Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Braves’

10/6/12: Nolan Ryan’s Ballclub Loses BEFORE The Playoffs And The Umps Help The Cards Beat Braves

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Sad news: Michael Bourn will once again miss the playoffs. His teammates played badly – errors all OVAH the place, serious brain farts (Simmons thinking he was supposed to squeeze bunt, Freeman standing like a lump while Simmons gets called out for interference. But that didn’t hold a candle to Pete Kozma, the Cards’ SS, running out into deep left, where he didn’t belong, to catch a ball after calling off Matt Holliday, who had it easily, then having thumbs up ass and letting it drop. SHOULD have been a ROE-6 but one crazy ump decided to call it an IF fly after it had dropped and for reasons I do NOT get, the other umps wouldn’t overturn it. Yes, I know that an IF fly doesn’t have to be strictly in the IF, but the infielder going deep into the OF hardly makes it an INFIELD fly.

Anyway, Michael came up with bases loaded, and a chance to put his team ahead in the 8th and he struck out looking on 3 hittable pitches. He’s had a terrible second half, and this game kind of sealed it – except that he didn’t make an error.

So Mama’s Cardinals are right back in it this year – anyone besides her think that Kris Medlin, winner of 23 straight games, was gonna lose to Kyle Lohse? She tells me they are gonna repeat – Louis the Red Siamese sez Mrrrrrroooooooowwwrrrrrrrrrrrr, which means GO CARDS!!!

No Lance Berkman, far as I know, because really, he can’t do much of anything and would be taking an unnecessary spot on the roster. Which is too bad. At least he got a Ring last year.

Which is something Roy Oswalt won’t get again. Picked the wrong team to join this year. Of course, with all his back problems, he just might could be at the end of his career, like Lance.

I’m grinning ear to ear – Nolan Ryan’s chokers, who lost the division by losing 3 straight to Oakland, choked again in their WC game against the Baltimore Orioles, who are in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. Lots of luck, sometimes, gambles work out. Maybe it is even that Buck Showalter has learned how to manage without making all the players want to strangle him. Sometimes, guys chill when they get a little older.

The more the Nolan Ryans lose, the happier I am. I just LUUUUVVVV that sour lemon expression on his face when they lose. Imagine – his expensive Yu Darvish loses to Joe Saunders, a mediocre pitcher who the Diamondbacks dumped for Matt Lindstrom (remember him?) in August – he posted a 4.03 ERA and a q.40 WHIP. But tonight, the un-mighty Rangers scored one run on a walk, a single and a GIDP. Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler – all did nothing. Josh Hamilton is gonna have an INteresting offseason.

I notice that Nolie-poo and gang have been saying Not Very Nice Things, so they won’t have to pay and fans won’t grumble as much. I hear Boston fans talking about signing him – which, was I him, I wouldn’t do. Playin for Red Sox Nation would drive a non-drinker to drink and I can’t imagine what it would do to an alcoholic. And of course, his lousy play down the stretch won’t help him look as good as he could have, especially given his injury history.

8/4/12: Jason Maxwell And Lucas Harrell Beats Braves And Bullpen Throws 3 Scoreless

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Well, I WAS gonna watch the game, but Husband INSISTED we go to this party after we had cleaned up from the BBQ. He sez, look, you wanna watch failed minor leaguers play, we’ll go see the Skeeters. FINE!!! I told him – but fortunately for him, they’re away (Ex-Stro Jason Lane was pitching – he’s a lefty, remember? and won.)

So naturally, I miss one of the 2 or 3 games we’re gonna win this month and I said to Husby – hey, they actually WON tonight and I missed it!!! and he said – it’s just as well Baby, you’d think they just might could do it again, get your hopes up. Don’t be ridiculous, I said coldly. They are now at 36 wins and can’t exceed more than 5 if they are gonna go for the Gold – I mean Tin.

So Lucas Harrell threw 6 innings of 4 hit FIVE walk ball – walked 3 in a row in the 6th inning!!! then gave up a 2 run single. And they were no doubt about it walks, not one of those ump got a postage stamp strike zone walks, neither.

What was miraculousis that Froddy came in and threw an entire inning of 1,2,3 out. AND Millsie-poo left him face TWO leftys too. Whatever is this world coming to? Wesley Wright comes in again tonight, gets 4 straight outs, then it is Wilton Lopez The Closer who hits Uggla with a pitch, then gets a nice 6-4-3 DP to end it.

Justin Maxwell, playing center instead of Mary Jane Schafer (and yes, I would say his time has come. And gone.) had himself a fantabulous game, going 4 fer 4 with a 2 run homer (a Crawford Boxes type shot) and the game winning solo homer which was a train tracks ABOVE the Crawford Boxes type shot, AND a stolen base.

Altuve had THREE walks, but got himself picked off/CS. Nothing much else of interest – except that they managed 9 hits and went ofer 5 with RISP- what else is new.

