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Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Rockies’

12/5/12: Astros FINALLY Manage To Dump Wilton Lopez

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Good thing they got rid of that onerous 2 million dollar contract!!!

Wilton is off to the Rockies with a PTBNL!!! and we’re getting really lousy starter Alex White and some A ball guy who isn’t on any of the top prospect lists I can find. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

Alex White, age 24, was the Indians first rounder in 09 and he was traded to the Rox as part of the Ubaldo Jiminez trade. You talk about an ace who just fell offn a cliff along with Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hansen. In 2011, he had a nice 7.01 ERA between Cleveland and Colorado over 38 innings and he had a vast improvement last year. Started 20 games and 3 in relief over 98 IP with a sparkling 5.51 ERA. He boasts a 10.5 hits/9, 1.2 HR/9, 4.7 BB/9 and 5.9 K/9.

He’s thrown a grand total of  84.1 innings at AAA with a 3.20 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 7.8 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 6.7 K/9.

Looks like The Missing Piece Of The Puzzle to me, hows about all yall? Especially as  I hear tell that Luhnow is trying to dump Bud Norris (arb eligible, what a shock. He’ll make more than 500K.)

I guess Kevin Goldstein must know something that isn’t in the stats.

5/31/12: In Which Lucas Harrell Discovers That Sinkers Don’t Sink At Coors

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Astros hitters are hitting the ball, but unfortunately, the Rockies are creaming it. Cuddyer hit a granny offn Harrell in the first – an ominous sign, and Carlos Gonzalez hit 3 homers off 3 different pitchers (has Billy Beane made even ONE good trade that actually improved the Athletics winning over the past 6 or 7 years because it sure doesn’t look to me as if he has). Astros left men on base in every single inning.

Lucas gave up 9 ER over 5 IP. He had already given up 6 ER at the end of 5 and I thought he was lucky to escape giving up only the solo homer in the 5th and was very VERY surprised when he was sent back out to start the 6th – gave up 3 straight singles, and Rhiner Cruz let both inherited runners score and Xavier Cedeno let Cruz’ runners score – and one of his own. Not a good day for relievers. David Carpenter pitched 2 innings and managed to only give up 1 solo homer.

sigh

Tonight, Bud Norris faces Jeremy Guthrie. Bud didn’t exactrly have himself a stellar start last outing, but at least he isn’t relying on any sort of sinking pitch or curveball, so hopefully he’ll keep the darn ball DOWN and not down the middle.

sigh

I would say that I can’t wait until we get home so I can watch the darn games, but it sure doesn’t seem as if I’m missing real too much.

Notes: Astros signed a AAA lifer named Brian Bass to replace Henry Sosa in the rotation and he threw 6 scoreless last night. Now, that’s just great for AAA, but this is not indicating that any of those pitching pickups from last year’s trades are doing well, does it?

In case all yall curious, the Astros replaced the released TJ Steele (at AA) by calling up Andrew Bailey from Lancaster. He had been at AA last year, posting a .848 OPS over 123 AB, and all he got for his trouble was getting sent down.

8/24/11: Rockies Sweep Astros

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Bud Norris absolutely needs to work on his fielding and he needs to be a LOT faster to the plate – and he had thrown 74 pitches by the end of the 3rd inning – 3 walks, 3 SB and FOUR throwing/fielding effups.

Oh yeah – and 94 pitches by the end of the 4th – just TOO many effing pitches out of the strike zone – he’s lookin like he did a year ago – with a lot fewer strikeouts.

And Wandy has caught WB disease giving up 4 in the first – single, triple (Shuck, playing LF, dived and missed), single, homer that woulda been off the scoreboard at home, 2 groundouts, a single, then a single that was a effup by Paredes – throwing to the wrong base again, just as he did last night – needs to learn to get the out at first, and a blessed final GO. 34 freaking pitches. He gave up a 2 run homer in the 4th that didn’t count because the runner reached on error – Downs is not a good fielder.

