Archive for April, 2011

4/30/11: Wandy Pitches 8 Shutout Innings, Lyon Blows it, Bourgeois Wins It

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Da Wandy Man was ON tonight. 114 pitches, 7 hits, NO walks, 6 K. And this is with him having 8 pitches that were CLEARLY in the strike zone called balls. Command was great – all 3 pitches, especially the inside FB. Best out was the last one – he hung a curveball, Carlos Gomez hit it to the LF bullpen, Brames dropped the throw, so Gomez broke for 3rd and Barmes threw him out.

Wandy had to pitch with just ONE run of support. And that was on an IF single by Bourgeois, a steal to second, then 3rd, then a score on a ROE E5. Of course Clank popped out. As he did again in the 4th with a man on second. He is SORRY. Wonder how Milo is spinning THIS.

Brett Wallace sat – and all I can say is it BETTER have been because he hurt, not because he’s a lefty. I’m TIRED of that stuff.

Stros also had 2 on in the 7th against LaTroy Hawkins (who looks GREAT with the high socks – of course, I think everyone should wear high socks) and CJ grounded out on a 3-2.

Randy Wolf was nails again – 7 IP

Got to say, though, that Clank made TWO great diving stops and made 3-1 plays look good. And CJ made a GREAT diving stop and throw of a hard hit liner in the 9th. And turned a great DP. Bourgeois played LF, looked great. LOTS of great catches, stole 2 bases, scored the go ahead run and drove in the game winner. Pence made 2 very good catches – and the wind was blowing a LOT harder to left center tonight than it was last night

Of course Brandon Lyon blew the save, giving up a homer to, who else, Da Prince – guess the wind must have kicked up during that AB, hunh, Mr Bad Loser from Fri night.

This bullpen SUCKS.

Poor Wandy, Clemensed AGAIN.

So in comes Kameron Loe, usually Death To Astros Hitters. Towles popsup on the first pitch, then on comes the parade of leftys. Bogusevic grounds out. Then Brett Wallace, pinch hitting, walks. Michael Bourn walks (went ofer 4 but he has managed to get on base every game he has started for the past 22 games) then Bill Hall (new nickname “Chewie” for the way he’s always chewing on his mouth guard – and yeah, all modern nicknames gotta end in “ie” right Milo-ie, or is it Hammie) pinch runs. So Jason Bourgeois, hitting second and playing left is up. He takes strike 1, swings at strike 2, gets a gift Ball 1 from the ump on strike 3, then drives a low FB (ball 2) through the 5.5 hole and

Brandon Lyon gets his 3rd Vampire Win – all 3 came after he blew a save.

Rubber game tomorrow is Bud Norris vs LHP Chris Narveson who has started 4, relieved in 1 games vs the Stros and has a 3.43 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.

Do I dare say that Bud has pitched well vs the Crew – 4 GS with a 3.09 ERA/1.37 WHIP over 23 IP.

Astros Get Shut Out For The First Time In 2011

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Shaun Marcum gave up a leadoff walk to Michael Bourn. Who steals second. And is stranded by Pence and Clank.

And after that, Marcum REALLY shut it down – except for Brett Wallace, of course, who singled up the middle, reached on catcher interference and hit a long single offn the scoreboard. He was the ONLY hitter who saw the ball – or at least could hit what he saw. Marcum threw some kind of cutter and curve after lethal curve after lethal curve and couldn’t nobody hit it. Or lay off it. Well, Bourn did beat out an infield grounder, but speed kills.

Marcum threw 7 innings of 3 hit 2 walk shutout ball. He was pulled after 95 pitches and if the Astros were hoping to FINALLY be able to get to that bullpen, well, no cigar.

As for the Crew, well, it started off well enough when Weeks struck out and Gomez gounded out on a 3-2, the 10th pitch of the inning. But then Braun took a hanging slider over the CF fence, about halfway between the 404 and the 435. And Da Prince hit a changeup right smack dab down the middle 486′ to the upper deck in right – like only 3 rows below the sign. You know where the bullpen starts in RF? well, go up like 100′ and there’s that there ball. MrGehee flew out to deep center.

Crew 2 Stros ick

There was another homer – this one in the 4th by Yuni Betancourt. And a RBI double by Da Prince to the RF bullpen wall that Hunter got a bad read on and misplayed – that is like the 4th or 5th fly ball he hasn’t read well or taken a good route to. Not that it mattered.

And speaking of Yuni – he has 5 walks this year and the Astros have given him 4 of em.

Clint Barmes started his first game and like everyone not named Wallace, looked lousy with the bat. Not sure that he did anything that Angel Sanchez couldn’t have done – and Barmes and Hall couldn’t manage to turn a 6-4-3 GIDP on Carlos Gomez TWICE. Melancon gave up a run because of one of those DPs not turned – well, his fault for giving up the RBI single to Braun.

Clank came up with MOB twice and the first time, popped up on the first pitch and the second time, grounded out weakly (and this was the reliever, Kintzler, not Marcum.)

Quintero had a lousy game, too – allowing 2 stolen bases and an error – dropped the ball on a pitchout. He did throw out Yuni Betancourt trying to steal on a strikemout-throwemout to end the 6th.

Anything kewl? Well, Michael Bourn reached base twice and stole second, twice. Brett Wallace stole second base in the second – no, I am NOT kidding. Yes, he’s slow as molasses and  this is why he was able to get the jump that he did – guess he doesn’t want to eventually break Chris Snyder’s record of PA without a SB.

Michael Bourn made a great catch of Corey Hart’s drive onto the Hill – poor Hart – you hit a ball 420′ you SHOULD be trotting around the bases before heading for the dugout.

Brett Wallace has a sore hip after colliding with Prince Fielder, who was coming down the line. Good thing Wallace is that big – any guy smaller than Wallace would prolly be broke in pieces Da Prince runs into you full speed.

Fulchino and Lyon threw scoreless innings. Not that it mattered.

And last but not least – turned on the 10th inning show for a few minutes. First caller asks Matt (the host) why they insist on batting Clank instead of Wallace in the cleanup spot and also, why can’t Bogusevic play left and Clank sit? Because, sez Matt, Clank is making 19 mill and anyhow, Bogusevic won’t hit .250. Yeah, sez the caller, but at least he can run well and play good defense and besides, Clank isn’t hitting .250 neither. Well, sez Matt, the Astros are trying to get some of their money’s worth.

Matt doesn’t appear to know what a sunk cost is. It’s getting to the point where fans would rather see a Bogusevic/Bourgeois platoon in left with Clank on the bench. No, they aren’t “prospects” but Clank – well, it is NOT making fans happy to see him getting paid 19 mill to uck-say. It doesn’t bug fans to see younger guys getting paid minimum wage even IF they aren’t Mike Stanton.

Clank is getting louder and louder booooos with each failure at the plate. I wonder how long Ed Wade/Tal/Drayton is going to insist that Clank stay put at cleanup. One of these days I am going to do a comparison – Luke Scott in left from April 2006 – now vs the 6 months of Preston Wilson + 4 years of Clank – and I would bet that Luke comes out on top in bang for the buck.

