Missed the Friday game – forgot to record it and haven’t had time to mlb.tv it yet but I see that Fernando Abad kept to the fine Astros tradition of suckage by giving up a 3 run homer to Jay Bruce on a fat one down the middle after the Astros had managed to hit 2 solo homere back to back to tie the game. After the Bruce homer, as usual, the boyz packed it in. Not that I blame them.
In the news – Luhnow has hired Kevin Goldstein, who is a BLOGGER. Yes friends and neighbors and 2 dozen remaining Astros fans, you read that right. He first worked for Baseball America talkin bout prospects, then moved to Baseball Prospectus, doing the same thing. He has been given the job as head of pro scouting – meaning, I guess, that the Astros want the same dishy stuff on other teams prospects that he’s been writing up for BPro. All my statty friends are all agog. We’re like Billy Beane 10 years later, I guess, only without Hudson, Mulder and Zito.
I still can’t figure how this here team is gonna be competitive for years. The new CBA basically doesn’t allow spending for prospects, foreign or domestic and got rid of all the compensation picks – well, practically all of them. Unless a team gets lucky, REALLY lucky 3 or 4 years in a row, I don’t see how any team could get itself out of the basement. Then again, I DO know that spending on, and apparently getting, good prospects sure nuff doesn’t guarantee success. See Royals, KC.
Also, I keep reading that next year’s payroll is supposed to be 50 mill. Not sure where on earth THAT figure comes from. The only arb eligible players are Crystal Lowrie and Bud Norris. And won’t neither one of em make more than 1 or 2 million. Everyone else is minimum wage. I don’t even see 20 mill. I supposed they’ll have to do something about getting a bullpen whose members can do these things called getting outs and not giving up runs. I supposed they’ll have to hire a bunch of el cheapo FA because good players aren’t gonna come to a last place team. And also because teams have begun doing the John Hart thing of giving long contracts under market value to young players and there aren’t really any top FA any more.
Which reminds me – I keep hearing about how wonderful it is for the Astros to have shed all that salary and all I can say is, like why? It’s not like they’re spending it on DIFFERENT or BETTER players. And they certainly aren’t acquiring more major leaguers and they have already shed the 2 fringe guys they DID get, Ben Francisco (traded for the PTBNL to the Rays) and Steve Pearce. And it’s hard to win facing ML teams without ML players.
Which reminds me – the game. Lucas Harrell gave up 1 run in the first on 2 singles and a sac-fly. He started off the second with the giving up 2 singles again, but got a nice GIDP from the pitcher to end the inning and from there, he just sailed through 5 more innings without much of any trouble – a double here and there and a walk. Trouble was that he didn’t get run support as Astros hitters managed just 3 hits and a walk off Homer Bailey (man he luuuuvs seeing the Stros – almost got his ERA under 4). Justin Maxwell hit a ball off the end of the bat which just made it over the RF fence 340′ is still a homer, to tie the game.
They didn’t get anything going until the 8th – got men on first and second with 1 out, but Paredes, then Greene stranded em.
Hector Ambriz pitched 1,2,3 – got Brandon Phillips on a checked swing K and MAN was Brandon ANGRY – not that I blame him, it was a horsestuff call and he HAD checked his swing, but for once, it went the Astros’ way.
In the 9th, Francie-poo reverted to the ol LOOGY thingy using Xavier Cedeno to get Jay Bruce, then bringing in Wilton-ie to get the rightys. Yes, The Closah in a tie game in the 9th, but this is at home, which makes it OK for some reason.
So then, because it’s a tie game in the 9th and an away game, Dusty Baker sends in Sean Marshall instead of Aroldis Chapman – not a bad idea as he’s suppsoed to face 2 leftys and a crappy righty. So Wallace grounds out and Maxwell Ks, then pinch hitter Matt Downs (yes, Downsie-doo is back, along with Mary Jane Schafer) doubles. So Marshall IBBs Dominguez (seriously, the setup man and his 2.98 ERA can’t get out Matt eff Dominguez? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?) to face Jordan Schafer. Who can’t hit leftys. Or rightys, for that matter. So Brandon Barnes and his sub Mendoza bat bravely comes up to pinch hit, 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, winning run on second. And is promptly hit by pitch.
So it’s bases loaded, and Jose Altuve, who is supposed to have had the night off, but was brought in to pinch hit in the 8th after all the pinch running substitutions, is up and it’s hero/goat time. And Jose has failed to drive in the winning run without fail (a True Astro) and sure enough, he hits a dead easy grounder at the second baseman, who lets the ball go RIGHT through his legs like Bill Buckner, and there goes the ball game.
Astros win game 41. Which means they can’t win even ONE more game in September if they Want That Sacred All Time Loss Record. At this point, The Media is convinced that we have the #1 pick in the 2013 draft locked up, even though the Cubs are only 10 games behind us and a whole lot of things can happen in September – remember 2004, when we won all but 4 games to get the WC on the last day? Remember last year when the Red Sox and Braves both collapsed like a popped balloon?
It’s baseball and youneverknow.
Oh yeah – Jose Valdez, the pitcher (and his 4.90 ERA at AAA) has been called up – Juan Abreu, one of the guys we got in the Bourn deal last year and his 6+ ERA have been let go.
Tomorrow afternoon, it’s Bud Norris – hope his blister is healed, vs Bronson Arroyo, who we beat back in June. Yes, beat. We won some games in June – before we decided that losing was teh kewl and went 3 fer July and 5 fer August. That’s an amazing suckage, 8 fer 56. Almost unprecedented.
Anyway, AAA should be over soon – the OKC team is 1.5 games behind Albuquerque and has been decimated by the Astros calling up most of their AAAA guys, so their chances of actually winning anything in the postseason isn’t good. But youneverknow. I hope they call up JB Shuck – I like the guy and I’d rather watch him PLAY than watch Fernando Martinez miss easy catches and strike out a lot. But that’s me.