Archive for May, 2012

5/31/12: In Which Lucas Harrell Discovers That Sinkers Don’t Sink At Coors

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Astros hitters are hitting the ball, but unfortunately, the Rockies are creaming it. Cuddyer hit a granny offn Harrell in the first – an ominous sign, and Carlos Gonzalez hit 3 homers off 3 different pitchers (has Billy Beane made even ONE good trade that actually improved the Athletics winning over the past 6 or 7 years because it sure doesn’t look to me as if he has). Astros left men on base in every single inning.

Lucas gave up 9 ER over 5 IP. He had already given up 6 ER at the end of 5 and I thought he was lucky to escape giving up only the solo homer in the 5th and was very VERY surprised when he was sent back out to start the 6th – gave up 3 straight singles, and Rhiner Cruz let both inherited runners score and Xavier Cedeno let Cruz’ runners score – and one of his own. Not a good day for relievers. David Carpenter pitched 2 innings and managed to only give up 1 solo homer.

sigh

Tonight, Bud Norris faces Jeremy Guthrie. Bud didn’t exactrly have himself a stellar start last outing, but at least he isn’t relying on any sort of sinking pitch or curveball, so hopefully he’ll keep the darn ball DOWN and not down the middle.

sigh

I would say that I can’t wait until we get home so I can watch the darn games, but it sure doesn’t seem as if I’m missing real too much.

Notes: Astros signed a AAA lifer named Brian Bass to replace Henry Sosa in the rotation and he threw 6 scoreless last night. Now, that’s just great for AAA, but this is not indicating that any of those pitching pickups from last year’s trades are doing well, does it?

In case all yall curious, the Astros replaced the released TJ Steele (at AA) by calling up Andrew Bailey from Lancaster. He had been at AA last year, posting a .848 OPS over 123 AB, and all he got for his trouble was getting sent down.

5/29/12: A Day To Un-Remember As Astros Lose Doubleheader To Rox

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

What is memorable about the twin bill is that it existed in the first place, as doubleheaders are considered by players AND owners to be something bad. And it’s certainly NOT a 2fer 1 the way it was in the OLD days. And me, I would have LOVED it -that is if we were visiting relatives in a location where FSSW shows the Astros. Trouble is that OUR star rookie is Jose Altuve, not Bryce Harper, and Jose Altuve is not going to bring in those eyeballs the way Bryce does until he starts hitting a few more homers. Bryce already gots himself a reputaion as A Guy Who Really Hustles Like Bitgod, which brings on the admiring, fawning media. Jose isn’t any less of a hustler or a take-the-extra-base-when you’d-never-expect-it guy, byt then again, he doesn’t play on the East Coast and wasn’t pimped to the heavens. Then again, Andrew McCutchen DOES play on the East Coast and is just as good a player with just as much hustle, hitting and baserunning skillz and somehow, he’s kind of lost in the shadows. So to speak.

Where was I?

Oh yeah – Wandy had a simply DREADFUL first inning – couldn’t get the ball down, everything was being hit HARD out to the wall, over the wall, and he managed to not walk anyone and to last 5 innings, but that is about the only good thing you can say. He should have thrown a LOT more outside pitches because the HP ump was calling everything 3″ outside the zone as a strike, and naturally, wasn’t nobody hitting that kind of pitch. Either Jason Castro didn’t catch on fast enough, or Wandy couldn’t throw it outside well enough.

Jordan Lyles didn’t do real too much better, and it’s a GOOD thing today is an off day because of course Millsie-poo played revolving relievers both games and those guys must be TIRED – well, not Myers because he only threw 6 pitches before losing.

I would guess that Lyles is staying up because SOMEONE has to pitch on Sunday, but youneverknow, they might could call up Aneury again even though he’s pitching badly at AAA.

Enerio Del Rosario had already been sent back down – he’d been used a lot and wasn’t real too particular good, and David Carpenter was called back up even though he’d only thrown 5.2 innings over 4 games, giving up 2 runs.

Speaking of callups – best I can tell, no one has yet been called up to take the released TJ Steele’s place on the AA roster – last night’s game had one of the two guys who play 3B out there in RF. I wonder if they are going to bring up George Springer, who is OPSing .914 at Lancaster in 194 AB. Only reason I’m wondering is that Lancaster is Hitters Heaven and it is a lot tougher to hit in the Texas League. Or so they say – you should see the ERAs of the Hooks starters – all over 5 now.

