Archive for March, 2011

3/30/2011: We Are Your Sorry-Ass-Tros

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

This was the only Exhibition Game at home this year, and I figured they’d start with this year’s starting lineup, and as Husband had no trouble getting hold of a couple of free tickets, off we went. Yes, he wasn’t thrilled. No, he didn’t grumble, well, until the 4th inning, but that is getting ahead of myself.

We got downtown  about 6:30 and there was plenty of free street parking – not a good sign. A few brave scalpers were trying to sell some tix, but not getting much of a response. We sure nuff saw a lot of Red Sox t-shirts and jerseys. Well, there weren’t a LOT, but compared to the number of Astros jerseys, there sure were. I didn’t hear any Boston accents, neither, in case you’re curious.

I figure that all in all, about 10,000 people showed up – maybe 15,000 at most. No excitement in the air, no tables full of hucksters and only one table with some poor guy trying to sell season tickets and being ignored.

I suppose I’d better mention the new scoreboard – Drayton spent money on that instead of some good player, but I digress. It’s HD and sure nuff looks pretty and it will make all those between innings ads a lot easier to see. They keep both lineups posted on the sides – the printing is small and people who need glasses to drive will need glasses to see the board. Good is that they now have a sign below the board announcing strike velocity and pitch. Bad is that they put the sign with pitch counts in RF in small, hard to read print; the sign in LF is much better. And speaking of LF, they now have a screen in LF so that people in RF and bullpen seats can see what everyone else in the park sees on the big screen.

I’m not sure how it enhances FAN experience, but it sure nuff enhances Value Of Minute Maid Park SALE value.

The Pressbox is gone (they were the best seats in the house) and have been replaced with some Very Expensive Club Seats which they are selling with a “license” and a 5 year must buy season ticket book. I didn’t see anyone sitting in those seats. I’ll have to ask Justice where the 2 or 3 people who still cover the Astros are now sitting…

It was a great night for baseball, though. Especially if you like outdoor baseball and were smart enough to bring a coat because it got COLD after the sun went down. Very little wind, no humidity.

Bad news is that the game was played by DH rules and all I can say is that I absolutely HATE having to watch junior league ball. Yes, I’d rather watch the pitcher “hit”. bunt or K – as that would have been more interesting than watching Joe Inglett, this year’s version of Jason Smith, strikeout or LODP. (Line into double play). But I’m getting ahead again.

So, this year’s Opening Day lineup is:

C: Towles/Quintero (I can NOT believe they are giving Towles another chance)
1B: Brett Wallace
2B: Bill Hall
SS: Angel Sanchez
3B: Chris Johnson
RF: Hunter Pence
CF: Michael Born
LF: El Perezoso (the sloth) who, believe it or not, is even fatter and slower than last year

Backup OF: Jason Michaels and Jason Bourgeois (who can also play 2B – cain’t nevah have too many second basemen floating around)

Catcher – wonder how many ABs they are gonna give Towles THIS time for him to show he’s gonna hit .300 before they send him down and bring up Carlos Corporan/Brian Esposito – 40? 50?

Backup IF: Matt (Power-Aid) Downs and Joe Inglett. I knew that Sanchez would have to break something for Manzella to make the team – told you that BEFORE ST began that he wasn’t going to be on the ML team no matter HOW he did in ST. Good fielding on a goundball pitchers team is not important. But I digress…..

1st inning: Nelson Figueroa and his 87 MPH fastball on the mound. He throws strike 1 to Jacoby Ellsbury, who hits a grounder to Sanchez’ right. Sanchez, who isn’t real too particular fast, scrambles after it and gets there too late to throw out Ellsbury. Dustin Pedroia up – Figgy can’t locate the FB, can’t throw the slider for strikes and he strolls to first. Oh, forgot – Figgy didn’t even bother to glance toward first when Pedroia was up and Ellsbury takes a lead halfway to second and wanders over there on the third pitch, which was 0-2, by the way, a called strike, then a foul – Figgy couldn’t finish the job. And of course, Towles didn’t snap throw to first to keep Ellsbury honest because he didn’t want to distract Figgy from throwing strikes. I think.

