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Archive for September, 2010

Coulda Been A Stro Drew Stubbs Smushes Astros As Reds Take Series

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The Astros “offense” has returned to its April dismal-ness. Even CJ has caught the limp-bat fever. Bronson Arroyo made exactly one bad pitch, a FB right down the middle that Keppinger hit out, good thing, too or the Astros would have been completely shutout. The Astros lineup managed 3 singles and Keppinger’s homer and no walks, no HBP, no nothing. Two on in the first, 1 out, Clank and CJ did nothing.

And that about sums up the Astros night.

Bruce singled then Drew Stubbs homered. Reds 2 Stros urp

Kepp homered. Reds 2 Stros 1.

Stubbs left 2 on in the 3rd to end the inning, and decided to atone in the 5th.

With 1 out, Cairo walked, then Votto walked, then Gomes singled to shallow left and it was Bogusevic, not El Perezoso, so Cairo was held. Bruce popped up on a 3-2 count and Clank caught it at the railing. Then, uh, stuff happened.

Stubbs (yeah, him) hit a 2 run single to left. Hanigan singled, Gomes on second, running with the crack of the bat scored, then Stubbs was caught between second and third. I can hardly bring myself to say what happened next, but they screwed up a simple, dead easy rundown. Unbelieveable.  Bogu fields the ball, instead of firing to third to hold Stubbs at second, he throws home, and it’s a crappy throw and Quintero isn’t anywhere near it, but the pitcher, backing up the throw, fires to CJ, who throws to Keppinger at second. Kepp chases Stubbs almost all the way to third (mistake) throws high to CJ who was not standing in FRONT of the bag (mistake) and Stubbs slides in under the tag.

It didn’t matter to the score because the next hitter was the final out, but these fielding effups are becoming more and more common as the end of the year is approaching. uck.

Anyway, the ol WB should have been pulled because he really had NOTHING and couldn’t get the FB over or get the breaking ball to break, but nooooooo, you can’t pull a pitcher who has got nothing unless, of course, you gonna do the leftyrighty thingy when you don’t need to. Besides, you got the All Important 6 innings/game streak on the line and that is the most important thing, especially when you talking about Ed Wade’s little petsy-poo.

So out he goes, gives up a single, then  a homer on a thigh high, non-sinking sinker, and it’s Reds 7, Stros 1. Hey, might as well let him take, shall we say, a beating. hehhehheh. He gets 2 outs, then another homer on a belt high FB RIGHT down the middle. So Mills pulls him because there’s a lefty coming up – like this matters, seeing as how it was 2 RIGHTYS that just hit the 2 homers.

So Chacin comes up, gives up a single to the LEFTY, then walks Stubbs, then gets the 3rd out.

But it’s already 8-1 and the Astros have packed it in already and are waiting for it to all end. They go down 1,2,3 like little lambs in each of the next 3 innings.

Fulchino gave up 3 straight singles and a run before getting an out, then Wesley Wright came in a mopped up, getting the next 2 outs without giving up a run.

Villar pitched a scoreless 1,2,3 inning after Wesley walked Jay Bruce.

Altogether, a really really lousy series.

Hope the guys can manage to not look like total AAA guys in our last series, starting tomorrow against the Cubs. Last stand. We won’t finish last, but he won’t get to any .500 either, although we will finish a game or so better than last year.

Like, whoopie, like dooo…

Nelson Figueroa Shuts Out The Reds Bench While Carlos Lee Provides The Offense

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Guess Figgy wanted to go out on an up outing. He did, throwing 70 of 104 pitches for strikes, only walking 3 (none intentional) – hey, that is great for Figgy – and scattering 6 hits over 6.2 innings and THAT is good for Figgy too. He hasn’t made any secret of wanting to come back next year, even though he would probably not be the #5 guy to start the year, but a long reliever. Not sure what is happening with Moehler, but we’ll see.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. After all the celebration last night, Dusty Baker apparently decided to celebrate play playing a lineup consisting of Johnny Cueto and bench players. Which is actually a good idea from Cincy’s viewpoint, giving their tired guys some well deserved rest before the playoffs – and they will probably face Philly and they are gonna need all the rest they can get, seeing as how Reds killah Roy-O is gonna face em.

