Archive for April, 2011

4/21/11: J Happ Is David Wright’s Slumpbuster As Mets Stomp Astros

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

For 2.1 innings, J Happ was so good and so sharp, I thought he just might could be headed for at least a shutout, if not a no-hitter. I figured that maybe the wind – looks like it’s like 20 MPH out there and I checked weather.com – it was 47 at gametime – was moving the ball and the hitters were too cold to swing. Hey, I was feeling cold just watching them – and for some reason, I was remembering the WS at Chi-town, not a real too good premonition, you know what I’m sayin.

Terry Collins, the Mets manager, who has a history of being not exactly liked by his players (so I hear tell, yet another manager that B&B managed – hahahaha – to get rid of) wanted to get hisself thrown out of the game to fahr upp da boyzzzz, so he went and made a total ass of himself screeching at Doug Eddings, the HP ump for missing a call (you might as well scream at a cat for not coming when she’s called) – dropped foul tip wasn’t dropped, he says – Eddings ignores him goes back to call pitches and Collins gets in his face and Eddings sez – sigh – do you WANT to get thrown out? Well, OK. And Collins was right about dropped foul tips mattering – but I’m getting ahead of myself…

Anyway, Mike Nickeas, their rookie catcher just called up from AAA, somehow turned on a knee-high inside slider and hit it INTO the wind over the LF wall. THAT reminded me of Bradley Aweseomeness doing the same at Wrigley, breaking up a Greg Maddux shutout. Ahhhh, pleasant memories. Anyway, then 2 outs and at the end of 3 innings, Happ has 5 Ks and NO walks – unusual for him and 40 pitches.

Meanwhile, Capuano is lethal – gave up a LONG double to Pence in the first inning, so there’s no worry about getting no-hit, but in the 3rd, Happ singles (he did better than moren a few Astros hitters), then Bourn walks, but Angel Sanchez, slumping (anxiety about Barmes coming back as The Hitting Savant and taking his job???) lines into a DP and there’s the end of that. Too many DPs for the Astros lately.

Fourth inning – what’s good is that Chris Johnson really hits the ball hard to the CF wall for a double. What’s bad is that he was stranded. What’s worse is that Happ started to go to pieces. He’s only gone to one 3 ball count in the first 3 innings, and then he started to lose command (cold fingers?) He needs 8 pitches to get out the suckulous Pagan and his .150 BA. Then it’s David Wright, who has has FINALLY struck out on the 8th pitch foul tip, only Quintero DROPS THE BALL. So Happ throws a FB down the dead center middle of the plate and David Wright hits the ball 400′ into the wind over the fence to break an 0fer 20 (min, he WAS getting on base and had like 8 walks during that time) and this is NOT a good sign. Jackal goes to 3-2 and singles up the middle – this, by the way, is not because of Eddings not calling balls/strikes well. Jason Bay hits a popup to right that Pence misses (he had a BAD night) which bounces over the wall for a GR double. Then JA throws a WP and I mean WILD – like 3 feet to the right of Q’s glove and Jackal trots home and Bay scoots to third. Davis hits a sac-fly. At least it wasn’t a 3 ball count, right?

Mets 4 Stros Crap

I was a little surprised to see Happ go out for the 5th – he didn’t seem to have much in the 4th. He goes to an 8 pitch 3-2 count on Nickeas before getting a FO. Then he gives up a solid double to the PITCHER, who is like 36 years old. Is it time to come out? Then a 3-2 walks to Reyes on 6 pitches. He looks BAD. He goes to 3-2 on Pagan. David Wright is coming up and yeah, he’s had a 6 game dry spell until earlier, but hey, even UNCLE had a bad 10 games straight and you KNOW I wasn’t even thinking in my wildest dreams that he was finished. I’m thinking – cmon Millsey-poo, time to go get the boy, he ain’t got nothin. And sure enough, he gives up a solid 2 run double to left center on a meatball.

NOW Millsie comes and gets him. What’s with all the guys getting girlie names or else doing the LiLo thingy? Can’t we get some REAL nicknames? Like, say, Manitas de Piedra (hands of stone) or Pies en Fuego (Firefoot) or something really imaginitive like guante del oro (Glove of Gold?)

Anyway, Enerio Del Rosario comes in and gets the out, but hey, this game is OVAH and the only real question is – are the Astros gonna get shutout?

Nothing in the 6th except a walk to Clank (and a throw over to keep him close – he has this – like whaaaaaa???? look) but in the 7th, Brett Wallace doubles, then Matt Downs singles to left. Remember that Brett Wallace runs like a grrrl pregnant with twins. So anyhow, Bay picks up the ball, makes a bad throw to Wright and Wallace chugs across the plate. But that’s all she wrote, as Quintero GIDP.

Aneury Rodriguez comes in to mopup in the 8th. He gets Willie Harris to FO on a 3-2, walks Wright, Ks the Jackal (hehhehheh) then – you won’t believe this – Bay hits a popup near the line in shallow right center. Wallace, Downs and Pence converge, Pence calls for it, but he makes a lousy run for it and the ball clanks off his glove and rolls all the way down into the corner and Bay comes all the way around to score after Wright, as Pence makes a lousy throw to Downs, who can’t collar the ball well, then drops it. Not that it mattered. Aneury goes to 3-2 on davis, then throws a high FB on the outside corner which Davis hits a GOOD 450′ to dead center onto the concourse. That’s one of the hardest hit balls I’ve seen this year – reminds me of the homer that Berkman hit to dead center waaaaay high up on the wall at whatever they are calling the DBax stadium.

