael Bourn for the 3rd straight entry, but I LUUUUVVV the guy. Sue me.

Anyway, he went 4 fer 6 with THREE HITS and an UPPER DECK HOMER offn A LEFTY!!!!! Well, actually, 3 hits off 2 leftys. He got picked off in the first, but reached base because the Crew screwed up the rundown and the pitcher dropped the ball. He also had a K in which he called time but the ump didn’t give it and he asn’t prepared for the pitch. He flew out with a man on first. And he stole a base and scored a run. Actually, 2 runs. And he drove in 2, too. It was a crucial hit because there were 2 out, men on second and third and the Stros were down 3 runs – so Michael really started the comeback – seeing as how the Stros were ofer 8 with RISP to that time.

And it was a great night for Hunter Pence, too. He went 3 fer 5 with a ROE, drove in the 2 tying runs after Bourn singled in the first run and Kepp walked. And he scored 2!!!

Berkman had the night off – Feliz played first (I held my breath) but he didn’t screw up with the glove. He GIDP, went 3 fer 5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. I just hope that Fast Eddie doesn’t use this as an excuse to bench CJ.

And speaking of CJ, he left 2 on with 2 out in the first, hit the ball to the warning track in deep center, Kd, walked, reached on E5 (a little ironic, dontcha think) then scored.

Castro had the sombrero – he went to 3-2 twice, and both times the ump called him out on pitches which were out of the zone. The third staring K, the pitch actually WAS in the zone. He also walked, scored and FO. No PB/WP today.

Clank had a good/bad day. Good was him driving in 2 in the 8th to give 2 insurance runs. Bad was him hitting a ball to left down the LF line and him jogging into first instead of running to second. Evan Longoria would have the highest blood pressure EVAH he had to deal with REAL dogging it – he think Upton is bad.

Pinch hitters: Michaels K, Blum GO (and went ofer 3 after he replaced Navarro), Wandy, YES, Wandy GO and Jason Bourgeois had a RBI single (tres KEWL).

Pitching:

Bud Norris is a real fighter, tell you that. He started the game striking out Weeks, then gave up a single to Hart – had a bad throw to first which allowed Hart to go to second, gave up another single which scored Hart, then Kd the other 2.

Second inning – started off with a single, a FO to deep CF (ah LUUUUVVVV Michael) a K, a RBI double to the PITCHER down the LF line (not a CJ error) then 2 more singles, then a blessed FO to end the inning. Crew 4, Stros zippo. He had poor command, started every hitter but 1 with a ball, had 2-0 counts on 4/7.

Husband wants to watch something else. He gets snarled at, stays to argue and watches Michael hit an UPPER DECK homer. He sighs, and sits down. I tell him it’s an omen. Kepp singles, Pence hits into a 8-6 FC (freaking Edmonds is playing center – hot dog lets the ball drop so as he can get an extra kewl putout) Clank singles him to 3rd, then he scores on a WP.

3rd inning: Bud throws a FB right down the middle and Braun hits it out. You can’t throw Braun a FB down the middle, ESPECIALLY first pitch. Good grief. Then he gives up a single and HotDog is up. But he hits into a 1-6-3!!!!! and Lucroy GO.

He gives up only a walk in the 4th, and a single in the 5th, but then Castro throws him out stealing. Norris reminds me of Brandon Backe, who often got better as the game went on. The boy has GOT to work on control and he has GOT to develop a 3rd pitch because he ain’t gonna last on just FB and sliders.

Chacin came in and threw an 8 pitch 6th – and got the W. Not sure why he didn’t go out for the 7th, but I guess the Rule is gonna be 1 pitcher, 1 inning. Unless it is mopup.

Lopez came out to start the 7th, got a GO, then gave up 2 straight singles (guess he’s tired) and then Byrdak came in a got Prince out. Out came Lyon (OMG not the 8th???!!!!!) and got Braun to K. He pitched the 8th too (imagine that???!!!) and got 3 straight Ks. First time I think he’s done that this year.

Fulchino came in to mopup the 9th – got a lineout, a single and 2 swinging Ks on 15 pitches to get his ERA back under 7.

Tomorrow, we face Yovanni Gallardo who has positively STOMPED on the Astros – I was shocked to see that he has actually somehow lost 2 games in the past. But he has a 2.30 ERA/1.15 WHIP/.222 BAA. vs the Astros. Which are just about his numbers for this year, too. Dude has exactly one loss since he got his butt handed to him at St. Louis on April 10 – and that was to the Rangers. I’m not expecting miracles tomorrow…

Michael Bourn Hits An Upper Deck Home Run

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Well, it IS worth its own headline, dontcha think?

