Archive for July, 2010

Wandy Pitches 8 Shutout Innings Against The Brewers For Win #9

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

I was writing headlines in my mind, like Wandy Pitches A 5 Hit Complete Game Shutout, when inexplicably, Mills pulled him after 105 pitches and a 6 pitch 8th inning. I hope Wandy told him he was tired because I have no idea why he couldn’t have finished up.

He started off a little shaky, had trouble finding the strike zone with the FB, gave up an IF single to Weeks leading off and then a single to left, but then got Da Prince to pop out to left on another 3 ball count, then got Ryan Braun to ground into a FC (unfortunately the ump was right) and suddenly, Wandy found that fastball and struck out McGehee on 3 pitches.

From there, he was off and running, and except for the 7th, when Braun hit a high inside FB down the LF line for a double and Escobar walked, he just cruised. He had 9 Ks, 2 looking, 7 swinging and the curve was curvin and the FB was hopping. He only gave up one well hit ball and that was to deep center by the Reliant Energy sign by the RF bullpen – naturally, Bourn ran it down. (Now that Berkman is gone, Bourn is doing all the ads on KTRH…)

I noticed that Wandy only threw 4 changeups the entire game – and 2 of em were hit for singles.

Jason Castro was called up on June 22 and caught Wandy’s game on the 24th and all of his games since then.

He threw 14 games to Quintero, went 3-10 with a 6.09 ERA over 75.1 IP (average 5.1 IP/GS)with 6 QS – 7 HR (0.8 HR/9), 95 H (11.3 H/9), 34 BB (4 BB/9), 52 K (6.2 K/9)

He has now thrown 7 starts with Castro: 47 IP (6.2 IP/GS) and is 6-1: 33 H (6.3 H/9), 4 HR (0.8/9), 10 BB (1.9 BB/9), 43 K (8.3 K/9).

That is a statistically significant, whopping difference (even if you omit the2 games he threw against the Rangers and Yankees).

Castro’s new at bat song should be (apologies to Justin Timberlake)\

I’m bringing Wandy back
Them other catchers don’t know how to act
I think it’s special what’s behind your back
So turn around and i’ll pick up the slack. 
Send em’ to the bench

And speaking of the bench,

I hear tell that Clank refused a trade to the Red Sox (again) and tonight, he was benched in favor of Jason Michaels.

heh

Brett Wallace made his debut tonight. He sure drew a crowd – I bet there were actually some 37K people in the stands (either that or it was the Bagwell bobbleheads or the post-game Faith and Family Night concert).

First AB he was visibly nervous, poor guy. Naturally, the HP ump wanted to humble him and called 2 borderline FB off the plate as strikes, so he swung wildly at Ball 1. Dude is the human rain delay up there – makes Nomar Garciaparra look speedy. He got 1 good swing on a long fly ball to center, but other than that, no. He did reach on error on a dribbler in front of the plate that Lucroy overthrew, and he struck out twice. I’m not surprised – he is replacing a franchise type player and he’s never had a ML AB before and there are really BIG expectations for the guy. Everyone else in the lineup had at least 1 hit and CJ went 3 fer 3 with a walk.

Dave Bush had one of those bad luck kind of days – the hits against him were either seeing eye singles in the 5.5 hole or those bloop hits over the heads of the infielders. Bourn smashed an opposite field double to the LF bullpen with CJ on second and Castro on first. For some reason, Clark held up the stop sign for Castro, even though he was on CJ’s heels and Braun had barely retrieved the ball (and he would have scored easily and given Michael another RBI).

It was actually a fun game to go to – the most people I’ve seen in the stands since Opening Day – and more enthusiastic, too. And Wandy was at his absolute best for everyone. I know Wade SHOULDA traded him, but I’m selfishly glad he didn’t.

And by the way – bad news – Ed Wade signed his ex-Phillie petsy-poo to a multi-year deal – gee, what a surprise that Fast Eddie is in LUUUVVVV with the guy he drafted and isn’t able to see that this is a year that is out of line with the guy’s career stats. I hate Ed Wade and hope that Drayton sells this team and the new owner’s first act is to get rid of Tal, Ed and trade Petsy Poo.

sigh

Wesley Wright (fast becoming my second favorite Astro) starts against ex-Phillie Randy Wolf, who beat the Astros soundly his last time…

7/31/10: Astros Trade Deadline Passes

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

I know that done deals can be announced later, but Fast Eddie has turned down multiple offers for the ol Wifebeater and for Brandon Lyon (so much for he can’t be moved) and for Pence.

