Well, why not start off with what little good news there was from this embarassing game:
1 – Michael Bourn hit 2 changeups and, in fact, hit the second off the RF wall. 5′ higher and it would have been out. He almost managed to catch another ball on the Hill, but it fell for a triple and I was disappointed that Oquendo didn’t allow Ankiel to keep running to earn himself an inside-the parker.
That, at least, would have been something worth watching.
2 – Miggy Tejada went 3/4 and hit 2 doubles. He made 3 bad throws, but Berkman saved him every time.
3 – Pence and Keppinger grounded into double plays, increasing the Astros league-leading total to 144. The rest of the guys had better get with the program because it is going to be tough to make up lost ground and we need another 20 in the next 12 days. I try to have confidence, really I do, but Berkman failed in the first, Blum, then Pence failed in the 4th and Miggy failed in the 8th.
Just imagine the headlines had the Astros managed SIX GIDPs in one game. Why BBTN might could forget all about the Yecchs/Red Sux for the 10 seconds it would take to tell about this incredible accomplishment.
But I shouldn’t complain because the untimely removal of Cooper has gotten the Astros a few seconds of pub. Why remove Cooper NOW? ask all the pundits, who are tsk-tsking and calling Cooper a “scapegoat” instead of properly pointing out his endless mismanagement.
I hear tell that Dave Clark is supposed to be well liked and well respected and is Going To Bring A Winning Attitude And Turn Things Around.
He’s still not playing the youngsters (except for having Towles catch Bazardo, as he did all year at AAA) and the vets are still playing like (looking for polite word) um, er, uh, let’s say, lousy. We can lose just as well playing Manzella, Johnson, Maysonet and Towles.
The hitters? Nothing has changed. Lots of hacking away, swinging at first pitches, refusal to take pitches or foul them off. The Astros load the bases with no outs and manage only 1 run – on a sac-fly. They can’t even manage to score any runs off Todd Wellemeyer, the Cards’ worst pitcher this year.
I suppose I had better discuss the pitchers. Not that I’m looking forward to this…
First, props to Doug Brocail because he is the ONLY pitcher of the 6 pitchers Clark used who managed to both get 1,2,3 out AND give up no runs.
Next, Yorman Bazardo: he started off just great – the first 2 innings, he got 1,2,3 out and 2 swinging Ks. I thought – well, seems the guy has remembered how to pitch. He WAS the second best pitcher in the PCL this year, next to Bud Norris.
Then, something happened, not really sure what. He got Yadier Molina out easily to start the 3rd inning. But then he just lost control of the strike zone and walked Lugo on 4 pitches – and Lugo isn’t exactly a guy to avoid throwing strikes to. Then he gave up a sac-bunt, an RBI single up the middle, another walk (and those pitches weren’t even close), then an RBI single to Uncle and then the Cards tried a double steal – Uncle to second and Rasmus to home (at least I THINK it was supposed to be a double steal) and JR threw to second, Uncle managed to avoid the tag until Rasmus scored as Miggy didn’t throw home as he had done last night.
So there we were, losing 3-0 already and with this team, playing as horribly as they are right now, the ball game was OVAH. It’s really depressing to know that if your baseball team gets behind 3-0 in the 3rd inning that you have LONG since lost the ballgame.
JD noted that Bazardo was NOT throwing the baseball to the inner half of the plate (well, he sure did with Holliday) and I don’t know if that was by accident or design, but he came back in the 4th, gave up 3 straight singles, an RBI groundout, another groundout, then another single and then was pulled, having surrendered 6 runs over 3.2 IP. The sad part was that he didn’t give up one hard hit ball and with 1 exception, did keep the ball down.
He didn’t really have enough movement on the slider and he wasn’t able to effectively throw the FB to all 4 corners and that is what most likely did him in. He’s just not looking like ML material.
Wesley Wright came in at the end of the 4th and rescued him and for some unknown reason, Clark left him in for the entire 5th inning even though he would be facing some right handed pitchers!!! Imagine that!!!! He loaded the bases with 2 singles and a walk, then gave up a run scoring GIDP and got DeRosa to ground out.
(Speaking of DeRosa, if we are going to pay someone to play third, I would MUCH rather have him than Miggy Tejada, and he’ll be cheaper and more versatile.
But I digress…)
Byrdak pitched an inning, giving up a homer to Rasmus on a hanging slider. He’s getting tired out too. He’s pitched in 11 of 19 games this month and has warmed up in 5 more.
Chad Paronto gave up 3 singles and a 2 run homer on an inside sinker which looked like a good pitch that was golfed into the Crawford Boxes. Amazing the difference between AAA and ML hitters, isn’t it?
Valverde came in for the 9th and was NOT sharp. He threw 7 pitches to Ankiel, 4 of which were fouls, and then he threw a FB right down the middle, which Ankiel promptly hit 420′ onto the Hill, where Bourn juuuuuuust missed it. DeRosa drove him in with a groundout (yeah, him again), Yadi doubled then Lugo popped out.
What can you do besides shake your head in disgust?
I wonder if Clark will use ANY reliever for, say, 2 or 3 innings, especially if he’s sharp and only needs a few pitches to get 3 outs.
Tomorrow, it’s Bud Norris vs our old foe John Smoltz.
I checked Smoltzie’s stats vs the Astros and was stunned to find that he’d lost 13 regular season games. I thought he was like 50-0 or something. Curiously enough, he’s never started a game here at the Box – he closed 5 games and saved them all. 5 innings of work doesn’t tell much and you don’t want to know his lifetime ERA vs the Astros, trust me on this. Yes, I know he’s 42 and he’s supposed to be on his last legs (so to speak) but when it comes to this particular guy, his career has, shall we say, legs…