Good thing, too because The Astros only managed 2 runs against Johnny Cueto, as usual, stranding too many. Carlos must have read my stuff because he doubled home Keppinger in the first and was stranded by CJ. He singled to lead off the 4th and CJ went and GIDP – if Carlos ain’t gonna do it, SOMEbody gots to pick up the slack… He singled to start the 7th, went to second on CJ’s infield single and alertly went to third when Alonso tried to get him out but overthrew (gee, it’s like he was 30 again) and scored on Wallace’s groundout.

CJ is going through an adjustment and looks as if he’s trying to go the other way more – one of the reasons he’s GIDP more the last week or so. But he has GOT to stop swinging at changeups in the dirt or he won’t see much of anything else.

Castro and Wallace are working on their stuff, which is fine with me, they need to. Hope they are going to play winter ball along with Tommy Manzella, who really has just GOT to because Sanchez is going to play winter ball in Puerto Rico. I’d just like to see Bogusevic out there more, especially if they really DO mean to move Clank to first.

It was good to see Wilton Lopez come in with a man on first and 2 outs and get out lefty pinch hitter Jay Bruce. Yes, you read that right, a RIGHTY pitcher got a LEFTY hitter out. Imagine that!!!!

It was great to see LEFTY Abad come in and get out THREE RIGHTYS – Brandon Phillips, Rolen and CF Chris Heisey.

Hopefully, Brad Mills will see that leftys can hit division game winning homers off leftys (ahem) and that righty pitchers get leftys out ALL THE TIME and please put an end to this changing pitchers every other batter.

Lyon made it, uh, interesting, giving up a single up the middle to pinch hitter Laynce Nix – with Drew Stubbs as a pinch runner. And Stubbs coasted into second with a SB as Castro dropped a pitch. And then went to third on a groundout. So it’s a man on third, 1 out, but Ramon Hernandez had the decency to hit a grounder right in front of Castro, so Stubbs couldn’t score, and then MVP to be (he SHOULD be) Joey Votto grounded out to Wallace. Yet ANOTHER case of a righty getting a lefty out.

Tomorrow, rubber game against Arroyo, who has already beaten us twice this year, then home to face the Cubs for the final series. Don’t think real too many Cubs fans will be flying down, so it should be fun.

Tim Byrdak Pitches Reds To 2010 NL Central Championship

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

The Wand-Man had a leeeetle trouble finding the strike zone – the ump wouldn’t call anything at the knees a strike, so Wandy kind of had to re-group. He got Votto to GIDP and then CJ messed up another grounder and a run scored. He’s at his very worst every time he tries to hurry a throw

And this is not even going into his little problem with strikeouts. I’m not exactly one of those people who ooohs and aaaaaahs over guys who are hard to strike out because i’m not in luuuuv with GIDPs, but CJ is having the same sort of little problem with changeups out of the zone (low) that Pence had with sliders low and away. Boy GOTS to deal with that he wants to stay around because his glove is, uh, a problem. I don’t wanna go and count every time the boy has taken the sombrero and I don’t want him to turn into Preston Wilson.

Where was I?

Oh yeah – Wandy. He only gave up 4 singles and 4 walks!!! (what IS with all these walks lately???!!!) and 8 Ks over 6 innings – 2 runs. And he laid down an AWESOME squeeze bunt. Ah LUUUUUVVVVV the squeeze.

But iffn you don’t hit with MOB (men on base) yew ain’t gonna win. I won’t yell at Carlos tonight (guess he read my remarks yesterday) who hit a ball which would have gone over the CF fence for a 2 run homer if couldabeena Stro Drew Stubbs hadn’t gone up and grabbed it as it was going over the fence.

sigh

Sure wish that Mills hadn’t decided to throw away an out having Angel Sanchez sac-bunt (why???????????) with men on first and second when Volquez wasn’t as sharp as he got after that. But big guns Lee, Pence and CJ just didn’t do anywheres near enough and so goobah ball game.

