5/25/08: Astros Bullpen Gives Up ELEVEN Runs in 2 Innings And Astros Lose

I had hoped to talk about Carlos’ 3 run homer. Or the double steal pulled off by Lance/Miggy (this is the 4th Astros double steal of the year) and Michael Bourn’s 23rd league leading steal. And the Astros scoring SIX runs off ace lefty Cole Hamels – a game that Chris Sampson deserved to win.

Or even grouse a little about how the HP ump screwed up the call on what should have been a 1-2 run scoring double for Wiggy down the LF line that was wrongly called foul.

I was actually a bit surprised that Sampson was pulled after 5 innings. Why? Well, because SOMEone had to pitch and the bullpen guys who were available were Nieve, Borkowski and Villareal – both Byrdak and Brocail were essentially unavailable after all their work for the past few games and it was more likely that Wesley Wright, if used at all, would be used as a LOOGY for maybe 1 or 2 batters.
Which, by the way, is why, in retrospect, I am VERY surprised that Coop decided not to pinch hit for Towles with 2 outs, bases loaded with the Astros only leading by 2 runs and the Astros needing to put a LOT of runs on the board seeing as how Nieve, Borkowski and Villareal are NOT ideal bullpen guys when the Astros are ahead, you know what I’m sayin…

Which reminds me,
I was wondering yesterday who should be the pitcher who is sent down when Wandy re-joins the club in time for his Wednesday start. The choices are, of course, Nieve, Villareal and Borkowski. Let’s take a look at their most recent performances, including today’s:

Nieve: (called up 5/16)
TODAY – With the Astros leading 6-4, to start the 6th, he gave up a homer, a single, a double and another single and 2 runs and left with 2 on. His relief let that run score, so that is 4 runs given up without getting a single out.
5/22 – came in in the 8th with the Astros losing 6-5, none on, none out. He gave up a walk, a FC and a single, and he left with 2 on, 1 out. His relief allowed one of his runs to score.
5/19 – came in the 6th inning with the Astros losing 3-2, gave up 2 singles, a double and a run.
5/17 – came in with Astros losing 5-2, 7th inning, 1 out, runners on second and third. He gave up a hit that let one runner score, then got a GIDP and another scoreless inning.

Borkowski: has had 9 appearances over the past month: (ERA went from 3.38 to 6.86 – was 4.50 before today’s debacle)
TODAY: came in to start the 7th with the Astros losing 9-6, gave up 6 ER – 2 doubles, 3 singles and a homer. He did have some bad luck with 2 hits down the line and a certain infielder not bothering to throw the ball home to get a runner…
5/19 – came in with Astros down 4-2, 2 on 1 out, let an inherited runner score then got the 2 . Next inning, gave up a 2 run homer.
5/16 – came in with one on, 1 out, Astros losing 8-2. Gave up a single, no runs. Pitched another inning, 1 single, no runs. Got the first out of the next inning, and was pulled for a leftylefty matchup thingy with the score tied.
5/15 – came in with Astros losing 7-3, pitched a scoreless inning (single, DP, GO)
5/9 – came in for the 9th inning, Astros leading 7-1, gave up a run on a double and 2 groundouts
5/4 – came in in the 4th with Astros losing 3-2, 2 on 1 out and immediately gave up a homer, letting both runs score. He got the other 2 outs and pitched another scoreless inning.
4/30 – the infamous – “home run to the pitcher” game – came in with the Astros leading 7-5, 2 out, man on, and promptly gave up the game tying homer to Micah Owings “the pitcher” – then a double and an RBI single to lose the game
4/28 – came in with the Astros losing 5-2, 1 out, 2 on, stranded BOTH runners, pitched another scoreless inning
4/27 – came in with Astros losing 5-1 to start the 8th, gave up a single and no runs.

Villareal: has had 9 appearances in May (ERA has gone from 4.82 to 5.33 – was 5.79 before today’s game) He had 13 appearances in April, a 5.19 ERA in 17.1 IP with 6 HR, 12 R/10 ER, 3 losses and 4 of 6 inherited runners scoring.
TODAY: came in to start the 8th, Astros losing 15-6, pitched two 1,2,3 innings, needing only 18 pitches. Best outing he’s had with the Astros. Ever. By FAR.
5/24 – came in with Astros leading 4-3 in the 8th, 2 out, none on, walked his only batter, who didn’t score.
5/22 – came in with Astros losing 7-5 to start the 9th, gave up a walk, a single, no runs
5/16 – the Texas Massacre – came in to start the 8th with Astros losing 10-8, gave up (are you ready for this) 2 singles, a walk, a triple and 3 homers – 6 runs, 2 earned. (Kind of like Bork today)
5/14 – came in with the score tied, 2 out, man on third, and got the 3rd out and the W.
5/13 – came in with the Astros with the Astros losing 4-2, 1 out none on in the 8th, got one out, gave up a single then was pulled and the runner stranded.
5/10 – came in with the Astros leading 5-0 in the 9th, 1 on, no out, got the 3 outs without letting the runner score.
5/8 – came in to start the 8th with the Astros losing 4-1, gave up a WP, 2 walks, 2 singles, 1 HR and 3 runs.
5/3 – came in with Astros winning 6-2, bases loaded 2 outs in the 6th, got the 3rd out stranding the runners, then pitched a 1,2,3 7th.