Especially as how the next one is gonna be something like

Bud Norris Is Pitching Exactly Like He Did Before He Went On The DL!!!!! (lousy)

Bourn Gives Oswalt His Only Run, But Roy Gives Up 7 Earnies To The Rangers And Looks Sorry In His ?Tryout?

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

OK, Chris Johnson gave up an unearned run, and Chris Sampson let one of 3 inherited runners score, but hey, we are talking a drop in the bucket.

I had a feeling Roy was off from the beginning – his “fast”ball was registering at 90/91 and even though he got through the first inning 1,2,3 on 13 pitches, I had a BAD feeling. And I was right. Second inning, Roy had a pitch up in the zone and Vlad smashed it to left center off the wall for a double. Then he threw a belt high mid-plate FB to Josh Hamilton who hit it like 500′ into the upper deck. Last time I saw a ball hit that far was one that Berkman hit in Arizona – or maybe the one Wily Mo Pena hit off Duckworthless at the GAB back in 05.

Down 2-0, no outs. He gets Cruz to GO to the 5.5 hole where CJ makes a VERY good play to get the out (seems that it is balls hit right to him that give him fits)  then he walks Smoak on 5 pitches, then gets the #8 and 9 guys out on 5 pitches. But he is not throwing any slider I can see and his Fastball is not really moving.

3rd inning, he starts throwing his curve, but he is not getting it called for strikes. And he gives up another homer – this one a Crawford Box type cheapie – on an 83 MPH change, mid thigh, middle in. WAAAAYYY too much of the plate, not enough movement. Next batter, Kinsler smashes ANOTHER belt high mid plate FB to right center for a double – he eventually scores on another CJ error, but hey, it didn’t really matter, because it’s not like the Astros were hitting or anything.

 Navarro made some REALLY good plays that Blum/Kepp wouldn’t have, and Michaels, who was playing right while Pence got the night off, made a really REALLY good catch on a hard hit ball to the wall in foul territory – yeah another pitch down the middle, and Bourgeois, playing left, made a great diving catch on a ball that Clank doesn’t get near – it would dropped in for a single fer SHER.

The 5th inning was weird – Roy could NOT find the plate at all – well, first batter, the ump didn’t give him calls on 2 pitches at the knees (at least they are clearly in the strike zone on Gameday – they looked low on TV) but with 2 outs and a man on first, Roy threw 2 WP in a row that Castro didn’t/couldn’t block and the runner ended up on 3rd. He then walked THAT guy, then the next – but even though Roy couldn’t get NEAR the strike zone, and was CLEARLY tired – and this is Roy walking around the mound, calling for new baseballs, shaking off the catcher, and Arnesberg is out, Roy is left in to pitch to try to get that last out (don’t ask me why – can’t use that idiotic stuff about The Win) and naturally, he can’t get it and gives up a 2 run single.

Every now and then, even a great pitcher will have The Game From Hell – and this one was Roy’s fer SHER. And he can’t blame his defense for throwing it down the middle. Although he might could blame Castro for not getting calls to go his way, or not blocking pitches in the dirt or something. (Wonder if he’s missing Towles – yes, sarcasm…) Maybe it wasn’t Castro’s night – he also didn’t block a Sampson pitch in the dirt that went for a WP and led to a run.

On the other hand, Byrdak and Lopez both threw 7 pitch 1,2,3 innings. That is good.

Anyhow, 1 bad game for a usually good pitcher doesn’t mean he can’t/won’t get traded, unless him throwing his fastballs at 91 is an indication that he’s not feeling healthy. (And Justice says he hears tell that Nolan is gonna hire Gerry Hunsicker to run the Rangers. Well, they gonna be good for a long LONG time, then…)

where was I? Oh yeah

Hitting? Well, Bourn grounded into his third DP of the year – he’s hitting WAAAAYYY too many balls to the 2B this year – considerably more than he did last year. But he did drive in the only run of the game. And he’s done THAT considerably more than he did last year, too.

Castro went 2 fer 2 at the plate and made the (ahem) unforgiveable sin of committing the 3rd out at 3rd base (tried to advance as the ball got away from Trainor when Blum scored, but it didn’t get far enough away and Hunter, backing up the play, threw to Young to get Castro. But hey – down that many runs, I would have done the same thing. Castro is darn lucky – if it had been Navarro, who got his first hit as an Astro today, he be back down in AAA already.

CJ hit another single, smacked a ball to left that Hamilton (who, remember is actually a CF) made a Web Gem catch on to rob him, he hit a ball to the wall in straightaway center, and GIDP to end the game – not sure why on earth Blum hadn’t already taken second on FI, because they weren’t keeping him on at ALL.

