Friday, May 8, 2009

Recap for G29 - Cubs at Astros

There are teams with bigger problems than the Astros right now. The Dodgers, for instance. The Padres, for instance. But this is not a blog about them. The Astros needed five relievers to clean up Ortiz' mess, who was - once again - ineffective. It's hard to imagine a starter getting pulled in the third inning and not being injured, but that seems to be exactly what happened. Ortiz needed 57 pitches, just over half of them strikes, to get seven outs, allowing six hits and three walks. And you just get the feeling Ortiz is skating on thin ice, though Paulino didn't do anything special, either, needing 43 pitches to allow five hits, two walks and four earned...and two outs. Let's get to the beatdown:

Ortiz: 2.1IP, 6H, 3ER, 1K:3BB
Byrdak: 1.2IP, 1H, 1ER, 1K:0BB
Sampson: 3IP, 1K
Wright: .2IP, 2H, 2K
Paulino: .2IP, 5H, 4ER, 1K:2BB
Arias: .2IP

All in all it took 178 pitches to get those 27 outs, and the pitcher of the night definitely goes to Chris Sampson, who went 3IP, didn't allow a hit, and only needed 33 pitches to do it.

First-pitch strikes: 6
First-pitch balls: 9


Coop should be taking a good hard look at the rotation. Relieving, so far, clearly doesn't suit Paulino - but he was effective as a starter. Sampson, despite what happened the other night, has been on lock. Right now, starting doesn't suit Ortiz. And relieving ain't so hot, either. If the Astros want to start the rebuilding project this season, that's fine with me. But it won't happen. You don't spend $95-100 million on payroll to rebuild. So all of those glaring mistakes - each and every one of them over the past three years - is obvious right now, and will be obvious for a couple of years to come. Now, could the Astros turn it around and make a run for it? Sure. Veterans are veterans for a reason - because they know how to win. But you can't seriously expect a team to go 60-30 after starting 20-50 every season.

The Astros only got eight hits - and Miguel Tejada had half of them. Lee, Pence, Pudge, and Erstad had the other four. Cubs pitchers rung up 11 Astros, and Berkman was the victim four times. Four times! Three of them swinging strikeouts. That's a guy who can't find the ball, and that's not like Berkman. Maybe that biceps tendonitis is worse, or lingering more, than expected.

The Astros' strikes swinging: 17 (eight from Berkman)
The Astros' strikes looking: 28 (four from Berkman)

Longest AB of the night: 7 pitches by Russ Ortiz - how pathetic is that?

Man of the Match:
Sampson was a good candidate, but this one's going to Miggs. 4x5 with his first homer of the year and two doubles. Maybe the guy should get probation before every game - har! har!

Goat of the Game:
I'm not going to give the Goat to Berkman every time he nuts it at the plate. Though 0x5 with 4Ks certainly is deserving. But big picture, the Astros need a starter who maybe could make it to the 6th or 7th inning and spell that bullpen a while. So Russ Ortiz going out and getting 2.1IP in before being yanked is definitely Goat-worthy. Russ Ortiz, get your Goat.

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