So I guess we’ll find out tomorrow whether or not Wandy will stay with us or go to the Rox.

sigh

The boys did a whole lot of hitting but left too many guys on and made too many fielding screwups.

Things I’ve noticed – Jimmy Paredes is getting a total pass about all the errors/mental effups he makes and CJ never did. Clint Barmes doesn’t hit better than Adam Everett did and isn’t near the fielder but yet I never hear a word about that.

JA Happ has been called back up to take Lyles spot in the rotation – he pitched better at AAA, but he still gave up 3 walks each start. He had a start of 5,6 and 7 innings. I can’t wait to see the new and improved J.

Escalona is hurting and has been put on the DL and so Juan Abreu, one of the prizes (ahem) in the Michael Bourn trade is being called up. Fast Eddie gots to show off his mad skillz. Abreu, by the way, is a righty, which means we just might could be seeing Wesley Wright playing RF a lot more often.

8/22/11: Bogusevic Homers Again As Astros Resume Losing Ways

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

This entry is gonna be short tonight (kidz!!!!!) and I got home late and the score was already 6-0 because the ol WB had thrown 32 pitches allowing SIX freaking runs including a 2 run double to the pitcher.

I’m more than disgusted because the Astros just waived byby to any chance of getting rid of him and now it’s gonna be Wandy, unfortunately.

It’s too bad that Bogu didn’t hit that homer with 2 on 2 out in the bottom of the second. And that Clank didn’t swing at a slider in the dirt with 2 on 2 out in the 4th. Another year of watching Clank waste space on a team which should be only playing young guys.

But I digress – Bogu went 3 fer 4 with a 10 pitch walk and he should not be benched for the likes of Jason Worthless Michaels – actually, today, he managed to get on base by being HBP which was pretty good for him – and he scored a run on Downs pinch 3 run homer.

Let’s say that Schafer was less than impressive with bat or glove. Yes, I know, small sample size and he’s gonna get the rest of the year to sink or swim.

Aneury pitched 2 great innings – got an out, gave up 2 walks in the 8th, so in comes David Carpenter who Francoes poor Aneury’s runners, then manages to load up the bases before getting a swinging K for the final out.

This team is BAD at stranding runners. Both relievers letting other pitchers runners score and hitters at leaving too many MOB. Tonight, we had fifteen hits – FIFTEEN – and scored only 5 runs.

sigh

Tomorrow night, Bud Norris faces righty Alex White, age 23, who has been on the DL since the middle of May with a sore middle finger. He was Cleveland’s 1st round pick in 09 – they traded him for Ubaldo jiminez a few weeks back. So we’ll have to see what we get. At least Jason Michaels won’t be playing RF.

Carlos Lee Hits Grand Slam To Power Astros Comeback Win Over Rockies: Unfortunately, Paulino Doesn’t Get The W

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Best news from the game tonight is that Paulino again pitched REALLY well. He threw 8 innings (117 pitches) gave up 8 H, 1 W, 1 IBB, 7 K. He gave up the first run on a double down the line, then on a popup to shallow right that Keppinger misjudged/didn’t get. He gave up a single to right to Herrera, the second baseman, who came around to score on another double down the RF line that hit the grandstand where it justs out and the ball ricocheted past Hunter for long enough for the run to score.

He threw pretty much just FB and the 89-90 MPH sliders with just a few curveballs, and there weren’t any really well hit balls. This was his 5th straight QS and 6th of 7. He has only given up 2 homers this YEAR. He has gone 8 innings in each of his last 3 starts, but he hasn’t seemed to be tired or struggling in any of those. And yes, I DO know that he has thrown between 106 and 120 pitches in every start except for 1.

Interesting – by the middle of May – 7 starts, he looked lousy in all but 1 of those – poor control, too many pitches thrown/inning, too many walks. But because the Astros have pimped him (and he wasn’t a Purpura pick) they gave him more rope than they have given any other young pitcher in YEARS and he’s pitching better and better. I hope this is lesson they don’t forget with Bud Norris, who has less than half of Paulino’s major league innings.