Where was I? This is gonna take a Looooong time. Sorry. Anyhow, Carl Crawford, Houston Boy, is up and smacks a clean single up the middle and Ellsbury trots home. Men on first and third, Adrian Gonzalez up (yeah, the guy from the Padres who “had” to be traded because he couldn’t be re-signed when his nice cheap contract would be up in 2 years) and he hits a high popfly down the RF line. Clank lopes over and pulls up to watch the ball drop about 10′ inside the foul line and another run scores. Clank is loudly booed – and he deserved it. This was easily distinguishable from the Youuuuuuuuuuuuuk calls, by the way. Youk took 2 called strikes, then hit a fly to shallow center, on which Bourn made a nice running catch.

I notice that the Boston hitters are all good at not worrying about 2-strike counts and that their waiting for a pitch to hit paid off more often than not. Of course, they can actually HIT the pitch to hit, which helps. But I digress. Ortiz walks on 4 straight balls, JD Drew takes a called strike then walks on 4 straight balls and the 3rd run scores. Only 1 out, yes. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – you remember him – former Braves prospect who was traded to the Rangers for Mark Teixiera and crapped out at hitting, then was traded to the Red Sox and is now the starting catcher – he hit like crazy in ST. And he raps a clean single up the middle after fouling off a curve and the 5th run scores.

Really. 5 runs, 1 out. Then Marco Scutaro lines to Sanchez, who feeds the ball to Hall to pick Drew off second, but the AAA ump (we had 4 AAA umps – either that or there are 4 new umps whose names I have not heard before) missed the call and the DP. But the next hitter grounded out to first. 35 pitches, and the inning was mercifully over. Actually, the ballgame was over, but I digress.

Josh Beckett was the Boston pitcher – came into the game with a 9 something ST ERA. He’s Boston’s 5th guy, believe it or not – heard tell he didn’t like to throw anything but FB and they got hit a lot and not just by the Yankees/Rays neither. But tonight, it was like the 03 WS Game 6. He got 2 weak popups and a groundout – and hit Sanchez with an inside FB.

2nd and 3rd innings: Figgy locates the FB, finds his slider, and it’s 2 quick 1,2,3 innings, AND he gets Ortiz swinging and Drew staring to end the 3rd. Aw RIGGGGGGGGGGHT, I think. But Beckett is sharp – Wallace grounds out to first, Hall strikes out (he does that a lot) and Inglett flails at 3 straight pitches. Then CJ pops out, Towles lines out hard to first and Bourn Ks on a 2-2 fastball.

4th inning: Here we go again. Figgy loses his grip. Salty singles up the middle. Scutaro singles to left through the hole. Ellsbury hits the first hard hit ball of the game – a double to deep right that Pence has to chase – he bobbles a little, then double clutches and doesn’t throw the ball in immediately – not that it would have stopped the run from scoring, or Scutaro from getting to 3rd. Pedroia walks on 3-2, Crawford singles through the hole to right, AGon loops a single to right, Pence catches it, means to throw home but Sanchez grabs it to keep Crawford at second. Pence didn’t have his head in the game.

Sox 8 – Stros – No Hit. Sox score 8 runs on 7 singles, 1 double, 4 walks. Not even 1 deep fly ball

Figgy out, Jose Valdez, RHP in. He’s got FILTHY stuff – gets Youkilis and Ortiz swinging, then Drew hits a weak popup. Valdez is a 27 year old AA pitcher we got in the Berkman trade and all I can say is that if he pitches like this at AAA (where he’s going) he’s gonna be up here the first time someone goes down. ST stats – threw 9.2 innings over 10 games, gave up 9 hits, 5 walks, 9 K, 3 ER, no homers. Oh yeah – Sanchez, Pence and Clank down on 12 pitches, nothing hit hard or well.