Tomorrow night, it’s Nelson Figueroa, who hasn’t exactly been particularly good lately, vs Johnny Cueto.

But actually, I’m glad for the Reds who are, naturally, the biggest underdog in the NL playoffs. They have the SHOULDbe MVP, Joey Votto, who now has a better chance to win now that his team is a WINNAH. If he had hit the winning homer instead of Jay Bruce, he’s have cemented it.

Astros Offer Extensions To Coaches For 2011 – Not Sure About The Fans

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

In which I guest blog for Kevin Kaduk’s Big League Stew and write a Dear John letter to the 2010 Astros.

Click here to check it out.

I was going to talk about the very serious problem Astros now face having lost the entire Austin RoundRock market to the Rangers, but I couldn’t find any way to make it funny…

NEWSFLASH: Carlos Lee Is As Bad At First Base As He Is In Left

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

The Astros keep playing ol Clank at first base and letting Brett Wallace rot because, as Alyson Footer tried not to explain, it’s all about the numbers – 19 million of them, to be exact. And unless they are saving LF for Carl Crawford (and we complain about Clank’s contarct????) it seems as if they are thinking that Bogusevic in left with Clank at first is gonna be better than Clank in left and Wallace at 1B and Wallace is going to be AAA fodder, looks like.

So the Astros are putting out the line about how Clank’s fielding at 1B is sooooo good and how he is hitting SOOOOOOOOO much better when he is playing there.

Fielding great?

please

He can’t handle any throws in the dirt and he can’t play any ball on a short hop (see him being unable to take a ball on a short hop from Tommy Manzella, who was charged with an error, poor guy) and he can’t catch any ball unless it is thrown right to him (see Bud Norris on his pickoff attempt of McCutchen in the 3rd).

But they talk about all this improved hitting. Yeah, right. So let’s check it out:

First, here are his overall lines for Aug and Sept (you’ll notice a difference) as of 9/25

Agst: 29 G: .288/.336/.504/.840
Sept: 23 G: .222/.260/.378/.638

Now, he played his first game at 1B on August 8, so I’ll count his stats from then.

So far, he’s played 16 games at 1B: 14 hits with 2 BB, 2 doubles and 4 homers and 13 RBI (none since 9/4) with 26 LOB and 45 outs over 67 PA (including 1 GIDP, which I count as 2 outs) 

totl: .246/.271/.491/.762
Agst: .285/.285/.761/1.047 (6 G, 6 fer 21 with 1 2B. 3 HR and 9 RBI)
Sept: .238/.285/.333/.618 (10 G, 10 fer 42 with 2 BB, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 4 RBI)

Since 8/8, he’s played 29 G as a LF (through 9/25):

totl: .252/.278/.443/.751
Agst: .283/.300/.483/.783 ( 15 G, 17 fer 60, 6 2B, 2 HR, 1 W, 2 GIDP, 13 RBI)
Sept: .218/.254/.400/.654 with 5 RBI (14G, 12 fer 55, 1 2B, 3 HR, 2 BB, 2 GIDP, 5 RBI)

Yes, I know we are talking small sample sizes.

But me, I sure don’t see all these great differences betwen his hitting when he’s playing first or left, unless you think that his .762 is this VAST improvement over .751 – neither of which are exactly acceptable numbers for either a LF or a 1B – heck, even Ichiro Suzuki, an infamous singles hitter, has an OPS over .800.

And if you are gonna talk about RBIs, in Sept, as a LF, he’s 5 fer 35 (men on base when he came up) and as a 1B, 4 fer 29 – like whoopie DOO.