One interesting change in the pitching this year is that Arnesberg/Mills are not pulling the starters for pinch hitters in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings or after 100 pitches as a matter of routine, as was done the past few years. Unless they are having a bad game, the starters are going much deeper into games. Will be interesting to see if they are more tired out by the end of August…

I know that lately, there has been a lot made of managers using their closers in any situation that is not The Save. (Especially The Mariano – who has been left sitting while some grossly inferior pitcher tries to get out the excellent heart of a lineup) but Jim Tracy wisely sent out his closer to face Lee and Pence with the score tied in the 9th. At least I thought it was the smart move.

And actually, I thought it was a smart move to have Matt Belisle IBB Lance with men on second and third, 2 out in the 10th, to face Carlos Lee, who was like 1 fer 20 with lots of groundouts (I guess it was like the time Phil Garner sent Brad Ausmus up to face Tom Glavine when he was like 1 fer 50 or something, saying that Brad was due, and by GUM, he got hisself a nice single) but maybe throwing 4 pitches out of the strike zone affected him because he threw Carlos a nice meaty FB mid thigh which Carlos sent 400 something feet – it would have been through the Conoco Pump window at home, looks like.

Wilton Lopez shut em down – the heart of the order – in the bottom of the 10th to preserve the W.

And he does look like another one of Ed Wade’s excellent waiver wire/trash heap reliever pickups. Ed Wade is at his best finding relief pitchers – CHEAP relief pitchers.

Tomorrow, it’s Roy-O vs Joulys Chacin.

Hope Roy has regained his temper and his form – especially if he is still trying to get traded.

Moehler Gives Up 3 Runs To The Rox, But Unlike Wandy Last Night, He Gets Run Support And Wins

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Last night, Wandy gave up 3 runs over 7 innings vs a really lousy pitcher and got a L for his effort.

Tonight, Brian Moehler gives up 3 runs over 6 innings against a very good pitcher, Jeff Francis, and gets a W because there were only 2 GIDPs instead of like 10 or something, although I must say that Lance has GOT to stop hitting all those GB to short/second unless he wants to take the GIDP title from Miggy. Anyone want to guess whether Moehler will be left in the rotation when Norris is ready to come off the DL? I would bet that unless the Astros start losing more, Norris will be tossed on the garbage pile of intermittant middle relief and left to rot while the Proven Veteran gets the starts because Drayton wants fans to think that this Team Can WINNN!!!!!!!

Tommy Manzella LIKEY hitting second – went 2 fer 4 with 2 singles, a FC and an RBI.

I’m just unbelieveably bummed about the incredibly awful draft selections so far. Their selling point is that they will all sign right away. Like Whoopie Freaking Doo. What’s the difference if they sign right away if they aren’t any good to begin with? I still can’t get over them wasting their #8 pick on Delino DeShields, Jr. I also do NOT believed that a guy who is Wesley Wright size was going to go play Division 1 football, neither.

sigh

I’ll review the entire draft as soon as it is finished. And I suppose it would make it fun to put odds on whether or not the Astros will actually pay up and sign Jacoby Jones, the 19th round selection who is a Boras client and wants $$$ or he will go to college.

Tomorrow, it’s Felipe Paulino vs Aaron Cook, who actually isn’t pitching well so far (like that matters when pitchers face the Astros…) but has pitched very well vs the Astros in the past: 4-1 in 8 GS and 1 in relief over 55.1 IP: 55H, 5 HR, 15 BB, 24 K, 22 ER: 3.86 ERA, 1.36 WHIP.