Tomorrow is the rubber game – how odd it feels to type that – with Bud Norris facing Kris Medlen, RHP, who was moved from the bullpen into the rotation when Jair Jurrjens went on the DL with, um, with, uh, a seriously injured ERA and WHIP. Man, the guy was an All Star last year – now he’s an All-Suck. Anyhow, Kris Medlen is 26 and was drafted in the 10th round of the 06 draft by the Braves. Who are pretty good at drafting pitchers. Anyway, Kris has been pitching well as a reliever and in his first start last week, threw 5 innings of 1 run ball against the Marlins.

Bud has actually had only 3 BAD games this year , giving up 9, 9 and 7 runs. He’s had no-decisions in 5 QS and 2 losses in 2 QS – he’s just had 2 games with QS and no decision – no run support, lousy bullpen. Bud has a lousy record vs the Braves in 2 games, threw 11.1 innings over 2 games giving up 11 ER – 2 HR, 6 BB, 6 K.

Hopefully, we can rely on him to remember to pitch just well enough to lose.

8/3/12: Welcome To The Big Leagues Mickey Storey

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Mickey is a 26 year old righty who was drafted in the 31st round by Oakland in the 08 draft. He reached AAA in 2010, had a 5+ ERA, was demoted to AA for 2011, posted a 4.03 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP and was released halfway thru the season and picked up by the Astros as minor league filler and sent to AAA. He didn’t exactly look like Mr. Ace Person – slightly more walks and hits, so no real change in ERA, but his WHIP went up to 1.60.

He had himself a real chence this year – the AAA team is winning because it is mostly AAAA guys who have OPS well over .800 and they out hit the other teams. The starters have been beyond terrible, and relievers like Juan Abreu have been absolutely awful. The only starter who managed to keep an ERA under 5 is Dallas Keuchel – and Wes Musick, who unfortunately got hurt and went on the DL after 6 good games.

But anyway, Mickey really had a chance and he significantly improved his game – he even started 2 games for the first time since college – tells you how horrible the AAA starters are – and posted a 3.05 ERA over 65 IP – 62 H, 8 HR, 14 BB, 72 K, 22 ER/24 R (and for THAT awful fielding team – is awesome) for a 3.05 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.

He wasn’t even on the 40 man at the beginning of the year – not sure who they took off it, but here he is with a ML contract. He has just spent one day in the bigs and he hereby has medical insurance for the rest of his life – yeah, all you need is one day in the bigs. All that money they make, it’s the LEAST they can do for all the guys who very often don’t get more than a few games in The Show after all those low paychecks and hard work in the minors to be a supporting cast for The Pimpees.

Anyway, he gets out the 2 rightys he’s allowed to face and is pulled for Rhiner Cruz and his 7.71 ERA to face lefty Eric Hinski. I don’t understand THAT one. Naturally, he immediately doubles. At least it isn’t like it’s Mickey’s problem. This is Millsie-poo and his silliness.

Makes it very hard to care about this team. There are some things I don’t blame Millsie-poo for, like using Francisco Cordero – because he didn’t have a choice in the matter. But putting in Rhiner Cruz in a non-mopup situation? Stupid. I seriously doubt he’s going to be here next year. Crane/Luhnow have to show the fans that they Are Serious About Winning – or something.

Francisco went on the DL with pain in the foot – or something. Why the heck they won’t just DFA him I don’t know – it’s not like someone wants him.

The Astros just traded for 29 yo Houston boy RHP Garrett Mock (failed reliever for the Nats, last in the majors in 2010 – has a ML ERA over 5, but a good AAA record for the Red Sox AAA club – 48.2 IP with 18 R/ER, 49 H, 6 HR, 23 walks and 53 Ks – a 1.48 WHIP, but he looks like Aroldis Chapman next to what is relieving now) for “future considerations” whatever the heck that is.

We also picked up 33 year old homie Brian sanches (from Beaumont) who was the Royals second rounder in 99. He was a decent reliever for the Nats for several years, but had only 6 bad innings for the Phils this year and has been at AAA all year with a 2.51 ERA/1.24 WHIP.

No idea who is getting released/sent down.

You ask about AAA pitchers – well, you know Abad and Del Rosario (now off the 40 man) – well, there is:

Hector Ambriz, age 28, DFAd by Cleveland and picked up by the Astros 6/20: 14.1 IP over 11 games with 20 H, 4 BB, 10 K, no HR, 7 ER for an ace-like 4.40 ERA/1.67 WHIP

Juan Abreu (from the Bourn trade, remember?) He has a 98 MPH FB but it looks like AAA hitters can hit straight FB and can lay off ones in the dirt and over the head of the catcher. 45.2 IP, 46 H, 34!!! walks, 54 K for a 7.09 ERA

Jose Valdez, RHP, age 29,  the closer, has a 5.51 ERA. Remember him? he came in the Berkman trade and he pitched 14 awful innings for the ML club last year. Lifetime health insurance, now.