Taylor Buchholz pitches again, the 8th and 9th, and again I am reminded that he is one of the few pitchers who ever made me go – WOW – when I first saw him pitch. He’s still good, even if he can’t start anymore and hasn’t got his old velocity.

We’re now off to Miller Park, where Nelson Figueroa will opposae Yovani Gallardo, who always kicks Astro butt.  Actually, not always – record shows he’s 7-2, which means that somehow, we’ve beaten him twice. Checked it out – Wandy beat him both times; 2-0 and 6-4 (yeah he gave up SIX runs over 5 IP) but he was nails last year. He’s had rough going this year, so I would bet he’s really licking his chops now…

Saturday, we face Shaun Marcum, RHP and his 1.90 ERA, who came from the Toronto Organization. Astros have never faced him. Toronto traded him for a minor leaguer, don’t ask me why: his ERA+ over the past 3 years in the AL East facing Yankees/Rays/RedSox lineups half the time is 108, 125, 114. And he has hurt for part of that, too. BBref says his closest comp is Yovani Gallardo. Just wonderful.

Rubber game on Sunday, Wandy faces ex-Stro Randy Wolf, who is 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA. Wandy has always had a tough time at Miller park – a 5.97 ERA over 60 IP in 11 GS. Note that he did very well there last year in his 2 games – 1 ER over 6.1 IP and 1 ER over 7 IP.

4/20/11: Hunter Pence Homers To Beat Mets

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Actually, it was a pretty exciting game, even if it was between last place teams.

RA Dickey threw a lot of knuckleballs, which usually moved all ovah the place – first inning, 3 strikes to Bourn, Sanchez GO, Pence walks, Carlos FO.

Then Bud made things, uh, INteresting. Reyes singles, is almost thrown out leaning off first, then promptly steals second, Thole Ks swinging (Bud had  GREAT fastball), David Wright walks (he either walks or Ks these days), Jackal hits a nubber that Bud gets a glove on enough that no one can get (Bud’s fielding was lousy) and it’s bases loaded. Lefty Ike Davis Ks (so much for Bud can’t get leftys out) then Bud hangs a slider to Angel Pagan and I mean that baby was there, that baby was FAT, that baby was hit to the warning track in right, where Pence snagged it and that baby woulda been a granny at the Box. But 26 pitches gone, it’s still zip-zip.

Second inning, Brett Wallace doubles to left, CJ hits an IF dribbler that neither the pitcher or the 2B can get, so 2 on no out. Hall GO – ball hit too weakly for a GIDP, then Towles walks. So Bud’s up, bases loaded, and Dickey throws a WP and Brett Wallace beats the throw home because for some reason, Thole weakly underhandes the ball to Dickey – Wallace is SLOW – I don’t get it – so 1 run is in, then Bud hits a RBI single up the middle and JR scores from second. He can easily outrun BOTH Wallace and Sanchez and he’s a catcher!!! Then Michael singles to left and CJ scores!!! But then Sanchez and Pence both K swinging.

Astros 3 Mets 0

Can Bud hold on and not do his usual thingy where he can’t find the plate for an inning????

Willie Harris pops out – the ball heads to the stands at the RF line between home and first and Bill Hall calls for the ball and does a Jeter thingy, catching the ball as he goes head-first into the stands, slamming into some kid reaching for the ball (got him a Web Gem – they LIKEY that stuff) and looked like he really hurt his ribs or stomach or something, but he came back into the game after a few minutes delay. Murphy Ks and Dickey GO. Only 12 pitches this inning.

Third inning – 2 outs, then CJ hits a ball almost right over the first base bag that goes into shallow right and neither Davis nor Beltran can get it and Chris hustles into second with a double. I’m glad he’s getting hits, but he hasn’t really squared up any pitches solidly in quite some time. Hall Ks, stranding him. What a surprise. I’m sorry he’s doing so lousy – he was one of my favorite players when he was with the Brewers – but his last good year as a starting regular was years ago and unlike Fast Eddie, I wasn’t expecting miracles.

Bud gives up a single to Reyes (again) who steals second (again) gets Thole to FO, Wright Ks, swinging, then the Jackal doubles into the LF gap, scoring Reyes. Ike Davis hits a slow roller to third – CJ makes a nice play, but Davis is too fast. Pagan flies out to Carlos, who makes a very nice running catch.

He’s STILL doing his best in the field – I can hardly believe it either, but he is.

Fourth inning – Stros go 1,2,3. Mets go 1, single, 2,3 – with Bud FINALLY getting Reyes out.

Fifth inning – Sanchez FO, Pence out on 3 straight strikes, staring, but Thole can’t catch the last one and Hunter reaches first on a passed ball. Carlos GIDP to Wright on the VERY NEXT PITCH!!! grrrrrrrr.

It was GIDP night for BOTH teams, and – but I’m getting ahead of myself…

Bud gets 2 swinging Ks, gives up a double to that dratted Jackal – Pence had to come forward to get the ball, and it popped out of his glove – then Davis popped out to JR.

Sixth inning – Brettt Wallace singles (his BA is now up to .293), then 2 pitches later, CJ GIDP 6-4-3. Here we go with the GIDPs again. grrrrrrrr. Downs, who replaced Hall, who is out with an “ankle injury”????? flies out to mid center.