Roy Oswalt Loses His Cool With The HP Ump, Control Of ONE Pitch And The Ballgame

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Roy sure nuff can complain about no run support. Then again, Ubaldo Jiminez either threw a lot of balls, or threw unhittable strikes. He still isn’t close to equal to the most unhittable pitcher I ever saw face the Astros this decade, who was Francisco Liriano, back in 05. Or maybe Pedro, still with the Mets in 05, when he pitched a CG 2 hitter – giving up a homer to Chris Burke and an IF dribbler. Or all KINDS of games by John EFF Smoltz/Maddux/Glavine back in the early part of the decade…

Anyway, THIS time Roy made his own trouble. He wasn’t concentrating – maybe took his eyes off the ball – when Lance was feeding him a ball, which was only underhanded about 5′ at most, but he dropped it and Carlos Gonzalez, the very first hitter was on.

Now I’ve been watching Roy since he came up in 01, and I’ll tell you that the boy, he gots hisself a temper. Not the Milton Bradley kind, mind you, but when he gets UpSet, he loses his focus. He came back and got the #2 guy swinging, but he was really timid approaching Todd Helton, who really hasn’t hit that well off Roy – 6 fer 25 with 2 walks. So he goes to 3-2 and walks Helton.

And then it happened. Troy Tulowitski is up. Roy throws 2 strikes, and then Tulo fouls off 2. Roy throws a ball, and then strike 3. He starts to walk off the mound the way he always does when he knows he’s just thrown strike 3.

BUT

the ump calls it ball 2 and the ump is pissssssssssssed off – comes around in front of Q to glare at Roy. (This wasn’t the first time Roy, uh, didn’t agree with the call. ahem. Shades of Wandy and Angel Hernandez…) So Roy throws a good slider, which Tulo fouls off. Then he throws him a pitch crotch high middle in and Tulo sends it onto the tracks and there, my friends, went the ball game. Roy didn’t throw a tantrum, but he must have been seething inside, knowing he lost the ballgame in the FIRST freaking inning.

Sort of like last week when Roy served up a cookie to Juan Uribe. One bad pitch and it is OVAH. (Roy gots to stop this homer stuff – he’s already served up 7 in 9 games.)  It’s too bad, because except for that one bad pitch and 2 inexplicable walks to Helton, he pitched an absolutely superb game. Wasn’t real too happy with the HP ump more than a few other times. Wasn’t real too happy with Q, who trotted out to the mound more than a few times (shades of Towles – who, by the way, is out for 2-6 weeks with a broken thumb. When I said the boy needs a break, I didn’t mean it THAT way….) Thought he was gonna shoot Q when he dropped what should have been a foul tip strike 3 on the last hitter, but Roy got him to swing and miss.

I had this bad feeling that we were gonna get no-hit. But Quintero hit this weak grounder to third and the third baseman tried to barehand it, bobbled it, and Q beat the throw. I thought fer SHER it was an E5 and was very VERY surprised when it was called a hit. I was almost sorry – took the excitement out of the game, since I knew fer SHER we were gonna lose.

Pretty much everyone hit a weakass grounder to the 3B or to SS and Pence GIDP after Lance walked – keeping up the Astros tradition. But Q hit the only “hit” against Jiminez, who looks as if he’s gonna beat out Lincecum for the Cy this year.

I think that the only reason Jiminez didn’t get a CG is that he appeared to tweak something running out a grounder in which he reached on a Pedro Feliz grounder. Pedro, by the way, is not an elite defender – not by a LONNNNNGGGGG stretch.

Anyway, Manzella laid down a nice bunt for a single against reliever Matt Belisle, who I remember from the Reds a couple years back when he was a not real too successful spot starter, long reliever. Guess the thin air suits him these days.

And Bourn had the only good clean hit – a single through the hole to right against the closer, Corpas.

Gustavo Chacin pitched a good, quick 7th, the struggled in the 8th, giving up a double to Helton juuuuust inside the RF line, then a single to Tulo. With men on first and third, Hawpe hit a ball to left which Clank SHOULD have caught, but got a late jump on, lollygagged or something, so Bourn, backing up the play, had to play the ball on a hop and Helton trotted in. (Yall know about all the heck that Hanley Ramirez got for dogging it going after a ball he kicked – well, even without his acting the fool and dissing his manager for pulling him, interesting that he got a HECK of a lot more heck than Clank has EVER gotten for his lollygagging and dogging it and mailing it in on his throws. And Hanley makes plenty – can’t be the money. So why the double standard?)