Sergio Perez, age 27, one of our first rounders in 05 – got hurt a lot and is now, to be nice about it, ineffective. 4.13 ERA as a reliever over 52.1 IP – 54 H, 6 HR, 23 W, 44 K, 24 ER/26 R.

Starters?

Paul Clemens got sent down because of his 6+ ERA

Brett Oberholzer (these 2 guys were obtained for Michael Bourn, remember? Plus Mary Jane Schafer – the Braves fans laughed themselves sick) pitched 9 games over 49 IP with 60 hits, TWELVE homers, 12 BB, 35 K for a 6.05 ERA

Brian Bass, 30 yo RHP, triple A filler picked up earlier this year off waivers, has a 6.75 ERA and trust me, you’ll barf at the rest of his numbers. I doubt he’s good enough for double A.

Rudy Owens, 24 yo LHP, picked up in the Wandy trade, has pitched 2 games over 9.1 innings and given up 11 H, 2 HR, 6 BB, 7 K and 8 ER. Yeah, I know, small sample size. He had a 3.14 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP with the Pirates AAA club.

Wes Musick, picked up from the Rox in 2010 in the Lindstrom trade, had a 3.62 ERA/1.38 WHIP in the 6 games he started before he got hurt.

Jarred Cosart only threw 3.2 innings before he got hurt.

Jake Buchanan, our 8th round pick of the 2010 draft, was promoted from AA with his 5.oo ERA (really) and he now has a 10+ ERA in 1 GS and 2 in relief at AAA. Really.

Ross Seaton just got called up (again) and he had been hit hard in his last 4 starts. Guess they needed someone breathing.

And I saved the best for last. Jose Cisnero, an original Astro, who is getting NO pub, has a thrown 2 starts, 7 innings each, given up 1 run in each start, total of 11 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 7 K.

The Bourn trade looks bad, the Oswalt trade looks bad and the Pence trade gave Singleton – and we still have to see if he can hit AAA pitching, let alone ML pitching. Yeah, I know that was Ed Wade. But so far, I’m not thrilled with all the gambles that Luhnow picked up neither.

Oh yeah – Tim Hudson beat the Astros, naturally, who got a run because Dan Uggla made an error. Jose Altuve made 2 really nice plays. Michael Bourn stole a base. Oops, wrong team.

In other Ex-Stros news, Wandy feels at home on the Pirates – got no run support today and gave up the losing homer to the pitcher. Take THAT you DH luvvvers!!!!! And his 05 – 07 teammates Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless inning.

Berkman is back on the DL with his knees again.

Chris Johnson went 1 fer 3 with an RBI.

Hunter Pence went 1 fer 5 with an RBI and a SB – he’s only got FIVE this year? Whoa.

The Rox are losing tonight by 9 runs – why can’t they just like WIN??!! please!! We’re only 3 gamse ahead. I mean, we lose and lose and lose and no matter HOW bad we do, Colorado is hanging in there with the losses.

Tomorrow, it’s Lucas Harrell, our ace, yes, our ace, with his 4.03 ERA, vs Paul Maholm (freshly traded from the salary dumping Cubs – don’t ask me why a HUGE money market team like them should be running on empty) who we last faced June 29 when he threw 8.1 innings of 4 hit, scoreless ball.

4/11/12: What Is It With Wandy And 4 Error Games?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Before I talk Astros, I want to note that on Opening Day, Justin Verlander, a DH league pitcher, was pulled from the game after pitching 8 innings because he was in line for a W and the reason God made closers was to pitch the 9th, regardless. So The Closer, Ex-Stro Jose Valverde, came in and promptly blew the save – goodbye W for Mr. Verlander. Naturally, the manager got, um, heck (ahem) for pulling Mr. Ace and depriving him of a W. So today, Mr. Ace Person pitches 8 innings of 1 hit shutout ball, goes in to pitch the 9th, gives up a single to Ex-Stro Jeff Keppinger and before you know it, has given up 2 runs and the game is tied.

Now because it is a tie game, The Rulz say that a manager is not allowed to send in his supposedly best reliever, The Closer, to shut it down and besides, what if the team was to come back and THEN what would they do if The Closer had already been used up?

So it’s send in some other guy, who can’t get an out, so THEN you send in The Closer, ex-Stro Valverde, who promptly gives up the losing hit to Ex-Stro Ben Zobrist.

So of course, it’s blame tha manager for not sending in The Closer in the first place to start the 9th, seeing as how Jose has a history of not liking to go in AFTER there are men on base…

Back to current Astros…

First, I gotta say I am surprised and pleased to be wrong about Mary Jane Schafer and his hitting. So far, he’s hitting .348 with a .402 OBP. Not real too pleased with his fielding, however – he gets bad jumps on balls and had an actual missed catch error tonight – and it is RARE that scorers ever tag fielders with errors for failling to catch the ball.

Second, I want to point out that except for the catchers – Snyder is 1 fer 10 and Castros is 0fer11 with 3 walks – the position players are hitting very well.