Bud’s at 87 pitches – only has a 2 run lead. Pagan grounds out. Willie Harris bloops one into shallow right for a double. Then Bud hangs a slider – absolutely mid plate, juicy, fat, succulent, and Daniel Murphy hits it over the RF fence. One hung slider too many = goodbye W for Bud. Dickey GO, Reyes singles, naturally, then Thole flies out to Carlos who runs HARD to just barely catch the ball at the wall.

Tie game – and Bud is at 106 pitches. Someone else is gonna hafta win/lose…

7th inning: JR is HBP – he broke his 6 game hit streak, but he reached twice and score once. Pinch hitter Joe Inglett – you won’t believe this – makes an out. Bourn hits a somewhat slow ball to the second baseman, who bobbles it – no one is out, and for some reason, it’s a hit, not an E4. Don’t ask me to explain THAT one. Then Angel Sanchez GIDP right to David Wright, who steps on third, then throws out Sanchez by 20+ feet.

Third (swear words) ground into double play in 3 (swear words) innings.

Melancon comes in, can’t find the plate, walks David Wright with 5 straight pitches. Jackal grounds to second – can’t turn the DP. But Ike Davis does – grounding to CJ, who turns a very nice 5-4-3. Darn that boy – if he could just work on not getting excited and making sure he sets before throwing/doesn’t throw when he can’t make an out – he’s actually very good.

8th inning – Pence turns on an inside knuckleball and POW, ball gone over the LF fence. Feels good after all those humiliating swings at air. Carlos, Brett and CJ gone on 6 pitches.

But Astros lead 4-3.

Fernando Abad comes in (must be getting tired – he’s getting used a LOT) and Pagan draws a 10 pitch walk. Willie Harris Ks, Murphy singles to left – so there are men on first and third, 1 out. Geez – here we go again. Righty Justin Turner comes in to PH and out goes Abad and in comes Valdez. And then – Turner Ks swinging. Towles drops the slider – which doesn’t go far – and Pagan, who was already halfway home when the pitch was thrown, is out at the plate as Valdez tags him.

DOUBLE PLAY!!!! This time, it goes the Astros way. What goes around comes around.

Our old friend Jason Isringhausen, now pitching mopup with a much slower fastball and a lot more cut stuff, gets 1,2,3 out.

Brandon Lyon comes in with a 1 run lead to protect. And Jose EFF Reyes singles to right. Oh jeez – my blood pressure. I was gonna duck out and close my eyes, but naturally, kids want to see the end (yes I’m a bad Mami) and I have to Set A Good Example Of Cheering For Your Team No Matter What – so Josh Thole bunt pops up the first pitch to Lyon and Reyes, who had been running on contact, was doubled off first . HAH!!!!! Wright flies out to Pence, Melancon wins and we FINALLY beat Dickey.

We’ve FINALLY won 2 in a row!!!!! And we’ve FINALLY won a series!!!!! Tomorrow is JA Happ vs our old friend (from the Brewers) Chris Capuano, who got hurt in 07, missed 08 and 09 with umpty surgeries, and cme back last year, mostly as a reliever. He was pressed into service as a starter with the Mets this year because of suckage/injuries and has so far, um, not done real too well. He’s a lefty, and I hope this doesn’t mean that Bourn and Wallace will be pulled out as usual. Why can’t Mills pull out the guys who suck instead of guys who hit?

In other news, MLB took over the Dodgers because Frank McCourt is broke and can’t meet payroll, so you KNOW they’ll force him to sell – and so looks as if we’re gonna be stuck with Drayton/Tal/Fast Eddie for a good while longer as bigbux buyers will be clawing each others’ eyes out to get the Dodgers (then the Mets are gonna be next – not sure how THEy are gonna meet payroll with the attendance starting to look like the Marlins…)

4/19/11: Ace Wandy Beats Mets

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Wandy was teh awesomeness – had everything working great – gave up 3 hits – one a flyball to right that Pence trapped, a 380′ homer that would have been at most a double off the LF bullpen wall at home (yeah, to The Jackal) and soft little bloop to left – three walks and 7 K. And yeah, I will confess that he got by with a little help from his friend Kerwin Danley who, uh, had an, INteresting strike zone – Lots of pitches IN the strike zone called balls, LOTS of pitches out of the strike zone called strikes. Wandy was juuuust a little bit luckier than Niese with the calls, but Niese wasn’t the slam the door guy the Stros faced the previous 2 times. 

Astros got lucky too, because Pence and CJ did nothing, Bill Hall took the sombrero again, leaving too many guys on base as usual – and screwed Wandy out of a 2 out RBI single when he didn’t take off at the crack of the bat, run fast enough or slide well enough to avoid the tag.

In the first, Bourn led off with a single, then Sanchez, who has been slumping over the Padres series, sac bunted him, then Pence walked, and Michael took off for 3rd when Carlos Lee (laughing like heck) showed bunt, easily beat the throw, then scored when Carlos singled. CJ grounded them to second and third, then Hall Kd. I thought fer SHER he’d be leading the NL with Ks, but Pedro Alverez and his gut are ahead – and also, his .486 OPS is worse than Hall’s .565 – believe it or not. Wandy gets 1,2,3 out.