So far it is just Roy and Lance, who was traded for Mark Melancon, a AAA pitcher, who apparently Fast Eddie thinks is the reincarnation of Brad Lidge 04/08 – not sure why he thinks that seeing as how if he is this closer material NOW, why on earth the Yankees didn’t call him up to be The Bridge To The Mariano (now that Joba has failed and they have no obvious 8th inning nail it down guy) and 21 year old Jimmy Paredes, an A-ball second baseman/SS.

Let’s take a look:

Mark Melancon, a 25 year old righty, was drafted in the 9th round of the 06 draft by the Yankees. He rose like a rocket and was in AAA 2 years later, where he threw 20 innings of 2.70 ERA ball with a HR of 0.5/9, BB 1.3/9 and K 9.9/9 IP.

He essentially duplicated those numbers last year over 53 innings and had a brief callup to the ML club last year in which he threw 16.1 innings over 13 games, with a 3.86 ERA with 7.2 H/9, 5.5 WALKS/9 and 5.5 K/9.

Trouble is that this year, those humongous high walk numbers have persisted in AAA: 3.69 ERA, 1.69 WHIP!!!!! over 56.1 IP, and his hits/9 have increased 75% from his career numbers to 10.1/9, his walk rate is 5.0/9, although his K rate is unchanged at 9.3/9 IP.

It’s the hits and walks I’m worried about – and if AAA hitters won’t swing at stuff off the plate, ML hitters aren’t gonna, fer SHER.

I don’t see Brad Lidge, I see Stephen Randolph with more walks.

7/30/10: J Happ-y To Get Run Support To Shutout The Brewers

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Roy Oswalt pitched his first game tonight as a Phillie, gave up 5 runs, had crappy defense, got 1 run of support – must have felt right at home.

Meanwhile, J Happ threw 6 innings of 2 hit, a 2 base ROE by Clank, 4 walk ball. He doesn’t have really great stuff – a FB 89-93 MPH, a curve he seldom threw, and a changeup. It’s funny because Manny Parra has better stuff, including an unhittable changeup, but he just can’t seem to throw his great stuff consistently, don’t ask me why. Must drive Brewers fans crazy.

Tonight, no Roy, no Pence, no Berkman, no problem.

Happ just might could have been a lil nervous when he went out there – gave up a leadoff double to Weeks, then a walk to Hart. But he pulled himself together and got Braun swinging, got Prince to popup to left and McGehee to groundout to third. He started off the second inning with 2 swinging Ks, a 3-2 walk and a groundout to Pedro Feliz, playing 1B while Lance, still in uniform, took a (supposedly) planned day off.

Happ threw 43 pitches through the first 2 innings, half balls, and I had one of those uh-oh feelings, because Parra had had wicked stuff in the 1st, but in the 2nd,  he threw a FB right down the middle on a 3-2 count to Michaels, playing RF, who sent it into the middle window in left field. And with a 1 run lead, Happ never looked back.

 And once CJ hit a 3 run opposite field homer (on another one of those 2-0 right down the middle FB), he just put pedal to the metal and cruised through the next 2 innings. Mills pulled Happ after 6 innings, 98 pitches. As the guy came back from 2 months on the DL with elbow soreness only a few weeks ago, no reason to stretch him out.

Bourn went ofer – shoulda had an infield single, but Phil Cuzzi, the 1B ump got the call wrong. Then again, Michael should have run through the bag instead of sliding head first. He made a WebGem catch on Prince’s looping hit to shallow center in the 8th and basically made every tough catch look easy – just as usual. Now that his batting average is too low for Astros fans, I’m starting to hear the same sort of thing I heard about Everett – and how saving hits and runs isn’t important. Unless you are Clank and giving them up, of course…

Sanchez went ofer, but made all the plays, which were all pretty routine.

Keppinger, batting 3rd, had 2 walks and a homer off the fowl pole (chicken sandwiches all around!!!) and made all the plays.