5th inning: Eneury Rodriguez in – he’s the Rule V guy we got from the Rays. We’re keeping him (so far) on the 25 man roster: He comes in, gives up a single, then a grounder to short for a FC (Sanchez is slow for a SS, have I said this) and no time for a DP. Ellsbury singles to right. Pence makes a very nice running catch, but is slow to get ball from glove to hand and he doesn’t throw in time to keep Scutaro at second. But Crawford grounds out on 3-2, so no runs score. Wasn’t very impressed with stuff, as I was with Valdez. Meanwhile, Wallace hits a grounder to exactly the same spot that he did in the second, the hole between first and second, but this time he beats it out for an IF single and at least we won’t get no-hit. Hall hits a ball HARD to deep center, but it’s caught. Inglett then lines right into a DP at 1B and Wallace is instantly tagged out.

Inglett, by the way, is 32, is a lefty, has played in 313 games over 5 seasons since 06, has NO pop, has a career .744 OPS – .286/.345/.397 and has played 2B and the OF over the past 2 years – he has only a couple of innings at short and third.

We up – Beckett out after 61 pitches and our old friend, lefty Dennis Reyes is in. Yeah, he’s been around for a looonnnng time – came up with the Dodgers in 97 and has traveled throughout the Al and NL – spent the last 2 years with the Cards – throws a lot of balls. Which he proceeded to do – CJ bloops a single to right, Towles flies out to deep right, Bourn pops out to left and Sanchez GO to 3rd.

6th inning: This game is boring – and is dragging onnnnn. It’s almost 9 and I KNOW Husband wants to go, but he KNOWS I want to watch all the relievers and he smartly says nothing. He can’t even complain about the cold because I’m wearing 2 sweaters and heavy jeans, so I’m fine, and he doesn’t get cold at 60 degrees. But he’s bored spitless and goes into the concourse to get a soda and chat up the food service folks. Who sez males don’t gossip?

Forgot – the Designated Driver free soda promotion is still on. ONE good this about this here ballpark.

Where was I? Oh yeah – Enerio Del Rosario pitching – he’s the guy we got from Cincy last Sept – traded him for $$$ but doubt it was real too much – he threw a total of 20 innings, giving up 14 runs/9 ER, no HR, 8 BB, 8 K. This spring, he threw 14.2 scoreless innings (HOW did I Miss THAT?????) over 12 games with 9 hits, 9 W, 11 K, 2 R, no ER. And tonight, he had FILTHY stuff. I was absolutely delighted. He got AGon flailing, and 2 weak GO from Ortiz and Youk.

7th inning: Wilton Lopez in, Sanchez out, Matt Downs at short. Matt Downs can NOT play short, I say to Husby before Wilton throws his first pitch. Wilton, by the way, best I know, is this year’s setup 8th inning guy. He had a great ST – 10 great scoreless, 1 lousy 3 run inning. So anyway, Wilton pitching to Mike Cameron, our old nemesis from the Padres, Mets and Brewers who Ks a lot and has a love/hate relationship with the Crawford Boxes. So Cameron hits an easy grounder to short that my 8 year olds could have scooped and thrown to 1B in time to get him out, but Downs promptly bobbles the ball for E6 – I mean, the words were hardly out of my mouth about him being suckage at short. So then Salty hits a tailor made GIDP ball back to Lopez who throws to Downs at second, who barely manages to hold onto the ball before dropping it and he can’t turn the DP. Lopez, however, is a True Gentleman and instead of running over and punching out his GM (such fond memories of Shawn Chacon – he WAS right about both Cooper and Wade) for shoving such an inept SS down his throat because he has a superb slugging percentage of .350, he grits his teeth and Ks the next 2 batters.