Niese worked out of trouble all night – in the second, JR Towles (still batting 8th) walked, Wandy screwed up the bunt, Bourn walked, then Sanchez grounded out for the 3rd out. Wandy gets 1,2,3 out plus the double that Angel Pagan got from that trapped ball to right.

In the 3rd, Pence GO, Carlos singled, then CJ hit into what SHOULD have been a 5-4-3, or at LEAST a 5-3, but the Mets 2B screwd up the catch and throw, so CJ was safe, but Carlos tried to chug into third and was tagged out by Wright, who beat him to the base - although I gots to admit it was a great slide. So with CJ at 2nd, Bill Hall Kd on 2 swings at pitches waaay out of the zone – both Unca Charlie, looked like. Wandy gets 1,2,3 out – and they’re swinging and missing.

In the 4th, Brett Wallace singles, then JR doubles him home with a drive to deep left center. Wandy again screws up the bunt, JR is out at 3rd. Then Michael Bourn GIDP – yes, seriously – 1-6-3. Ball was hit so hard he didn’t have a chance to beat it out – close, but no cigar. Meanwhile, Wandy walks the first hitter on 5 straight balls (remember what I said about the ump), strikes out David Wright and Jackal, walks the next hitter, then gets Pagan with an almost K – balls drops in front of home and JR throws him out. 2 walks – 2 Ks – that ball is MOVING.

In the 5th, Sanchez draws a 9 pitch walk, then Hunter beats out a 5-4-3 GIDP ball, but Clank doesn’t. Wandy gets 1,2,3 out.

6th inning – CJ lines out to right – the Jackal making a great catch (feels strange to talk about him playing RF, but he IS 34 already – time flies) then Hall singles (of course, there’s no one on), Brett Wallace grounds him to second, then JR is IBB and Wandy singles up the middle only to watch Hall get out and his RBI vanish. Wandy goes back out, gets 1,2,3 out. AH LUUUUUVS that boy!!!!

7th inning and Wandy clinging to a tenuous 2 run lead with Astros leaving gobs of MOB – the Astros get lucky. Bourn bunts out, Sanchez walks, Pence Ks, then Carlos hits a fly ball to the LF wall, which the LF inexplicably doesn’t catch and it goes for a 2 base error – and Sanchez, lead footed as he is scores from first standing up. CJ grounds to third – except for that one fly ball, he has NOT looked good at the plate.

OK, it’s a 3 run lead, with Wandy at 92 pitches. And the Jackal hits a 1-1 outside changeup into the LF stands. Peachy. He either strikes out or homers vs Wandy. There goes the shutout and now there’s only a 2 run lead. Davis Ks on 2 strikes and a ball. Pagan pops out, Hairston walks, Justin Turner, the new second baseman, hits one of those soft bloop pops that falls for a single, then Arnesberg goes out to Wandy, who tells him to leave cuz he’s gonna get the last out, and Chin-lung Hu (remember him from the Dodgers? All glove, no bat – made Everett look like ARod) Ks and Wandy struts off the mound.

Absolutely awesome outing – 116 pitches, 72 K – 12 swinging.

Astros luck continues in the 8th. Bill Hall Ks (of course) Wallace singles, JR singles to right, Joe Inglett Ks (what a surprise) on a FB down the middle, then our old friend Tim Byrdak comes in and gives up a single to Michael, loading the bases. In comes a righty to pitch to Sanchez, and he promptly balks (bobbles the ball in his hand after he had come set) in Brett Wallace. Terry Collins goes out to screech, but it WAS the right call – VERY clear. Then Sanchez singles in JR and Bourn. Hunter Ks. He didn’t have a good night at ALL.

Stros 6 Mets 1

Astros luck continues – Abad goes out to pitch as I hold my breath. Reyes shoots a grounder to third and CJ, rushing the throw, bounces it and Brett Wallace doesn’t grab it so Reyes is safe. CJ didn’t have a good night at ALL. Thole Ks – interestingly enough, Reyes doesn’t even try to steal – which matters because next David Wright hits into a perfect 6-4-3, only Bill Hall drops the ball, but Doug Eddings, the 2nd base ump (one of the 3 worst umps in the ML) calls Reyes out, saying that Hall had possession of the ball and dropped it – which he didn’t. I mean, have possession – just a bad BAD call, but it went in our favor, fortunately, because then Beltran FO to Bourgeois in left. So CJ’s error didn’t score and a BAD call went our way.

Ex-Stro Taylor Buchholz, now a Met after umpteen shoulder surgeries pitched the 9th. The spectacular stuff he had the first day I saw him back in 06 was gone. He has replaced his dazzling FB with some kind of cut FB which is mid 80s and a nice curveball – no more slider. Another pitching career ruined by having a guy go out and throw when his shoulder is hurt. Now he’s a mopup reliever.

Fulchino went in to mopup and gave up a grounder double just inside the 3B line into the corner, then got 1,2,3 out.

Tomorrow, it’s Bud Norris vs RA Dickey, the knuckleballer. Let’s hope good Bud shows up.

4/17/11: NLC Fantasy Ball – Better Than Reality Ball

Monday, April 18th, 2011

I’m still seething over the the Astros bullpen collapsing under the weight of errors and walks yesterday.