So what would I personally do?
Answer – send Nieve AND Villareal down right now and bring up Jack Cassel – and yes, I know he’s a starter, but he’s pitching lights out down there and seeing as how he is not going to start up here unless more than one guy gets hurt, why waste him? Put him in the pen, let him pitch one or 2 innings as there don’t seem to be real too many guys who can do that. When Geary is ready to come back up, I’d send Bork down unless he suddenly has gotten himself straightened up.

Oh yeah – all yall know how, um, disGUSted I am with all the people who blamed Adam Everett’s lousy bat for the Astros’ losing the past few years? Like the #8 guy is there for his bat? Well, we’re seeing the same sort of crap THIS year with JR Towles. I can’t believe how MANY people are screaming that he needs to be replaced by, of ALL people, Quintero. Yeah, the guy whose lifetime ML line reads .238/.275/.317/.592 and who is hitting .200/.231/320/.551 in AAA right now – with SIX errors. Yeah, in TRIPLE A – and even if he DID hit .238, that would mean approximately 1 more hit every 30 AB. Like that matters. When you decide to blame your #8 guy, who is the CATCHER, who is not there for his bat, for team losses and completely ignore your #2 guy, who went 1 fer Philly (and screwed up a critical DP with bases loaded) you got yourself a problem with priorities.

And what would I have done if I was the manager and I was planning to not send my pitcher back out no matter what, bases loaded, 2 out, ahead by 2? I would have sent Loretta up to pinch hit. Not Erstad, because then Manuel would have pulled Seanez and sent up Romero and Erstad can’t hit leftys. I suppose I could have sent Cruz up, hoping to get him to walk in a run, but I trust Loretta to get a hit more than I trust Cruz to draw a walk, and anyway, I would have had to send Loretta up for Sampson anyway.

UPDATE 9 PM:
Nieve has just been sent down and Cassel called up. Not surprised about either move. But the question still is – who will be sent down when Wandy returns? I hope it is NOT Cassel. Just out of curiousity, I checked with Cot’s on both Villareal and Borkowski:

Villareal has had 5 full years of service in the majors, so can’t be sent down without his permission. The Astros are on the hook for 2.85 mill, covering this year and next, so I think we gonna be stuck with him as I seriously doubt Drayton will agree to eat ANOTHER contract.
Bork has 3.1 years of ML service and is being paid 800K, so he COULD be sent down without having to clear waivers.

I haven’t made up my mind on which I thought should go down, but I got this feeling it ain’t gonna be the guy with the bigger contract.
Oh yeah – they CAN’T send Wesley Wright down, remember? They can either keep him on the ML roster or return him to LA.

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30 Responses to “5/25/08: Astros Bullpen Gives Up ELEVEN Runs in 2 Innings And Astros Lose”

  1. Jastro says:

    Yes Lisa, the ‘Stros will have to make some very tough choices soon; with Wandy coming back and all. Jastro was surprised when the ‘Stros signed Byrdak after that grapefruit disaster on March 25th when he walked the ‘Stros to a come from behind victory over the Tigers in the ninth inning.
    The pen flew the Coop tonight and all of the choices are good for our streaking ‘Stros…..

  2. Jastro says:

    and, that was the first time that Jastro ever said a pitcher had a career-ending inning: The second was Villarreal’s command performance on 5-16-08.

  3. Jastro says:

    So, Lisa, those would be Jastro’s picks for demotion–Byrdak and Villarreal. For promotion, Jastro picks Wandy.

  4. Jastro says:

    Mark2, wags, charles cortines, Stephen and Bruce: No comment, or BBQ?

  5. Lisa Gray says:

    jastro,
    i really don’t think ST stats count for a bucket of warm spit.
    nieve he has a LOT of work to do – and he always took a LONG time to warm up as a reliever, i remember. he probably would have ben better the next inning.
    you want to send BYRDAK down? the one lefty we got who is getting it done?????

  6. Jastro says:

    And: Jastro would hate to offend JasBevo, his only son.

  7. Jastro says:

    and all….

  8. Jastro says:

    Sorry Lisa, I just read your comment, Lefty-Smeshly Jastro wants Wandy!

  9. Jastro says:

    Bucket of warm spitt is a bit dramatic, right?

  10. Lisa Gray says:

    i want wandy back too,
    but why would you want to get rid of byrdak instead of bork/villareal?

  11. Jastro says:

    Lisa, Jastro cannot forget that game in March when Byrdak gave ir all up.

  12. Jastro says:

    Obviously ‘ir’ was ‘it’ in the last post, but where’s the beef?