Tomorrow, back at Coors, it will be Lucas Harrell, who has been good lately but has never personally experienced the thin air of Denver while trying to get sinkers to sink (ahem) vs Christian Friedrich, the Rox first round pick of 08. He was called up May 9, has started 4 games, going 6,7,5 and 5 innings. He faced Cincy, giving up 7 hits, 3 run in 5 IP; Padres (a BAD team) 5 hits, 1 walk, 2 R in 6 IP; San Fran – 6 H, 1HR, 1 R, 1 W, 10 K in 7 IP. ALL Away games. Only home game, he faced Seattle, another BAD team, gave up 9 H, 4 BB, 8 ER in 5 IP.

5/28/12: Astros Trades And News

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Before I forget:

1 – AAA OF Justin Ruggiano and his .924 OPS were traded to the Marlins for 20 year old rookie ball catcher Jobduan Morales, who is recovering from surgery, has not played this year, and will report to the rookie leagues after going to extended Spring Training – where, best I know a few top Astros Prospects who have played very poorly have disappeared to – like Brad Dydalewicz.

Why, you ask? Because Astros catching prospects, including Chris Wallace (at AA) and Ben Heath (at Lancaster) are not doing very well and the Astros are having to take other teams discarded ML or AAA guys who didn’t make it to have someone actually, you know, catch the gosh darn ball. Mike Kvasnicka, the 09 first rounder, did so poorly at 3B that he has been switched to catcher, where he is batting well below the Mendoza line and making Chris Wallace look like Piazza. Something about catchers – as well as the little problem that catchers who can really hit well are almost always moved to some OTHER position, usually in the low minors, or even after the draft.

Brandon Barnes and his .944 OPS were promoted from AA, which, I’m sure, disappointed both Jake Goebbert (.804 OPS) and Austin Wates – hitting for average, but not power and we already have a guy just like that at AAA who has proved he can hit ML pitching, JB Shuck. This will give TJ Steele, currently hitting .141 in pinch hitting/part time, his last chance to prove he can at least hit AA pitching.

Only other guy on the AA team who is hitting is Jonathan Singleton and his .995 OPS. He leads the team in walks – and now that barnes is gone, bet he’ll get walked even more because no smart pitcher would worry about any other guy.

Will be interesting to see if they even send Singleton to AAA as they’ve got Brett Wallace and his .640 OPS and AAA lifer Mike Hessman and his .943 OPS already playing there. If Carlos gets traded, I wouldn’t be surprised if Singleton gets promoted straight from AA. On the other hand, maybe not, because he’s not on the 40 man and we wouldn’t want to get his clolck started too early, would we?

2 – Fernando Abad pulled a muscle in his side and was put on the DL. Abad, by the way, has pitched very well in May – 11 appearances, 5 of which were the entire inning, and 6 of which were LOOGY. He threw a total of 7.1 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs (his runner was allowed to score) 1 solo HR, 1 walk, 7 K for a 2.45 ERA. We won’t mention i his dreadful April – either the 2 games before he was sent down or the 2 games after he was called back up.

Adjustment Disorder, I believe they call it.

They called up lefty (natcherilly) Xavier Cedeno, whose 1.2 innings with the Astros last September are best forgotten, has been at AAA all year. He has thrown 21.1 innings over 17 games, but his 0.42 ERA is deceptive because of his 8 runs scored, only 1 is earned, so his REAL number is 3.38 – I mean runs scored/9 IP. He’s given up 16 H, no homers, 8 BB, 20 K and has a 1.13 WHIP.

The ER vs R look like that because Jimmy Paredes has 11 errors and Angel Sanchez has 7.

5/27/12: Astros Can’t Dodge Double Trouble And Lose Two

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Hi all yall,

it’s Memorial Day weekend and the Gray family is on a 4 day vacation.

Let me take a minute or two
to give much respect to
the folks live and dead, who have served our country
so that the rest of us could lead what we all hope
is a better life
in a better world.

Amen.

Silence

Well, we all knew it couldn’t last forever – either Bud’s streak of superbity or the Astros streak of 38 straight games played with each starter throwing at least 6 innings.