So to avoid hearing me grouse, why not head over to Mark Schreunder’s blog http://fantasybaseballhotstove.com   and check out his questions to NL Central bloggers (and not the usual suspects at the Popular Blogs)

Tomorrow night, Astros are on the road again – going back to NYC and Citi Field and the other 5-11 team whose ownership doesn’t want to spend money. Already, People Who Know are recommending that this early in the season, the Mets trade off Mike Pelfrey, one of their starters, and Jose Reyes, their star SS who is in the last year of his contract. As well as Carlos The Jackal, whose contract expires at the end of the year. Of course, the Jackal is no longer the player he used to be and is no longer worth his salary (sound familiar?) and unlike Drayton, the debt-ridden Wilpons can’t afford to eat any of his contract to help the next owner.

Yeah, I know that the club isn’t officially for sale and the Wilpons still think that some idiot billionaire/corporation is going to give them $$$ to be a “minority” partner with no say in running the club.

Uh hunh

Anyway, Wandy has pitched only once at Citi Field and gave up 8 H, 2 BB and 3 K over 6 IP with 3 ER. Beltran, by the way, is 6 fer 16 with 2 doubles and 2 homers vs Wandy.

We’ll be facing lefty Jonathan Niese, who has been having a lousy year so far, like Wandy – except Wandy has had one good game and Niese hasn’t – but I’m sure Niese is looking forward to pitching against the Astros, as he’s thrown 14 innings over 2 games, giving up 11 H, 2 BB, 8 K and 2 ER.

I’ve been reading fan comments on other sites – especially after Angel Sanchez’ 8th inning error which opened the door to the 8th inning loss – and, mind, Melancon not getting the requisite outs PLUS Jeff Fulchino walking in another run didn’t help much: anyway, fans are starting to get down on Sanchez for his not Everett-like defense.

It is to laugh that they are thinking that things will be SOOO much better when Barmes returns from the DL – amazing how team propaganda propagates.

4/16/11: Chris Johnson Homers And Astros Beat Mat Latos

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Looks as if Mat Latos might could have come off the DL a leeeetle too early because the Astros knocked him around for FIVE runs – we barely knocked him around for 5 hits between his last 2 starts against us. Well, OK, today it was 4 hits, 2 walks = 5 runs over 6.2 IP, which is impressive for the Astros, gots to say that.

CJ hit a 2 run homer, walked, drove in 2 runs and scored 2. What a relief. Probably to him, too. He made 2 very good plays and THIS time, he didn’t screw up and overthrow an IF hit to third. He’s learning and I sure am hoping Mills was serious about him being the starting 3rd baseman and it wasn’t the death knell “vote of confidence”…

I read that Towles didn’t catch because his ankle was bothering him – he fouled balls off it twice when he was catching Wandy. Ok, I saw it myself, they aren’t making that stuff up. You know me, always rooting for the underdogs.

Brett Wallace had his first ofer day in quite a while, but that’s OK – he’s definitely improved over last year and I am hoping that the coaches have figured out that he can NOT run, and won’t be sending him home to die time after time. When it comes to pinch running, guess we’ll have to pull Wallace, put Clank at first and Bourgeois/Michaels in left.

Pence had a double, drove in a run and made a really stupendous sliding catch to end the game and save the butt of Brandon Lyon. Who needs his butt saved far too often for a closer.

Clank had a single and scored a run and Angel Sanchez went 1 fer 4 with an RBI – the way he’s playing, gonna be very tough to justify pulling him out of the lineup and putting in Clint Barmes – I HOPE.

Downs went ofer (with an error that allowed a run to score – fortunately, it ended up not mattering) as did Q and Figgy.

Speaking of Nelson Figueroa, he pulled himself together tonight, went out and threw 6 innings of 6 hit, 2 walk, 3 run/2 ER ball. In 3 of those innings, he had 1,2,3 out. He finally was pulled with 2 out 2 on in the 7th – one of those had reached on his error – and Melancon got him out of trouble.

Fulchino setup and had a 1,2,3 inning. Lyon came in to close and as usual gave me high blood, getting an out, giving up 2 straight singles before getting a FC then a blessed popup.

Wilton Lopez, by the way, was put on the DL as apparently he can’t “pitch through” pain and needs some time to heal. They will finally put a pitcher on the DL after he is hurting so much he gives up runs instead of gets outs. Just thinking about Chris Sampson and the way they screwed with him angrys up my blood – and now, he is apparently OOB, don’t see him in the minors neither. What a waste. sigh.

Anyway, we called up Jose Valdez, RHP, who gave up 8 hits, 1 HR, 5 BB, 3 ER over 9.2 IP/10 games in ST. At AAA, he gave up 3 H, 3 BB, 1 run over 3.2 IP. Seems a little walkeriffic, but, youneverknow. Hope he knocks em out.

Check out my old entry from draft day 2007 – see how many guys ever made the majors since I wrote it back then.

4/15/11: Hey Ed Wade, Looks Like You Were Right About Berkman Being Washed Up. NOT

Friday, April 15th, 2011

I guess it might come as an afterthought that J Happ gave up the 3 losing runs in the 7th – 2 singles and a double, then a sac-fly. CJ looked awful at the plate, but had a groundout RBI, at least. And did fine with the glove. Jason Michaels looks bad, too – he’s 1fer the year. Not real too mcu else to say, except that I didn’t expect the Astros to keep going on with double digit hits.

Pence drew another walk and stole his first base. Good.

Am not surprised that Harang kicked Astro BUTT like he used to do before he was hurt the past couple of years.