8th inning: Brandon Lyon, who uck-sayed all ST (you don’t want to hear the numbers) gets 3 quick outs – although out #3 is a very hard hit ball to deep left center on which Jason Bourgeois makes a very nice catch.

What’s this, you say? I haven’t mentioned Astros batters in a few minutes. Well, yeah. I am not into pain. I will say that to my stunned amazement, Clank hit a 98 MPH Fb from Daniel Bard up the middle for a clean single and lumbered down to first; also Matt Downs hit a clean single to left off some minor league guy named Clayton Maxwell.

9th inning: Gustavo Chacin up, trying to beat out Fernando Abad, who has had the ST from He!!, for the LOOGY spot – Ryan Rowland-Smith has already been DFA. He Ks the first batter, then walks PH Varitek (not sure why he’s till on the team – he hasn’t been able to hit the ball in 3 years – makes Ausmus look like Piazza 99), then Cameron FO to center. I turn to Husband – well, I say, only 3 hard hit balls tonight and here we are down 8 runs. So Daniel Butler (I looked this up when I got home, don’t have an I-phone) who is supposed to be 5-10 and was undrafted but signed with Boston in 09 and spent last year killing the ball at the Sally League and A+ is up and he swings, looking bad at the first pitch, takes a ball, then smashes the next pitch over the tracks – yeah, the ball hit the outer edge of the wall before bouncing down into Crawford Street.

Kid might be small. But he hit the ball. Over the Wall.

I turned to Husby – well, I said, guess Abad is gonna be the LOOGY.

Few notes: A few Red Sox fans got tossed from the field box level behind the Visitors Dugout in the 6th inning – first time I remember seeing someone get tossed since the 04 All-Star game. (Yes, I know that security has helped a few, uh, substance affected fans from the upper decks over the past years, but it hasn’t attracted much attention and today’s toss sure did.) The Red Sox fans were VERY loud. I asked several dozen of them if they flew in from out of town (like Cubs fans do) and they all said no. All but 5 had no doubt about it Texan accents and the other 5 did NOT have a Bahstin accent. Suuuuuuuuure they all been lifetime fans. Let’s say I definitely feel for the few remaining Jays/Orioles/Rays fans. I am not physically capable for feeling anything resembling sympathy for Yankees fans except for the people who really REALLY need to go to the bathroom during the 7th inning stretch and the cops won’t let them out of their seats while someone screeches GBA.

sigh

I don’t know how to put this nicely, but this year’s slogan “We Are Your Astros” is kind of not a good idea because no one wants to identify with hopeless suckage.

They announced during every half inning that tickets are still available for Opening Day. This is NOT a good sign. Even last year, they had sold out for Opening Day by the time the team showed up for exhibition games. AND they ALSO announced there is a trifecta ticket package for sale – a ticket to Opening Day/Rangers game/Red Sox game. This means the Red Sox games have not ALREADY sold out as they did the LAST time – I mean, I think they were already gone by Opening Day. This is NOT a good sign – the Astros are not taking any sort of advantage of their Houston sports team rivals (Rockets/Texans) not being any good and yes I know there is soccer and hawkey but I meant the kind of teams that get the majority of face.

Opening Day is a Friday noon game. I think I remember when Opening Day was a Very Big Deal and they always did it in Cincy. Maybe I just remember my Mama telling me about how it was practically a National Holiday and really, this weekend is all about the College Basketball Finals (and the underdog teams in it and how Duke/Other Big Name Teams crapped out) – and it will be here in Houston so it’s a good thing that opening Day is up in Philly because I would bet that with the tournament going on, Opening Day wouldn’t draw flies.

Drayton had better get offn his high horse and sell this dreary, listless team like FAST (apparently, he’s asking a LOT over market value) before the Mets/Dodgers officially go up for sale, bcause he sure nuff can’t promote THIS team as either up and coming or even “competitive”, let alone interesting.