Tomorrow night, it’s the re-match between Randy Wolf and Wandy. And Randy Wolf shut the Stros DOWN last week. Wanna bet it’s an all-righty lineup with our best hitter on the bench?

4/28/11: Berkman Hits 3 Run Homer Righthanded To Beat Astros

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Oh yeah – and he Pujolsed a Lidged slider into the upper deck in RF, too. His third 2 homer game this YEAR. Amazing how healthy legs are good for a player’s hitting.

It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL night – sweater weather (really) with the roof open and – what can I say – I absolutely HAD to go, especially because I had a chance to get there early for batting practice and get a look at Lance up close. He isn’t that much thinner, really – believe it or not – and his stance is definitely different than it was last year when he was hurt – it looked that way on TV, but I can really tell in person – knees bent more, more weight shifted back.

Stadium was pretty empty – it had been about half full the previous 2 nights – lots of Cards fans AND lots of Berkman fans. Me, I went old Skool and wore my Ausmus t-shirt. Of course, after the 3rd inning, I had to wear it OVER my sweater. Is that kewl or what – here it is April 28 and it is GOOD weather for outdoor baseball, not Drayton McLane is too cheap to close the roof and we have to all die sweating – outdoor baseball.

Tonight, Nelson Figueroa did a very good job – remembering he’s the 5th starter – and this time, the ump pretty much called strikes strikes, and didn’t call them balls. He gave up 3 walks (only one of em was a problem with getting strikes called strikes), got a nice 4-6-3. And speaking of 4, Freese singled to left in the 4th, Figgy tried to pick him off, the throw went into left, Hall picked it up on the RF line about 90′ down the line and threw a bullet to CJ to get Freese, who ran thorough a stop sign, out. GREAT throw. He had 3 of 5 1,2,3 innings.

He gave up a run in the 5th when Lance doubled on a bullet down the line into the LF corner, then scored on a Laird single up the middle. Figgy gives up walks and singles, seldom gives up extra base hits, I’ve noticed. But you sure nuff can lose getting singled to death. As he could tell you.

And speaking of which – the Cards did the Baseball Bugs conga line (you’ve seen that cartoon) in the 6th. Figgy gave up a 3-2 single to left to Freese, then Uncle blooped one to right, then Holliday singled through the 5.5 hole to drive in Freese.

With Lance coming up, Brad Mills decided to pull Figgy – although he was still actually throwing just as well – and send in lefty Abad to face Berkman. As much as Figgy is no ace, he’s STILL better than Abad and all I said was OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. And sure enough, he hits the 1-0 curve off the wall over the Crawford Boxes for the go-ahead 3 run homer (and this time it WAS the game winning hit – but I’m getting ahead of myself….)

And the singles kept on coming – ABAD gives up a single to Rasmus, a walk to Gerald freaking Laird (Arnesberg goes out – it does NO good) a slow roller to short to Green that goes for a FC, then a single to the PITCHER on a 3-2, then a sac-fly.

Abad out, Fulchino in. And Fulchino gives up 4 straight singles without getting an out.

Fulchino out, Valdez in, who FINALLY gets the last out on a grounder.

NINE runs in 1 inning.

My GAWD. You talk about el sukco bullpen – they made Figueroa look like Clemens. Husby called – asked if I was coming home early. He got hung up on – not that he wasn’t expecting that…

And that was it for Cards runs except for that 467′ upper deck homer by Lance - Aneury Rodriguez threw a hanging slider and Lance hit it further than the one Uncle hit offn Lidge. Only homer I’ve seen hit further in the upper decks was the one by Dontrelle Willis 5 or 6 years ago – and no, I do NOT believe whoever “measured” that shot at only 450′ – please.

Astros hitters hit the ball QUITE well, thank you, and reached on error twice.

Brett Wallace continued his absolutely torrid hitting – he hits leftys just as well as rightys, and sprays line drives all OVAH the place – left, right, middle. Doesn’t seem to be a home run hitter and he’s way too slow a runner to hit triples, but he’s hitting essentially the same as he did in the minors. Even in his prime, he’s no Berkman (in HIS prime) but of course, Lance wasn’t appreciated when he WAS here and he’ll be disrespected now that he’s gone as “fat” or “not a leader” – he seems to be “leading” fine with the Cards – oh yeah, that’s the complaint.

where was I?

Oh yeah.

Michael Bourn hit lots of balls to opposite field, including one to the LF bullpen off Kyle McClellan – who didn’t exactly look ace tonight – 5 runs over 5.1 IP. Michael has reached base in all but 1 of his last 20 games, and that was a PH appearance (against the same *(%*#%! closer whose stuff he couldn’t see the night before – with the same result). He didn’t have any great plays or stolen bases tonight. And no weird stuff like forgetting to go to second on a PB.

Angel Sanchez grounded out a few times, turned a DP, drove in a 2 out run, flew out to deep right. Right now, he’s 31 for 105 with 5 doubles, 1 HR, 1 GIDP and 6 BB – oh yeah, and 16 RBIs FROM THE 2 HOLE – same as Carlos Lee hitting cleanup.

And speaking of Carlos, he finally got a few hits – reached on error E1 – hit a dribbler up the 1B line which the pitcher dropped – an easy out. He hit an RBI double down the LF line – juuuust inside the 3B bag which hit the stands jutting out at a funny angle and he hit a bloop to right. Which is more than he had done with all those popups, especially with MOB!!!!! for the past few weeks.

So anyway, Sanchez is gonna get benched for Clint “A-Rod” Barmes (or is it Tulo redux) and Mills is keeping Clank hitting cleanup because he “is confident that Carlos will get out of his funk” – has NOTHING to do with the fact that he almost certainly has no choice in the matter seeing as how Carlos is making 19 mill.

Hunter Pence – being aggressive is good and bad. It’s good when he runs through the stop sign at third and scores on Carlos’ double to left that takes that funny angle off the wall when the throw home is offline. It’s bad when he swings at 2 pitches waaay out of the zone then stares at the one down the middle with bases loaded when the Stros are trying to come back 6 runs after the Cards 9 run top of the 6th. It’s even worse when he is out at the plate trying to score on a pitch that didn’t bounce far enough away from the plate with bases loaded, 2 out in the 8th (and yeah, I know Hall was up and you shouldn’t expect miracles twice in 1 series)

CJ had a 430′ homer off the LF wall – hit in between the 99 and 01 flags for a 2 run job. He hit the ball very well every AB and hit 3 of them to opposite field – the last one fell for a double, but he was stranded. This is good – he doesn’t look lost. Of course, I am considering who was pitching. The Cardinal’s bullpen is almost as bad as ours. Bet TLR wishes he wasn’t so quick throwing Chris Perez away. Well, no he doesn’t. TLR is NEVAH wrong (see how Scott Rolen has failed everywhere he’s been since he and TLR got divorced 4 years ago…)

I guess that last year was The Year Of The Pitcher, This Year it is The Year Of The Bullpen Suckage.