Clank, batting 4th, was ofer (Parra saved his very best stuff for Clank), had a GIDP, and muffed a fly ball to left – near the bullpen, he tried to make a hot dog catch, turned at the wrong minute and the ball clanked off his glove. So much for Bagwell teaching him how to hit.

Jason Michaels hit 5th, went 1 fer 3 with a walk, scored 2 runs, hit the go ahead homer and made all the plays.

Feliz hit a single!!!! for his first hit in like weeks and scored when CJ hit one out. He didn’t mess up any plays at first.

CJ, as usual, hit 7th – don’t ask me to explain this because I can’t and his hitting streak is now 13 games. He’s starting to hit for power now, as he did in the minors, and so be it and shall it remain. Now, if he can just get the glove work under control. He bobbled an easy GIDP ball, but got the out at first, but fortunately, no one scored.

Quintero went ofer, and his trouble framing pitches got 5 strikes called balls, including one strikeout that went as a walk.

News – apparently Lance was packing his things and saying good-bye to everyone, so it loks as if the Yankees trade is a go. I have heard different accounts of which players we are receiving, so I am going to wait until it is official before discussing them. Last player we got from the Yankees was LaTroy Hawkins, which worked out pretty well for us.

Will be interesting to see if they call Brett Wallace right up and play him. We’ll see if he can hit outside of the top hitters parks in the PCL.

Next 2 days, it will be the attack of the little leftys, Wandy and Wesley. Let’s hope we can get Wesley his first W on Sunday and Wandy a nice W tomorrow.

Looks As If Lance Berkman Has Been Traded To The Yankees

Friday, July 30th, 2010

At this particular second, it’s still a rumor – Berkman has supposedly OKd a trade to the Yanks if they DON’T pick up his option.

No idea what we’re gonna get back, but I’d bet it’s nothing good.

I hear tell that apparently, when he was trying to trade Roy-O, Fast Eddie told teams that they would have to pick up ALL of Roy’s contract – and he maneuvered it so that the Phils would be able to snag Roy. The other teams are NOT real too happy.

GEE, what a surprise.

Good-bye Roy Oswalt, Thanks For The memories And Hope You Like Philly

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I’ve seen it coming since The Year Of The Biggio, when it became obvious that Drayton was running the club and that he had absolutely NO idea how to GM a club, just how to promote it. I’ve watched the general atmosphere deteriorate as Roy and Lance realized that they were not going to have any chance of returning to the postseason. They (barely) tolerated the ineptitude of Cooper and the rest of the coaches, but even though Mills and Arnesberg were hired this year, Roy and Lance saw the writing on the wall – Drayton wasn’t about to hire good baseball people and let them rebuild the franchise, so they said – I’ve had it.

I don’t blame em one bit.

It’s gonna be weird watching Roy pitch for some other team. I first watched him in the 2000 Olympics – my Mama called me, told me to get out of bed and turn on the games because I wasn’t gonna believe my eyes. Everyone was going on and on about Ben Sheets, but Roy was better, had better stuff – like Paulino, with superb control. I could hardly believe he was an ASTRO.

And for 10 years running, he’s been our ace. And now he’s gone.

Here’s the deal: Oswalt plus 11 mill (of his remaining 5 mill + 16 mill + 3 mill buyout) to the Phillies for 27 year old lefty ML pitcher J.A. Happ (not a FA until 2014), A ball infielder Jonathan Villar, and A ball OF Anthony Gose (who was immediately traded to Toronto for failed 1B AAA prospect Brett Wallace, a 3B turned 1B – yes you have heard that name before, more on him later.)

I find it VERY hard to believe that Wade couldn’t get a better deal – especially for 11 million dollars.

I know the fans are ecstatic about Happ, because of his gaudy win/loss record and his low ERA.

Let’s take a look: Happ was drafted by Ed Wade in the 3rd round of the 04 draft, threw 4 innings in 07, then 31.2 inningsof 120+ ERA ball in 08, 166 innings of 145 ERA+ ball in 09, and spent a great deal of this year on the DL, but threw 3 starts over 15.1 innings, giving up 3 ER/4R. ML numbers: 31 starts, 16 relief appearances over 217 IP: 8.2 H/9, 1.1 HR/9; 6.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 – 3.11 ERA, 1.295 WHIP. Bad number, though, is his career xFIP of 6.33 – this is an adjusted ERA kind of number, standing for fielding independent pitching, adjusted for league and parks, and, like ERA, the smaller, the better. It indicates that Happ has (supposedly) been extraordinarily lucky in having balls in play head to fielders and having them successfully turn them into outs.