So Wilton Lopez came in and got 3 flyouts to Bourn.

But really, it didn’t matter.

Fulchino came in for the 9th and struggled like heck. He walked the first guy, gave up a SB (Q’s throw was late and high) then struck out the batter, then walked the next guy on 4 pitches, which weren’t close. Why is he struggling with his control like this? Anyhow, with a lefty at the plate and a 2-0 count, the guy on second, Dexter Fowler, decides to steal third, don’t ask me why, but he got a late jump and Q nailed him easily. But naturally he walks the batter – so now he has THREE walks, a K and a CS, and he Ks Tulo staring and ohhhhhh, was Tulo Up Set with the HP ump. LOTS of guys were Up Set with the HP ump today. He had a tight zone all right, but at least it was the same for Roy as it was for Ubaldo and the same for the Rox that it was for the Astros.

And tomorrow, Gerry Hunsicker brings his team to town. The Rays are the best team in the MAJOR LEAGUES, and they went for massive suckage to AL pennant winners the year after he got there and made some outstanding trades and signings. Coincidence? I think not. They just finished mopping the floor with the Yankees and, well, although I detest and despise interleague play, you betcha I’m gonna watch and drink a nice cold ice tea to toast Gerry, the one who REALLY wanted to be a CHAMPEEYUNNN and who, the minute he got shut of Drayton and his idiocies, went right there.

Tomorrow night, we get a look at Matt Garza – one of Gerry’s outstanding trades in which he traded would-be STAH, who still hasn’t made it above mediocre, to the Twins who sent Garza, who has been a fabulous #2 guy (since he joined the Rays, has had ERA+ of 117, 199, 178) PLUS a great hitting and fielding SS, Jason Bartlett, to the Rays. Really made their team exponentially better. Gerry’s good at that.

I remember…

Sampson Blows Paulino’s First Win, But Astros Come From behind To Beat Rockies To Break 5 Game Losing Streak!!!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

It’s not that Paulino pitched an ace game – like the one in which he struck out 11 Padres but lost because of no run support. He started off VERY shaky – got a goundout, then walked TWO straight batters, then gave up an RBI single, then got a GIDP – lucky for him. He was nice and sharp in the 2nd and 3rd innings, even though he threw first pitch balls to each hitter. He need 12 pitches/inning and looked as if he was on cruise control, as the Astros were leading 2-1.

But then in the 4th, Hawpe singled, Tulo Kd on 6 pitches, then somehow, he lost all control over the ball. He walked Helton on 4 pitches – NONE of which were anywheres NEAR the strike zone, walked Olivo on 5 pitches (and one was a checked swing). I have like NO idea why he all of a sudden lost it. With bases loaded, he managed to contain the damage, giving up the tying run on a groundout, then striking out Olivo on a checked swing after 2 fouls.

But he came back in the 5th and got 1,2,3 out on 10 pitches, only 2 balls. He was a little shaky in the 6th, going back in with the lead after Carlos hit a line drive like 330′ into the Crawford Boxes. He went to a 3-2 count on Hawpe, striking him out on a curve, got Tulo to groundout, walked Helton on a 3-2, then got Olivo on a swinging K on another 3-2.

Two runs over 6 innings, with FIVE walks, 2 hits and 4 K. Not a thing of beauty, but only wild pitche (which didn’t lead to a run, for ONCE), no hit batters, no IBB. And he SHOULD have FINALLY gotten his first W of the year when he left leading (he must be feeling like Shawn Chacon – hehhehheh) but….

Chris Sampson came in to pitch the 7th, got Mora to GO, then hung some kind of slow breaker, and Barmes hit it high off the CBox wall. Tie game.