Nats Don’t Need Dunn Or Zimmerman To Crush Nelson Figueroa

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Carlos Lee came to bat with 2 men on base TWICE and didn’t do a darn thing. Pence went 2 fer 4 with 2 singles and a reached on E6 that let a run score. CJ went ofer again. Jason Michaels, playing left went ofer. And really, you have little chance to win when the middle of the lineup doesn’t do diddly. And I’m forgetting the 3 double plays, too.

grrrrrrrrrrr

I don’t wanna hear one more *(%&#!%^&$#!ing word about how great Clank is doing now that he’s playing first so much. OPS for Sept is 707 – 20 hits, 2 doubles, 4 homers and only NINE runs batted in – and that is over 21 games. And his ONLY virtue is driving in runs and he ain’t doing that whether or not he plays first of left.

grrrrrrrrrrrrr

Figgy did fine, except for a solo homer – actually, he did great for the first 5 innings. But he got left in too long, as usual, and got hammered in the 6th. I’m not sure why Arnesberg/Mills are so insistant on leaving pitchers in after they have obviously lost their stuff but what can I say? I mean, from the beginning of the inning, it sure looked to me like Figgy needed to come out. Every pitch to the first hitter was high (don’t ask me howon earth he got a called strike on any of those pitches) and he threw exactly 1 strike of 6 pitches to the next hitter. HELLO!!!! 2 pitches waaaay out of the zone to the next hitter, then a nice fat one that got sent to the warning track in deep center.

Figgy is just not more than a 5 inning guy. I mean, there really ARE times to pull a pitcher and the reason the bullpen is all tahrd out is because of the insistance of using multiple pitchers in one inning to get out crappy hitters.

You don’t wanna hear how the relievers did neither.

And we’re off to Pittsburgh, who just swept the DBax and took 2 of 3 from the Cards. We’ll face righty James McDonald, who the Dodgers threw away this July for no good reason I can think of except that he had trouble over the 7.2 innings he pitched for them this year. He’s done decently since starting full time for the Bucs – 4.97 ERA over 29 IP in August and 1.80 ERA over 25 IP in Sept.

HOPEFULLY, we won’t hafta see Clank tomorrow – just Bogusevic in left and Wallace at first seeing as how we’re facing a righty and we just MUST have as close to an all lefty lineup as possible, right Millsy???

grrrrrrrrrrrrr

9/22/10: Angel Sanchez Gives Wandy The Win But Fulchino Takes It Right Away

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

OK – Wandy really struggled (hard to do well when the HP ump calls 14 of your pitches balls when they are smack dab in the strike zone) through 6 innings, finishing up with 106 pitches. Angel Sanchez’s 2 run single had given him the lead. So WHYYYYYYYY was he sent back out to start the 7th? Why not give a reliever a clean inning? Why send a tired starter back out?

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

For the second night in a row, Clank didn’t do spit. CJ hit a fly ball to the deepest part of center and Clank, on first with a walk, got doubled off – was called out for missing the bag when he went back to tag. But he DID get HBP and later scored on a Jason Michaels RBI single. And Michaels led off the 7th with a double that hit the LF wall and scored on Angel Sanchez’ 2 run single which SHOULD have won the game. Kepp did nada.

Bourgeois went 2 fer 4, including the game ending GIDP. Wallace and Castro went ofer.

I’m so – let’s call it UNHAPPY!!!! – with the elsucko bad managing of Mills and the usual massive suckage of the bullpen – fer chrissakes – Fulchino threw a FB right down the *(%&#%@! middle!!!!

Might could this all be a result of having reliever after reliever pitching 0.1 inning every other game all month?

grrrrrrrrrrrrr

Tomorrow is Nelson Figueroa vs Ross Detweiler, LHP – he’s started 3 games and relieved in 3 and has a 2.57 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. He’ll prolly pitch a no-hitter and we all know we’re gonna have to suffer through freaking Clank playing a statue at 1B and not hitting with MOB as usual…

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Oh, I forgot – Bourgeois stole 2 bases. EASILY. And Melancon pitched a scoreless giving up only an IF single to Pudge.

I supposed every tornado has a silver lining…

Nationals Put Up A 7 Run Inning Against Byrdak, Paulino And Lindstrom So J Happ Loses His Shutout And Astros Lose

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I’ve heard it a zillion times – NEVAH make the third out at third base. SOMEbody gonna get hisself a MAJOR ass-whuppin at kangaroo court, fer SHER.