Bud simply wasn’t throwing well – way too much stuff out of the zone, too few swings and misses, a pitch count of 83 after only 3 innings. I was actually surprised that Millsie-poo sent him back after he managed to get through the 4th giving up ONLY 2 runs – he didn’t look good even when he got guys out – had balls flying out to the warning track, to the gaps – and most of em got run down. A manager should freaking KNOW if his starter just hasn’t got it and pull him.

Here’s Bud: 1st inning, 26 pitches, 5 hitters, 2 singles, 1 K and 3 of those hitters had 3 ball counts (not the ump neither) men left on first and third. (Astros leave on on first after scoring a run)
2nd inning:  17 pitches, 4 hitters, 1 single, 1 K, two ball 3 counts, man left on first. (Astros leave bases loaded 1 out after walking in a run)
3rd inning:  21 pitches, 4 hitters, 1 walk, 1 RBI double, 1 3 ball count, 1 AB 4 fouloffs. (Astros leave men on first and second 2 outs)
Bud is up to 64 pitches already – and Billingsley isn’t far behind, neither
4th inning: 41 pitches (yeah, you got that right) here we go – single, long fly out at bullpen wall that JD Mart made a great catch on, double, visit from Broakie. Who must know that Bud looks lousy and isn’t getting a whole lot of pitches over and has a lot of em flattening out. OK, he manages to strike out the pitcher on 6 pitches. Very next hitter hits a nice slider that didn’t slide real too much for a RBI single up the middle. So Bud gets left in. Next hitter, 7 pitch walk with FIVE pickoff attempts. Oh there were a few fouloffs, but no called strikes or swing and miss. So Bud gets left in. 8 pitch walk to Bobby Abreu and yeah, Bud got screwed on that one when strike 3 was called ball 2. Bases loaded but Bud gets very lucky when Ethier gets just under a FB right down the freaking middle and he flies out to CF.

Now, with his pitch count at 115, can someone explain why it makes any sense to send out a guy whose pitches are either up or outside and can’t command ANYTHING, back out for ANOTHER inning?

Seems that the only times a starter gets pulled is if he gives up 8 or 10 runs in the first few innings – then, really, what’s the point? Trouble is that in modern bullpens, there’s so much emphasis placed on having relievers face only a few guys in a platoon matchup and a revolving reliever door, that IF your starter throws BP, who is gonna pitch at least 4 or 5 innings. ESPECIALLY when you’ve been having most of em warm up or come in every effing day?

sigh

And mucho respect for J Happ who pitched extremely well, was undone by Jason Maxwell’s letting a ball clank off his glove over the fence (at least it wasn’t off his head) for the go ahead run – yeah there were more runs, but it didn’t matter because the Astros just put their bats down after Jose Altuve led off the game with a triple and Jed Lowrie drove him in with a groundout. Took all the suspense out of the game seeing as how the next hit wasn’t hit until the 7th and Capuano was just simply ace.

Almost at .500 and now there is some mumbling about how maybe Crane/Luhnow aren’t gonna dump Wandy, Myers, Lyon and Caballo at the deadline – and I’m calling it mumbling because I can’t see them letting Lyon or Carlos Lee just go at the end of the year for nothing – neither one is gonna be a Type A and the compensation has plummeted anyway.

Double header tomorrow Memorial Day, which is how things should be.

Not that I’ll be watching live anyway because FSN broadcasts Rangers here, not Astros. Which, naturally, makes the Astros a lot more fans and more popular because all these non-existent Astros fans are besieging the cable company to broadcast the Astros too!!!

5/26/12: JR Martinez Drives In The Winning Runs 3rd Night In A Row And Harrell Beats Kershaw

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

JD homered for the first time since April 13 – yes, it HAS been that long. He also got a single on a grounder in the hole at short – so things seem to be turning his way, which is good, especially seeing as how he was hitting in the 3 hole again.

Lucas Harrell was on a very VERY short leash – after the 4th inning, the minute anyone got on base, there was bullpen activity. He didn’t strike out anyone, not even the pitcher, but went 7.1 innings and was immediately pulled with 1 out, 1 on – it was a single. And he got Francoed by Wesley Wright, who gave up a walk and a single, and by Wilton Lopez, who was immediately yanked after giving up a single to the only batter he faced – looks like HE’S on a short leash too.