And this, my friends, is why I really hate using pitcher win/loss to judge pitchers. The days of everyone finishing his own ballgames vanished over 50 years ago, and when it comes to bullpens, youneverknow. It was Chris’ first homer surrendered this year. But you know how sliders are – iffn you hang em, they gonna bang em. Ask Uncle, you disbelieve me…

So Lyons held the line in the 8th and Lindstrom closed the door in the 9th.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – I wanna talk about the Astros hitting – and tonight, they hit a LOT. Trouble was, they did lousy with MOB – at least  for most of the game.

Let’s talk about hits/walks (none until the last inning, but I’m getting ahead of myself again):

1st inning: Bourn singles, Kepp doubles him home, Berkman, Lee, Pence all GO – Lance 7 pitches, Carlos 3, Pence 2. The Astros have THE fewest pitches/PA in the MAJOR leagues. Along with the lowest BA and the fewest walks. That’s just sorry. Also, the 3,4,5 hitters leaving a man on second – that’s sorry, too.

2nd inning: Feliz hits one of those dribblers down the LF line that goes about 60′ and the 3B has to hope rolls foul because he couldn’t throw out the runner if he was Brooks Robinson (never saw the guy, but going on hearsay..) Tommy Manzella breaks an ofer 16 and singles to left. Cash is up. Cash has 1 hit in 19 AB. Should he sac-bunt or swing away? The guy can’t catch up to anything fastern 84 MPH. He’s even worse than Kaz Matsui. I mean. he’s GONNA be out. It’s not like you’re asking Lance to sac bunt, although lately – but I digress. Anyway, Cash Ks – what a total waste of an AB. Then Felipe Paulino singles, but Feliz is held up at third because he runs only slightly fastern Bengie Molina. Bourn grounds out, scoring Feliz, advancing the runners, and then with Kepp up, Manzella gets his fool self picked off third (although I think he might could have a case for the ump being wrong…)

No one asked Mills why in the name of all that is holy why he had Cash swinging away.

3rd inning: Kepp singles, Lance singles. Men on second and third, Lee pops up swinging on a pitch not in the strike zone. Pence gets an IF hit (he’s getting a LOT of those this year.) Feliz, the supposedly great RBI man the Phils phoolishly didn’t re-up, strikes out, swinging at two pitches WAAAYYY out of the strike zone. Manzella flies out – woulda had a sac-fly if there weren’t 3 outs. No runs on 3 hits, bases loaded.

4th: Cash, Paulino and Bourn go down in order.

5th: Carlos hits one out. Pence hits a clean single to left, Feliz Ks again. He’s getting near Kaz territory.

6th: Manzella singles, Cash sac-bunts (bout time) Jason Michaels pops up the first pitch, Bourn grounds out on a 3-2 count. Guess which Astro sees the most pitches per PA – and guess who still gets heck about the strikeouts. Much better for him to groundout on the second or third pitch like everyone else.

7th: it’s a new pitcher, a rookie with a 6 something ERA (like that’s helped the Astros) Esmail Rogers, who gets Kepp, Lance and Lee out after Sampson has coughed up the homer to tie the score. He comes back out for the 8th. He gets out Pence and Feliz no sweat. And then, miracles happen.

Tommy Manzella hits a slow grounder to the second baseman – it takes a sort of funny hop just before he gets it, and when he picks it up, he bobbles it and Manzella is safe. Not sure IF he could have fielded it cleanly, but Manzella is aboard. Now, I don’t know if Rogers freaked out because of the error, or if he just can’t pitch worth spit from the stretch, but he walks PH Blum on 5 pitches (and yes, I WAS shocked that Sullivan didn’t go first) and it’s men on first and second, 2 outs.

 Sullivan comes in to pinch hit. And DAMM if he doesn’t  manage to make contact on a curveball that is down and away and shoot it opposite field through the 5.5 hole. Manzella, naturally, broke for home and the LF races for the ball, tries to throw Tommy out at the plate, but Tommy actually runs well (the only guy on the team who is not Pence/Bourn fast, who is not slow) and he beats the throw, which was a lousy throw – gets away from Olivo and runners move up.

