The Astros are starting a 3 game series at Coors, which will, of course, make it mandatory that we all discuss The Trade. You know:
Astros get Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio
Rockies get Willy Taveras, Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz.
You remember. Click here to read what I wrote about the trade at the time. A WHOLE lot of Astros fans were delighted about getting a solid #2, who, of course, we would immediately sign to a long term deal (ahem). I personally didn’t think it was a particularly good trade of 2 cheap decent young pitchers for a more expensive 1 year rental, but I guess that McLane had to do it because all the fans/media were screaming that we only had 1 ace and a lot of icky-poo young guys and we had to get SOMEone.
All the fans NOW screaming about Hirsh are the same ones who had decided he sucked after last year and of course, Buchholz had already been banished to AAA and long forgotten after his great 6 week start. Willy was a great fan favorite because he runs fast and steals bases and is incredibly overrated as a fielder, but hey what the heck, so what if he is incapable of hitting even a single with runners on base? Not to mention his difficulty hitting a baseball out of the infield or taking a walk. But the simple fact is that Pence is better and anyone who would rather have Willy than Pence in center is crazy. And so is anyone who would rather have Willy in center and Pence in right than Pence in center and Luke Scott in right FULL TIME (instead of this assinine platoon idiocy Phil insists on for absolutely NO defendible reason whatsoever.)
So let’s look at the records of the players involved:
- Jason Jennings: 0-1 in 4 GS – 4 HR, 6 BB, 17 K over 23 IP – 2 QS, 1 ER/6 IP, 3 ER/ 6 IP.EA 3.13, WHIP 1.13 (of course, fans are extra angry because Jennings turned out ot have a sore elbow and missed 7 starts)
- Miguel Asencio (AAA) 0-3 in 19 games in relief with 3 saves: 6 HR, 13 BB, 13 K over 26.2 IP – 7.76 EA, 1.94 WHIP More like Senor Suck than Senor Smoke)
- Jason Hirsh: 2-5 in 11 GS: 9 HR, 27 BB, 47 K over 65.2 IP – 5.10 EA, 1.41 WHIP. averaging 6 IP/GS with 6/11 QS (his home/away splits aren’t that different, by the way, but only 2 of his QS are at home.)
- Taylor Buchholz:2-3 in 7 GS and 5 in relief: 5 HR, 11 BB and 30 K over 47 IP. He has 3/7 QS. Of his 29 ER, 14 came against 2 games with SF.He has a 5.55 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and a .238 BAA
- Willy Taveras: 51 fer 156 with 5 doubles (all down the line), no triples or homers – .327 BA, 12 BB for a .327 BA .386 OBP and a .745 OPS – also 13 SB:8 CS.
Well, so far, just in quantities of innings eaten and wins alone, the Rocks have won this trade. And as for Willy, if we had just played Luke Scott full time, there wouldn’t be all this stuff about how we shouldn’t have given Willy away. I can’t believe how the fans and Astros Organization have already given up on Luke Scott – I do NOT get this. Ah well…
As for OUR starter, Wandy, well, he’s done pretty well this year. He’s 2-5 in 10 GS – 6 HR, 16 BB and 47 K over 59.2 IP – that is 6 IP/start, and if Phil hadn’t pulled him after 5 innings in 3 of the games for a pinch hitter who is hitting worse than Wandy is, he would have logged more innings. He has 5 QS and 3 bad games where he’s given up 5, 5 and 6 ER. And I don’t wanna hear how he’s getting wins because of run support – in his 2 wins, he gave up only 1 ER in each. He’s pitched 2 games at Coors – he gave up no ER in 1 and went 7 innings and gave up 7 ER in the other over 5.2 IP. Let’s hope Good Wandy shows up (and the Astros bats show up too…)
Richard Justice had a few interesting comments in the Chron-
first, about Chris Burke:
“Chris Burke was summoned back to the big leagues with the additional responsibility of riding the bench at two positions instead of just one….He was playing regularly in Round Rock and getting his confidence back. To bring him back now and not give him a chance to play is silly. (um, like DUH. Who’s bright idea was it to bring him up and put him in position to fail AGAIN???) He’s not more valuable than Jason Lane unless he’s going to get some meaningful time. He’s not nearly as good as Lane defensively and might be only a marginally better baserunner….At some point, this organization has to find out about Burke. He’ll be 28 years old next spring, when he seems likely to finally replace Craig Biggio in the starting lineup.” (And they are going to find out what and how? He’s not going to play second, where he belongs, he’s not going to lead off, as he should, and he’s going to take playing time away from Luke Scott, whose career they are ruining for no obvious reason)
second, about Biggio:
“The Astros had discussed reducing Biggio’s playing time because he’s hitting .292 against lefthanded pitching but just .217 against righthanders. But Garner said Biggio would continue to play on pretty much the same schedule, adding: “It’s a pretty good schedule.” This is silly. At 41, Biggio could use additional rest. Garner might find that less is more where a 41-year-old player is concerned.”
(maybe I DO need to throw stones at Phil – I had figured he had no choice about how much to play Biggio, or where to play him in the lineup, but maybe I was wrong. If Phil IS playing him against rightys away, then Phil is making a big mistake)
And last, about Lance Berkman (who too many fans are saying should be traded, that he’s fat, he’s lazy, he doesn’t care, he has poor work ethic, etcetcetc) and the terrible season he’s having so far:
“I didn’t hit the home run good. I didn’t really have a good swing. It’s just a continuation. I haven’t felt comfortable the entire season. It has been so bad at times that I’ve wondered if there was something wrong, if I had an injury I didn’t know about.” He does what a good teammate does in times like this. He tries to compensate in other areas. He’ll eventually get going. He always has. Until that happens, he suffers quietly, works relentlessly.
“I’m in the prime of my career,” he said. “I know I should be doing better. You go out there and try to do something, anything to help us win a game. I’ve just had no rhythm, no timing at the plate. I’m seeing the ball well. I’m identifying pitches. I’m getting pitches to hit. I’m just not getting the bat there.”
He takes early batting practice. He hits in the cage after that. He has listened to hitting coach Sean Berry and looked at video and spent hours thinking about the problem.
“I’ve just never had a stretch where I felt uncomfortable for this long,” he said. “It’s tough because when I don’t do well, it impacts how we play.”
He’s a man of faith and conviction who has wondered if this is some kind of test. “It’s easy to be a good guy when things are going great,” he said. “I’m staying as upbeat as I can. I still try to do what I can. It bothers me because I know people are counting on me.”
(Which reminds me, I sure wish I could ask Barry Lamar Himself questions about HITTING – I would really love to know WHY guys go into a slump, or can’t see the ball. At least, I would LOVE to hear what he has to say about it)
Ken Rosenthal writes about Berkman and Lidge: “The season-long slump of Astros first baseman Lance Berkman is mystifying. “I’ve never seen him this bad,” one scout says. “He’s jamming himself on hanging breaking balls. I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t even know how to write the guy up.” The same scout says of Astros reliever Brad Lidge, “He’s as good as I’ve ever seen him. He’s 96 to 98 mph and his slider is 88 to 89 and it just disappears. Guys have no chance.”
Gotta root for Lance, because I would be seriously shocked if he agrees to be traded, or even if someone would trade for him in the middle of a slump like this. On the other hand, I wonder where Lidge will be going – back to close, or off somewhere else?