Question is, if Brandon Lyon is the setup man, why wasn’t HE sent in to protect the lead in the 8th? Why all the TLR revolving pitchers nonsense?

sigh

Good thing that JD hit that homer in the 4th, because the Astros, as usual, left all kinds of guys on base – the most egregious being in the top of the 8th with JD on 3rd and Carlos on second – he had just hit a double down the LF like. Bogu, called in the PH now that the pitcher was a righty, grounded out weakly and JD couldn’t score. So for ONCE, Millsie-poo calls for the squeeze and Justin Maxwell either missed the sign or had a total brain fart because he was going to swing away and he just made a quick checked swing and JD, not exactly Mr. Speedy, was caught between 3rd and home – bet he’s never stolen home in his life, and so naturally, he was dead meat. That was just flat out ridiculous. I suppose Maxwell is saying he’s never bunted in his life, or something.

Anyway, after Abad and Fernando Rodriguez stranded bases loaded after Wilton Lopez walked in a run, Brett Myers made things exciting with 2 outs when Tony Gwynn Jr hit one of those infield squibbers that you can’t field and then went to second on a WP. But Myers got Elian Herrerra, called up to fill in in the IF because of all the injuries, to K.

Dodgers are still the winningest team in baseball, even with Matt Kemp out, and tonight, it’s Bud Norris and his May 0.35 ERA vs Chad Billingsley, who has had more than a little trouble with the Astros in the past.

Man I hate those West Coast games and the 9:15 starts – already doing something else by the time the games start.

5/23/12: JD Martinez Drives In The Winning Runs Second Night In A Row, Wandy Wins, Astros Sweep Cubs

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Wandy wasn’t ace-like – had at least 1 man on base in each of his 7 innings, but he didn’t walk anyone and had someone on 3rd only twice. He gave up 8 hits and struck out 5 – like I said, not ace-like and good thing these were the C*bs and not the whosis again.

Jeff Samardzija is a pretty darn good pitcher – actually, he outpitched Wandy, much as I hate to admit it – and he lost because with 2 out and 2 on, JD Martinez hit a fly ball which came down almost on the RF line – the right fielder actually CAUGHT THE BALL, but the center fielder knocked it out of his glove, so it went for a 2 run triple – why it’s not an error on the CF, I don’t know, but good for JD. He’s 8 fer 28 since May 15, when he finally ended his 7 straight games of ofer, so hopefully, he’s gonna put those bad days in the rear view mirror and move on.

Anyway, as Wandy could tell Jeff, you don’t get no run support, you ain’t gonna win, and these days, with Geo Soto out (and not hitting) and no good hitters, well, the Astros definitely get that.  The Cubs have now lost 10 straight – starting May 15 – coincidentally the same day JD started hitting again, whaddaya know.

Brandon Lyon, who has slid smoothly into the setup role, as we all knew he would, pitched a scoreless 8th and then Rafael Dolis, the new Cubs closer since Carlos Marmol burnt out last month. Dolis has saved 4, blown 2, lost 1 – in other words, he looks like Marmol, only younger.

So bottom of the 8th, Travis Buck, hitting 3rd (no, seriously, he was) is out, then Carlos Lee singles (he keeps on hitting over .300 and playing good defense, some team might could want him again come trade deadline time and youneverknow, this time he might could actually agree to a trade), Bogu is called out on an outside pitch, CJ singles, then JD hits a nice clean single to left center and Reed Johnson can’t throw out Carlos charging home – would have been dead meat if Bogu had been throwing.

(Bogu played CF again as Jordan Schafer is out again with an owie and Bogu is a very VERY good fielding CF. Which reminds me – the reason he hasn’t been sent down is because he has no options left and trading him is smarter than just losing him for absolutely nothing. Fernando Martinez (.872 OPS), Brad Snyder (.958 OPS) and Justin Ruggiano (1.005 OPS) are all killing the ball at AAA, but these are guys who were not good in the majors and, AND, who no other ML team wanted on their roster. Not so with Bogu, who has value – and none of those other guys are his superior, let alone his equal, with the glove, arm or on the basepaths. Might could be more sensible to ask why Brian Bixler (.846 OPS) or Scott Moore (1.019 OPS) isn’t being called up with Matt being sent Downs. hahaha  But then again, Matt might not have options neither.)

Where was I? Oh yeah – men on first and second, 2 outs. Walk to Castro. RBI walk to PH Matt Downs (.632 OPS) and RBI HBP to Altuve before getting Jed Lowrie to FO. Not real too much of a savior, let alone saver.

Astros 5 Cubs 1

Brett Myers is already warmed up to save the 2-1 game, so in he goes to save, I mean finish, the 5-1 game and gets 3 outs and a single.