Hall went 1 fer 4 with a single and run scored. AND he had that great assist to get Freese at 3rd.

Quintero went 1 fer 3 with a reached on error E5 and a run scored. He also made another throwing error – was trying to throw out Rasmus stealing and the throw hit him and bounced into CF and Rasmus went to 3rd on the throw. Other than that, very solid fielding tonight from everyone, including Carlos. Yes, Carlos, who caught a long fly ball at the LF bullpen that he wouldn’t have gotten near last year. Or the year before. Or the year before that, neither.

The guys went 5 fer 18 with RISP and left 24 MOB. It’s not that the Astros aren’t hitting (for once) but that the pitching has been teh sukc. And so has the fielding. To be nice about it – 27 errors over 25 games. Uck.

And tomorrow night, the Brew Crew is in town and we face Shaun Marcum again. And Corey Hart is off the DL and ready to lust after the Crawford Boxes…

Oh yeah – and when I got home, was Husby-doo watching The Draft Report? Heck no, he was watching Astros Live.  Why yes, Alyson Footer WAS on tonight. HowEVAH did yall guess?

Clint Barmes Called Up, Inglett DFAd And Sanchez Benched

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Barmes is going to go into the starting lineup, it was announced tonight – so Sanchez is gonna grab some bench. Fact is that the dude could have hit like Barry Lamar 2001 and fielded like Ozzie and he WAS going to be benched as soon as Barmes came back. Because 3.7 mill is more money than minimum wage. That simple.

Same reason that Carlos Lee, in spite of complete loss of hitting ability,  is still hitting cleanup and Brett Wallace isn’t.

Will be interesting to see how long Barmes will stay in the starting lineup if/when he stinks it up with the bat. Sanchez has been a good #2 guy

Inglett, who has had 2 solid singles and 2 bloop hits and a lot of strikeouts and groundouts, is going to have to pass through waivers. Bogusevic will be kept on the 25 man because, as we saw, Bourgeois can play second AND he can play it well. We don’t need another utility guy because Sanchez is gonna be that guy, although he can NOT play third, AND we have Downs.

4/27/11: The Cardinals’ Bullpen Is Almost As Bad As The Astros And That Is BAD

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Let’s say I’m STILL not real too impressed with J Happ. He gave up 5 hits, 2 of which were solo homers, 2 walks, and somehow, only 2 ER over 5 IP – and he needed 32 pitches to finish that 5th inning. LOTS of pitches were fouled off.

Besides the 2 homers into the Crawford Boxes – and not long ones neither, basically the Cards singled the Astros to death. Not that the defense was lousy – the Astros turned 4 double plays, the last one an incredible web gem 4-6-3 by Jason Bourgeois on what would certainly have been a run scoring single had someone else been playing second.

Enerio Del Rosario pitched a scoreless 6th – a groundout from Uncle, 2 singles, then a GIDP. He came out in the 7th, got a swinging K, then a single, then a sac-bunt from Lohse (who had failed and Kd in his previous 2 attempts – man he looks SORRY trying to bunt – and he’s been in the NL for 3 YEARS now – Andy Pettitte was really good at it from the day he got here), then a RBI single, then a HBP. So with a run in and men on first in second, he’s out. That’s 1.1 IP, 4 singles and  HBP. Uck.

In comes Valdez to face Pujols – who immediately drives in a run with a single, the Holliday singles – so he has let Del Rosario’s runs score – then Lance drives in a run, and FINALLY he gets an inning ending groundout.

Cards up 6-0, Lohse coasting – only one hitting the ball well is Brett Wallace.

Eneury Rodriguez pitched the 8th – an IF single to Inglett, now playing third, for Tyler Greene, then a 5-4-3 GIDP, then a swinging K from rookie Mark Hamilton. Which meant that for some reason, TLR was pulling Lohse after only 90 pitches with him pitching a SHUTOUT!

And there couldn’t be the stupid excuse about how you have to use a setup man for the 8th and a closer for the 9th no matter what. I have NO idea why Lohse was pulled, but it must have given the Astros sudden hope, especially when they saw the remnants of what used to be Ryan Franklin. I had been sure that THIS was the day the Astros would be shutout for the first time this year. But I was just as hopeful as the hitters.

Joe Inglett hits a fly ball to left center that Matt Holliday misplays – the ball hits off his glove – don’t ask me why it wasn’t an error besides hometown scorer feeling sorry for Inglett for a double. Then Bourgeois, in playing second base with Inglett at third, singles up the middle and Dave Clark holds Inglett at third and Bourgeois advances to second on the throw.

Franklin out, Trever Miller in to pitch to Michael Bourn – and Bourn walks. Miller out.

Fernando Salas, RHP in. Sanchez grounds into a FC to second and Inglett scores!!! OK!!! No Shutout!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! Pence hits an RBI single up the middle and Bourgeois scores. Clank Ks – he looked absolutely TERRIBLE with the bat, as usual – he has NO business hitting cleanup any more (to be fair, he DID hit a nice FB to right that Lance caught – not as good a catch as he made on JR Towles’ long fly into the corner, but better than his usual popup/weakass grounder), Brett Wallace drives in Sanchez with a single up the middle, then pinch hitter Bogusevic grounds out.

Cards 6 Astros 3

Melancon comes in for the 9th – gets a groundout, gives up a single to Freese, walks Uncle, then Holliday hits a SMASH which should have gone into right, but Bourgeois absolutely ROBS him, turning an incredible 4-6-3.

I figure that TLR will send in either Boggs, who had a bad night last night or, even worse, Jason Motte. But no, it’s Eduardo Sanchez, RHP, age 21, rookie, who has so far pitched 6 scoreless innings in the bigs. He strikes out Towles on 3 straight pitches – a high FB then 2 wicked sliders. But Inglett sends the second FB into right for a single, then Bourgeois sends a 2-2 inside FB waaaayyy to the LF bullpen for a triple, scoring Inglett. Bourn hits a sac-fly to deep right. Sanchez sends a double to the RF corner and with the tying run on second, it’s Hunter Pence to be the HEro. He goes to a 3-2 count, then Uncle goes to the mound to talk to the pitcher. I can read his lips. He says – yo Sanchez, you need to strike this (swear word) out – he WILL swing at a slider low and away and you better throw him one. I know what is coming. The whole stadium knows what’s coming. And sure enough, it is a slider, low and away, out of the strike zone, and Hunter swings and misses and Cards win by 1 run.

CJ looked bad with the bat again tonight, but then again, against Lohse, so did everyone else not named Brett Wallace – and CJ didn’t have a chance to hit against the suckage relievers, neither.

At least it wasn’t a comedy of endless errors tonight. I’d sure like to see Bourgeois play second – I mean, full time. But he’s not getting paid 3+ mill to K more than even Preston Wilson.