Oh, and Lance? He said that Kevin Long, the Yankees hitting coach had fixed what was wrong with his swing and he was back to his old self. He hit 2 solo homers tonight. And he’s hitting .327 and slugging about .700. And he sure doesn’t look any thinner to me than he usually does neither.

sigh

and by the way, Uncle is starting to look like Uncle again. I had this feeling that his .167 BA wasn’t gonna stay that low real too long unless he was badly injured…

4/14/11: Bud Norris Throws 6 Innings Of 2 Hit Ball

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Yes, you read that right – 2 singles in the first. OK, he also had 3 walks, but this time, every time he had someone on, he pitched out of trouble – got 2 swinging Ks in the first with men on first and third; issued 2 straight 2 out walks in the 3rd, but got a popup to end it; in the 6th, gave up a walk, s SB, but then got a K and a lineout to end it.

Of course he needed 116 pitches for 6 innings - 29, 12, 29, 13, 13, and 22 pitches in each inning. He also went to 3-2 four times besides the 3 walks. But all in all, he was incredibly better this time out. So be it and shall it remain.

Abad started off the 8th, got a K and a bunt single, then Melancon came in. And the fun started. Wilton Lopez apparently has something wrong with his shoulder – um, gee, what a surprise – and the team thought he “could pitch through it” – gee, what a surprise. shades of Chris Sampson/Taylor Buchholz. Naturally, he’s not on the DL, that’s for sissies. The fun, of course, being a 5-4-3 GIDP to end the inning from Jason Bartlett, who didn’t see more than 2 pitches in any AB. He’s finding the NL a LOT tougher than that pansy DH league he came from.

And so, with no Wilton, Melancon was needed to pitch the 8th too. Which means that in the 7th, after Wallace and Hall got out, Downs singled (oh yeah – Mills INSISTS on the pre and post game show that he has “confidence” in CJ who is still his starting 3B and will start tomorrow night – he goes ofer or doesn’t drive in runs with sac-fly/GO when he does – or makes any error that leads to a run eventually scoring, he ‘s gonna grab bench again) then Q singled – then with 2 outs already, Melancon had to hit for himself. It was great – he thought he was out on a 2-2 pitch (which actually WAS a strike) and started to walk off when he suddenly realized that it was ball 3, so he fouled one off, then got a real ball – Mosely must have been steaming mad at that point.

So he was pulled and a lefty was sent in to face Bourn, who had driven in the only run of the game, and got him swinging at ball 4 with bases loaded. Then it was Michael who was steaming mad. Only at himself, not the ump.

So Melancon went back out and Eric Patterson (and yes, the brotha is teh HOTTTT – almost as HOTTT as his older brother Corey, but I digress) swung on strike 3, only it was called catchers interference (I STILL have a lot of trouble understanding how catching the ball is interfering, when the hitter has already swung through the ball and his backswing hits the catcher) so Patterson went to first, then stole second with Will Venable batting. And then Patterson goes to third when Venable strikes out and has to throw the ball to Wallace. Peachy. Man on third, 1 out. Bud is sweating blood and I am too.,

Melancon walks Chase Headley in a 3-1. Arnesberg trots out, but to my surprise, Melancon stays in and good luck is with him because Orlando Hudson grounds out to first and Brett throws a bullet home in time for Q to get the very fast Patterson with a swipe tag. Ryan Ludwick Ks – he wore the sombrero tonight.

Brandon Lyon gets 2 flyouts to deep center and a grounder and the Astros and Bud have the W.

Who would have bet on Bud Norris getting on the right side of the first shutout of the year, let alone the first 1-0 game of the year?

I love baseball.

youneverknow

4/13/08: Wandy Too Wild And Wallace Too Slow And Astros Lose To Cubs

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Wandy struggled from the getgo – had trouble locating his FB and he had NO curve – and he also didn’t get by with a little help from his friends neither.

He gave up a single to Castro on the second pitch, got a flyout to left – Carlos made a nice sliding catch – as I keep saying, this year, he is really making an effort to run and field as best he can – then Byrd hits a ball to Wandy for what SHOULD have been a nice 1-6-3 DP, but Sanchez can’t turn the DP. Which turns out to be catastrophic, because then instead of being out of the inning on 10 pitches, Wandy has to keep on. And he gives up a single up the middle to Aramis Ramirez, then a double to the RF corner which Pence doesn’t field well, and then makes an absolutely TERRIBLE throw (bounces well before it reaches the cutoff man at first) and the second run scores – not that it ended up mattering because Wandy walked Soto on 4 pitches, then hung a curveball to Soriano, who sent it onto the LF wall high over the Crawford Boxes to make it 5-0.

He struggled like heck in the second, too, going to 3-2 counts twice, but escaped without giving up more runs. He struggled like heck in the 3rd, giving up 3 straight singles but escaped some trouble when Sori grounded into a 5-2-3 DP, then struck out Colvin on a 3-2 curveball, the first good one he threw all night.

He finally pretty much stopped trying to get the curve to curve in the 4th and pretty much stayed with the FB, and in spite of giving up a 3-1 walk to Barney, got oout of the inning with 9 pitches. He was much better in the 5th, locating the FB better and using the changeup successfully, giving up an IF single that hit the mound and striking out Sori on the last good curveball he threw all night. He looked as if he had come reasonably close to straightening himself out, and I would guess he would have gone back in the 6th if he hadn’t been pulled for a PH.