Thursday off, then we’re in Ell Lay to face the ML best team, the Dodgers, who are now at 30-13. Too bad Wandy just pitched, because he ROOOLZ at Dodger Stadium. But Lucas Harrell gonna try his luck against Clayton Kershaw, last year’s Cy Young winner, who is sporting a 1.90 ERA. He already beat us in April – 3 hits, no runs over 7 IP. At least Matt Kemp is on the DL, not that it has made any difference in the way the Dodgers have been winning.

5/22/12: JD Martinez Drives In The Winning Run For J Happ

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Jose Altuve led off with his first leadoff homer – to the Conoco Pump window. So much for you have to be a huge enormous man to hit really long home runs, hunh Jimmy Wynn?

Cubs pitcher Travis Wood was very VERY good – gave up only 2 hits and 2 walks and still lost – gave up a 2 out walk and his reliever let his man score and that was the winning run. I almost always feel sorry for starting pitchers who pitch really well and still lose, ESPECIALLY if they get Francoed (an old term I use in “honor” of John Franco, who the Astros got at the very end of his career – he was terrible, let pretty much every inherited runner score, but none of his own and Phil Garner absolutely LUUUUVVVED him don’t ask me why) but Francoing is what a reliever allowing his inherited runners to score while not allowing any of his own, does, so that he keeps a low ERA. It’s what Wilton Lopez did most of last year.

Astros barely made decent contact tonight after killing the ball last night – although CJ got robbed by Starlin Castro making a superb play to get a ball deep in the 5.5 hole. CJ had a FIT and got his self tossed, but the ump did get the call right. I understand his frustration – it SHOULD have been a hit, he WUZ robbed and he wasn’t fast enough to outrun the throw,

Cubs tried playing an all righty lineup against Happ, but except for a Soriano solo homer, he managed to not let any runs score. Happ had baserunners every inning except the 5th, but he kept the damage down. It does help that this year, they’re a bad BAD team. I understand bad BAD team with an aging overpaid star who isn’t worth much any more. Although Carlos Lee has gotten shut of El Perezoso this year and most of last – am proud of him for actually caring enough to work hard when he didn’t have to.

Astros have already won the series, but it would be very nice if Wandy could get a W tomorrow – the guys face reliever turned starter Jeff Samardzija, RHP, who has pitched VERY well since April 19 giving up 0,1,1,1,1 and 3 runs in each GS. This year, he’s started 8 games over 51 IP: 43 H, 4 HR, 16 BB, 53 K: 3.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .232 BAA. In 15 relief appearances vs the Astros, he’s posted a 4.76 ERA over 17 IP.

Wandy has pitched great and he has pitched horrible against the Cubs. The only 2 guys left on the current team who have hit him well are Geo Soto (on the DL) and Jeff Baker, 8 fer 20 with 4 doubles.

Here and I’m thinkin it’s about time for Wandy to hit his first career home run, don’t all yall?

One last thing – Astros have signed Armando Galarraga – he of the infamous almost perfect game ruined by Jim Joyce’s botched call of the last out – to take Henry Sosa’s spot at AAA. I would guess that Jared Cosart is a lil disappointed – has a 3.48 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP – hmmmmmmm, maybe he needs to work on getting those walks down – 19 in 31 IP. The other 4 starters are doing lousy – don’t even think about asking.

Armando is a 30 yo RHP who was originally signed by Montreal from Venezuela, then went to the Rangers in the Alfonso Soriano trade in 05. Rangers didn’t think much of him and sent him to Detroit at the beginning of 08 for some minor leaguer. He had a very good year for the Tigers, but then regressed significantly the last 2 and they traded him to the Dbax for a couple of minor leaguers at the end of 2010. He threw 8 unremarkable games for them and was released in December. He hasn’t pitched professionally this year after not making the Orioles roster after a ST invite. He has only 104 innings at AAA, has a 5.00 ERA with a 8.6 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.6 K/9.

And no, Sergio Perez was given 2 starts already and did lousy, don’t go there. Too many injuries and he’s never really recovered, too bad.