Tomorrow is the rubber game – Nelson Figueroa vs Kyle McClellan, reliever/closer turned starter – Dave Duncan is pretty good at that – see Braden Looper/Todd Wellemeyer, etc. So far, McClellan has done very well – 4 GS over 25 IP with a 2.16 ERA/1.36 WHIP. Yes, I know one start wasn’t an official start, but that was TLR playing games with a rain delay, sending the mopup man to “start” for 1 batter before the umps called the 2 hour delay.

I seem to recall McClellan being lethal to Houston, but I see he lost 2 games (I remember one of em) and saved 2 - 6 ER over 18.2 IP with 3 HR, 4 BB, 14 K. I just hope that the HP ump isn’t playing games with Figgy again and that he doesn’t embarrass himself.

We really don’t have anyone to call up from AAA – Fernando Nieve is on the temporary inactive list (off the team – not because of injury or a positive drug test,) Doug Arguello is on the DL, Sergio Perez isn’t doing particularly well, and Jordan Lyles has had only 1 outing in which he went more than 5 innings and gave up fewer than 3 runs – and then he only struck out 3, so it looks as if Figgy, at least for a while, has a death grip on the 5th starter role.

4/27/11: Bill Hall Hits The Game Winning Single And Astros Beat Berkman And The Cards

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Lance got a 2 minute standing O with his first AB. I was absolutely delighted. To put it mildly. He also got a hand when he singled in the second and Bud got a BIG hand when he struck out Lance in the 4th. Actually, this game reminded me of Game 5 NLCS 2005, only kind of in reverse and -

but I’m kind of getting ahead of myself.

First, I want to point out that Lance did NOT lose weight in order to improve his hitting: he had ALREADY improved his hitting when Yankees hitting coach fixed his mechanics. He went on the DL the second 2 weeks in August because his knee was bothering him. He came back for September and his line was .301/.395/.391/.786 and in the playoffs, he hit .313/.368/.688/1.056 – went 5 fer 16 with 3 walks, a double, a triple, a homer, 3 runs scored and 4 RBI. In other words, he was ALREADY back.

OK. The game.

Bud did his usual frustrating thing of being nails, then losing command, then being nails, etc. As usual, he averaged a K/inning – pretty remarkable for a starting pitcher. Mowed em down in the first on 10 pitches, then Jaime Garcia threw 17 pitches to get his 1,2,3 outs.

Second inning – Lance singled (man this is tough writing about him as the opposition – I’m glad he changed numbers), then got caught stealing as David Freese struck out swinging. Which was fortunate because Yadi Molina, who the Astros couldn’t keep off the bases, walked, then Nick Punto, ex-Twins grit man, popped out to left. I should comment that Ed Hickox squoze Bud tightern tight, especially on the outside corner, which Bud hit well – gameday shows the pitches right in the zone – no argument. With the walk to Yadi, balls 1,2 and 4 were all on the outside corner and all DEFINITELY in the strike zone.

Ryan Theriot AKA Riot, is actually the Cards starting SS this year, but he was hurting. Skip Schumaker, the Cards starting second baseman is on the DL. Uncle Albert wasn’t in the starting lineup because he hurt his hammy the other day.

So we up – Clank grounded out first pitch (after Bud threw 21 – great way to help your pitcher get a break), Bill Hall Kd on 4 pitches, Brett Wallace singled (wonder when Tal Smith/Ed Wade is gonna figure out that Wallace hits leftys VERy well and quit telling Mills to platoon him/hit him lower in the order) and then CJ Kd on 3 straight pitches, looking VERY bad.

3rd inning – Descalso, playing 2B tonight – is a utility guy who played 3rd the past few weeks. He hits a hard grounder up the middle and is at second before Michael can get the throw in. He’s fast. Michael had a very VERY off night. To put it mildly. Jaime fails to put down the bunt or advance the runner and Quintero throws him out.  Jay grounds out and Rasmus Ks. 19 pitches.

Q leads off with a single to left just inside the 3B bag, Bud bunts him over, then goes to 3rd on a WP but Bourn Ks and Sanchez GO.

4th inning: Matt Holliday flies out, then Lance Ks, swinging on a 3-2 slider. Then poopoo happens. Frees hits a dead easy grounder to Angel Sanchez, who drops it and Freese is on with an E6. Yadi singles on a ball that is up and out of the zone. Then Punto doubles on a high FB and a run is in. Arnesberg out, mound conference – maybe give Bud a breather. Then Descalso hits a long fly ball to the RF wall – Pence gets a late jump, doesn’t get a good read on the ball, and then he misplays it off the wall and it’s a 2 run scoring triple. Hunter didn’t have a good night with the glove. Bud goes to 3-2 on Garcia before getting him to ground out. 27 pitches this inning.

Cards 3 Stros el-stinko

Pence up – takes ball 1, then hits a high midplate FB OVER the tracks – about mid Crawford Boxes – it would have gone into Crawford street if the roof had been open – it bounced off the glass – think Pujols in That Game. Clank takes a pitch, then grounds out weakly. Hall walks, but then gets picked off first by Garcia, and gets called out for running outside the basepaths. Wallace Ks. Sorry fielding, sorry baserunning, sorry pitching. UGH. At least Hunter’s mammoth homer assures us we won’t get shutout.

Cards 3 Stros 1

5th inning – 4 up 3 outs and only a single to Holiday. Pitches are working, control is pretty good and Bud is no longer trying to get low/outside corner strikes. Bud’s at 93 pitches.

CJ smacks a solid single on a 1-2 changeup to left. Good piece of hitting. Gets to second on a WP.  But he’s stranded when Q Ks, Bud then Bourn ground out.

6th inning – Freees hits a double off the wall that Hunter again misjudges/misplays. Then suddenly, the trainer and Mills are outon the mound with Bud – not sure why, but they give him 2 warmup throws – don’t look good to me, but hey, what do I know, they leave him in. Yadi hits a driibbler to Bud, who throws Freese out at third. Yadi takes off for second on an 0-2. The pitch is a ball and Q makes a bad throw, the ball skips into center and Yadi skips to third. Whoa – Q makes a throwing error – THAT doesn’t happen much. Punto Ks swinging next pitch. Arnesberg out – says – Descalso is seeing the ball just FINE out of your hand and THIS time we’re gonna put him on and pitch to the pitcher, like we shoulda done the LAST time. And Garcia Ks on a 1-2 curve and Bud has thrown 6 innings, 7 hits, 2 walks, no homers, 6 K, no ER, 3 runs.

Then, the amazing happens. We’re facing Jaime Garcia, with his 1.08 WHIP/1.44 ERA, cruising comfortably at 74 pitches. Sanchez chops one of this IF singles – hits the ground in front of the blate that bounces kind of past the mound but not fast enough that either the 2B or SS can get it and he’s on. Pence Ks on 3 sliders. Then Clank, still looking BAD with the bat, hits a grounder at the 3B, and it clanks off his glove and Sanchez is on second and Clank on first with an E5. Bill Hall, with 2 walks this year, draws a walk and bases loaded, 1 out. Dave Duncan, the pitching coach goes out to reassure his pitcher – look, an IF piece of crap, an error, a little worry keepin you from throwin strikes. Now this is a lefty comin up, no problem. So Brett Wallace hammers an RBI single to left – Clank is held at third, wisely.