John Lannan started off shaky, gave up singles to Bourgeois, who took off for second on the next pitch, then another single to Kepp and with 5 pitches, the Astros led 1-0. Pence grounded out 5-3 – guess he hurt his hip running, Clank flew out, then Jason Michaels  hit a ball into the 4th row about 4 seats over from the LF foul pole. CJ doubles and Manzella flies out to the warning track.

In the second, Castro lines out, Happ grounds out, then Bourgeois singles to the 5.5 hole, then Kepp walks. With 2 out and Bogusevic up, after strike one, Bourgy inexplicably took off for 3rd and was gunned out. Third out at third base.

Bad Juju.

And Lannan absolutely positively SHUT the Astros hitters down, needing only 8 to 10 pitches an inning for the next 5 innings, giving up only a single to CJ.

Meanwhile, J Happ threw 3 1,2,3 innings except for a walk to Adam Dunn. He ran into trouble in the 5th, giving up a single to Morse, then a “single” to Pudge on a rare Manzella total effup – the ball came straight to short but Manzella, for some reason, moved away from the ball and completely missed it. Happ then got the next hitter to hit into a FC and the runner at third was caught in a rundown, he then walked the next guy to laod the bases and got the last hitter to ground out right to CJ. 25 pitches.

He took another 23 pitches in the 6th, giving up a double and a walk, to get his 3 outs.

6 innings, 2 hits, 3 walks, no runs, 24 batters and ten of em went to 3 ball counts.

Melancon came in for the 7th, gave up 2 straight doubles, a passed ball, then got incredibly lucky getting called 3rd strikes on checked swings that didn’t look real too checked to me.

Astros 3 Nats 1

In the 8th, the Astros faced reliever Tyler Clippard, got men on first and 3rd, 2 outs, and Clank left em both there.

I had a BAD feeling.

Bottom of the 8th, Byrdak came in to face Dunn – guess Mills doesn’t trust Lindstrom (I saw why later – more on that) and Dunn walks on 4 pitches. Then Paulino comes in, gets 2 quick outs, then gives up a homer to Pudge Rodrigues that clanks off the LF foul pole.

Tie game.

Then single, walk (and Mills doesn’t make a move) then another single (Arnesberg goes out – but it doesn’t help) another walk.

Then Lindstrom comes in, gives up 3 straight singles, letting all of poor Paulino’s runs score.

Then Villar comes in (I think they must have unofficially shut Lopez down) and gets a ground ball and Manzella makes a fantastic play (atoning for the earlier effup and the GIDP) to FINALLY end the massacre. Nats 8 Stros 3

Tonight, the Nats get the 7 run inning – but not because of errors – unless you want to count Castro not blocking another ball in the dirt and the runner coming home from 3rd – but it didn’t matter because the single woulda driven him in anyway.

Bottom of the 9th, closer/closer to be (not sure which, these days) Drew Storen comes in, gets Michaels to K, gives up a homer to CJ that must have gone 400+ feet into the right center stands, gets Manzella to ground out, walks Castro. In comes ex-Pirate Sean Burnett, who gets Blum to popup the first pitch.

I want to point out the the Astros hitters had 37 PA and only five 3 ball counts. Baggy sure nuff hasn’t exactly done real too much to change the hack-tastic nature of these guys.

I also want to say that Bogu did a fine job in right – caught a few tough balls, didn’t miss the cutoff man.

Tomorrow, it’s Wandy vs Jason Marquis, who missed most of this year with injury. We know Marquis only too well from his years with the Braves, Cards, Cubs, Rox. Against the Astros, he’s 9-8 over 23 GS and 5 in relief with a 5+ ERA. Of course, most of the guys on this team he hasn’t faced much, so not sure how accurate those numbers would be.