I can tell you that his minor league rehab numbers this year are pretty bad.

Well, he IS cheap, but he is no ace, in spite of his low ERA.

Jonathan Villar is a 19 year old SS currently in A ball – Sally league. This year, he’s had 420 PA, 18 2B, 4 3B and 2 HR; 38 SB, 13 CS (like a 62% success rate = lousy); 26 BB, 103 K: .272/.332/.358/.690 – oh yeah, and as a fielder, has 42 (no, that is not a misprint) errors/483 chances (and the same error percent at 2B in previous years) – lifetime minor league OPS of .698 over 830 PA. This, my friends, is the definition of suckage. What the heck is Wade doing picking this guy?

And Brett Wallace? Of course you know his name. He was a first rounder of the Cards in 08 and was traded to the A’s last year at the deadline for Matt Holliday. He ended up being traded to the Jays in the complicated Roy Halliday trade in the offseason, and now he’s with us. He started his career as a third baseman, but his glove makes Chris Johnson look like Scott Rolen, so he’s been playing 1B, and I hear tell from people who have watched him, that he’s basically the first base equivalent of Clank Lee in LF. He has nice numbers in the PCL and for the past 2 years, has been at AAA with 866 PA (at hitters parks Las Vegas and Sacramento) and 45 2B, 33 HR, 21 GIDP, 56 BB, 165 K: .300/.357/.498/.855 – this translates to a major league equivalent of approximately .240/.289/.391/.698 (hitters parks, you know…)

For a guy who is supposedly a TOP prospect, he sure has been traded an awful lot. You have to ask why the Jays wanted to trade him for a lousy hitting, crappy basestealing A ball outfielder.

From Brian Cartwright:

A couple reasons why Wallace has been a huge disappointment

 He raked in college, posting .400 BA’s in each of 2007 & 2008, with power and walks. He continued hitting well in the pros in ’08, over .300 at every stop in the minors, 14 HR in 80 games.
 
After 32 games of 2009 he was promoted to Triple-A, where the unadjusted numbers look good
2009 Memphis    293/346/423
2009 Sacramento 302/365/506
2010 Las Vegas  298/359/511
 
But what these three have in common are the all in the hit happy PCL.
 
Looking now at Oliver’s MLEs
           BA  OB  SA wOBA Fld
2007 Coll 310/382/481  376
2008   AA 283/370/447  361  -2
2009  AAA 254/319/370  308 -14
2010  AAA 231/284/372  289  -6
 
The 376 & 361 wOBA’s in 2007-2008 are great for a 3b (putting him around 6th or 7th best in MLB), similar to Ryan Zimmerman. Then two things happened – he was moved to 1b because of bad defense at 3b, and his hitting tanked when seen i translation. He went from 60 or 70 BB in 600 or so PA to about 40, and the isolated power went from .170 range (above average but not great) to .120-.130, which is below MLB average.
 
Over the past two years, he has produced at a level below replacement for MLB firstbaseman.

sigh

I guess Drayton and Fast Eddie are thinking of having him replace Berkman, instead of promoting Koby Clemens.

Looks as if Drayton gets to pocket 12 mill over the next 2 years and we get to wonder why J.A. Happ can’t keep his H/9 at such a low level.

To put it mildly, I’m not exactly very HAPPy with this here trade.

I’m just surprised that Wade didn’t manage to get a middle reliever out of the deal. And I have this very VERy bad feeling that they are not going to trade the Wifebeater and are going to give him a huge multi year deal, which they are going to regret very quickly. And they are not going to trade Pence, who is rapidly going to become expensive and not a better ballplayer, or Wandy, or anyone else who has any trade value. I wouldn’t be surprised if Berkman is the only other player traded before the deadline.

Lance Berkman Announces His Presence With Authority And Sends His 7th Career Grand Slam Over The RF Bullpen

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Well glory be!!!