Michaels, Clank, Bourgy and Lance all went ofer. I hate to say this, but Lance is looking absolutely awful – he is reminding me of Mo Ensberg in 07 at the end. Taking as many pitches as possible, hoping for a walk, swinging and missing pitches he used to KILL and not hitting many balls to the OF, let alone OVER the OF. His fielding is still very good – just like Mo.

I honestly never in a zillion years expected Lance to tank like this – last year, he had a .908 OPS and this year, he is down to .750. And Clank? His OPS is .674(???!!!) and yes I know it was down last year, from his 5 year average of .895 to .832 – but a dropoff like THIS? Well, he does have an .880 OPS for June after unprintable OPS for the first 2 months, so maybe he has figured out how to decrease the suckage. At least Lance can field.

sigh

Off to Milwaukee, where Bud Norris will resume his spot in the rotation – I presume Moehler will go back to the pen and Banks will go back down to AAA.

Jason Bourgeois Has A Great Day At The Plate But No One Drives Him In, So Astros Lose

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

I was gonna be sarcastic and write a headline something like – Jason C-Astro goes 0fer and allows a stolen base and it is all Chris Johnson and Oswaldo Navarro’s fault that the Astros lose.

Because apparently there is some sort of agreement between the media and the Organization that they will pimp the heck out of Castro and refuse to acknowledge the accomplishments of anyone else, especially Johnson – I liked how he got a paragraph at the end of the game summary and how the title said “young players” and not “Chris Johnson.”

But today, it was all Boogey – who went 2 fer 3 with a single, a double, a walk and 2 stolen bases – one of second, one of third – and he got stranded both times (now he knows how Bourn has felt most of the year) and Jason Michaels, who gave the Astros their only runs with a 2 run homer in the 4th.

But Keppinger, Lance (both GIDP with men on third) and went ofer and left men on base, Clank went 1 fer and left men on base and Pence went ofer and left FIVE on base. And Chris Johnson, C-Astro and Navarro were also all ofer. (And speaking of leaving MOB, every Ranger hitter except for Josh Hamilton left at LEAST 3 men on base – 15 hits, 7 walks, only 7 runs…)

Really, a sorry-ass showing.

Josh Banks wasn’t exactly what you might call good. To be nice about it. He is a guy who throws Jamie Moyer type slop – but without Jamie’s ability to keep the pitches moving out of the strike zone. Now I will say that the ump had a narrow zone and guys who throw 84 MPH “fast”balls have to live on the edges and first batter, first inning, 2 of the 3 called balls looked like strikes to me and gameday shows them on the edge. And it went from there..

1st inning: 3-2 FO, 1-2 GO, 1-1 E4, SB, 4 pitch walk (none close) 4 pitch walk (none close) 1-1 GO. 10 extra pitches, thank you Kepp.

2nd inning: 2-2 2B to LF, 3-3 FC 6-5 (very nice play Navarro to Johnson to get the lead runner), 7 pitch BB – and pitch #5 SHOULD have been strike 3, Now starting the second time through the lineup: 1-0 FO, 1st pitch GO.

3rd inning: 1st pitch golfed for a 2B to LF, RBI single on a mid-plate mid-thigh 84 MPH “Fast”ball, thrown out at second 8-6 (NICE) and no, Clank does NOT make that play; 1-1 FO, 0-1 IF single on a slow roller to short, 2-1 GO.

4th inning: here we go – and mind, Banks has no “new” pitch to show because his pitches are the change offn his change offn his change from 80 – 85 MPH and a slow curve he couldn’t get near the zone which he only threw a couple of times. 3-1 walk, shoulder high first pitch RBI 2B to CF;

OK – now here we are at Bank’s THIRD time through the lineup. He has already given up 4 walks, 3 doubles, 3 singles and 2 runs. No Ks, but he seldom strikes out hitters. The walks are the problem here – that and the fact that he is not keeping the ball down and the ball isn’t moving real too much…

Man on second, no outs. 2-1 GO, 0-2 single on a high and inside pitch, 2-1 HR on a crotch high inside 83 MPH pitch. He got the next 2 outs – a swinging K???!!! and  1-2 FO. But the score was already 5-2 and the Astros hitters were busy not hitting with MOB.

Why on earth Mills sent him out to start the 5th, I’m not sure, but he pulled him after he gave up a single on the first pitch, and sent Chacin in. Probably some sort of leftyrighty idiocy, like they BOTH hadn’t been pounding the guy all day. Naturally, Chacin let the runner score, as well as one of his own, and what can I say?