Bud Norris Squeezes, Bogusevic Scores, Quintero Homers And Astros Beat Nationals

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I was VERY pleased to see Bogusevic playing left, Bourgeois playing center as Michael Bourn has a pulled rib muscle or something but was NOT thrilled to see Blum at short (at least it wasn’t Anderson Hernandez) and was thoroughly disgusted to see Clank lumbering at first – tells me that Wallace is probably toast. Too bad – he’d have to hit like Pujols to cling to first – guess they are gonna see if Bogu is up to playing left next year.

So Livan Hernandez, having a surprisingly good year for an Old Guy, mowed down Boogy, Kepp and Pence, who’s been in a bit of a slump since his Player Of The Week award, going 2 fer Milwaukee with 1 RBI and 1 fer Cincy with no RBIs.

Bud started the game off lousy – couldn’t find the strike zone, his release point or much of anything else, and he gave up 2 walks, a single and a double over 29 pitches and the Astros were down 2-0 just like that.

And it took Livan 10 pitches to cut down Clank, Blum and get CJ swinging – I swear he must swing at more pitches than any guy in the NL with as many ABs as he’s had – well, maybe Mark Reynolds does have him beat.

So Bud comes back, gets the rookie catcher, Wilson Ramos to groundout, then Livan, who can actually hit, singled, Espinosa, the rookie SS gloveman (and all yall think Tommy Manzella is a terrrible hitter) Kd, then Adam Kennedy hit a looper to shallow center and Bourgeois made a spectacular run forward, diving while rolling catch. Absolutely as good as Michael Bourn and absolutely no WAY would Jason Michaels ever EVER have made it – he would have taken it on a bounce.

Bogusevic was getting his first start since the disaster at Wrigley (the almost trifecta in GIDPs) and he sure nuff looked a lot more relaxed – and he most definitely positively CAN field – of course, we haven’t seen a GOOD left fielder out there since 06 and Luke Scott, who looked like Carl Crawford out there compared to Preston Wilson, Craig Biggio etc. So he got the first Astros hit, ripping a double down the LF line. Then Quintero, who had a good game, singled to right and it was men on first and third, no out and Bud Norris up. So Bud takes Ball 1, then lays down a perfect safety squeeze as Bogu runs home as the 3rd baseman moves in for the bunt. Second RBI of the year and Stros are only down by 1.

But Boogy flies out and Kepp Ks and leave Q on second.

Meanwhile, Bud is all psyched up from that RBI and shifted into overdrive getting 1,2,3 out on 11 pitches.

Fourth inning finished in 7 minutes as Pence, Clank and Blum bit the dust in 9 pitches, then Bud came back guns blazing and got 3 outs on 8 pitches – 1 ball.

Fifth inning got interesting. CJ doubled off the right field wall, then Bogu hit a ground ball to where the 1B usually stands, about 20′ to the left of first base when leftys are hitting, seeing as how they hit so many grounders there. So the ball goes to Dunn, who, for some reason, doesn’t either throw to 3rd, where he certainly would have gotten CJ, he doesn’t run to first, he tosses to Livan, running to first – the throw isn’t the greatest and Livan misses it, Bogu is safe, given a hit (don’t ask me why) and CJ scores the tying run on the error.

Livan looks all Up Set, but pitches to Quintero, who goes to 1-2 then hits a curve into the 4th row of the LF bleachers – looks like it would have been a Crawford Box homer too – and no it was NOT a mammoth homer, as the Astros radio announcers said – it looks as if it would have been in the second section of the CBoxes, toward the wall – not off the tracks or the wall. Honestly, those guys…

So with Q hitting the go ahead runs, Bud must have felt a lot more comfortable, and with no out and no on, he swings away and hits a flare into left and Willie Harris, channeling Clank, reaches up for what should have been an easy fly ball and misses it completely and Bud is on second, no outs. Really. Boogy Ks. Then Kepp singles to center and Bud, rounding third, stops and looks back, not sure why, guess because he’s a pitcher, and he sees Bernadina the CF drop the ball, so he just heads on home and it’s 5-2 Astros. It was called an error because Bud had stopped for some reason – I mean seriously, Clank woulda scored on that single and Bud could outrun him by 20′ every day and twice on Sunday.