This is the hardest I saw Lance hit a baseball all year – he turned on a Andrew Cashner 95 MPH FB and absolutely rocketed that ball out of the park. I almost fell over. He had struck out earlier with men on first and 3rd with 2 out and I wasn’t expecting miracles with bases loaded, 2 out – not that there had to be any miracles, as Angel Sanchez had driven in a run to break up the 0-0 tie and Pence added a security run immediately after.

Every time I think that Lance is going to start hitting again, I’ve been wrong. I hope this is the beginning of something good, instead of one of those dying gasps. I’ve been most unhappy about Lance not being able to hit a ball much further than the Crawford Boxes and had decided that he was simply played out. Man, I HOPE I’m wrong…

EDIT: looked at the replay again and I originally thought the ball went into the Restaurant just in front of the rightmost edge of the Budweiser sign, but I was wrong. And the 7 career grannys include the 2 he’s hit in the playoffs.

Cubs Pitchers Give Up 11 Hits, But Astros Leave All But 2 On Base And Lose

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Wesley Wright wasn’t BAD, but unfortunately, although he only walked 1, gave up 8 hits over 5 innings, 4 of the runs scored, so he lost.

The real problem was that the Astros hitters (and I’m lookin at YOU, Clank, Lance, Pence!!!) didn’t drive in but 2 – Lance drove in 1 in the 1st and Pence drove in 1 in the 7th). In fact, every hitter except for Keppinger left at least 1 on base.

Bourn has picked it up, Angel Sanchez is still hitting well, Chris Johnson is still hitting well, and Jason Castro is struggling. Maybe we should move him to the 2-hole.

We face Ted Lilly tonight – sorry, I thought it was last night, instead of Silva.

And posting will be pretty sporadic this week – life is interfering with baseball and writing, sorry.

1 week left till the deadline. Haren was traded yesterday, and Oswalt is the only ace left. I have heard from multiple sources that many teams are inquiring about Myers, Pence and Bourn AND that Fast Eddie and Drayton are, to put it VERY mildly, extremely difficult to deal with. Gee, what a surprise. Sort of reminds me of the girl won’t agree to be with any man unless he looks like Brad Pitt age 30 (and has his $$$ too) or any guy who refuses to touch any female unless she looks like Beyonce (replace with your particular hottie of choice) and ends up with no one.

Wandy Throws 7 Innings of 1 Hit Ball, Beats Mike Leake’s Reds

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

It wasn’t the best I’ve seen him throw, and he gave up 2 walks and went to 8 pitch counts twice and 9 pitch count once, but he kept em off the basepaths fer SHER. He only had 2 hard hit balls – one by Hanigan to the LF bullpen (thank you Michael Bourn) and one to the Hill (thank you Michael Bourn) but the Danger in this Park (ask Roy last night or Leake today) is to left, where the Crawford Boxes beckon so invitingly.

Pence gave Wandy a 1 run lead with a solo homer to the CBoxes in the second, and that was all he needed. CJ added another solo homer with a smash above the CBoxes onto the tracks and Michael Bourn, hitting against a LEFTY!!! (YOU SEE THAT MILLSY???!!! A LEFTY!!!) drove in Castro and Jason Michaels with a double to seal the deal.

Poor Castro – he should have had another hit and an RBI, but Johnny Gomes trapped his liner to left with man on second 2 out in the 4th and sold it as a catch.

Lyons and Lindstrom came in and got em out in the 8th and 9th even though thre was no save – hey, the bullpen is teh sukc these days.

Speaking of sukc, Chris Sampson was sent down today – he still hasn’t recovered from the shoulder problem. Meanwhile, we’re trying out Fernando Abad, a 24 year old lefty. He was called up from AA, where he was a swingman – started 4 games, relieved in 10 over a total of 39.2 IP with an ERA of 2.50, Whip 1.41 and a .306 BAA. Although he gave up a lot of hits, he gave up only 6 walks/39.2 IP and 3 HR/39.2 IP – so we’ll see how he does.

He can’t be worse than Majewski/Daigle.

Can he?

Oh yeah – check out this nice article on Danny Arguello. Wonder why Jordan Lyles would merit a callup and he wouldn’t…

Anyway, we got to see Anderson Hernandez starat at SS today. Isn’t any better with the glove and he got a nice GIDP and nothing else.