Marwin Gonzalez is 6 fer 21 with 2 doubles and a walk.
Chris Johnson is 8 fer 24 with 3 doubles
Clank is 8 fer 22 with 4 walks, a double and a homer
Jose Altuve is 7 fer 19 with a triple and 3 walks
JD Martinez is 6 fer 22 with a double, 2 HR and 1 walk
Bogusevic is 2 fer 17 with a homer and 2 walks

Um, yeah, Bogu is struggling again.

Bench guys: Matt Downs has continued to look like the last days of JMike. Justin Maxwell hit a homer and has 2 K and a walk. Travis Buck is doing well so far – 3 fer 10 with 2 doubles, a triple and a walk.

And as for pitchers – well, Wandy looked better tonight than he did Opening Day – had the curve working better and he struck out 4 guys plus the pitcher. Well, not as a fielder – TWO wild pitches (Castro is NOT a good pitch blocker), a throwing error, not getting the out at home on the squeeze – and Marwin Gonzalez’ error – not getting one out let alone a DP – made Wandy have to get 2 more outs, and he didn’t before 3 runs scored.

sigh

Good was JD Martinez hiting a homer to the left center wall under the Conoco Pump. Bad was Astros leaving bases loaded 2 outs in the 4th (OK, it was Marwin Gonzalez at bat) and worse, leaving bases loaded, 1 out in the 7th (JD Martinez, then Matt Downs!!!!) and Clank striking out with the men on first and third, 2 outs in the botom of the 9th. Lots of missed opportunities.

But at least they ARE hitting – it’s not like the beginning of last year where Michael Bourn was the only guy hitting – and actually, he’s not doing very well to start this year.

And as usual, Chipper Jones is killing us. It’s not a coincidence, far as I’m concerned, that we couldn’t beat the Braves as soon as he got back in the lineup.

Day off, then it’s off to Miami where Lucas Harrell will face Ricky Nolasco, who came to the Marlins in the Derrek Lee/Juan Pierre trade – remember that? Anyway, he has a 5-1 record vs the Astros in 6 games and 1 in relief over 44.1 IP – has a 4.47 ERA, but a 1.06 WHIP and a .231 BAA – his team gets more runs for him than he gives up, sort of like Jack Morris.

Hope Lucas Harrell pitches as well against the Ozzie Guillen-less Marlins. I like how he said he loves Fidel Castro back in 08 and didn’t nobody care, because he said it in Chicago, bout the time that Bud Selig and Peter Angelos had Castro as a guest of honor at a game. But hey, say it in Miami and alienate the 500 Marlins fans, get a 5 game suspension.

(By the way, this is most certainly NOT me endorsing Castro in any way. This is me being amused that it ain’t WHAT you say, it’s WHERE you say it…)

7/31/11: Goodbye Michael Bourn

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Toldja he was gonna be traded and traded before the deadline. He’s off to the Braves – they NEED a good leadoff guy and center fielder and Nate McLouth has stunk up the joint since leaving Pittsburgh.

Ed Wade PAID the Braves to take Bourn AND he did not get Mike Minor (top notch pitcher) or ANY top guys ready for the majors. Braves fans are laughing themselves sick, just like the Phillies fans did.

Ed Wade – well, I just can’t say anything good because I am trying not to use Bad Words. Even Richard Justice can’t find real too much good to say except Ed Wade is trying to save his job. IF Crane and his basketball manager CEO do get the team, no reason to fire Ed Wade – he’s cheap and that’s what they want.

We’re getting Jordan Schafer – a major leaguer who hasn’t hit and has been hurt. He can field, according to Braves fans and my own eyes, but there is nothing else good to say. He was at the top of their prospect list 2 years ago, and they wouldn’t even listen to offers for him or Tommy Hunter (now one of their good starters) and now they got PAID to get rid of him for a much better player. Best I know this isn’t a Colby Rasmus situation with managers. He just isn’t any good at hitting ML pitching.

And this is just what we need seeing as how our pitching coach is doing such a great job helping our young hitters adjust to ML pitchers.

Basically, Braves fans don’t think much of Schafer, to be nice about it – which is completely the opposite of what Phillies fans said when we got Bourn – they ALL told me he was gonna be a SERIOUSLY good CF and leadoff guy, although he had no power.

AA LH SP Brett Oberholtzer age 22, drafted 8th round 08 - 3.70 ERA/1.22 WHIP, 8.4 H/9, 2.7 BB/9, 6.6 K/9 (a significant negative change from his stats last year at A ball)

AA RHP Paul Clemens age 23, drafted 7th round 08 –  3.73 ERA/1.35 WHIP; 8.5 H/9, 3.7 BB/9, 7.7 K/9 and these are essentially his same stats from last year at A+ ball

RHP Juan Abreu age 26, crappy AAA reliever: 2.25 ERA (because 6 of his 18 runs allowed over 40 IP were unearned) 6.4 H/9, 5.1 BB/9, 12.8 K/9. 6 year average ERA 4.41/1.47 WHIP.