5/21/12: Bud Norris Wins 4th In A Row With 7 Shutout Innings

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Bud wasn’t as sharp as he might could have been in the first 4 innings – gave up 4 hits and a couple of walks – Tony Campana stole second AND third (Castro, as usual, can’t throw out baserunners) but managed to strand guys on: 3rd base in the 1st, 2nd base in the second, men on first and third in the 3rd, men on first and third in the 4th. But after giving up a leadoff walk in the 5th, Bud finally figured out that the HP ump was not gonna give ANYONE that high outside strike and he just mowed em right down. He struck out 5 of the next 10 guys, gave up a 2 out 0-2 single, and just absolutely was dominating.

Usually, the 3rd time through the lineup the hitters get wise to the pitcher. This time, it was the other way around.

It did help that Bud was staked to a 7 run lead by the end of the 3rd inning. Matt Garza, um, wasn’t himself. He got an easy 1,2,3 out in the first – and I like Altuve leading off with Lowrie batting second – the best 2 on base guys SHOULD be hitting in the top 2 spots. Garza started off the second getting 2 groundball outs, then gave up a single to CJ. JD ain’t hitting, but he was walkin, and next thing you know, Jason Castro was hitting an inside slider into the 5th row in RF just above the yellow sign – his first of the year. Givin his pitcher a lil boost, which is nice.

Then in the 3rd, Lowrie singles, steals second, goes to third on Koyie Hill’s throwing error (funny – I thought he wasn’t with the Cubs any more – Wrong-o) and Carlos Lee singles him home. Bogu walks, then CJ smashes a FB RIGHT down the middle into the restaurant in CF – looks to me like it hit 7 or 8 rows deep. I mean, it’s like Berkman territory. JD flies out (well, at least it wasn’t another K on 0-2 or another GO to the IF.)

Stros 7, Cubs 0

Randy Wells, RHP, ex-starter, comes in to mopup. He pitches the rest of the game and except for a homer to Jed Lowrie, basically shuts the Astros down – scattered 2 walks and 2 singles, got Bogu to pop up to short left with 2 on 2 out.

I sat down to write this here entry after Enerio Del Rosario (yes, Jordan Lyles got sent down right after he finished his last pitch yesterday and yes, probably Aneury Rodriguez will get the callup for the next start – we’re off on Thursday and Millsie-poo is just gonna skip that spot and everyone is gonna go on normal rest) set em all down.

I looked up in the 9th, the Cubs had men on first and third, no outs, 2 runs in. WHAT???

Enerio gave up a double, then a single, then another single. 1 run in, men on first and third. Fernando Abad in to put out the fire. So he immediately gives up an RBI single, letting poor Enerio’s run score. He gets a K, then Wilton Lopez comes in, men on first and third, 1 out. The guy on first is allowed to go to second on DI. So then Wilton gives up a single allowing both runs to score – so poor Enerio has been let down by both relievers, but at least Abad gets charged with the run of the guy he put on.

Then Wilton gets the last out.

There for a few minutes, I thought it was gonna be one of those give up 9 runs in the 9th and lose type games. And all because I had already typed something about Bud getting his 4th W in a row.

And now for a little Ex-Stros:

1 – Berkman tore the inside of his knee, the one he hurt back in 05, and is out again, probably for months.

2 – Felipe Paulino shut out the Yankees for 6.2 innings, the second time this year he has pitched scoreless starts against them. hehhehheh.

5/20/12: Ex-Stro Mike Costanzo Makes The Show While Astros Win On National TV

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

You ask, Mike Costanzo? Who the heck is he? Why he didn’t play one game wearing an Astros uni or even an Astros’ minor leaguer’s uni and you are, of course, correct.

He was a second rounder drafted by Ed Wade for the Phils in 05. He was traded to the Astros on the Brad Lidge deal on Nov 7, 07 and before he could get so much as a uni on, he was traded 5 weeks later (with Luke Scott, Matt Albers, Troy Patton and Dennis Sarfate) for the FULL contract of Miguel TeRoider. Yeah, Drayton never got over the 04 HR derby, did he?

Anyway, Mike has been bouncing between AA and AAA for years with a .809 OPS at AAA and a .712 OPS at AAA, was signed by the Reds after the 2010 season as a minor league FA, and was called up for the first time in his life on May 12 when Scott Rolen went down with one of his usual shoulder owies.

He’s gone 1 fer 7 while the Reds have kicked the Yankees this weekend.