Dave Duncan has seen enough and after 5.1 innings, bases loaded, he pulls Garcia and sends in Miguel Batista – dude must be like 50 and he’s still throwin 93. Amazing.  So CJ, in a serious RBI/hitting drought is up. He fouls off one pitch out of the zone, holds up on the 2 others, then hammers the midplate change up the middle for a 2 RBI single. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! Q flies out and pinch hitter Inglett (It’s how you spell Cory Sullivan 2011) grounds out to first. Will be interesting to see how long he gets before he’s DFAd/sent down…

Stros 4 Cards 3 and Bud Norris is in line for a very well deserved W.

7th – Fernando Abad in – he hits pinch hitter Tyler Greene, pops up Rasmus, walks Holliday, gets Lance to popup to first. Then he’s out, Fulchino is in, and he gets Freese staring at strike 3.

Batista still in. Bourn executes a perfect push bunt down the 3B line and there is no chance to get it or him. Now, for some reason I don’t get, Sanchez and his .290 average are sent to bunt Bourn to second. What, he can’t run? So Michael’s on second, Pence is up, and he shoots a hard grounder up the middle into center. Michael had kind of stopped or slipped as the ball shot by – he sure wasn’t running on contact and Dave Clark, to my surprise, hold him at 3rd – the throw wasn’t even close and Rasmus missed the cutoff man, and Pence moves to second on the throw. So then TLR decides to IBB Clank and his .203 BA. And he was right because Hall GIDP the very first pitch. NOT a good idea to stop Bourn.

8th – Fulchino still in. Yadi singles up the middle. Punto sac-bunts him to second. Now we have one out, man on second, a guy hitting .300 coming up and then some crappy pinch hitter. So walk Descalso, then pitch to the crappy PH, try to get a GIDP, right? Nope. Descalso hits a fly pop to the LF corner which Clank lopes after and the Cards re-take the lead. The pinch hitter, a kid named Mark Hamilton, just up from AAA, popsup. Next pinch hitter is announced and it is Albert Pujols!!!!!

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Of course, he’s IBB, then Rasmus pops up.

Tie game – 4 all. Bud, kiss your W goo-bah.

Trever Miller in to pitch to Wallace, who, of course, smacks a single up the middle. Trever out, Jason Motte in. Bourgeois comes in to pinch run for Wallace. CJ up – fouls a couple off – inbetween pitches, Motte tries to pick off Bourgeois. then Motte throws a ball, and Yadi throws to first and he picks Bourgy off. Great Astros baserunning tonight, I must say. Motte is filthy. Both CJ and Q strikeout looking. Wonder why TLR doesn’t want him to close – because he failed at it when he was a rookie severeal years back?

9th inning. In comes Brandon Lyon. You know the rules. 9th inning, tie game at home, your closer comes in. I didn’t have a problem with this – he’s got to face Holliday, Lance and Freese, the heart of the lineup. Holliday hits a liner to right, which Pence gets to quickly, plays perfectly, and sends a bullet to Sanchez. Unfortunately, Bill Hall cuts it off and by the time he relays to Sanchez, Holliday is safe. No error, just a boneheaded play. Then Lance hits a ball near the LF corner where the CBoxes jut out into center and he loses/misplays the ball!!!! and it falls for a RBI double. Lance has just hit the game winning hit. I said I wanted him to hit, but I wanted the Cards to lose anyway. Lyon gets the next 3 without trouble – but really, he should have been out of the inning giving up just a single, instead of a loss.

So it’s Cards 5 Astros 4

In comes their new closer, Mitchell Boggs – Ryan Franklin was, let’s say, ineffective and he was removed from that position a few days back. Boggs is a hard throwing righty.

And Brian Bogusevic is announced as the pinch hitter. I didn’t know he had been called up – checked it out – turns out that Jason Michaels had separated his shoulder diving for that ball from Prince Fielder’s triple and ison the DL. Am kind of surprised that Bogusevic was called up instead of Jack Shuck, who is outhitting and out OBPing and out slugging him. But hey, I’ll root for the boy. Who hits a grounder to right for a single. And, with Bourn at bat, he goes to second on a passed ball. I didn’t think Yadi ever did that. And Bourn bunts – and he’s bunting for a hit, of course, but Boggs picks it up and drops it and Bourn is on first before you can blink an eye and Bogu is at 3rd. No outs.

TLR goes out to the mound, talktalktalk

And with Angel Sanchez batting, Boggs uncorks a wild pitch which rolls toward the Astros dugout. Bogu runs home to score the tying run, but Michael Bourn stands unmoving on first. WHAT????? Why on earth is he not already on second??? Sanchez singles to right and Bourn has to hold at second – he’d have been home and this game woulda been over if he had moved to second on that WP. Then Pence singles to right and AGAIN Bourn is held at third. Carlos pops up – infield fly – he looked sorry all night – just AWFUL. So it’s again bases loaded, 1 out with Bill Hall up and a drawn in infield. He goes to 2-2, fouls off a pitch, then sends a bouncer through the 5.5 hole for the game winner.

And the Astros win – Bud doesn’t, but Brandon Lyon does.

Remember game 5? Lance had hit a 3 run homer in the 7th to give us the go-ahead game winners? We were leading 4-2 and Lance was gonna be the NLCS MVP with that there game-winner? Only nobody rememberes his 3 run homer because everyone remembers the NEXT 3 run homer. Which sent the series back to St. Louis and really, lost the series for us right there…

Tomorrow, it’s righty Kyle Lohse, who is finally healthy after 2 years of suckage vs JA Happ, who Uncle is looking forward to meeting…

4/25/11: Berkman Speaks

Monday, April 25th, 2011

I’m not a big sportstalk fan, mostly because the radio guys can’t nevah stop talking or interrupting any caller or guest before they hit that all-important 10 second mark. Which is probably why I somehow missed this radio interview Lance Berkman did with the radio guys on 1560 after he had signed with the Cardinals.

What is interesting to me is not just that he confirmed on the record a whole lot of stuff I had said about the Astros Organization (patting self on back here) but he said something I had never heard a player say – that Carlos Beltran actually WANTED to re-sign to with Houston. PREFERRED to stay in Houston. His not being re-signed was on Drayton (not Timmy-poo) not submitting any offer until the last second and then refusing the no-trade until Carlos had already signed with the Mets. It’s not that I hadn’t heard/read essentially that before, but coming from Lance, I almost believe it – I would have liked to ask how it was that Carlos wrote a book called “My First Year In Pinstripes” even BEFORE negotiations began if he really wanted to stay in Houston. Interesting also, that Lance believed Carlos when Carlos told him he loved Houston and wanted to stay. Either Carlos is a great liar or Lance is a guy who takes what he hears at face value. Or Carlos changed his mind.