Yes, I AM going to April 8th Opening Day with Mama, how did you guess? Keeping me out of the Ballpark is like keeping a alcohol addict away from a bar/likker store.

No, I will not be nagging poor Husby to come with me for the few games I am going to bother to go to. This has gotten to be like a chick-flick kind of thing where you go with your gf and her 2 kids who have never been to a ballpark once they start the – kids in free with adult ticket – promo next month. I don’t know how many season tickets they have sold this year, but I would guess it is waaaaaaaay down from the 20K+ it was only a few years back.

I know how the Pirates fans felt after Barry Lamar left Pittsburgh, where he was unloved and unwanted and 3 years later, they realized that the Barry/Bobby days weren’t nevah coming back…

The 2011 25 Man Roster Isn’t Finalized Even Though ST Is

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Fast Eddie managed to git hisself yet ANOTHER crappy utility infielder – he’s like a grrrrl who cain’t stay out of the shoe store – named Joe Inglett, ex-Brewer, like Carlos Corporan.

Not surprised. The team looks terrible and the season starts in only a few days and the team has been getting its head beat in almost every game for the last week – yeah, even before Slugger Barmes went down with a broke hand.

I hear tell that Fast Eddie is desperately trying to bring Pudge Rodriguez and his negative 35 RCAA back to Houston so that he doesn’t have to play Towles.

Worst of all, he’s trying to sign ex-Cub Carlos Silva (for the ML minimum, since the Cubs would have to pay the rest of the 11.5 mill he is due.) And they think that NORRIS is bad?

sigh

Of course I’m going to Opening Day.

Yeah, I know. Why? Because I love baseball and I love the Astros even though this team is gonna be the sukc de la sukc.

3/26/11: Manzella May Get A Second Chance Because Of Barmes’ Broken Hand

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Isn’t it ironic?

(yeah I know, wrong word, but that song is running through my head…)

Tommy Manzella lost his starting SS job last year when he broke his hand, just as he was figuring out how to hit ML pitching. This spring, he had juuuust been sent down to rot at AAA when Clint Barmes, his 3.2 mill replacement (who is supposed to hit 30 homers or something) who is hitting, uh, lousy (ahem) this spring, went on the DL with a broken bone in his hand.

Tommy just might could have a chance to make the ML roster, even if Angel Sanchez, who is a lousy defensive SS, is given the starting job there. Youneverknow, Tommy just might could keep on hitting the ball and manage to stay on the roster when Barmes gets back. I don’t know if there is any ill-feeling toward him as there obviously is toward poor Keppinger, who, I hear tell, still can’t put any weight on his bad foot.

It always took Tommy until that second year at every level to learn to hit at that level. He will never be a silver slugger by ANY means, but he sure could be at least respectable.

Youneverknow…

2011 Astros: Five Questions

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

In which I “answer” 5 questions about this year’s Astros team for The Hardball Times, the 2011 version.

And no, I didn’t say we are FINALLY gonna reach that 100 loss mark…

3/19/11 – Bud Norris Beats Cardinals And Possibly Saves His Rotation Spot

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Too bad we didn’t have Bud Norris on the team back in 04 instead of Pete Munro (my gawd, I had to go back and look up his name – you’d think with all the writing I did I would have remembered, but noooo) to face the Cards – might could have won the best League Champion Series that nobody saw because Bristol was obsessed with Other Teams I won’t name because they got too much pub as it is.

Anyway, Bud has looked lousy all ST and he gave up no walks and 6 singles, no runs in 5 IP. He’d better be able to repeat it against a few other teams or he’s gonna be either back in AAA, traded or released. I’d say bullpen, but there are too many other guys and anyway, as usual Fast Eddie is looking for pitching, not that there’s lots of starting pitching just floating around.

