I WAS gonna call this The Saviour Commeth, but, um, decided it didn’t look quiiiiiiiite, um, kosher. So to speak.
You see, Lance Berkman isn’t hitting, Carlos Lee isn’t hitting and he fields like Manny Ramirez and Mo, Lane and Scott aren’t hitting and it is ALL Burke’s fault. You can’t blame guys who are getting paid 15 and 17 mill, you can’t blame BOTH right fielders when you don’t have another, you NEED a guy who can play at third and besides, he gets paid more than Burke, so that leaves Burke = Designated Goat.
As Tim Purpura said to Alyson Footer: “It’s unfortunate, but when a club struggles like we’re struggling, it’s the younger players, the less experienced players, who sometimes have to bear the brunt of it and lose playing time.”
Yeah, it WOULD be Everett’s fault, but you know, SOMEbody gotta actually be able to field on this here team.
Biggio led off the game with a patented Biggio double down the LF line – hit # 2952. Burke reached on a HBP. Lance grounded into a double play. Carlos hit an RBI single up the middle for the game’s ONLY run, Mo walked and Lane hit a grounder that the second baseman made an outstanding play on to get him out. And there, my friends, you have the sum of the Astros scoring all night. Freaking pathetic.
Reminds me of last year – every time we got one hit I said – well, at least we won’t be no-hit. Every time we got a run, I said, well, at least we won’t get shut out again. Same stuff, next year.
- Besides the leadoff double, Biggio was ofer and left 1 on.
- Burke was ofer 2 with a walk and a hitbypitch and left 1 on.
- Lance had a bloop single to shallow right, almost by the foul line, and proceeded to get his fool self immediately picked off first 9-1. It didn’t end up mattering because Carlos Lee hit the very next pitch back to the pitcher and it would have been a double play 1-6-3 anyway. But still, Lance has been playing poorly all year and this is just a sign of it. And him dogging it by ambling down the line when he hit a grounder to short in the 5th that Weeks bobbled – if he had Biggioed his way down the basepath, he would have reached on error. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered because Lee would have grounded into a 6-4-3 instead of an easy 6-3 for the one out. AND it would have been Lee’s second DP of the night. Anyhow, Lance left 2 on.
- Carlos Lee had an RBI single, otherwise was ofer and left 1 on.
- Mo Ensberg was 1 fer 3 with a walk
- Jason Lane was 1 fer 3 and left 2 on.
- Adam Everett was ofer 3 with a walk
- Brad Ausmus was 1 fer 4 and left 2 on.
- Lamb and Palmeiro were ofer.
Roy pitched OK. He gave up FOUR walks, so you KNOW he’s not himself and he had something weird goin on in the 4th, when he turned from the machine gun into the Human Rain Delay, having 5 conferences on the mound, walking off, walking around, missing his spots, cleaning his cleats, throwing 27 pitches including a wild pitch and escaping from a bases loaded jam. He came back and threw two 1,2,3 innings, but then ran into trouble again in the 7th, thank you Carlos Lee.
Carlos really reminds me of Manny Ramirez out there – he can catch bout any hanging fly ball, occasionally he shocks you by coming forward to catch a ball, but he just kinda lopes after any grounder and lets balls fall in so he can take it on a hop. You figger he’s never gonna get to anything and that’s what Geoff Jenkins thought on a single to left that Carlos managed to get to in time to throw him out by a hair at second. Same thing happened in the 9th when he caught Corey Hart off second.
But anyhow, In the 7th, after he didn’t get near Jenkins bloop single to left, he misjudged a flyball, which banged off the scoreboard for a double and there were men on second and third with no outs. After Counsell FINALLY struck out, there was a big powwow on the mound.
Seems to me that every time that Garner goes out to ask Roy – howya doon, Roy sez fine, I kin get these here guys and Gar sez OK ace yew gettumout. But somehow, it never turns out that way and after Tony Gwynn Jr walked on 5 pitches, Gar gambled and left Roy in. Weeks hit a weak dribbler to short and Adam’s only play was at first – no chance for a double play.
Then Hardy doubled down the LF line, 2 runs in, goodbye ball game.
