Bud Norris threw 7 good innings. He had 2 outs in the 7th with 2 terrible hitters coming up. First, Dioner Navarro – ex Ray, who was gotten rid of when he wasn’t any good any more (Gerry H, you know) who hit an inside FB for a GR double. Then, for reasons completely unclear to me, Mills orders Bud to walk Russell Mitchell, a AAA guy playing 3rd because Casey Blake is on the DL – and Russell is hitting under MY weight, had looked BAD facing Bud in his 2 previous ABs – to face Clayton Kershaw.
Don Mattingly may not be the world’s best manager, but even HE has the sense to bring in a pinch hitter for the pitcher in the 7th with 2 on 2 out, score tied at 1.
So WHY, WHY, WHY put a guy who is an easy out on base in the first place?
I hate these POINTLESS intentional walks. Especially when Kershaw (yeah I know he’s the pitcher and yeah, he’s batting lefty vs a righty) is hitting better than the guy who was intentionally walked. It’s one thing to walk Jose Bautista to get to the next guy with 2 outs, 1B open. But a guy who can’t hit? It’s not like someone is setting up the DP – and even THEN, how many times have we seen that backfire?
IF I had any ability to use all this data, I would check and see how many times IBB a hitter who is NOT Pujols actually works. Interesting that Joe Girardi, who is taking some serious heat this year for having a roster full of Old Guys who aren’t playing like the 09 Yankees, had his pitcher issue 2 IBB in the same inning and lost the game. And he’s taking MAJOR stuff for that, too.
Anyway, Bill Hall went 4 fer 4 with 2 runs scored – Quintero drove him in once and Bourn drove him in in the 9th (atoning for a rare error) – he must have read my – who will be gone when Keppinger/Bourgeois are ready – paragraph, hunh?
The media is full of articles talking about how McCourt and his lack of $$$ is ruining the Dodgers and how Wilpon and his involvement, legal or not, with Bernie Madoff and gang, is causing the Mets to slash payroll as Wilpon disses his few good players, Wright, Reyes and Beltran. Guess he’s picked up some hints on how to spit on guys he wants gone, who are good but expensive, so that fans won’t notice that he’s gotten rid of anyone who is any good. And he and fans get to blame everything on Those Greedy Players and their HUGE salaries.
Interesting that Bud Selig and gang, who thoroughly disapproved of Jim Crane for 3 years, suddenly don’t seem to have a problem with him and his massive debt load. I can’t understand why on earth he would want an ownership group with massive debt and no money, unless the real purpose is to try to get evey team except for the Red Sox and Yankees to drastically slash payroll and force baseball players to take less money while the owners hide profit in the RSNs they are all forming, as well as their private ticket resale comapnies (see the C*bs). Which would make sense to me. Bud is one of the old cabal who participated in Collusion with the purpose of paying ballplayers the least amount possible and he’s the guy who mismanaged negotiations, which caused the 94 strike.
I know I’ve said this before, and I sound like an Old Person who wants dam kidz offn her lawn, but more and more it seems to me that MLB has been, for about 10 years, re-organized such that pretty much ALL media attention is focused on Yankees/Red Sox. Bud now wants to re-invent the playoffs with yet some additional game whose sole purpose is to ensure that neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox ever again miss at least the first round. As well as the Interleague “rivalry” series, which are all cleverly scheduled to take place on weekends in late May and mid-June, so as to attract the biggest crowds – so that he can trumpet the Great Success of interleague.
This is why there is no balance in the schedules, why some teams have a significantly more difficult schedule than others, which is, to put it mildly, hardly a fair contest. Not that Bud and owners and Fox/ESPN care real too particular much.
It’s getting harder and harder to maintain enthusiasm for MLB, let alone the Astros. And this isn’t even discussing the HP umpires and their inconstant zones.
Today, J Happ faces Chad Billingsley, RHP – so at least tonight, we can be sure that Brett Wallace, our best hitter, isn’t benched in favor of the player who is vastly inferior but makes 40 times as much money. Kershaw pitched a magnificent 7 innings last night, only to get screwed by his lousy bullpen – hmmmmm, sounds like the Astros.
Billingsley has pitched well this year – 10 games over 62.1 IP: 51 H, 25 BB, 3 HR, 54 K, 24 ER: 3.47 ERA/1.22 WHIP and a .223 BAA.
The guy has gotten seriously Clemensed by his team – last 3 games he has gotten a L: 3 ER/6 IP; 1 ER/8 IP; 3 ER/7 IP. And the 2 games before that he had 2 ND: 1 ER/7 IP and 4 ER/6 IP. And the game before that he had a ND for 0 ER/8 IP. Wandy feels his pain.
Isn’t the game exciting now that MLB has deadened the ball to prove that Those Evulll Steroids are finally gone?
Anyway, we didn’t face Billingsley at all last year, so I hate to give previous stats when he face a completely different team. Hard to believe this guy has been in the majors since 06 – I remember when he came up – he was a first rounder and fans/media expected him to come up and be Roy Oswalt and never struggle. His early veteran-heavy teams led by Good Guy Jeff Kent didn’t want young players on the team – they wanted them to be either benched or traded for more Proven Veterans, but Bilingsley has hung in there and pitched very well every year except for 09. He’s posted more Ben Sheets numbers, in terms of Wins, than Roy Oswalt ever did, but too many people think that if some athlete doesn’t measure up to their fantasy/projection, he is a failure, even if he does WELL instead of Great.
Oh, and before I forget – kudos to Hitter Pence for driving in the winning run last night. I like how he’s been making a habit of this. I wouldn’t be real too particular surprised if Fast Eddie, under the edict to slash payroll for our new broke-ass owners, trades Pence and Wandy for a fistful of nothing (Phils ain’t got nothin good in their farm left to trade) as well as anyone else besides Clank who earns over the minimum. Then Crane can endear himself to fans by informing them that he’s not gonna spend any money until they all go out to the ballpark and waste time on money on Pirates V2.