The Astros finished the road trip 4-4, better than their overall winning percent 13-16.
The Crew ended their road trip on a positive note, defeating Kerry Wood in the 9th. The Stros ended their road trip on a negative note, being beaten by a starting pitcher hitting a PINCH HIT homer. Bet the kangaroo court got poor ol Borkie-poo for that BIG time. I would guess that would be like Uncle Albert getting struck out on 3 pitches by a GRRRRL. I guess after that homer, that the rest of the league might could take Micah Owings more seriously as a hitter, you know what I’m saying. And after he hits a homer off of Peavy or Santana or Lincecum, I would guess more than a few people will be screaming that he needs to be made into a hitter instead of letting him keep pitching – as if good starting pitchers are just as plentiful as 5th OF.
But I digress.
Tonight, Ty Wigginton rejoins the lineup, hitting in the 7th hole. He replaces the limp bats of Geoff Blum .205/.213/.370/.583 (and so many of all yall complained about Everett) and Mark Loretta .216/.306/.270/.586 – last year, Wiggy, platooning (mostly) with Lamb until September, hit .284/.342/.462/.804. Loretta has actually hit BEST with MOB – .819 OPS and even better with RISP – .929; with bases empty, he only reached 10 of 44 PA – singles plus walks. Blum, on the other hand, hit poorly regardless of situation with OPS of 500 something.
However, as I have said many times, Wiggy has a BAD glove. I am going to start keeping track of all hits/runs he allows, whether or not they are called errors. Fielders allowing the opposition to score runs contributes to team losses, whether offense only fans believe it or not. Another Astros fan told me – “well, he makes most of the plays.” Isn’t that special? What an unhelpful comment. Every single major league fielder “makes most of the plays” including Clank Lee, Pat Burrell and Jason Giambi. If they didn’t, they would be immediately made into a DH. It is that small percentage of non-routine plays that make ALL the difference. And from what I’ve seen, Wiggy often simply doesn’t make them.
And, by the way, I am hardly claiming that either Loretta or Blum is even league average at third with the glove, either.
Pitching matchup for tonight is Roy Oswalt, RHP vs Carlos Villanueve, RHP
Roy has the worst month of his career this April, going 2-3 in 6 GS: 36 IP – 46 H, 7 HR, 9 BB, 27 K – 5.75 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and a .311 BAA. Now I know he couldn’t either locate of find his curve of slider the first 3 games, but except for Philly, he hasn’t really looked like an ace, just a slightly average to above average pitcher. It seems to me that Roy’s real problem is that he can’t seem to take advantage of a 0-2 or 1-2 count on a hitter and put them away when they are at greatest disadvantage. He often needs 3 or 4 more pitches to get the job done. (Anyone wanna bet that Towles will NOT be catching Roy?)
VS the Crew: 11-8 in 23 GS: 152.1 IP – 141 H, 11 HR, 36 BB, 134 K – 3.66 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a .248 BAA
Of the Brewers hitters, Kendall uses Roy for BP – yes, the famous singles hitter hits .417 and slugs .426 for a .934 OPS against in 45 PA. Billy Hall also hits Roy well with a .924 OPS against. The remainer of the lineup has a few hits here and there, but Roy best watch that #9 hitter.
Here are the lines of the Brewers (over 40 PA) this year:
Ryan Braun: .287/.308/.478/.787
Rickie Weeks: .204/.338/.352/.690
Bill Hall: .236/.283/.481/.764
Corey Hart: .301/.360/.427/.787
Prince Fielder: .240/.361/.427/.788
J.J. Hardy: .234/.305/.298/.603
Jason Kendall: .303/.370/.393/.763
Gabe Kapler: .296/.316/.593/.908
C. Counsell: .275/.341/.350/.691
Carlos Villanueva, RHP, age 24, has appeared for the Brewers as both a starter and reliever over the past 3 years. Career, he’s 11-9 in 17 GS and 54 in relief: 197.1 IP – 176 H (28 HR) 75 BB, 154 K: 3.97 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a .237 BAA.
This year: 1-2 in 5 GS (last 2 were QS): 29 IP – 32 H (4 HR)