Fulchino came in and pitched the 6th, giving up 2 singles and no runs, and pitched the 7th, giving up 2 singles, a walk, then no runs with bases loaded, 1 out.

Byrdak came in to pitch the 8th, gave up a triple on a ball Pence misplayed, a walk, a K and a GIDP.

At least Fulchino and Byrdak had this nice opportunity to reduce their bloated ERAs – neither one of em  look near as good as they did last year. Here and I was damfool enough to think that Fulchino could be the setup guy. More like the hitup guy.

Tomorrow night, it’s Roy vs Tommy Hunter. Yes, I said NIGHT. It is supposed to be shown on FSN, in spite of the hyped Yecchs vs Dodgers on ESPN. If the game isn’t shown, I’m not listening to Milo and I’ll just have to see what happens.

Tommy Hunter, RHP, was the Ranger’s 1st round pick in 07 from University of Alabama. He was fast tracked, like Strasburg (only without the media hysteria) not exactly sure why.  His minor league numbers were not exactly dazzling – ERA of 3.41, WHIP 1.26, 9.3 H/9, 1 HR/9, 1.5 BB/9, 5.6 K/9. He was called up in 08 and threw 11 lousy innings. In 09, he threw 70 unimpressive minor league innings – WHIP of 1.40/ERA of 4.21 – 9.7 H/9, 2.5 BB/9, 6.4 K/9, but by GAW, he was called up. I guess it is one of those – he was CHOSEN to succeed and unchosen ones can rot. The Astros are not the only Organization who does this stuff.

Anyway, he threw 112 OK innings with an ERA 4.10/WHIP 1.36 – 9.6 H/9, 2.7 BB/9, 5.1 K/9.

This year, he started the year on the DL, was pitching at AAA until June 5, when he was called up. His line at AAA showed 6 GS over 26.2 IP with an ERA of 4.05 – 2 HR, 11 BB, 14 K. Meh.

Since he came up though, he has started 4 games over 23.1 IP – a CG vs the Rays (what on earth IS it about that team? They’ve been no-hit, what, 3 times over the past 12 months and this is when they are a REALLY good team – they only got no hit once when they were a TERRIBLE team and even the o3 Tigers didn’t get no-hit) and has given up 8 R/6 ER, 19 H, 1 HR, 6 BB, 16 K – ERA 2.31 (would be3 3.04 if the runs were all earned) and a 1.04 WHIP, far, FAR better than his minor league numbers or previous MLB numbers would ever indicate.

Well, small sample size, as they say. So hopefully, the Astros bats will bring em all up to his old levels.

Chris Johnson Drives In 3, Gives Up 1 As Astros Crush Colby Lewis And The Rangers

Friday, June 25th, 2010

I was gonna start right off grousing that as usual, Blum is playing at short instead of Navarro, and asking exactly what on earth does Wade have against the Navarro, seeing as how he could have called up Marcos Cabral or someone else if he had just wanted a PR/DR.

But Blum hit well, so looks as if Navarro is not gonna get any starts for a long time. AND although in his one PA he ROE, he had an error in his first chance at SS – catches an easy popup, then promptly drops it. Peachy.

Moehler won his first game this year, although he didn’t pitch near as well as he did last time he faced the Rangers when he gave up only 1 hit (a homer) over 6 IP and all he got for his trouble was a loss. This time, he gave up 8 hits and 3 walks over 5 innings and got a W. Run support is teh awesomeness and last time, he just got 1 run from Michael Bourn, one of the 2 guys who reached base – and he scored on a WP.

Moehler did fine in the first and second – gave up a single to start the inning, but then got 3 outs. At the end of the third (23 pitch inning), he struck out Kinsler looking and Kinsy-poo threw a hissy fit, tossing bat, then helmet, then ignored the HP ump’s order to pick them up and tossed his gloves, too, then HE got tossed. But the ump didn’t make a mistake and had a very consistant strike zone all night – didn’t change for batter or pitcher.

Honestly. Kinsler made an ass of himself. It’s one thing if the pitch WAS a ball, or if every OTHER hitter got it called as a ball, but really. Actually, I would appreciate it if the hitters want to do their sulk-fest, if they would throw themselves on the ground and kick their feet and wave their hands about like 2 year olds do with a temper tantrum. Would provide the audience with a little comic relief – sort of like Sweet Lou back in the old days.

but I digress…

Anyhow, 4th inning started off Vlad getting on base with an E5 on a dead easy GB - CJ just clanked it off his glove. Then Hamilton, who has been hitting like over .500 for the month, hit a single to right. But then it started taking Moehler tons of pitches to finish each hitter. Cruz lined out, Smoak singled, Ramirez hit a sac-fly, Borbon walked and FINALLY Andrus struck out swinging, leaving bases loaded. Man, that was one TENSE inning (for me, I mean.) 25 pitches, 20 minutes. The 5th took 30 pitches, and Moehler gave up 3 singles, 2 walks, only 1 run and again left bases loaded.