By the way, Ed Maysonet came back from the DL a couple of weeks back and is hitting like crazy over the past 2 weeks. Would be nice to see him get called back up again (he spent almost the whole year on the DL – and didn’t get many ABs because of Matt Kata, who has lately returned to his normal level of suckage…)

Tomorrow, it’s lefty Wesley Wright vs lefty Ted Lilly – yes, the C*bs are back in town. Makes the beer guys happy…

Anyway, Ted Lilly is supposed to be on the trading block – and wouldn’t be real too surprised to see a lot of scouts – he always KILLZ the Astros, it seems. Even the time he gave up FIVE homers, he still won.

Hopefully, the guys will get it together for Wes tomorrow, and Millsy won’t leave him out there to throw 40 pitches in an inning. Anyway, Ted can be an example to Wes of how a very small lefty (and Lilly can’t be an inch over 5-9) can be a very successful ML pitcher.

7/24/10: Roy Oswalt Loses His Second Career Game Against The Reds As He Gives Up 6 Runs And Gets Shutout

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Roy didn’t pitch very well. To be nice about it. First inning, he gives up a single, then a homer over the CBoxes, then a double to right (but no mroe runs) then a solo homer in the second, then 3 runs on singles/doubles in the 3rd. 6 ER (no botched plays) and that was more than enough for Johnny Cueto, who held the Astros to 3 singles,a double, a walk and a ROE over 8 innings.

The hits, by the way, were 2 singles for CJ, 1 double for Sanchez and a single for Pence. As usual, Clank and Berkman looked old and worn out. It just might could be time to move them down in the lineup and move CJ up, know what I’m sayin?

Jason Castro is hitting .167, but I don’t hear fans screaming for blood as they did with JR Towles (who is still out on the DL with a broken hand). Not that I’m screaming for blood, neither, but I keep pointing it out to show how the Organization’s PR machine affects how fans react to players.

This trade deadline is gonna be interesting  to see what Drayton lets Fast Eddie do. I hear tell that Ed doesn’t WANT to trade the ol WifeBeater, but he has a mutual option, meaning he can be a FA if he chooses. The guy has a LIFETIME ERA (in the NL) of 4.40 – and you just watch Fast Eddie go and sign his luuuuuvvvv to a long, expensive contract, in which he immediately reverts to mediocrity (aren’t you glad we didn’t end up with Randy Wolf???!!!) These guys do NOT understand the concept of selling high.

They won’t trade WB and I hear tell they won’t trade Wandy, neither.

ah well

I’ve become almost numb. But I must say that I am beginning to appreciate the few wins a lot more than I used to.

Tomorrow afternoon, it’s Mike Leake vs Wand-Man and I hope Wandy stops the slide.

Also, Andre Dawson gets inducted into the HOF. It’s too bad that guys from the 80s who deserve to be in, such as Tim Raines, Lou Whittaker, Alan Trammel and Bobby Grich can’t get in because they are being held to the self same opffensive standards of the 90s that the media are now convinced are ONLY due to hitters and 1 pitcher using steroids.

It will be only a few years until Biggio goes in – too many media aren’t impressed with him because he didn’t play for one of their Real Teams(Tm) but he’s got the magic number and he didn’t LOOK like a roider, so in he goes. Larry Walker sahould be going in with him, but I bet he won’t get no respect neither.

Baggy?
Well, in case you don’t know, he had a decline phase at age 33 and was OOB by 35 which proved he used steroids. Also, he hit homers in the Dome which proved he used steroids because he is so much smaller than that giant of a man Jimmy Wynn, who hit 90 in the Dome during the years of the high mound. Oh yeah – and he hit more homers/AB in the majors than he did at AA which proved he used steroids. Plus, he had arthritis in his shoulder which proved he used steroids. And after he got the arthritis and he couldn’t lift weights no mo, his muscles shrunk which proved he stopped using steroids.

Ergo some suck

says Bryant Gumbel (and probably a whole lot of other media guys). Which means that Baggy MIGHT could get in, but I doubt it, which is a shame because he was a genuine 5 tool guy – and I have EXTRA appreciation for guys like Baggy and Larry Walker and even HotDog Edmonds – MUCH more than I do for the Jim Thome/McGwire guys who can’t do anything besides walk or hit home runs.