Abad pitched the 6th and gave up like a 500′ homer to Carlos Zambrano which hit the tracks over the 99 flag. Yeah, don’t throw him a FB down the middle. That was the 5th homer he has hit here at the Box – he has 623 career ABs and 22 home runs.

Del Rosario and Melancon pitched scoreless innings – is there some rule that relievers are only allowed to pitch 1 inning apiece? Wilton Lopez come on the the 8th and was terrible- Reed Johnson fouled off tons of pitches before popping up, then Castro singled, Barney doubled to the LF bullpen, then Byrd hit a comebacker and Wilton picked it up, rished the throw and threw it waaaay past Wallace and Byrd ended up on 3rd. Meeting on the mound, then Aramis singled up the middle, so Aneury Rodriguez came in and got the last 2 outs. Wilton seems to do best when he has to come in and clean up someone elses’ mess.

Astros hitting?

Well, first let me say this – Wallace is a VERY VERY slow runner. He is Bengie Molina slow. I am not exaggerating whe I say he makes Carlos Lee look fast as Bourn. So when he walked in the second, then Matt Downs doubled just inside the line into the LF corner, Dave Clark should NOT have waved him home as Wallace was dead meat because the throw reached home when he was like 15′ away. Wallace is a VERY slow runner. This played a critical part in the Astros comeback in the 6th.

The Astros rallied in the 6th after running into bad umpiring in the 5th when Hall was called out at second when the second baseman CLEARLY missed stepping on the base. Bourn walked, Sanchez hit an IF single, Pence GO, the Carlos singled in Bourn. Wallace singled in Sanchez. Then Bill Hall hit a popup to the RF line, fairly deep – Wallace couldn’t run to second until he could read whether or not it would possibly drop, but he hardly moved, then went BACK TO FIRST after it dropped and was tagged out (BAD baserunning blunder) and this mattered because Matt Downs hit a homer over the LF bullpen and the Astros went up 5 runs instead of tying the game at 6. Towles walked, but Jason Michaels popped out and that was all she wrote as Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol slammed the door.

I wonder if Chris Johnson is going to get his job back as Downs hit and fielded well. I wonder if the coaches will quit sending Wallace when it is obvious that the poor boy can’t run to save his life. I wonder if Towles is going to be benched again until Wandy pitches in 5 days. I wonder if/when Jason Michaels and Joe Inglett are going to hit or drive in runs…

Padres series starts tomorrow:

Thursday: Bud Norris vs Dustin Moselely ERA 2.18
Friday: J Happ vs Aaron Harang (yes, the ex-Reds pitcher) ERA 1.50
Sat: Nelson Figueroa vs Mat Latos (and if he’s as nails as he was last year, this will be sorry)
Sun: the ol WB vs Clayton Richard, LHP – he’s good, it won’t be like yesterday’s assorted relievers game

4/12/11: Bourn, Angel Sanchez, Quintero And Pence Overpower Cubs

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Michael Bourn didn’t start the game off with a bang, he started it off with a bunt, which the pitcher didn’t handle quiiite right, missing the tag, then Angel Sanchez laid down a bunt to almost the exact same spot – they weren’t expecting that neither and Hunter came up and singled and, well, the Astros never looked back. Poor James Russell, the Cubs reliever making an unexpected start, almost never knew what hit him. And of course, after that, he got 2 outs, then Bill Hall drove in 2 with a single to right that I unfortunately missed seeing as it was a comedy of (2) errors in which Bill overran the bag, Soriano threw to second to try to get him and somehow, the Cubs screwed up the rundown and Bill ended up on second when CJ flew out. Astros up 3-0, Cubs all flustered.

Brett Wallace was benched in favor of Carlos Lee, right at the Mendoza line, so that Jason Michaels could get a start in LF. Lemme guess, in spite of his hitting better, it’s the leftylefty thingy – grrrrrrrrrrrrr. I will say that Carlos looked better with the glove at first today then he did last year, in spite of the fact that he hasn’t really been practicing fielding there.

Carlos and CJ are both slumping badly, although CJ made 2 really outstanding plays. H got charged with an error when he and Q raced to the LF stands to catch a foul ball – CJ thought that Q was going to get it and Q thought CJ was going to get it and it fell; the batter was out on the next pitch without the runner advancing, so I don’t think the error will stand – or at least it shouldn’t, as JD said.

Angel Sanchez is hitting the the heck out of the ball and hitting for power – he’s leading the club in RBIs. He went 4 fer 5 with a double to the gap, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. He’s improved his fielding and if he keeps this up, I think that Clint Barmes will find himself out of a job. As he should, 3.5 mill or no 3.5 mill.

Michael had himself a great night – bunt single in the first, run scored, FC with RBI in the second, followed by a steal of second, then a steal of third on the very next pitch – the boy was over halfway to third by the time the pitch left James Russell’s hand. Soto barely bothered to turn. Angel popped out, his only out of the night, then Hunter beat out an IF single up the middle and Michael scored. Next AB in the 4th, he doubled to the LF bullpen, then Angel singled him in. He Kd in the 6th, reached on E6 (bobbled ball – guys rush) in the 8th then scored when Pence doubled him home – and that was a smash to the top of the RF fence. Only negative was him not getting to Reed Johnson’s double in the 5th – not an error, just I expect Michael to never miss catching any fly ball.