It’s the end of the 5th inning and already, 2 hrs and 20 minutes have passed.

Sampson pitched the 6th, gave up a single, a GIDP (it wasn’t Michael Young’s night at all – 2 errors, a GIDP, 3 guys left on base) another single and a flyout.

Chacin pitched the 7th, struck out the side – went to 3-2 counts on each K, and gave up a double to Smoak. I was surprised to see him come out to start the 8th, but I guess Mills wanted him to just face Borbon – don’t ask me why – Wilton Lopez could perfectly well have faced him – it’s not like he’s Barry Lamar or something. But anyway, he singled, THEN in comes Lopez, who gets 2 groundouts, then gives up a single to David Murphy, who must be tied with one of the Red Sox/Yankees guys for most pitches/PA seen, and in trots Chacin’s run.

Lindstrom looked pretty good – would have gotten 3 outs straight if he hadn’t had to pitch to an extra batter because of the ROE. 18 pitches and only one 3 ball count. I’ll go for that.

Tonight, it was CJ night – as he went 4 fer 5 with 3 RBIs. And it was Blum night too, as he hit 2 doubles, went 3 fer 3 with a walk and scored 3 runs and drove in 1. I’d better not be seein no Pedro Suckage Feliz back out there no mo.

He made another error tonight - clanked an easy GB – funny – he makes really good plays to both left and right,actually made a few tough plays tonight, including a nice GIDP, but has screwed up an easy throw, clanked 2 easy balls. He didn’t do that when he was up earlier this year – maybe he’s nervous (I hope I HOPE) but at least if he keeps pounding the baseball, we’ll have someone to send to first if we trade Lance.

And speaking of Lance, he didn’t look real too good with the bat – although he DID get robbed of a blooper to shallow center (which would have driven in 2 runs) by Elvis Andrus, who made an incredible diving catch andhe managed to hold onto the ball, too. But Lance did turn on a Chris Ray FB which was right down the middle and he sent it like 400+ feet to dead center for his first homer this month.

It was also Caballo night, as Carlos went 3 fer 4 with 2 doubles, a walk!!! and 2 runs scored.

And speaking of Clank – in the 7th, Smoak hit a double to deep left center and I was absolutely STUNNED when I watched Carlos sprint out there, get the ball with a quick, agile twist of his body and throw a bullet to second. I thought – man, he even LOOKS younger and slimmer – maybe he’s suddenly decided to stop looking like a rhino with injured feet. And then I rememberd that it is Boojey out there – no wonder he looked so good.

Lucky we scored 7 runs, because we left TONS of guys on base – and left bases loaded in both the 8th and 9th.

And there was some SERIOUSLY lousy baserunning by both Blum and Clank.

In the 4th, Carlos singled, then Blum singled to right. Now I don’t know whether or not he misjudged how far the ball had been hit, or the skill of Cruz as a fielder, but he rounded first and appeared to be on his way to second and was easily caught in a rundown between first and second as the cutoff man tagged him out. Did he really think that Cruz was gonna throw to third to get Clank? Or that the cutoff man would throw to third when he was standing right there? It’s a case of not paying attention or not bothering to check the skills of the fielders and cutoff man.

And Clank, not exactly the best/smartest of baserunners, made another dumb mistake in the 7th. He had doubled, Pence was up and hit a grounder right to the pitcher and Clank was caught off base and was halfway to 3rd. Of course, the Rangers did a lousy job in the rundown and allowed Pence to advance to second before they tagged out Clank, but still, it was a serious misjudgement of the path of the ball.

sigh

But hey, beating the Rangers is good – it’s just that beating them by more than 3 runs woulda been better.

And tomorrow, Josh Banks faces CJ Wilson.

Let’s hope our CJ beats up on their CJ.

Wandy, Bourn And Pence Help Astros Take Series From Giants!!!

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Yeah, I can hardly believe it myself. Astros actually beat the Giants at the Box 2 games in a row!!!!!!! The Giants are like 90-1 at the Box, so this is a wonderful series victory.

First, Barry Zito was knocked out after the 4th, giving up 6 runs. Then Matt Cain was knocked out after 2.2 innings, giving up TWO homers and 7 runs. TO THE ASTROS, of all teams!!!!! Which just goes to show that when it comes to baseball, youneverknow.