Then Pence flies out for the second out (the boy is struggling) and then Clank singles to left. Blum comes up and hits an 84 MPH FB right smack dab down the middle of the strike zone off the upper deck in right, where it falls into the bullpen and the Astros lead 8-2. CJ Ks on 3 pitches out of the zone. sigh.

Three errors, 7 runs. Thank you Nats.

Bud comes back out, strikes out the first 2, gives up a single to right, gets a groundout, 11 pitches. The boy is cruising.

6th inning, new pitcher, righty Craig Stammen, who was put in the bullpen after he’d finally figured out how to pitch 6 innings giving up 2 or fewer runs – not that I understand the Nats – he’s pitched worse as a reliever than a starter, but hey, not my team. He gets 1,2,3 out on 10 pitches. I should mention that Zimmerman made 2 really great plays – one of them got the #1 Web Gem and Chris Johnson made an even better play on a similar grounder and naturally didn’t nobody notice… Bud comes back out, 21 pitches, a groundout, a walk and 2 Ks – he’s at 94 pitches, looks as if he might could be tiring…

7th inning, Stammen is back out. Bourgeois grounds out, Kepp hits a ball that clanks off Zimmerman’s glove, but it isn’t scored an error, and it should be. If it had been CJ and it was the exact same play, it sure nuff woulda been scored an error. Pence walks on 4 straight pitches, then Clank reaches on umpire error – he swings at a ball near his shoetops – he hits it, it hits the ground, bounces up and hits his bat again (so he should have been out) but by the time anyone gets to it, he’s on first. But it doesn’t matter because Blum pops up and CJ takes the sombrero on a pitch at his ankles. Good grief.

I was not real too surprised to see Bud going back out to start the 7th (with Byrdak and Fulchino warming up) and he immediately gives up a single, then gets a 3-6 FC (and it’s Manzella out there now, but it was Clank who fielded the ball in the first place) instead of a GIDP. He Ks Espinoza, but walks Kennedy and it’s 2 out, men on first and second. Zimmerman is up and he hits a ball to left, but the 3B coach holds the runner at third because it’s not Clank, who would have loped over to pick up the ball and conceded the run – Bogusevic had that ball and was ready to fire to home and the runner woulda been dead meat. So Bud is out and Byrdak comes in and gets Dunn to K on 3 wicked sliders.

Byrdak has been incredible – the last time he gave up ANY run, including inherited runners, was July 23.

8th inning, they send out another starter, Colin Balester (damm, no WONDER they don’t have any starters – they put em all in the bullpen) who gets a quick 1,2,3 – and will someone please explain the love affair with Anderson Hernandez. Thank you.

Fulchino pitches a nice quick 1,2,3. He was absolutely horrid  pre ASB, but since he came back from the DL on August 3, he’s given up runs twice – 4 at Florida and 1 at Cincy and he has a 3.75 ERA for August and 0.00 for Sept – and he hasn’t let inherited runners score this month, neither.

9th – The Nats send out a righty named Besineus, an ex-Phillie (how on EARTH did they get him away from the clutches of Ed Wade?) who gets 1,2,3 out and Mills sends in Abad to pitch to three rightys (no, I am NOT kidding – what on earth is happening here???) and he gets 1,2,3 out.

So Bud FINALLY gets his ERA under 5 !!!! YAYYYYYYYY

So tomorrow, it’s J Happ vs lefty John Lannan.

Lannan had a simply horrible first half, so he was sent to AAA where he threw 40.2 innings with a 4.50 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and a .306 BAA. However, for some reason, when he came back up, he has pitched VERY well – had a 3.25 ERA/1.12 WHIP in August over 6 games, 36 IP, gave up 2 runs or less in every game but 1, in which he gave up 4 runs and lost. He’s pitched even better in September, giving 6, 6.2 and 7 IP in his 3 GS with a 2.75 ERA/1.29 WHIP.