No top notch AAA guys, you notice. And Ed Wade PAID them to take Bourn.

And Wandy will be going soon too, unless a miracle occurs. The local guys are dead wrong about how “bad” and “inconsistant” Wandy is thought to be by actual baseball front offices…

Ed Wade is so BAD, paying teams, PAYING teams to take Pence and Bourn, when they were certainly worth having the entire salary picked up for the crap we got – he is gonna take a massive pounding on Wandy, too. He’s absolutely – so bad I don’t have enough Bad Words.

Tim Purpura, what little he was allowed to do, did a better job. And that is SAD.

I have not decided at this time whether or not to stop being an Astros fan – and this will be an immediate and permanent split in which I will not watch them or care about them EVER and I mean EVER again and that means no matter WHAT – and this decision will be based on whether or not Bud decides to give Jim Crane – who is gonna make Drayton look like Steinbrenner – this team, him and his BASKETBALL guy who will be in charge. It will be the end of this team for decades and I can’t and won’t support the willful destruction of my baseball team so that some money poor millionaire can make 30 mill a year in welfare and blame Astros “fans.”

I do know that Ed Wade, to put it mildly, got took to the Cleaners on the Oswalt trade, the Pence trade, the Bourn trade. I do know that Ed Wade has managed to draft and develop 2 players – JD Martinez (if he can hit ML pitching) and Jordan Lyles. I don’t count Castro because he’s not a major leaguer, even if he is on the roster. Plenty of guys have taken up space on ML rosters who don’t belong because management happens to like them. (Altuve wasn’t drafted, yeah, technicality – he wasn’t expected to do anything by either this team or those all-knowing scouts and prospect list makers. Sort of like Chris Johnson.)

I hate to think of what he’s gonna get for Wandy – bet he gets a huge pile of nothing and pays 3/4 of his salary. Any other GM would have been able to trade Wandy AND not have to pay some other team to take him.

Angry is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel. It’s not that I don’t know that Wade had done a horrible job this past 4 years with drafting and developing. I know he had to trade the players for whom there is a trade market. Which means Keppinger, Pence, Bourn – and also Wandy – get your head out of 2006, please. But it was supposed to provide top quality guys who could help the major league team NEXT year.

Maybe it is a good thing that for some reason I don’t know, this afternoon’s game is not being broadcast, and I absolutely DETEST the radio guys. Not that I care – Jason Useless Michaels, not Bourgeois, is playing right field.

UPDATE: Listening to Ed Wade right now – he’s expecting those 2 AA pitchers to be in the rotation next year (yeah sure) and that A ball guy to be playing first, middle of the lineup 30 homer hitter. Philly wouldn’t even TALK about trading him for OSWALT last year and now they OFFER him for Pence. Tells me all I need to know.

Also that Wallace is toast – well, I already knew they had given up on him by early May when he was pulled against all the leftys.

I HATE Ed Wade.

Also, in the middle of this “youth” movement, he is going to keep Clint, age 33, the SS of the future.

I absolutely HATE Ed Wade.

6/13/11: Brandon Lyon Blows Wandy’s Shutout Over The Braves

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Wandy wasn’t absolutely ICE, as he was in his last 8 inning shut-outing against the Braves last month, but he was decent, considering he had just returned from the DL. He threw 6 innings, giving up 2 hits and 4 walks, no runs.

He loaded the bases in the first, with a leadoff double and 2 walks – really lousy control, and he had a tough time throwing any pitch for strikes. He got control of the curve before the FB – yeah, I know it sounds strange, but it’s true. By the 4th inning, he had GOOD movement and control of the FB – in spite of having more than a few strikes called as balls. He looked tired in the 6th, had a tough time with command of the FB again, and it took him 23 pitches to get his 1,2,3 out.

I was impressed – it’s tough to keep getting outs when you aren’t really in command of your stuff.

Ah LUUUUUUVVVS mah Wand-man.

Wilton Lopez pitched the 7th, gave up a double, but got his 1,2,3 outs. Sergio Escalona, looking better n better, pitched the 8th, giving up a single while getting his 1,2,3 out.

Lyon came on for the 9th, got 2 outs on 2 pitches, and I was thinkin – well, maybe I wuz wrong about him not being ready for prime time. Then he gave up a double down the LF line – it was a GR double because a fan leaned over a touched it. Then an 11 pitch walk to Hinske, then a juicy FB right down the exact middle and it got deposited in the RF bullpen for a 3 run homer.

3 appearances, 3 games 3 homers. This is not good, you know what I’m sayin here. If I’m a starting pitcher, this is NOT the guy I want to see in high leverage situations, or closing. Uck-say, I believe, is the word.

Lowe wasn’t as good as he was last appearance – took him 17 pitches to get through the first, and 24 to get through the second, then in the 3rd Barmes singled and Pence hit an opposite field job into the RF bullpen for a 2 run lead and the Wand Man nevah looked back. Of course, given the bullpen, he had to be prayin for a few more runs there.