Luis Castillo just got released by the Mets and this makes me nervous, knowing Fast Eddie’s inexplicable love of crappy second basemen, especially over the hill second basemen. Which reminds me – I hear tell that unless nobody else hits at ALL, that Keppinger is gonna be traded as soon as he gets off the DL, IF anyone wants to pick up his salary. I wonder what on earth he did to get himself put so high on Fast Eddie/Drayton/Tal’s poopoo list.

JR Towles is also on the trading block, naturally, and it looks as if Carlos Corporan, who is also hitting, is going to be the second catcher. Maybe he’ll catch on with another team, youneverknow.

Other than that, no news/rumors.

Just wondering – is it just me, or does anyone else think that there really aren’t any baseball STARS, as there used to be? I don’t mean – good baseball players, but STARS, like George Brett and Reggie!!! and Rickey and even Barry Lamar (even before he is accused of using roids) and Clemens. Pujols is great, I mean inner circle HOF great, but somehow, he’s not really a STAR!!! especially now that he’s going to have to get paid what he should have been paid all those years he was underpaid. Maybe it is too much media – I mean, cameras everywhere, twitter everywhere, instant face, maybe it’s so much overkill that guys are trying to not get face. Any guy with any sort of larger than life personality like, say, Rickey!!! is going to get shot down, dissed on endless sports talk radio/TV for being, I don’t know, some pc word meaning uppity. Blah and bland is the way to go, because the media doesn’t want guys like Lance Berkman and they seem to prefer to belittle/laugh at/criticize/almost libel – than they do to promote.

Makes me wonder what would have happened to the old BITGOD stars like Mickey Mantle, if they had had sports talk radio/twitter/facebook/cellphone cameras/youtube.

There’s an old expression about familiarity breeding contempt. Maybe it shoule be - over-exposure breeds boredom…

Two Weeks Left Until Astros Opening Day 2011

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

I know I haven’t written in a while – sorry, family stuff. And my usual sources of info at Spring Training haven’t sent me any special info all yall don’t already know from the rest of the media.

Also, Merry Sun-Shynne seems to have gone into the Witness Protection Program, or something – haven’t heard from her.

So here’s where we’re at:

1 – Jason Castro is out for the year because he tore his knee. I am still hearing rumors that Fast Eddie is looking for another starting catcher, as obviously none of the minor leaguers can hit MY weight. As usual, JR Towles is hitting the heck out of the ball – he’s 9 fer 24 with 2 doubles and 2 homers, but Fast Eddie is still looking to trade him. I’ve been hearing that for like 2 months, since before Castro was hurt and nothing has changed. We all know that Quintero will catch The ol WB, but not sure what Wandy wants. He historically has pitched worse with Quintero catching him (and yes, one of these days I will actually look up each *(^*$^@! game and prove it).

2 – Clint Barmes, who is supposed to be providing this Nomar Garciaparra 2000-like bat (not sure why on earth Fast Eddie thinks THAT) is hitting like a shortstop: this spring he is batting a robust .651 OPS; Tommy Manzella, who crapped out after 4 games in winter ball, is hitting a measly .781 OPS – and I hear tell he’s on the trading block too. I pointed out last year that Tommy always took a year to get used to each level, and it just might could be that Fast Eddie got too impatient too soon. But no matter HOW he hits this spring, unless Barmes gets hurt, he isn’t getting paid 3.5 mill to sit on the bench. Sort of like CJ and Pedro Feliz last year.

3 – Bill Hall, who is supposed to be the Other Piece Of The 30 homer hitting Infield Puzzle, has a lower SLG than Tommy Manzella.

4 – Brett Wallace is killing the baseball, which means that unless Fast Eddie manages to find some AL GM and slips him some mind-altering chemical, managing to persuade him that it is July 2008 and trade Clank, that Wallace will be starting at first. Same a few photos of Clank – he looks as if he’s put on 20 lbs since last Sept. I’m hoping it was just a bad pic. He is, at least, hitting the ball, as well as the buffet line. Good thing Wallace is hitting because I had nightmares about Clank at 1B.