In the Zito game, Chris Johnson started at third, went 2 fer 4, stole a base, drove in a run, reached base on a WP strikeout and came around to score eventually, was called out on strikes on a bullstuff check swing call, and took a minimum of 4 pitches in EACH PA. Oh yeah – and he made 2 errors – one in which he completely missed catching a grounder which went for 2 bases, and a throwing error which was too weak to reach first – and both errors led to runs.

So today, that good-fer-nuthin had to be taught a lil lesson. He got hisself benched and replaced by Pedro Feliz, so that he could see how a real ballplayer Goes About His Business (as I have heard Fast Eddie say.) So today, Pedro went ofer 4 – and saw the following pitches for each PA: 2,1,5 (popped out on Ball 4) and 5. Oh yeah – and he also made an error – bad throwing error – which led to 2 unearned runs.

Let’s say that Feliz is NOT an improvement – or any sort of good example neither. And I didn’t even get around to talking about the 3 plays that weren’t made on hits, neither.

Castro caught both yesterday and today – and the pitcher yesterday didn’t seem to like him any better than he did Towles, let’s say that. Especially after the WP. He went ofer, walked and scored a run. He runs very well, by the way – not Biggio type well, but you wouldn’t know he is a catcher by watching him run. Fox cameras and Patty Smith were all OVAH his family in the stands.

Today, he caught Wandy – and maybe it is my imagination, but Wandy seemed a lot more comfortable – gave up only 4 hits and a walk (and 2 of those hits were because neother Blum nor Feliz can field for spit, but I digress) over 6 IP. The curve seemed to be working a lot better today. He threw only 1 bad pitch, which Pat Burrell hit into the Crawford Boxes. Actually, it was the only really hard hit pitch – although there were 2 FB to the warning track. He only struck out 3, but got LOTS of ground balls and 3 GIDPs. Now, if Castro can get Wandy striking out everyone again…

And let me not forget to mention that Wandy singled and scored a run!!!!! Keeping the BA over Clank’s weight!!!

Anyway, today, Castro hit his first homer, went 2fer 3 with a walk, 2 runs, 1 RBI and is lookin good with glove  (I noticed that none of the Giants bothered to try to steal today – hehhehheh) and bat. Patti Smith, of course, was all OVAH his family AGAIN.

Yesterday, 28 year old Houston Homeboy Jason Bourgeois debuted in center. He finally gets to live his dream, playing for his hometown Astros he watched so many times when he was a kid. Didn’t see Patty Smith all OVAH Bourgy’s friends and family – maybe they couldn’t afford the expensive seats the Castros had. But anyway, he led off the game with a hit, promptly stole second, then overslid the bag and was tagged out. He also walked, scored a run, and played a very nice CF. Too bad we can’t bench Clank and play Bourgy out in left for the rest of the year. Well, HOPEfully, that is exactly what we will do in Arlington and DH Clank – it’s his best position.

I sure would like to see Castro catching, Navarro at short, Johnson at 3rd, Bourn ALWAYS in center, Bourgy in left and Pence in right. Which would be TEH kewl. And would subtract from the beating we gonna get from the Rangers Power Lineup.

where was I?

Oh yeah. Back on the players.

Bourn killed the ball on Tuesday, driving in the only run – and he was all OVAH the field – most of the balls were hit to center/L center/R center and Michael was on his horse all night. He sat yesterday (we’re back to benching him against leftys – sigh) and today, he hit TWO doubles – one to the LF bullpen, one to the RF bullpen, which would have been a triple if Wandy hadn’t gotten the stop sign at third. Michael overran second – was halfway to 3rd and had to go back. It was hilarious – he was yelling something to Wandy about running like a catcher or something and how he robbed him of a triple. Fortunately, the Giants can’t field for spit and he didn’t get caught off base – he would have if there were real OF in the OF. He also walked and scored a run. When he scored the run, he was like 2 steps behind Wandy – damm that boy can FLY. He couldn’t steal any bases because there was always someone on the base in front of him.

Keppinger found his bat just in time yesterday – hit a 3 run double off Zito with the bases loaded to give the Astros a lead they never gave up. I should also mention that yesterday, CJ wasn’t the only fielder with hands of stone, whose incompetence led to runs. With 1 out in the 7th, CJ missed a GB and it went for a 2 base error. Then Torres hit a ball to right which bounces off the RF wall (Pence got a bad read on the ball and jumped late,) then bobbled it and Torres ended up on third – don’t ask me why on earth Pence didn’t get an error there. Then Sanchez reaches on an E5 (AGAIN!!!) and there are men on first and second. Then Huff hits into what should have been a perfect 4-6-3, only Kepp wastes time trying to tag out Saqnchez, misses, and can’t get Huff out at first either. Everyone safe, no outs.