So now all yall see why this is Chris Burke’s fault, right? It’s like the fans have been screaming for weeks, he has no business on this team. Get rid of him. And now they have their wish. (Of course they also want Lane, Everett, Ensberg and Lidge gone and replaced with – well, Lamb at third, Loretta at short, Lidge with any warm body from AAA or heck, even AA and Lane with anybody.)
Hunter Pence will be joining the team for game tomorrow. Yessiree, he’s gonna make Lance hit something besides double plays and piddly singles and make Lee hit more than a few singles up the middle and sac flies. Lee’s actually hitting better with bases empty than with runners on.
I’m dying to know how long the fans are gonna give Pence before they demand he gets sent back down if he fails. He’s gonna get SOME kind of honeymoon, just as Lee is getting.
Meanwhile, Randolph is going back to AAA after pitching 1.1 innings and giving up 1 homer. That one was easy. What is NOT going to be easy is to decide what to do when White comes back – I suppose Albers, no matter how well he is pitching, is going back down when Jennings comes off the DL. I would guess that they are kind of going to give a 2 week window to Pence and see what he does. If he tears it up, they are gonna hafta send SOMEone down/release someone and that isn’t gonna be pretty.
Interesting that Chris Burke has gotten the same kind of screwing from this team that Jason Lane got. They should be fair to the poor guy and work out some kind of trade – yeah, I know they own him for another 3 years and he can spend it in the minors for all they care, but it looks bad, it really does. It’s all a business, as Bagwell said so bitterly last year, and there is no such thing as either loyalty or decency and McLane’s putting Biggio’s 3000 hit parade above everything else is showing its weaknesses. Biggio is gonna play basically every home game, and probably every away game against leftys until he gets 48 more hits, and then Loretta will take over. There is absolutely no place for Burke on the team. Poor guy.
Man, I would love to be a fly on the wall in that clubhouse – I would bet there are some VERY unhappy, VERY angry guys. (Lance is the only one who has come out and said so – as he told Alyson Footer: ” benching Burke is a horrible move. You have to let a guy settle in a little bit,” he said. “Look at me, I’m hitting .200. Does that mean I’m going to end up hitting .230? Absolutely not. As an organization, you have to identify your talent and say, ‘We believe in this guy,’ and then give him a chance to play. Seventy at-bats is not a chance. That’s a very, very small sliver of the season. Nothing against Hunter. I think he deserves to be here. I think he’s going to do great when he gets a chance. But then my question is, what if Hunter comes up and struggles after 60 or 70 at-bats? Then you’ve got two guys thinking, ‘What’s going on here — do I belong in this organization?’ and that sort of thing. I don’t think that’s the right move, putting Chris on the bench.”)
But there isn’t a thing he can do, the Designated Goat has been named and there you are. And since the problem is strictly (no) hitting, it just CAN’T be Lidge this time.
Fact is that Lance Berkman himself is looking like heck, needs a day off and Lamb can start at first. It is not reasonable to sacrifice Chris Sampson, a strictly groundball pitcher, by letting Loretta pretend to play shortstop and Lamb try to play third, but I bet that is exactly what they will do. You saw how well THAT worked last week.
And you can have plenty of hitting but if you have no defense, you are gonna lose. It might could be true that Pence may be the second coming of Carlos Beltran – that I’ll hafta see to believe, but he won’t be dealing with the left side of the diamond and he can’t play everywhere.
Phil has to take responsibility for some of this too. He needs to pull his ace when he’s tired and he needs to not have an entire defensive infield composed of grossly sub-par defenders. He needs to change strategies when the guys are in simultaneous slumps, and yes, I can’t fault him for trying to find a lineup that works, but it seems pretty obvious to me, and probably everyone else, that Mo should bat second. Period.
Oh, by the way, did you see Lidge strike out Billy Hall? He looked exactly like BRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDD used to last year. Unhittable 97 MPH fastball, 3 unhittable sliders – and mind you, Billy Hall is a VERY good hitter and he knows Lidge – it’s not as if he’s just up from AA or something. That is the best I’d seen Brad look all year. Maybe he is starting to click – youneverknow…