And speaking of this weekend, best part (checking the replay) was getting to watch Nolan Ryan’s face before and after Justin Maxwell’s AB in the 5th inning of the Saturday game. Justin just done wiped that smirk right offn his smug face. Sort of reminded me of how much I enjoyed watching HIM – not his team, HIM lose the 2010 and the 2011 WS – especially after they blew the lead the second time.

Jordan Schafer and Justin Maxwell need to work out their communication stuff – apparently, Jordan’s ankle wasn’t hurt near as badly as the press releases intimated when he tripped over Maxwell Saturday night. But “indispensible” to the team? SERIOUSLY?

And it was beyond idiotic macho that Brett Myers wouldn’t throw the ball to second, wanting to tag Elvis Andrus out himself in that rundown to end the game – if Andrus hadn’t stuttered or tripped, Myers would have looked like the damm fool he is.

As for today, well, Jordan Lyles threw BP in the first inning and handing the best hitting team in the DH league a 5 run lead is a lil dangerous. Especially giving up a hit to a guy who is pinch hit for every standard AB.

And Millsie-poo, it’s dumb to walk bases loaded 2 outs in the first to get to a better hitter than the guy you just walked.  Here and I thought you had gotten over all that stupid IBB and lefty/righty obsession seeing as how you’ve let Wesley Wright pitch to, and get out, rightys.

Thanks you Jed Lowrie, for making sure we didn’t get shut out. I didn’t expect you to be leading the team in homers the 3rd week in May, gotta say that.

And JD Martinez, you know how you suddenly stopped hitting and couldn’t not groundout/strike out? Well, same thing is happening to Matt Wieters, the Orioles catcher who, only 10 days was batting .300 with a .961 OPS and has fallen fast to .243/.799 – and this is the guy who was getting all these articles written about him 2 weeeks ago as if he was the reincarnation of Johnny Bench from the Big Red Machine. Slumps happen. So hang in there boy and the double on Sat night – hope that turns things around even if you did get benched today.

Back to real baseball tomorrow night when the C*bs come in and we face Matt Garza and I hope The Real Bud Norris shows up again. The C*bs are the first ML team he faced when he was called up at the end of July in 09. Can you believe that this is his THIRD full ML season? Wonder if they are gonna let him go/trade him at the deadline/end of the year because he’s gonna get a lot more expensive next year.

Matt Garza is pitching very well this year, not Carlos Zambrano well (gee, weren’t they smart to run him out of town for Chris Volstad, now in the minors), but he’s thrown 7 games over 45.1 innings, with only 1 bad game – 6 ER/5 IP vs the Marlins. He’s given up 1,2 or no runs in the other 6 starts. He’s a former #1 pick (for the Twins, too bad for them – all they got for him was Delmon Young, who has most positively not exactly lived up to being the first pick of a draft) who has been cruising with an ERA+ between 100 and 117 for the past 6 years, and this year, he’s up to 148.

Like I said before – the reason why there are so many low ERAs is up in the air…

HAHAHAHA

So the guys had better get hitting.

5/19/12: Goodbye Henry Sosa

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Henry Sosa, who came to the Astros last year in the Jeff Keppinger Salary dump – saved that all important 1.1 million. He started 10 games, 5 QS, for the Astros last year, who won 3 of the starts. He lost 2 of the QS, and lasted 6 innings in 8 of the 10 games. He did end up with a 5.23 ERA which last year translated to a 74 OPS+ which ended up being better that J Happ’s 72. Although Happ did throw 152 innings and Sosa 53.1.

This year, in case all yall curious, Happ has worked his way up to a 72 OPS+ after the 6 shutout innings.

Jason Stoffel, the AA righty reliever we also got from San Fran, did terrible last year after the trade, but he’s lookin really good at Corpus this year – 14 games, 17 IP, 1.59 ERA: 3 ER, 10 H, 5 BB, 17 K. He, Kevin Chapman and Wes Musick (an actual Astro draftee) are the only pitchers on the team who don’t stink. All 5 starters are being SLAMMED – Ross Seaton has a deceptively low ERA because 7 of his 22 runs allowed are unearned. Oh yeah – Jared Cosart is pitching well – forgot he only got called up to AAA for 1 start – now that Sosa is gone, maybe he’ll get called up for real.

At AAA, Dallas Keuchel and Jordan Lyles are still pitching well and Aneury just threw 5.2 innings of 2 run ball, so his  ERA is now under 5. Jose Valdez, who is closing, looks pretty good with a 2.7 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.

So, all in all, Happ better start pitching a little better.