And yes, I know that I believe if Lance says it on the record, he is speaking what he believes or believes is the truth. Not real too many people in this world whose word I would take, ESPECIALLY a professional athlete who has to watch every word that comes out of his mouth, and I don’t even know Lance personally.

And also that it was DRAYTON who wouldn’t re-sign Andy Pettitte (not Purpura) because he wouldn’t take Andy’s word for it that Andy would not pick up his player option if he was hurt and couldn’t play the second year of a 2 year deal.

He said that he believes that Barry Lamar Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame and that he, Lance, believes that Barry used steroids and should go in anyway. The radio hosts asked him about McGwire and Sosa but talked over him – dumbasses and so he didn’t really reply, but he said that he’s looking forward to working with McGwire as a hitting coach. He also said on the record that Andy Pettitte is one of his best friends – not was, IS – and this tells me he may not approve of using steroids as Andy did (or lying about it) but he doesn’t think that roiders are Teh Evull as too many BBWAA seem to.

He ALSO said that the Organization never listened to the players/ex-players and told Nolan Ryan they weren’t interested in his input.

Yall should listen to the whole thing – I mean, some of it is boring like them talking about football and other non-baseball/Astros stuff. But check out especially parts 5 and 6.

Oh yeah – after 19 games/78 PA, his line is .377/.449/.723/1.173 which is 26 fer 69 with 9 BB, 9 K, 6 2B, 6 HR, 1 GIDP.

4/24/11: JR Towles Homers So Randy Wolf Can’t Hand The Stros Their First Shutout Of 2011

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

First thing I want to mention is that Miller Park has been pretty much full for this Astros series. FULL!!! You know, like the Box used to be when we had a great team and an owner who cared?

Not sure why I hate platooning so much. Since Wolf is a lefty, Brett Wallace and Michael Bourn are sitting – Jason Bourgeois is playing center and JMike is playing left and yes, I know that Brett Wallace was beat up physically yesterday and bench guys need PT too. I was surprised and actually pleased to see CJ still in the lineup.

Guys are wearing the traveling grays. I must be the only one who hatesHATESHATES the ugly brick red top/white pants combo. The white pinstripe unis are OK – but actually, I preferred the early 90s blue/gold unis. Not sure why they got rid of them…

1st inning: Stros go 1,2,3. I notice that Cowboy Joe West is not calling curves for a strike, which makes me nervous. One thing I really love about Jim Deshaeis and Bill Brown as announcesr is that they both are quite honest about plays and ball/strike calls, whether they go for us or against us.

Crew start off with 2 singles – Gomez comes with the drawn in IF expecting the bunt. Braun Ks on a nasty Unca Charlie. Prince GO. I’m sorry he’s gonna leave Milwaukee and go to some high paying team – I understand that he is wanting Ryan Howard’s contract and the Crew can’t afford THAT. I was sorry to see Sabathia leave for The Evil Empire as well – especially as he talked about how much he liked Milwaukee. I wonder sometimes if the ballplayers really ARE under significant outside pressure to take the largest contract. Or maybe they just really DO want more face and let’s be real here – the 4 letter ignores teams not in NY/Boston?LA if possible. One of these days, I’m gonna actually time – with a watch, I mean, the minutes/seconds spent on each team during each hour of BBTN. McGehee GO. 18 pitches.

2nd inning: Carlos GO on the first pitch. Hall Ks. Randy is throwing strikes, lots of em. And he’s locating, too. J Mike takes 2 called strikes, then pops up the 3rd – it was up and inside, but it might could have been strike 3 – with Cowboy Joe, youneverknow. 8 pitches. This gives Wandy PLENTY of rest.

Betancourt FO, Boggs (the off day RF) sitting on the 3-1 FB, sends it over the fence. And that FB was right down the middle, too. Yeah, I know he’s a rook, but just the same, a FB down the middle is not the best idea. Nieves pops up to Hall and Wolf Ks swinging. He’s already up to 32 pitches.

Crew 1 Stros nada

3rd inning: CJ goes to 3-2, not swinging at anything out of the zone and FO to right – just got under it. At least he didn’t look BAD. JR hits the FB almost over the CF fence. Wandy breaks up the nono with a solid single to right center. Fouled off a couple, didn’t swing at garbage – better AB than anyone so far except JR. Bourgeois singles to left. CMON ANGEL!!!! But he pops up to center. Boy needs to learn how to pull the ball a little more…

Weeks sends a ball over the CF fence then Gomez sends a bouncer up the middle which Wandy and Angel can’t get – Wandy picks him off 1B cleanly but Carlos has a noodle arm so he’s safe on second. Braun Ks again. Prince sends a FB to left, JMike can’t come up with it – tried to dive, but missed, Gomez scores and Prince goes to third. Jmike, sorry to say, is no longer a “defensive replacement” as he has gotten waaay too slow. McGehee singles Prince home. Next pitch in the strike zone called a ball. Wandy frustrated and Arnesberg out. Betancourt pops up, Boggs GO. Defense matters.

Crew 4 Stros uck

4th inning:  Stros down 1,2,3 – at least Carlos got it to the warning track. Crew out 1,2,3 for the first time. CJ makes 2 solid plays.

5th inning: JMike pops up the first pitch. CJ pops up the second. JR takes 4 pitches to GO. 7 freaking pitches. Poor Wandy. Gomez singles and Sanchez can’t get it fast enough to get Gomez out. Braun singles to center and Gomez goes to third. Da Prince Ks and Braun steals 2nd. McGehee IBB. Bases loaded. Peachy. Out comes Arnesberg, tells Wandy – bullpen too tired from all the other guys sucking – you get yerself outta this, and Wandy does, getting Yuni to swing under and popup a FB after 3 straight curves and he gets Boggs swinging at a neck high FB. 19 freaking pitches.

6th inning: Wandy leads off, hits a solid single to center. You notice it took him SIX pitches and HE wasn’t swingin at no curve outside the strike zone. Bourgeois GIDP 6-4-3. Great. Sanchez FO. Like, hey HITTERS, Wandy can’t be expected to be doin all the offense, you know.

Wandy gets Nieves and Wolf both swinging, walks Weeks, who steals 2nd on a curve, but next pitch, Gomez GO to CJ, who doesn’t rush, but makes sure he plants his feet and gets a good throw. He did very well fielding all the GB hit his way all game. Hope THIS part of his game stays good.

7th inning: Cmon guys. Pence takes strike 1, fouls off 2 balls outside the zone, lays off a lowball, flies out. Clank pops up – also swung and missed at a pitch shoulder high. Bill Hall Ks swinging on the 3rd pitch – also high and out of the zone. He took the sombrero tonight.

Wandy’s back out – and he’s at 106 pitches. Wonder how long he’s gonna be left in – doesn’t look like anyone is warming up. Braun and Da Prince GO. Then he walks McGehee on 4 straight pitches, none of em near the strike zone. Uh oh. Yuni Betancourt singles up the middle on a FB down the middle. Arnesberg out, long talk. Men on first and second – Wandy gonna face the last guy, Boggs. And he goes to 3-1, then gets him swinging on 2 straight curves. He trudges off the mound.