Stros broke it open in the 6th – Kepp singled, then Brett Wallace hit an RBI opposite field double to the LF bullpen, then CJ ground out and JR Towles singled. Lowe got pulled and Ex-Stro Scott Linebrink (from back in 03) came in to face Matt Downs who came in to PH for Wandy (not Jason Michaels, thank God) and he doubled in Brett. Bourn took the count to 3-1, then got IBB.

Barmes sent a sac-fly to the Hill, scoring JR, but Matt Downs is no Michael Bourn and didn’t score from 3rd. Remember Michael scoring from second on a sac-fly to the Hill by Berkman? That was absolutely teh KEWL!!! Pence singled in Downs and Bourn, Clank walked (can you believe the guy has NINE walks in June? I keep checking to make sure is ain’t a typo) and Kepp, who started the inning, grounded out for the last out.

And the Astros led 6-0.

They got another run in the 7th on a Towles sac-fly – and it had to be deep for Brett Wallace, who runs slowern Clank, to score. Then Bourn GIDP 6-4-3. He’s already had 4 GIDP and we aren’t even at the ASB yet.

Makes you really respect Biggio, who had ZERO GIDP in 97 over 744 PA – really a remarkable feat.

Every hitter in the lineup except Clank and Wandy, who is still hitting over his weight, got at least 1 hit.

OH – and check this out – Someone else besides us Astros fans thinks Bourgeois should be playing – maybe if we can dump Clank, he will.

The Pirates come in tomorrow for a mid-week series – wonder if the attendance thru the gate will even break 10K.

Bud Norris will face Jeff Karstens, RHP, who is pitching very well this year. 10 GS, 4 relief appearances with 2 ER/7.2 IP (2.34 ERA) and an overall ERA ov 2.94 ERA/1.15 WHIP and a .214 BAA (you betcha the Yankees wish now that they hadn’t discarded him when he didn’t come up and pitch like a supa dupa ace. Same with Ian Kennedy, ya think?) We beat him last August, bet he’s been pitching better this year.

His last 2 appearances were against the Dbax and Phils – went 7 IP against each, gave up 4 hits, no walks against each, no runs at the Arizona and 1 run at Philly and got 2 ND for his trouble. He’s only had 1 bad outing this year, giving up 5 ER/4 IP at Cincy.

Let’s give it up for Bud Norris – he’s got a 3.67 ERA (lower than the average NL starter ERA – minimum 10 GS, 65 IP, <6 IP in relief – of 3.89) has averaged 6.1 IP/GS, has 7 QS/13 GS. Not real too many fans thought he’s have numbers like this before the ASB, that’s fer SHER.

I guess I shouldn’t mention that he was one of Tim Purpura’s draftees…

6/12/11: Tommy Hanson Strikes Out 14 Astros Over 7 IP

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

And if he wasn’t at 112 pitches and there weren’t pitch counts on young guys, he just might could have repeated Kerry Wood’s 20K game from 1998.

Looking at the box score, it took place at Wrigley, 1:20 PM, on a Wednesday. I swear I saw it – either school was out already or I stayed home that day or – maybe even – my memory remembers what it wants to and I saw a re-broadcast.

Kerry threw 122 pitches and 3 guys wore the sombrero – Bagwell, Jack Howell (who I don’t even remember – he played 3B – and those 3 Ks were 3 of his 42 PA for the Astros in ’98) and Mo Alou. Ricky Gutierriez, our crappy SS, got the only hit, and IF roller. One balk, one HBP (yeah, you guessed who.)

I don’t remember why Sean Berry, the regular 3B and his 895 OPS or why Dave Clark and his .547 OPS was in the OF instead of Carl Everett and his .850 OPS – maybe it was just a getaway day and regulars were getting some rest – youneverknow.

But people don’t remember that Shane Reynolds pitched a great game – a complete game, too – 8 IP, with 1 UER on a double and a sac-fly/throwing error by Dave Clark and an earned run on 2 singles and a RBI groundout: total of 8 H, 2 BB, 10 K. Good enough to win – but not that day.

Today, 3 guys wore the sombrero – Corporan, Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace – but Hanson only Kd them twice (relievers finshed em off).

You know it was a bad day when Matt Downs batted third.

You know it was a bad day when Michael Bourn didn’t even reach base.

You know it was a day to be expected when the starting pitcher gave up 2 more homers, including his NL leading 17th. Both homers, by the way, came after a walk.

Clank is driving up his trade value – today, he drove in the Astros only run. Ownership won’t stand in the way of any trade, sez The Media. You betcha they won’t stand in the way of dumping Clank. Unfortunately, the ol WB isn’t gonna be traded because he’s pitching lousy – 5.03 ERA = 73 ERA+ with a 1.45 WHIP which, this year, when the average NL starter’s ERA is like 3.80, means forget him and his 10 mill a year for 3 years salary going anywheres, too bad.