5 – still unsure about the 5th OF – Jason Michaels has been hitting like Barry Lamar 2002, and anyway, he had the 5th OF spot nailed down. Jason Bourgeois is outhitting, outslugging!!!! and outstealing Bogusevic, .790 OPS to .620 OPS. Man I sure wish we could get rid of Clank and play the other 3 guys. Not sure what they’re gonna do with Drew Locke, but he’s killing the ball, too – has a .978 OPS. Looks as if he’s gonna be one of those unfortunate guys who kills AAA pitching, but never gets a real chance in the majors – unless he gets lucky and gets traded, that is.

Pence came in, hit the ball, is still hitting the ball, is 14 fer 38 with 2 doubles and 2 triples. I hope he keeps it up when the season starts.

6 – I think that Matt Downs has a iron grip on one of the 2 utility IF spots – for some reason, Fast Eddie thinks that THIS time, he’s gonna hit for power in the majors. Of course, I’m scared that Anderson Hernandez is going to get the other spot – runs slowly for a MI, doesn’t hit and is a lousy fielder – has a .653 OPS this ST, unfortunately, out”hitting” Angel Sanchez.

7 – I’m pretty sure that Jordan Lyles won’t make the Opening Day roster – they want to prevent Super 2, OR they are going to hold him back, hoping that he kicks butt at AAA and then they can bring him up if the fans, the few who are left, are clamoring for him, as they did with Pence back in 07.

8 – Starting pitching is yecccch. Wandy has a sore shoulder. The Ol WB has given up 21 hits/13 ER over 4 GS/13 IP. Bud Norris, to put it nicely, got hammered because of giving up 3 HR over 8 IP, but at least he’s keeping the hits and walks down. Nelson Figueroa and Ryan Rowland-Smith haven’t thrown well, to put it mildly – too many hits, walks, run. J Happ has a nice ERA, but that is because 3 of his 6 runs over 8 IP were unearned. He gave up 9 hits, 4 walks.

Let’s hope the guys are “working” on stuff.

9 – the bullpen. Well, Sammy Gervacio and Alberto Arias are still hurt and certainly won’t make the Opening Day roster. Wilton Lopez has pitched 5 innings, no hits, no walks – and he’s been the only one to do this. Anuery Rodriguez and Pance Pendleton, the Rule V guys, don’t exactly look like Joakim Soria. Gustavo Chacin, believe it or not, has actually pitched pretty well – 6 H, no walks, 2 runs/6 IP. Wesley Wright, um, well, I luuuuvvv the little guy, but he’s pitching terrible – 10 hits, 4 walks, 8 runs/5 IP. Fernando Abad looks as if maybe sending him to Winter Ball to start wasn’t the best idea – he’s given up 9 H, 2 HR, 2 K over 4.2 IP. Maybe we should kept Byrdak – he’s given up 3 hits, 1 walk, no runs over 4.1 IP (for the Mets.) Melancon is meh - 7 H, 2 BB, 3 R/1ER in 5 IP. No one besides Lopez looks GOOD. And yes I know that the hitters almost always look bettern the pitchers in ST.

Well, youneverknow.

Fast Eddie is always looking for another crappy second baseman and maybe he can pull another turns out to be good reliever off the scrap heap again.

Still haven’t heard so much as a whisper about serious bidders for the team – I guess Drayton is thinking he should get Cubs money or something.

Anyone else even a little bit surprised that Nolan Ryan managed to get rid of Chuck Greenberg before the guys had even owned the team a year? Me, I’m surprised that Greenberg didn’t get purged any sooner. I always understood why Drayton McLane wasn’t about to give Nolan the teeensiest bit of power – had to smile when so many fans thought that Drayton should have offered Nolan the team presidency to keep him from leaving for the Rangers. Drayton shoulda just sold him the team and cut the preliminaries. Unfortunately, I guess that Drayton hadn’t wuite decided to sell the team at that time, too bad for us…