  13. Mark says:

    Good move sending Nieve down. He just hasn’t been good.
    I was at the game in Arlington where Villarreal got bombed. The Rangers have a damn good hitting team with a lot of lefty’s. Their ballpark is a piece of garbage, but it’s built for a left handed hitting team–short porch in right. Even taking that into account, Villarral has been pretty bad. Yeah, he was good today, but the issue had already been decided, and the Phillies were probably thinking more about the flight out of town than the ballgame.
    I don’t know what to think about Borkowski anymore. He runs hot and cold. He was pretty bad the last half of ’07, and he hasn’t done anything all that impressive so far this year. He’s still better than Villarreal and Nieve.
    After Wandy comes back, I think they ought to give Moehler a little more work in the middle innings. I think you really have to appreciate what he’s done last year and how he has helped the team filling in the rotation this year.

  14. mark2 says:

    I was at that game in Arlington too, there were no cheapies, those home runs were CRUSHED, Hamilton looked like the next coming of Babe Ruth.

  15. Bruce says:

    “Hamilton looked like the next coming of Babe Ruth.”
    How old is the guy? Might be.

  16. Joel B. says:

    SUPRISE!!
    Luke Scott is injured.

  17. lisa says:

    mark2,
    the homers in arlington were going upper deck 450 to 480 something feet.
    this year there have been a LOT of el-cheapo homers barely into the CBoxes which would have been doubles or outs in other parks.
    but, you know, they built the biggio/bagwell boxes for just that reason. remember the gaetti days when every righty was pulling like EVERYTHING?
    bruce,
    hamilton just turned 27. and this was a guy who basically had little to no minor league training as he spent 4 or 5 years addicted to drugs and in and out of rehab.
    i hear tell the reds decided to get rid of him because they were worried about him being injured (the luke scott story) and they were also worried that he might could relapse
    in my opinion, he’s one of the most absolutely amazing stories in MLB – i mean, we are talking about a 25 year old guy who essentially had played no baseball for 4 years before last year. he had 211 AB in 2002 in a-ball, 50 AB in 06 in rookie ball, then came straight to the majors in 07 and would have been ROY if he hadn’t spent as much time on the DL as he did.
    i mean,
    if he played in ny/boston/philly, the media be lining up to jeterate him
    i can’t find anyone in the past 50 YEARS, heck, in the history of MLB of a guy who, at age almost 26, came straight into the majors as a HITTER, having not played baseball for 5 years and having had no previous ML experience.
    extraordinary is the understatement of the year

  18. Lisa Gray says:

    joel,
    what are you talking about? he was in the lineup today

  19. Travis says:

    Correction: dont know where i got the idea Wandy was pitching tonight I think its Chacon actaully…

  20. Paul says:

    Happy B-day Bags!!

  21. Travis says:

    Jastro says Jastro dont know Jastros foot from Jastros rear…
    big series coming up today in St Lewey. I hope Wandy is ready to go because we cant afford to let the bullpen pitch 5 or 6 innings after sunday.

  22. F. Allain says:

    Lisa,
    I would bring up Q so that we could PH for either catcher whenever it is critical to get a hit. whenever, in the first or last inning or any inbetween. It would be an automatic ph if the c comes up with men on base.

  23. wags says:

    Paul,
    Don’t forget Baggy is 40 today. So is Frank Thomas, FWIW.

  24. Lisa Gray says:

    francois,
    why on EARTH would you bring up a guy who can’t hit MINOR LEAGUE pitching?
    and, like i keep saying, the pitchers do NOT want to throw to him

  25. wags says:

    Lisa,
    Maybe opposing pitchers don’t want to throw to him either.

  26. wags says:

    (that was a joke)

  27. Lisa Gray says:

    wags,
    after having to listen all last year to so many who were SKREEEEEEMING that besides adam everett, brad ausmus was killing the team, i just do NOT get why so many people are demanding Q get brought up – and he’s a guy whose ML lifetime numbers aren’t even as good as ausmus’ numbers last YEAR.
    i hear all about the stupid meaningless ST numbers – and i should tell people to go look at brad ausmus’ spring training numbers. or towles ST numbers. but of course, i don’t guess THOSE matter

  28. wags says:

    Well, every day on Chron.com, we are treated to the sight of Quintero and Cassel tied for the batting lead, and he even has a double! I know he’s about 296 ABs short of 300, but hey, he’s hitting .500!
    To tell the truth, I think Towles is going to figure it out within the next month. (Hopefully, it will be as an Astro, not an Express.)

  29. wags says:

    There’s also the potentially feel-good story about Q getting in his best shape ever over the winter, and then not making the club, and then getting to stay with the organization because he cleared waivers. I’m sure that has people pulling for him.

  30. Lisa Gray says:

    wags,
    quintero cleared waivers because other baseball clubs preferred the likes of chad moeller.
    and right there, that should tell everyone a WHOLE lot about how valuable he is.

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