Wandy didn’t have his ace stuff, but he shut em down and got the outs he needed with MOB after the 3rd – 10H, 3 BB, 9 K, 2 HR, 7 IP 4 ER. Threw 126 pitches (career high – Coop or Garner woulda pulled him in the 5th for a PH) so only 2 innings for the pen – hopefully.

8th inning: JMike takes 2 balls, then gets a FB down the middle, but only flies out to left. Hard to believe this is the same guy who hit .380 in ST. CJ hits the 3-2 FB with a grounder to the hold between first and second, but Weeks makes a great play and he’s out. At least this AB was better. JR times the curveball VERY well and it flew 400+ feet to deep left center. Downs, pinch hitting, GO.

JR BREAKS UP THE SHUTOUT!!!!!

Crew 4 Stros 1

Enerio Del Rosario is in. Nieve singles, PH Counsell GO, Weeks GO. With Gomez batting, Angel Hernandez (ahem) calls a balk – Deshaeis can’t call it horsepoo, but is suspiscious that he can’t find any time where this righty didn’t come set just right. But Gomez GO, so it didn’t matter anyhow.

9th inning: Axford in. ERA 7.36, 2 BS already, but last night, he looked like Da Mariano out there. Bourn in to PH – not sure why – just like last night, 3 swing n misses. Sanchez singles up the middle, then a WP moves him to second. CMON Hunter!!!! But no, Weeks gets the grounder and throws him out. Clank up. Foul. Strike 2 looking. Bounced ball. Foul. Foul on shoulder high inside pitch. Takes strike 3 RIGHT down the middle. And I mean RIGHT down the middle.

sigh

Astros hitters were teh sukc – when your pitcher gets 2 of the 4 hits and NOBODY walks, you uck-say. And even if JMike had caught Fielder’s ball, Wandy STILL would have lost 2-1, yeah, I know…

By the way, Astros pitchers combined are hitting .357 and that is better than any DH over in The Inferior League!!! (and no I do NOT wanna hear about OPS/SLG/RBI – tell your stats to shut up…)

Tuesday, Lance Berkman, last week’s NL Player Of The Week and his 1.15 OPS (BA .377 for those of yall who prefer that) comes back to town. I just might spend the $2.oo to go and watch him hit one of his patented CBox opposite field homers. Or one of his usuals into the RF bullpen. Or maybe I’ll get to see him hit one over the 435′ sign and see it land on that patch of fake grass. Or even steal 3rd on Quintero. Or hit for the cycle. Youneverknow…

4/23/11: Brandon Lyon Gets His First ML Hit, Drives In His First Run

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

I should call this one – All About The Brandon – he blows the save, he throws almost 30 pitches in the 9th, he goes up to bat with 2 out, man on second in the 10th – and this is a guy with ONLY one other ML AB (he walked) and he doubles down the LF line to drive in Quintero for the 3rd run – first ML hit – first ML RBI, and then he blows through 3 guys in the 10th to get the W (of course, they weren’t Braun or Fielder, but I’m getting ahead of myself…)

Well, it was a good game tonight. Carlos Lee hit a 2 run homer, Pence hit a solo homer, Bourn has an 8 game hitting streak and hit into his second GIDP in 3 days, Bill Hall went 3 fer 4 with a walk, Angel Sanchez hit 2 doubles and so did Brett Wallace, Quintero hit the game winning double and CJ looked absolutely dreadful at the plate again and left SEVEN on base – but he did make a really great play.

Stros went up 3 in the first – Sanchez doubles, Carlos homers, Wallace doubles and Bill Hall drives him in with a single. Milwaukee gets a run in the second with a couple of singles, a walk and a sac-fly.

In the 3rd, Hunter Pence hits a home run like 400 something feet to almost straightaway center, which is a good thing because the Crew comes back with a couple of singles, and score runs on a WP, SB and a groundout RBI.

4th and 5th are 1,2,3 out. 6th, 2 on for CJ who Ks, swinging wildly. Crew gets a cxouple of 2 out singles, but no runs.

Gets interesting in the 7th. Marcum was pulled for a PH to end the 6th – and remember, ther Astros bullpen has been, um, heavily used – let’s put it that way – and apparently, the relievers and/or manager and/or pitching coach is not into relievers pitching multiple innings, but prefer to have them all get up and throw/warm up every day.

So with a 1 run lead, Michael Bourn hits a 2 out single, then Angel pulls a ball (???!!!) into the LF corner and Michael steps on the gas and coasts into home before Braun can get the ball and throw it back. Then Hunter singles to right, and Sanchez, running with the crack of the bat, makes it home ahead of Kotsay’s throw – and he has a GREAT arm. But it ends there as Carlos Ks on a checked swing on a pitch at his neck.

But back comes the Crew – Craig Counsell (isn’t he like 50 years old or something? Benn kicking Astros ass since I can remember – he’s one of those Pest gritty little guys) singles, Carlos Gomez tries to bunt his way on and actually, in my opinion, beats the throw from the pitcher, but he’s called out, and then it happens. Braun is up, takes a curve for a called strike, fouls off a couple of FB, then SHOULD have been out on a curveball which was absolutely positively in the strike zone – perfectly placed, inside, waist high, but the ump called it a ball. All I could think was – oh noooooo, don’t give this guy another chance. And sure enough – ball in dirt, then a FB down the middle and gone POW and it’s 6-5 with Da Prince coming up.

In comes Abad and he gets Prince. Then it’s Fulchino – he gives up a double, but then gets the 3rd out.

In comes a lefty to pitch to Wallace – but he hits him. Looked like it was the lower back and looked like it hurt. In comes the righty, gives up a single to Bill Hall, then gets CJ on a soft flyout, then Q. 2 left on again.

Clinging to that 1 run lead is Melancon, who has been rode hard and put away wet, as the saying goes. And flogged. He’s pitched in 13 of the Astros 21 games and last night, managed to get hisself out of a bases loaded jam with 20+ pitches. So in he comes, and he gives up a single to Yuni Betancourt. Then Lucroy goes to sac-bunt – which I do NOT get, seeing as how the guy is hitting .355 – and he lays it down, only Brett Wallace and Melancon go to field it, no one calls it, I guess, and they trip over each other, so Lucroy, who would have been dead meat – actually, Yuni would have been dead meat – is safe and Yuni is at 3rd, nobody out. Just great.

But then the amazing happens: Pinch hitter Erick Almonte hits a grounder up the 3rd base line – CJ fields it and Yuni is caught between 3rd and home in a rundown – and he’s waving for Lucroy to take 3rd while he dodges the fielders. But he doesn’t and Lucroy is caught off second and is tagged out by Q, who throws the ball to Wallace – but it is in the dirt, or he would have gotten Almonte off first – it would have been a baseball first - a triple play involving 3 rundowns.