Bourgeois’ ankle is supposedly bothering him – hope it was just today, and he doesn’t have to go back on the DL. Fast Eddie would probably do something stupid, like bring up Anderson Hernandez…

Wandy pitches tomorrow – Fulchino is getting sent down – which is good, because either he’s still hurt or he’s just lousy. I was worried that they were gonna send down Fernando Rodriguez, because he has the least seniority, but he threw 2 great innings today. Lyon is even more lousy, but he’s making more money, so he’s not goin nowheres. Wilton Lopez is smart enough to let OTHER guys’ runners score, so he’s keeping the ERA low and he’s not going anywheres for right now.

He’s facing Derek Lowe again – last time out, Wandy threw 8 scoreless, Melancon was brought in for the save – he blew it and Fulchino lost it (Brian McCann homered twice. That guy killz us like Chipper killt the 99 Mets – only the 99 Mets were actually a good team back then).

Lowe is a sinkerballer, so hopefully there won’t be all those sombreros floating around tomorrow. Like most other starting pitchers, he has an ERA in the 3s this year – 3.73 over 80 IP in 14 GS with a 1.21 WHIP and a .243 BAA.

6/11/11: Brandon Lyon Is Back All Right – Er, All Wrong

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Eased back into the closer’s role, hunh, Fast Eddie? Hows about eased back onto the DL? He supposedly “feels great” but Lyon’s pitches either aren’t finding the strike zone or aren’t moving real too much. 13 of his 21 pitches weren’t in the strike zone – well, actually 12 because the ump clearly missed one pitch. He gave up a solo homer last night and a 3 run job to Brian McCann tonight,  (seems that SOB beat us with a homer in the last inning the last series) and then after giving up a double to Chipper, got pulled for Francosco Rodriguez. Lyon’s ERA is now over 10

Today, we got to watch Jason Bourgeois play LF like it’s supposed to be played, and Bourn and Pence – great gloves, hitting 1,2,3. Bourn scored 1 and Pence 2, as Clank actually hit today.

Actually, Clank is tearing the cover offn the ball this month – he’s 13 fer 35 with 8 (?!?!?!) walks, 4 doubles, 5 RBI, 1 HR. The way he’s going, he just might could be tradeable, youneverknow. Yeah, I know, small sample size, but sometimes, that is all people care about.

And yeah, naturally Wallace was benched.

You wanna know about Lyles. He pitched tolerably well, giving up 3 doubles (one to the pitcher!!!!) a homer and 4 singles, 2 walks and 5 K over 6.1 IP.

I guess I wasn’t too surprised Millsie-poo sent him back out for the 7th after 106 pitches – wanted to give him a chance for that first W. But the first batter ROE4, moved to second on a sac-bunt, then Uggla, hitting like .174, singled, and Escalona came in a rescued him by getting a GIDP.

He doesn’t seem to have WOW stuff, but, like, so what? He’s doing tolerably well and as long as he isn’t getting left in to get the confidence pounded out of him, I’ll take it. Still haven’t heard who is going down when Wandy gets back. Too bad it can’t be Lyon going back on the DL – but he’s earning 5 mill a year, so someone who is actually effective will get shttcanned instead cuz $$$$ talks.

Speaking of pitching, Felipe Paulino is now starting for the Royals after completely failing as a reliever for the Rox. He just started his first game and threw 6.2 innings, giving up 2 ER, getting a ND.

Barmes is still sucking BIG time, but Fast Eddie is determined to have ONE of his Big Bat middle infielder FA stick, so I doubt we’re gonna see him benched for Sanchez or Downs even though that supposed Big Bat sure does need some of that Extendra stuff that Bob is always sending me emails about trying out.

And all yall know that the Giants signed Bill Hall after Freddie Sanchez and Mike Fontenot both went on the DL – now watch him hit like Jose Bautista…

Tomorrow, we face Tommy Hanson, who has started 4 games vs the Astros over 30 IP, giving up 14 H, 3 BB and 5 R/ 3 ER.  This year, he has pitched `13 games over 76 IP with a 2.56 ERA/1.06 WHIP and a .195 BAA.

6/10/11: Braves Enjoy Home-Run Field As Aneury, Fulchino, Lyon and Del Rosario Throw Batting Practice

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Hats off to Sergio Escalona, who was the only Astros pitcher to give up no hits, walks or ROE in his outing – 1 inning; Melancon gave up a single, but got the other 3 outs without giving up a run.

Hats off to Michael Bourn, who scored the only runs – was a homer short of the cycle. He went 4 fer 5 – 2 doubles, a triple and a single, but no stolen bases. Angel Sanchez drove him in once, but he/Pence/Michaels/Clank/everyone else stranded him the other 2 times.

Hats off to Brett Wallace for earning his first sombrero this year. And an error which allowed a run to score.

uh, oops..

Hats off to Carlos Corporan for getting his first ML hit this year.

