Well this weekend, Drayton is charging higher ticket, parking and food prices for the bandwagon leading team. I sure wish he’d put all that extra $$$ into turning on the AC. If not that, then into improved coaches for the minor leaguers and into the Latin American scouting, academies and BONUSES!!!
And I refuse to play that – oh isn’t it WONderful that this old franchise is coming to our ballpark – doesn’t that make us Astros special – garbage perpetrated by ESPN and our own Organization. I hope that all their fans who flew in for cheap seats here (and yeah, they are cheap compared to their own park, so I hear tell) get drowned out by Astros fans.
Here is the weekend schedule:
Friday: Runelvys Hernandez, RHP vs Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP
Should be interesting. Runelvys hasn’t faced major league hitters, even crummy major league hitters in 2 years and here he is facing the best hitting team in the majors. I remember Manny Ramirez from the 04 All-Star game – he barely swung to hit a homer into the Crawford Boxes. Anyway, Runelvys had Tommy John surgery in 03 and missed the 04 season. He wasn’t exactly an ace before he got hurt, but he was not good AFTER coming back – He had a 5.52 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP over 159 innings in 05 (in the majors) and a 6.48 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP over 109.2 IP in 06. His ML career line shows 10 H/9, 1.18 HR/9, 3.66 BB/9 and 4.78 K/9 with a 5.38 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.
Matsuzaka is the guy the opposition paid 50 million smackers just to negotiate with – and it doesn’t have to be counted as money spent on the payroll – a neat trick, yes? He came off the DL last week and faced the Cards, who hit him like he was pitching batting practice – barely made it out of the first and didn’t get an out in the second before being pulled. I would guess that they have watched him in several bullpen sessions and decided that he’s good to go because unlike OUR team, they have tons and tons of good young pitchers who could take his place if he wasn’t.
This year, he’s 8-1 in 12 GS: 65 IP – 51 H, 5 HR, 41 BB, 56 K: 3.46 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .218 BAA. He had a 2.40 ERA over 10 GS in 60 IP before the game in Seattle in which he got hurt.
Looks as if his real weakness is walking batters, and unfortunately, the Astros aren’t real too good at taking walks. He’s only faced Tejada, who is 3/5 and Wiggy who is 0/3. His lefty/righty splits aren’t particularly glaring either.
Saturday: Brandon Backe, RHP vs Jon Lester, LHP
This is the second start in a row in which Brandon has had to oppose an ace de la ace and a hard hitting lineup – AND this lineup hits a LOT of homers. It would be great for Brandon to pretend this is a playoff game and the national cameras are on him.
This year, he’s 5-8 in 16 GS over 89.2 IP: 20 HR, 41 BB, 62 K: 4.82 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, .280 BAA. I hope HOPE Brandon remembers that it is better to give up a walk than a homer…
The only hitter Backe has faced in the past 4 years is Sean Casey, who is 6/14 with a double.
Jon Lester, LHP, age 24, selected in the second round of the 02 draft and was starting in the majors by June of 06. He was diagnosed with cancer that August, was out a year, and came back in August, just in time to lead his team to win the World Series. In case you are curious, our second round pick that year was Mitch Talbot. Unfair, you say, because he was selected before our turn? OK then, our #1 pick was Derick Grigsby. Oh.
Actually, that 02 draft (the infamous “moneyball” draft) was interesting: here are the first 10 picks:
Bryan Bullington (who?), B.J. Upton, Chris Gruler (who?), Adam Loewen, Clint Everts (who?), Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Scott Moore (who?) Jeff Francis, Drew Meyer (had a few AB in 06, sucked…) Oh yeah – Kazmir went at #15… And of the 41 guys picked in the first round, 17 have become good, productive ML players – I am not counting the ones who got a few PA or a few innings and were horrible. And of Oakland’s 6 picks – they got 3 very good major leaguers – Nick Swisher, Joe Blanton and Mark Teahen; Steve Obenchain and Ben Fritz were busts and Jeremy Brown left baseball for family reasons, although he did reach the majors… 50% of your picks working out is pretty darn good.
Back to Lester, he’s 6-3 in 17 GS†- 9 QS including a no-hitter against the Royals: 103.2 IP – 99 H, 7 HR, 39 BB, 65 K: 3.13 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and a .253 BAA.
Tejada is 3/6 and Reggie Abercrombie doubled in his only appearance.
Sunday: Brian Moehler, RHP vs Josh Beckett, RHP
Moehler this year as a starter is 4-3 in 9 GS: 50.1 IP – 8 HR, 14 BB, 32 K: 3.48 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and a .258 BAA. He’s thrown exactly one game in which he gavve up more than 3 ER and his last 2 games against the AL, he’s given up 1 ER in 6.1 IP each game.
Manny Ramirez: 9/18 with 4 doubles, 2 HR, 2 BB
Julio Lugo: 5/16 with a double
Sean Casey: 5/11
JD Drew: 1/8 with a HR
Josh Beckett is very familiar to Astros fans because he’s local (well, from Spring) and because we faced him when he was with the Marlins. He was the second overall pick in the 99 draft, right after Josh Hamilton and right before our old friend Eric Munson. He was called up for a cup of coffee in September of 01, then started 02 in the rotation. He struggled with blisters on his fingers, but put up a 4.10 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP on a lousy team. He was even better in 03, still struggling with the blister problems, and as we all know, he was the World Series MVP, shutting down the Yanks in their own stadium to win the deciding Game 6. He put up great numbers, although no great numbers of wins, due to Loria’s constant dismantling of teams to keep them as cheap as possible and was dumped, along with Mike Lowell after the 06 season in return for Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez.
Beckett struggled his first year out of Florida – had a 5.01 ERA, supposedly because he refused to throw anything but FB, who knows, but he certainly turned it around the next year, throwing 200 innings over 30 games with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
Career line: 1093 IP over 178 GS (and a couple IP in relief) – 3.77 ERA, 1.22 WHIP: 8 H/9, 0.98 HR/9, 2.90 BB/9, 8.58 K/9. He’s one of the 5 best rightys in the AL.
He’s only getting paid 10 mill a year for this year and the next 2, can you believe it?
Anyway, Beckett has pitched in the Box twice – 12.1 IP – 4 ER, 12 H, 2 HR, 4 BB, 13 K
Of the Astros hitters, naturally Tejada has seen him the most and he’s 3/20 with a double. Wiggy is 7/19 with 2 doubles and 3 HR. Loretta is 2/14. Blum is 3/8. Lance is 2/14 with a double and a HR. Carlos Lee is 2/5.