You talk about luck – first the bad luck of a guy reaching base when there should have been an out. Bad luck. Then absolutely idiotic baserunning leading to 2 outs instead of the 1 they should have gotten, with men still on second and third. Bolstered by this bizarre double play, Melancon gets Counsell for the last out. No runs.

So top of the 9th, the Crew sends in their closer, John Axford, who gets 3 quick outs – he has some kind ov vicious breaking ball – all KINDS of swing and misses.

And bottom of the 9th, in comes Brandon Lyon to face the very dangerous meat of the lineup. Gomez flies out. Braun goes the other way and sends a ball into right – probably could have gone for a double, but stops at first. Then it’s Da Prince, who sends a 3-2 FB to the RF corner. Braun was off like a shot – Pence gerts the ball, sends a strike to Bill Hall, who sends a bullet to Quintero, but Braun slides in before the tag. The ump made the right call, sad to say – Q was jumping up and down and Brad Mills went out – I guess told Q that the call was right. No one got tossed, Q settled down, and Lyon gets McGehee to FO to shallow center. Then they IBB Kotsay to face Yuni Betancourt, who has a well earned reputation as a free swinger, but Lyon doesn’t throw him stuff that is close enough and he walks. Bases loaded. But Lucroy hits a choppeer which Lyon makes a great play on, jumping, then turning to throw Lucroy out.

Tie game.

Crew doesn’t send Axford back out for a second inning. Either he’s too tired, or he can’t because it’s against The Unwritten Rules, or something. BAD mistake. Crew sends up righty Sean Green, who the Stros hit arond yesterday. And they hit him around again. Bourgeois, who was sent in to play left at the beginning of the 9th, is up and he flies out. Brett Wallace fouls a ball off his shin or knee – tough to tell (man he’s been getting hurt all night), but then doubles to right center. Then Green goes to 3-0 on Hall, and they decide to put him on to face the badly slumping CJ. I root for him to at least single home Wallace, but he grounds out to second, advancing the runners.

sigh

So it’s up to Quintero, and he sends a 3-1 curve over Gomez’ head where it bounces over the CF wall for a GR double and 2 runs are in!!!! Then Brandon Lyon, who like never EVER comes up, naturally, is left in to hit (well, if he was pulled for a PH, who was gonna pitch? Del Rosario? Aneury? Jose Valdez?) and he fouls off a FB down the middle, then takes a curve for a ball – and it was a strike – same exact location as the curve to Braun that shoulda been strike 3) then he didn’t swing at 2 pitches out of the zone, then he swung through a FB, fouled one off, then hit one down the LF line into the corner to score Q. He stood on second base looking stunned – probably hadn’t hit a baseball since, Ida know, high school (had 2 PA in the minors in 04 and 1 in 07 with the DBax). But Bourn struck out, so he didn’t have to run any more.

He came back out to the mound and got 1,2,3 out – a little easier when you are facing Wil Nieves, Counsell and Gomez…

So at least we won’t get swept.

Tomorrow afternoon, it’s Wandy vs Randy Wolf. I’ll have to record this one because I’ll be taking the kids to Easter Parties. They too old to believe in the Easter bunny, but you best believe they not too old to eat all that candy (not that they gonna get near as much as they think they are…)

4/22/11: Bad Pitching + Bad Fielding = Brewers Beat Astros

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

What an absolutely terrible icky ballgame. It dragggggggged – lasted almost 4 (swear words) hours

Gallardo wasn’t as ace as we’d seen him in the past, but he didn’t have to be, thanks to Astros fielding incompetence and failure to drive in runs with MOB waaay too many times. 

No GIDPs tonight, but striking out or grounding out with 2 outs = not good.  And speaking of DP, Pence turned one on Braun, catching his drive, then throwing out Weeks at first. VERY nice.

The HP ump made Doug Eddings and Angel Hernandez look like Jim Joyce. Nelson Figueroa kept throwing strikes, but the *(%&! ump wouldn’t call anything below mid-thigh a strike and absolutely nothing on the black – and after 2 batters had been walked with no outs in the second, Arnesberg went out to the mound – Figgy was trying to not to show he wasn’t happy – I mean, what could the guy do besides throw it down the middle, and the ump went out and Arnesberg must have said something about the ump having a substance problem or needing glasses because he got tossed and then Brad Mills ran out and Cowboy Joe West tossed HIM. Click here for the video.

After that, the HP ump was somewhat less obnoxious, but not much and Figgy got hammered. Gave up a 3 run homer to Ryan Braun, showing that he deserved that extra 105 mill and 5 more years, and gave up a homer to the PITCHER. He lasted 4 innings and left in the 5th with 1 on.

Abad came on to pitch, got Fielder to hit a perfect DP ball to Sanchez, who plays it badly and they only get Braun at second. Then McGehee hits a grounder to Bill Hall, who misplays it and it goes for a “single”. Then Kotsay lines out to Hall, who has got Da Prince leaning waaaayyy off second, but he throws the ball past Sanchez, so instead of 3 out, AGAIN, men on second and 3rd. Then – good grief – Yuni Betancourt singles to left, Clank makes a throwing error but it doesn’t matter because he couldn’t have thrown out McGehee at the plate anyway. Poor Abad. Valdez comes in and gets the last out.

You don’t want to hear the rest.

But I do want to mention that CJ is completely lost at the plate – no timing, stance is screwed up, he looks worse than lost – 2 Ks on pitches out of the zone and a weak groundout with 2 on 2 out. He got pulled with one of the pitching changes and replaced with Matt Downs, who didn’t do any better. And actually, I was glad that Downs was there because 2 balls got hit down the LF line that went for doubles – he actually got a glove on 1 and I thought it was an error, but I guess not. So CJ at least won’t be blamed for those 2 run scoring doubles.

But fortunately, Clint Barmes, the hitting savant, is gonna be coming back soon and this will solve everything. Question is, who will go down when he gets back – and yes, he WILL immediately displace Sanchez. Inglett, who has been essentially useless is the only LH bat and we all know you GOTTA have one of those because rightys can’t hit rightys. So either Sanchez or Bourgeois is going down – we all know it can’t be Downs cuz he Fast Eddie’s boy.

Speaking of hits, I do have to say that Bill Hall hit a triple high off the CF wall, then scored the run. Quintero had a GREAT night – went 3 fer 3 with a walk, scored 2 and drove in 1. Brett Wallace has continued to hit – went 3 fer 5, scored one and drove in 1. Clank went 1 fer 5, drove in 1, scored 1 and stranded 3. He really has no business hitting 4th any more, but 19 mill speaks louder than results.

sigh

Fulchino came in and got the last out in the 6th and Melancon came in for the 8th – gave up a walk and 2 singles but managed to not let any runs score this time.

I guess I should say something about – I’m glad we didn’t get shut out.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Let’s hope we do better tomorrow – but Shaun Marcum has looked absolutely shutdown so far and I’m not as hopeful as I might could be…