Total, disgusting error laden mess. And fortunately, only 2 runs.

Kepp, of course, didn’t get any stuff for screwing up – just CJ.

Later, in the 7th, with 1 out, Blum couldn’t get near a grounder that Manzella woulda had with his eyes shut and it went for a single. Then Huff hit into what SHOULD have been a perfect 3-6-3/1, but Berkman double clutched and they only got the 1 out. So with men on first and third, the next hitter hit a sac-fly and the run scored. Of course, it wasn’t a recorded error, but it WAS an effup. THREE runs scored because of crappy fielding. Good thing there was plenty of hitting.

Lance isn’t looking good neither – he got a GR double off the scoreboard (fan interference) – his first well hit ball in I don’t KNOW how long – yesterday, then scored a run. Today, he hit an RBI double when a popup that looked like a foul dropped juuust inside the RF line – 2 runs scored (bases were loaded) and Lance ended up on second. He also hit a clean single. But the days of him routinely hitting blasts to the RF bullpen and over the RF bullpen seem to be OVAH. He also stole a base today and somehow caught his left knee sliding into the bag.  (My granma in a wheelchair could steal on Bengie Molina, I swear. He throws worse than Kevin Cash – and I remember when he was good.) Anyway, it DID keep the Astros out of the 6-4-3, because the very next pitch, Clank hit the ball right to the SS. Not that it mattered because Pence Kd and Feliz got out somehow or other, as usual.

Clank went 2fer 4 in the Zito game and drove in a run. Today, he went 1fer 4 with a run scored and a walk. Yes, you read that right. A walk!!!!!

Blum has spent the last 2 days at SS instead of Navarro, don’t ask me why, except Fast Eddie prejudice. He went ofer Zito with a GIDP and 2 missed plays (not errors) and today went 1 fer 3 with an error and another missed play. He’s just as bad as Miggy – well, maybe a touch worse, if that is possible.

Pence went 1 fer 3 with a walk and a run scored in the Zito game. He also misplayed that one ball. He had been dogging it a little out there – had left 2 balls drop near the line which had gone for doubles – I think he thought they were gonna go into the stands and pulled up early. But he was definitely on his horse today, making 3 fine plays and hitting a 3 run homer in the first that put the Astros ahead for good.

I suppose I had better talk about the relief pitching, even though I don’t want to.

First, the good: Lyon came on in the Zito game – got an out, gave up 2 straight singles – was up to 22 pitches, got a popup – up to 27 pitches, then a 6 pitch K. 33 pitches, 1 inning. Today, he got 1,2,3 out on 13 pitches.

Then the not quite as good: Lindstrom got 1,2,3 out on 13 pitches in the Zito game (that was wonderful, yes it was) but today, the boy done gived me near heart failure – good thing there were 3 runs for him to deal with: GR double, GO, RBI single, single, then a blessed popup then a K. Only 15 pitches for 6 hitters.

Then the icky:

Chris Sampson, back from the DL, came out to start the 7th. First hitter ROE (Blum – ahem) and then Rowand singled to left. Neither ball was hard hit, but every pitch but 1 was up. For a sinkerballer, this is not good.

Sampson out, Byrdak in. Flyout, K. Very good. But then single – run in. Single – run in. It wasn’t a manager’s mistake to leave Byrdak out there – Torres is a lousy righty batter and huff is a lefty. Byrdak just didn’t get the job done. He Francoed Sampson, but fortunately they are unearned – fortunately for Sampson, that is – and fortunately for the Astros, they had scored enough that it didn’t matter.

Byrdak out, Wilton Lopez in – and he gets the last out on 1 pitch.

Oh wait – that is GREAT!!!

So tomorrow night is the rematch between Moehler and Colby Lewis (who is undoubtedly licking his lips) but I hope that CJ and Castro and Bourn and Bourgy give him a Cain-Zito thrashing.

6/24/10: Astros DL Manzella And Paulino

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

I most certainly AM gonna talk about the Astros actually winning a series from the GIANTS!!! after calling up the younguns (even though there seems to be some kind of omerta with the media about refusing to talk about Chris Johnson, only The C-astro – but more on that next entry…)

But first I want to note that Tommy Manzella broke his finger while fielding a ground ball on Tuesday – allowed an IF single that otherwise would have been an out. Trainer trotted out, Tommy said he was fine (grrrrrrrrr – MENNNNNNNNNNNN – well, except for JD Drew, that is) and next day they discovered it was, in fact broken, so he will be out for a month or so. And just when he was starting to get comfortable, too, drat it.