Pence had himself a great night – going 3 fer 5 with 4 RBIs and a run scored.

Quintero swung the bat very well, going 3 fer 3, a walk and a run scored - he tripled to the RF bullpen – thought he was gonna get a double, but turned on the, uh, jets, when he saw that Johnson hadn’t played the ball right – and if the throw hadn’t been errant, would have been out at third, just like yesterday. He also smashed a double to left and was just a homer short of the cycle.

Bill Hall got a hit, drove in a run, just missed having a double to the RF bullpen, just missed having a double to deep left, and made 2 outstanding plays – he somehow managed to get a ball deep in the hole to get Starlin Castro, but the ump ruled him safe – replay showed him to be out. But he didn’t score, so it didn’t matter.

Jason Michaels got his first hit of the year, a single to right. Jason Bourgeois singled and scored.

All in all, the Hit Parade continued – the Astros have at least 10 hits/game over the past 5 games, something I can’t remember since that winning streak back in August 08, and then before that, maybe back to 04.

As for the bullpen: Fulchino pitched the 8th, giving up a double to Tyler Colvin – that man has a beautiful swing – and getting 2 Ks.

Eneury Rodriguez mopped up in the 9th, giving up a single, a walk, a double and 1 run with 1 K.

Just think – if Figgy had pitched today, he would have won. Well, he would have had to finish the 5th inning without giving up 6 more runs, but he just might could have, youneverknow…

Tomorrow, rubber game – the Wand Man vs Big Z, who LIKEY pitching here. Should be a good game.

4/11/11: Angel Sanchez Hits His First ML Homer But Astros Lose To Cubs

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Figured I’d give Angel his props, seeing as how he isn’t real too likely to hit lots of em…

Let’s see, where to start – Well, I guess with Figueroa. He was as bad with Quintero as he was with Towles. First inning, 27 pitches, single, walk, K, popup, walk, double, out, 2 ER. Second inning, 21 pitches, lineout, groundout, single, triple, single, out, 2 ER. Third inning – 15 pitches, 3 outs (can you believe it???!!!) Fourth inning – 25 pitches, K, GO, single, SB, single, single, WP, great play by CJ to get 3rd out. 4 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 5 ER, 88 pitches = teh sukc. (Last start, 5.1 IP, 11 H, 1 BB, 10R/6 ER)

Good news: Del Rosario, Abad, Melancon, Wilton Lopez and Lyon each pitched 1 inning AND DIDN”T GIVE UP ANY HITS OR RUNS!!!!! Yes, you read that right. FIVE no hit innings of ball from the bullpen. If I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Next, CJ started the game, walked, singled, scored the first run, made 3 outstanding plays, including an inning ending LODP 5-4 to end the 5th after Enerio Del Rosario gave up 2 walks and grounded out to end the 7th, leaving 2 on. For his trouble, he got pulled after the 7th with Joe Inglett taking over 3rd.

Ryan Dempster was almost unhittable for 6 innings, giving up a single and a walk in the 2nd, then striking out the side in the 3rd and the first 2 in the 4th before getting a groundout. That slider was simply wicked – tons of checked swings. He gave up a run in the 5th when CJ singled, was grounded to second, then scored on a Matt Downs pinch hit single.  He wasn’t sharp in the 6th, giving up a single, then 2 walks to load the bases, but got Joe Inglett to ground out to first on the first pitch – after two straight walks, too.

I’ve watched Dempster for years and have noticed that when he goes bad, he goes bad FAST because either the slider has flattened out or hangs and he gets slammed. The box score says he struck out 9 – I thought it was like 15. Anyway, he struck out Quintero to start the 7th, then gave up a pinch hit homer to Bill Hall which hit the RF fowl pole (hey, chicken sandwiches for everyone with a ticket) then on a 1-1 count, he hung a slider to Michael Bourn, who he had already Kd twice, and Michael teed off on that sucka and hit it on the yellow line in RF (it was reviewed and definitely did not go OVER the yellow line, so I’ve got no complaints) then very next pitch, he sends a fat one in the dead center of the strike zone to Angel Sanchez, who sends it 350′ into the Crawford Boxes. And when you give up a homer to Angel Sanchez, it is time to go nightnight.

In comes John Grabow (ex-Pirate, lefty) who walks Pence, gives up a single to Carlos, then Brett Wallace and CJ make outs, stranding them.

Lefty Sean Marshall comes in for the 8th, Inglett gets his first hit of the year, sending a line drive juuuuust over the glove of the second baseman, Q sac-bunts (not sure why seeing as how the guy he couldn’t hit is gone), Hall singles, then Mike Quade, the Cubs manager pulls Marshall, sends in Marmol and goodnight Astros.

Final score 5-4.

Good news: CJ had a great game with glove and decent game with bat. No errors. Bullpen doesn’t give up any runs. Jason Bourgeois gets his 3rd stolen base. Astros get 10 hits and 5 walks.

Bad news: CJ gets pulled so Joe Inglett can play more. Inglett strands EIGHT runners, and the Astros strand 12. Astros strike out 15 times total. Also, stands looked almost empty on TV. Official attendance 20,175 – I don’t think that even half of them showed up and it was a BEAUTIFUL night.

Tomorrow, it’s a reliever making his starting debut for the C*bs vs the ol WB, so lets hope that we don’t do the usual Astros thang and make him look like Lincecum.