So the rook is all shook up – after all, Sullivan DID hit a pitchers’ pitch and he didn’t pull it, as he does 99% of the time. So, bring in a lefty to pitch to Bourn? Well, Bourn DOES hit leftys well. So it is IBB Bourn to load the bases and the rook to face Kepp. I personally think that IBBs, unless you are talking about Uncle with the game on the line, are usually bad ideas for the team that issues them, unless you are bringing in a new pitcher – and for some reason, the Rockies don’t.

And he goes to 3-1 on Keppinger, then throws him a nice meaty FB, inside, crotch high, and Kepp laces it down the LF line for a 3 run double. And the Rox lose.

Maybe we WILL manage to make it to 15-30.

Tomorrow, it’s a pitchers duel between Roy and Ubaldo Jimenez, who is currently the ERA leader at 1.12. He has only 1 loss and that was because he gave up 1 run over 8 innings and the other guy gave up none. He’s already no-hit Atlanta this year. So Michael Bourn had better be thinking of bunting for hits.

Poor Roy…

6/4/09: Hitter Pence And His 3 RBIs Carry The Astros To Victory

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Pence had a great night – went 4 fer 5 including a game tying homer and the game WINNING single, drove in 3 and scored 2.

Moehler was OK – cruised easily through the first 4 innings, then gave up a few singles, then a 3 run homer when he threw a FB mid plate mid thigh to Ian Stewart. In the 6th, he gave up a double, a single then a sac-fly and a W. Even though he was at only 74 pitches, Coop pulled him for The Great Pinch Hitter Jason Michaels, who walked. Bourn walked, but Miggy FO with bases loaded to end the inning and any chance of a W for Moehler.

Byrdak pitched a scoreless 7th.

Marquis promptly gave up a game tying homer to Pence, gave up consecutive singles, then ran into bad luck. Pudge lined out, then Blum hit into a perfect 4-6-3, but the second baseman screwed up the play, so Carlos scored the go-ahead run.

Except for the homer the other day, Carlos hasn’t driven in ANY runs since May 16. He’s still hitting, just not with RISP.

I also should mention that tonight was Chris Sampson’s second 2 inning save. I guess he is allowed to do that because he’s not The Designated Closer.

I don’t suppose I should mention that even with all this recent winning, we’re still in last place in the central – we’re only better than the Nats, Rox and Dbax in the NL. Among all the Roy trade talk is the report of some guy in some Organization/MLB saying that Drayton is going to refuse to trade AWAY players, but he expects to ACQUIRE players.

Sounds like Drayton, that is fer SHER. However, I seriously wonder if he is stubbornly going to stick to that if the Astros are still mired in last place after the break…

Tomorrow, it’s Wandy vs Jason Hummel. I certainly hope that home cooking will get Wandy’s curveball back to its usual filthy form.

5/14/09: Michael Is Bourn Again And Wandy Ks A Career High 11 To Win #4

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Seems to me if I remember rightly (and I do, of course) a WHOLE lot of people at the beginning of the year were ready to flush Michael Bourn down the toilet because he had a very lousy rookie (full time player) year. It sure nuff is true that if he wasn’t Ed Wade’s pet and if he hadn’t been traded for Brad Lidge, who didn’t blow one single game last year for the World Champion Phillies, he most likely would have gotten the JR Towles banishment treatment and would never have had another chance (makes me wonder how JR would have done if Ed Wade had told Coop that Towles was his man and WAS gonna play and Coop best adjust his attitude…)

But sometimes, you’re good and sometimes you’re lucky and sometimes you’re good n lucky and seems as if that’s Michael right there. He’s improved in every facet of his game from baserunning to fielding to taking walks, to hitting to all fields as well as learning that all-important sac-bunt. Over 128 PA, he’s only struck out 23 times and he’s walked 13 times. He’s hitting .317/.382/.439/.821 and has 10 RBIs. True, he’s no Jim Edmonds 2004 with the bat, but he’s sure nuff getting on base very well and actually, really, the only weak part of his game is the strength of his arm, but at least he’s very good at hitting the cutoff man.