Norris Loses It In The 4th, Berkman Never Finds It And Astros Lose To Reds

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Bud Norris was absolutely unhittable NAILS the first 3 innings – 32 pitches, 5 K, 1 double barely down the RF line. Every FB was perfectly placed, sliders were sliding, even an occasional changeup was changing.

Then it happened. 4th inning, he gives up an IF single to 3rd, Chris Johnson makes a bad throw instead of just holding onto the ball, runner on second. No big deal, he did fine with the runner on second LAST inning, right?

nope.

Next hitter, 3 straight balls, then a strike, then a strike called a ball (yeah, the zone was tight).

Next hitter, 2 borderline pitches, both balls, then another ball, then a strike, then another ball.

bases loaded, Arnesberg runs out.

Next hitter, 3 balls, sac-fly to left, runners advance to second and third on Clank, who can’t throw from the LF bullpen, naturally.

Next hitter, ball, strike, foul, HBP

Bases loaded again.

1st pitch (thank you, hitter) 6-2 FC, no run scores

Next hitter, 7 pitch 3-2 AB with single to shallow left, 2 runs score, because Clank casually lobs it into 3rd. Clank never cares if runs score or runners advance. Well, I shouldn’t say that. Every now and then he actually TRIES to catch a runner and every now and then, he actually, stunningly succeeds. It is hard for me to believe that he started his professional career as a SS, seeing as how much he hates to actually, you know, like, move.

Pitcher pops out.

33 pitches, 3 runs. Mostly walks, the only solidly hit ball was the sac-fly. It’s all about the strike zone problem.

Norris hands a slider in the 5th and Joey Votto (whose production is topping even Uncle this year) hits it out. Other than that, a nice, smooth inning. 6th inning, GO, another walk, GIDP. Dude seems to have these Big Innings in which he loses command every single game. NO idea why, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with how many pitches thrown, how many innings thrown, where he is in the lineup. Ah well, good thing this is a learning year in which he actually gets a chance to work things out seeing as how even Drayton has GOT to admit we ain’t gonna be no champeenzzz!!!

Bourn, of course, was seated against a lefty and Bourgeois got the start, and went ofer. But Berkman and Clank were the goats tonight – Berkman struck out with men on and GIDP with RISP. Clank hit a single and left 4 men on. REALLY sorry performances, to be nice about it.

Pence had a great night – went 4 fer 5 and yeah, he did flyout to end the game with 2 on, but Clank did the same right before him.

And, to my shock, Mills brought in Michaels to PH instead of Feliz, with man on 3rd in the 6th, 2 out.

I should also note that CJ did make up for his error by driving in Pence with a high popup to shallow right – GREAT, gutsy baserunning by Pence.

Angel Hernandez had his first PH – went ofer, and new pitcher Figueroa let his inherited runner score – not that it matters because Byrdak had already lost the game. But it is not like we just got 2 great pickups.

Tonight, Roy goes for his pimped win – to tie Niekro for the Astros franchise wins!!!!! OK. Then Drayton can trade him. I hear tell from all over that Fast Eddie and Drayton are being extraordinarily difficult to deal with – media are complaining that Roy wants his option picked up – although Roy is very straightforward in saying that he will work with any team about the $$$ to restructure a contract. The media always thinks that any player should just eat poopoo when traded, that no-trade guys should always have to agree to be traded “for the good of the team” and are selfish if they don’t want to give up their bargained for rights.

The fans always think that the other team should give up its best your players/prospects in huge quantities ( like the Teixiera trade between Atlanta and Texas) and ignore minor nagging things like money.

sigh

I also doubt that Drayton is going to get really serious about trying to trade any tradeable players we DO have, such as Myers, Lindstrom and Lyon. Not sure who he thinks is gonna take Clank in the offseason. Not sure who is gonna take Berkman THIS trade deadline (and Lance is now saying that he is gonna try to play next year – he KNOWS that he ain’t getting no 15 mill option picked up) and I don’t see Bagwell making this miraculous difference in the hitting of either Clank or Lance with his magic “leadership” maddd skillllzzzzz.

I am gonna mention, once more, that Douglas Arguello is still outpitching the Hyped Jordan Lyles down at Corpus, but you think he’s gonna get a sniff?