Osvaldo Navarro, an actual SS, was called up from AAA – remember him? He’s the guy who got called up a month back and got a couple of pinch hits against setup guys/closers, just to prove that Matt Kata should been called up instead, then was sent back down after going ofer 3 PA, which proved he couldn’t hit ML pitching.

Anyway, naturally, Geoff Blum is playing short, which makes about as much sense as Carlos Lee playing short, especially having Blum bat righty – heck, when batting lefty, he is sucking. But hey, we can’t have ALL these young guys in the lineup. Only Castro, The Annointed One, must be any good. Otherwise, fans might could want to see more young players come up from the farm and bring some excitement to this deadly dull baseball team and we can’t have THAT!!!

Unless, of course, the Young Player is one drafted and pimped by The Geeeenyuss Ed Wade.

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

Chris Sampson is back off the DL, hopefully not hurting and actually able to throw that sinker. Wesley Wright went back down – he still has options.

Felipe Paulino just might could have thrown a few too many pitches a few too many outings because he has “shoulder tendonitis” – and remember, he missed an entire YEAR with problems.

Josh Banks has been called up to be the sacrificial lamb in the Saturday afternoon game at Arlington. I can’t even begin to imagine how unbelieveably HOT it must be there during day games in the summer. You talk about cruel and unusual punishment. I have never figured out why on earth they didn’t put a roof on that stadium, too. Or at least not cut off any wind flow by putting up expensive seats to block it. At least you are allowed to bring water jugs into the Ballpark – and you’d need a couple of 2 liter bottles of water to not instantly dehydrate.

Banks is an almost 28 year old righty – drafted in the second round out of college by the Blue Jays. He threw 7 lousy innings for the ML club in 07, had 3 bad starts to begin 2008 at AAA, and was let go and was then picked up by the Padres, who were desperate to have some live warm body (yes, male) who could throw some innings as a starter and Banks threw 14 games, ending up with an ERA of 4.78/WHIP 1.48 over 85 IP. He started 09 in the ML, but uck-sayed and was sent down to Portland, where he did very well, starting 17 games and relieving in 6 over 125 IP with an ERA of 3.46/1.25 WHIP.

In the majors, he has been a bit homeriffic – 1.5 HR/9, and his K/9 only 4.5. He had much better minor league numbers, 1.1HR/9, 1.5 BB/9 and 7.5 K/9.

He was picked up by the Astros as a minor league FA and so far this year at Round Rock, he has thrown 15 games over 97 IP (6.1 IP/ GS) with a 2.97 ERA (but has allowed 8 UER – if they were all earned, ERA would be 3.97) with a 1.20 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9, 8.5 H/9, 2.2 BB/9 and 3.15 K/9 (yes, I know that is terrible and only Chien Ming Wang has been able to do this in the ML and succeed.)

Wish the poor boy the best of luck cuz he gonna need it. At least he is used to pitching in the heat.

Bud Norris was on the Astros bench yesterday, in uniform. He is supposedly close to being ready to come off the DL and last I read, he is going to pitch Monday. He had one OK start and 1 vile start at AAA. We’ll have to see. I guess Banks will go back down – Chacin is actually valuable. Unlike everyone else in that pen.

But I digress…

And last but not least, the Astros traded forTommy Everidge, a minor league 1B from the Mariners for “future considerations” – which I hope means J.R. Towles, as the Mariners are incredibly short of anyone who can actually catch. I hope the boy gets a new start and tears the cover offn the ball.

But back to Tommy Everidge: he’s 27, drafted by Oakland in the 10th round of the 04 draft and has been killing the baseball at Sacramento. Guess they didn’t like him, for some reason, in spite of his 1.060 OPS in 09, because they let him go, seeing as how all their 1B were killing the ball at the ML level. Seattle signed him as a 6 year minor league FA – and he has suffered in Portland. Maybe Billy Beane really IS a GEEEEENYUSSSS. All his numbers have tanked and he has a .690 OPS over 279 PA this year. Not sure what the Astros plan to do with him as they already have Lead Glove Shelton at AAA and Koby Clemens – still killing the baseball – at AA.

6/23/2010 – The Astros FINALLY Beat The Giants

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Sorry no entry last night – personal stuff happened. Will discuss last night’s and today’s game later.

Let’s hope Wandy gets his stuff going and Oswaldo Navarro is playing short instead of Blum and we FINALLY beat Matt Cain, too.