Today, he made 5 excellent plays, 2 in the last inning, went 4 fer 5 with a double, didn’t strand anyone, stole home in a very kewl double steal with Clank (more on him later) going to second, and he stole third and scored 2 of the 5 Astros runs today to back Wandy in yet another Quality Start.

And as for Wandy, the Magic Wandy was awesome yet again.

(And who here does not know that I’ve been a serious Wandy fan for 4 years, now? And who thought he would be ace of this staff? Seeing as how many thought he was barely good enough to be a #5 and should be traded for some crap…)

He struck out 11 (a career high), walked none, gave up 5 hits (should have been 4) and 3 runs (should have been 1.) He pitched 7 innings, 113 pitches, 77 strikes and 8 of his 11 Ks were swinging – and in the 5th inning, Wandy struck out the side on swinging strikes. That curve was absolutely lethal.

He ran into trouble in the 4th because first, Berkman didn’t catch the ball on a simple 1-3 and the runner went all the way to third. Next, Todd Helton was credited with a double on a ball that was CLEARLY foul. Wandy wasn’t the happiest, but he struck out the next batter, but then gave up an RBI double and an RBI single. If the first 2 batters hadn’t reached on Berkman then umpire error, he would have given up maybe only 1 run. That is, if Clank had thrown home instead of to second. But on the other hand, his arm is not really any stronger than Bourn’s these days, so maybe not. But in spite of his steal of second (the defense was busy with Tejada’s K and Bourn coming home) he has slowed up considerably this year, to my eyes, not that he was real too particular fast before. And, by the way, he WAS definitely out at home in the third – ran too slowly on Pence’s triple and had a terrible slide and actually missed the plate. At least he remembered to slide this time – gotta give him that.

I was glad to see Coop use Sampson for setup instead of wasting time with anyone else with only a 2 run lead.

And speaking of runs, Geary went on the DL – says his arm is hurting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it really was, seeing as how he hasn’t been able to pitch for spit since ST ended.

Fulchino is back up. Now Ortiz won’t feel so all alone in the mopup spot. Which reminds me – I read that Fastr Eddie went down to Corpus to watch Backe pitch. He only threw 77 pitches, gave up 4 runs over 6 IP. Best I know, Paulino will start on Sunday vs the Cubs and I have this feeling it is his poopoo or get offn the potty time. He can’t throw pitches down the middle and he’ll HAVE to keep the ball down a LOT better than he has his last couple of times.

It’s Wrigley Time (and Lance has never hit well thre, so will be interesting to see what happens. Wonder if Coop will move him down in the lineup.) Fortunately for us, Zambrano is out and so are Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee and Mark DeRosa is now with the Indians.

Tomorrow, it’s Brian Moehler vs Randy Wells, RHP, age 26, who has all of 10.1 IP in the majors over the past 3 years. Last week, he had his first ML start, vs the Brewers and pitched 5 scoreless innings of 5 hit, 2 walk ball. Seems it is guys like him who just kill the Astros – no book on the guy yet.

Saturday, it’s Roy vs Sean Marshall, LHP. Vs the Astros, Sean is 1-4 in 5 GS and 1 in relief with a 3.77 ERA/1.53 WHIP/.283 BAA over 28.2 IP – 30 H, 4 HR, 14 BB, 14 K, 15 R, 12 ER.

Will Roy EVER pitch a real ROY game this year? Like the one he threw last Sept 1 at Wrigley, giving up 3 hits, no runs over 8.1 shutout innings, causing more than a few Cubs to ask me – like WHO was that guy wearing Roy’s uni?

The time is now.