And to Keppinger for making the 3rd out with men on second and third.

Hats off to Brad Mills for his dumbest comment of the year – explaining to The Media how, in spite of the fact that Melancon has pitched, uh, great, that Brandon Lyon would be “eased back” into the closer’s role because he is a veteran so it – get this – “is the right thing to do” – and all I can say is that if that didn’t come as an order from Fast Eddie/Tal/Drayton, that Mills has just sunk below Cecil Cooper in maroon-hood. Those 3 are already WELL below the Cooper line.

You notice that Jason Michaels is being given playing time over Jason Bourgeois, in spite of the fact that Bourgeois is outplaying him in every way. Wanna bet that THAT is also, uh, “the right thing to do” and THAT comes from Fast Eddie?

grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Tomorrow, Jordan Lyles plays his first home game, facing Mike Minor. I sure wish I wasn’t working – I’d actually WANT to go to the ballpark and check him out personally before he gets sent back down – I’m sure he’s gonna be, as Wandy is coming back on Monday. Unless Aneury is sent to the bullpen/released/sent back to the Rays. It would be a shame to put him in the bullpen, because he was even worse as a reliever. I’d hate to get rid of Fernando Rodriguez, who is outpitching Fulchino and Wilton Lopez. But you know how Fast Eddie is…

Mike Minor is a lefty, so you KNOW that Wallace and Bourn will be benched. We faced Minor last year, when he first was called up – he gave up 4 R – 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K – over 6 IP.

This year, he’s made 3 starts – gave up 5 runs/4.1 IP vs the Crew; 1 R/5.2 IP vs the Bucs and 3 R/6 IP vs the Pads. Yeah, small sample size, I know.

Jordan best bring his A PLUS game – the Braves are hitting well in spite of Prado (and Heyward) being on the DL again and Chipper being on his last (hahahaha) legs.

5/17/11: Wandy Throws 8 Shutout Innings But Bullpen Blows Save

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Wandy was nails. No other word for it. NAILS. He gave up 5 singles, got 2 GIDP, gave up 1 SB and 2 walks and struckout 6 (seemed like more) – had all 3 pitches working great.

He left after 113 pitches with exactly 1 run of support, a Brett Wallace home run.

and Mark Melancon immediately coughed up the lead.

This is the second game in which Wandy has given up 0 ER over 8 IP and had nothing to show for it, poor guy. And this isn’t like 04/05 with Roger Clemens when I felt SURE than any day the hitters would come through – and unlike those years, for some odd reason, we aren’t getting shut out in spite of the fact that this team is incredibly worse.

I just don’t know what to talk about, I really don’t. Nothing good to say about this game. I certainly can’t blame Millsie-poo for not pulling his closer to put in Sergio Escalona (the requisite lefty now that Abad has been sent down) and nobody hit with anyone on base. Towles is ofer his last 5 games ofer 22 with 2 walks.

Fernando Rodriguez, RHP, has been called up – he was picked in the 18th round of the 03 draft by the Angels, 2011 is the first time in his minor league career that he has had an ERA under 4: he’s pitched 21.1 innings over 13 games with 11 H, 11 BB, 29 K, 3 R/2 ER: 1.29 ERA/1.05 WHIP.

Career AA (3 seasons) 305 IP (starting and relief) with a 4.52 ERA/1.45 WHIP

Career AAA (3 seasons) 155 IP – 17 GS, 50 in relief: 5.68 ERA/1.71 WHIP – 8 K/9; 4.4 BB/9; 1 HR/9

I’m not holding my breath, but hey, youneverknow, maybe they’ve finally taught him how to pitch at age 27. I’m all for older guys finally getting a chance. I was kind of surprised they didn’t call up Wesley Wright – hey you can’t nevah have too many leftys and he’s only given up 1 homer and 6 BB over 13 IP.

Tomorrow night’s game should be interesting – Busch Stadium – Bud Norris, Cards killah vs Kyle Lohse, Astros killah. Lance Berkman, in case you are interested, had a 6 game ofer streak which decreased his OPS to 1.313 – tsktsk

Except for his first start, Bud has gone at least 6 innings every start – last start vs St. Louis, he went 7 innings, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 3 R, no ER and a ND.

I don’t have any more news about the disaster that is Jim Crane. I’ve discussed it with several people and they’ve said stuff like – well, the MLBAM/RSN money will pay for the minimum payroll and the minimum farm and the rest will be for the debt payments. They’ve also suggested that Bud WANTS broke/bad owners as his true interest with what is left of his life is to FINALLY break player salaries. Well, he’s sure nuff getting that with Crane and gang, which I think just might could be the explanation of why Bud did NOT want Crane as an owner the last 2 times he tried and he’s suddenly had some sort of reversal.

I’m hoping that the NAACP makes a LOT more fuss – and also I wonder why his lawyer wife was suspended by the State Bar of Texas and is ineligible to practice law… I wish the Houston media wasn’t so limp about this whole debacle.