We last faced him June 2 – he gave up 8 hits, 1 homer, 2 walks, 2 ER/5 R (thank you errors) over 6.1 IP.

9/10/10: Astros Pitch Batting Practice To Reds On Saturday, But Chris Johnson Provides Insurance Run And Astros Win Today

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

What can I possibly say about Saturday’s game except – thank you Carlos Lee, for hitting a homer early on so we didn’t get shut out.

Lessee – Figgy is good n lousy and last night, lousy Figgy showed up. He did indeed get a few unearned runs – CJ scooped up a ball, double pumped and didn’t get the out. But Figgy threw a whole lot of pitches in the dirt and Castro didn’t block 2 of them and one of em led to a run. And Jim Edmonds hit a homer that went 316′ – clanged offn the LF foul pole a couple feet north of the yellow line, and all I can say is – too bad no chicken sandwich for that one.

But the opposite field homer to Jay Bruce into the RF bullpen was definitely no cheapo, and he was very lucky to get away with only 3 ER in 4.1 IP because he really wasn’t fooling anyone.

And, by the way, Pence needs to remember to hit the cutoff man. He fielded Rolen’s RBI single with men on first and third. Instead of hitting the cutoff man, he tried to throw out Votto, who is a GOOD runner at third, and waaaaayyy overthrew the ball, which went about 10′ to CJ’s right – no way he could get it AND tag out Votto – and Sanchez, playing short, was the cutoff guy and he looked as if he was in fact expecting the throw – which would have kept Rolen at first, not that it ended up mattering, but this has been a habit of Pence this year.

With only a 4 run lead, I was very surprised to see Mills send in Henry Villar, who, if yall remember, just finished AA and threw 102 innings with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP – actually, i was very surprised that he was promoted at all, but hey, with this Organization, youneverknow.

But anyway, his outing consisted of 2 straight walks, a single, a balk, a sac-fly and a HBP. 2 runs, no outs. It wasn’t more because Chacin came in, faced a RIGHTY (goodness gracious!!!) and bailed his butt out.

Good news is that Wesley Wright FINALLY got to pitch after sitting for over 2 weeks and he got 4 straight outs with 3 Ks – and then he naturally got pulled for a righty. Paulino followed, immediately gave up a homer to Drew Stubbs which sailed through the first archway in left, but then got the next 5 outs.

Del Rosario, the guy we picked up on waivers from the Reds, immediately showed why the Reds didn’t want him no mo – groundout, single, single, K, double, single, groundout – and 2 runs.

Good news is that Brian Esposito, age 31, finally got his first ML PA – got 2 of em, actually, a groundout and a flyout to the warning track in right – but hey, a ML AB after 10 years is a ML AB. He’s one of zillions of catchers who are great at catching but can’t hit a lick – JD said that Roy-O said he really liked throwing to him this spring. Blowouts are good for stuff like this.

Today is noteable for this being Michael Bourn’s 28th straight day he has reached base. Which is teh kewl.

The Astros scored 3 runs off Travis Wood, and then CJ homered off reliever Jordan Smith, which turned out to be very fortunate because Matt Lindstrom was massive suckage again today – he got 2 popflies to right, gave up a double to Joey Votto off the LF bullpen wall – WHY would anyone throw a FB right down the middle of the plate to the NL MVP (and yes he SHOULD be)???!!! and he gives up an RBI single on a low inside FB which goes right up the middle, then ANOTHER FB right down the middle – seriously, groin high, mid plate and Ramon Hernandez hits it into the Crawford Boxes.

sigh

Melancon gets the final out then Brandon Lyon does his usual get 2 outs, then make it, uh, interesting, giving up 2 singles before getting Joey Votto to pop out – and yes I WAS surprised that Mills didn’t pull Lyon and send in Abad, who was already warmed.

youneverknow.

2 week road trip time – 4 games in DC, then 3 games in Pittsburgh, day off, then 3 games at the GAB (my Gawd, I almost wrote Riverfront), then a day off, then we finish off the season with a 3 day series with the C*bs.