Saturday, May 2, 2009

G24 Recap: Astros Backhand Braves 5-1

That was a strong effort this afternoon/evening by the boys in brick red. Lance got us going early with a bullet over the fence in left center. Lance has been trying to go the other way quite a bit lately and he was finally able to hit one hard. If you catch a replay, watch as he closes that front shoulder at the last second before the uncoil. Amazing adjustment made by a professional hitter. Soon after that, the rains came again. Roy had the chance to throw 17 pitches for 1 scoreless inning. After the game resumed 97 excrutiating minutes later, Oswalt and Jurrjens had to turn the game over to the bullpens. And on this night, the Astros(10-14) were just flat out better at executing.
The Braves (11-12) first turned to Buddy Carlyle in the third. Chipper Jones, who made 2 errors in the game, was directly responsible for 2 of the 3 runs given up by Carlyle. He flubbed a grounder by Tejada (0/4) that cost the Braves a pair of outs. Hunter (3/4) then had a great AB, fouling off 5 pitches in the sequence before rolling one through the right side for a single, loading the bases. After getting a pop fly from Blum, Ivan Rodriguez (2/4, 1 RBI) lined a sharp single to right scoring Carlos Lee.
Coop then pinch hit for Paulino, who had done an adequate job coming out of the pen for the first time this year. Erstad then got a pitch to drive and that resulted in a Sac Fly scoring Tejada and moving up Hunter. The third run of the inning came next as a result of Azz Mat (2/5, 1 RBI) driving in Pence with a single to center.
The parade of relievers continued for the rest of the game with Byrdak (W, 2.1), Sampson (H, 1.2), Brocail (H, 1.0) and LaHawk (1.0) combining to hold the Braves scoreless for the final 6 frames.
The final run of the game came on a pair of extra base hits from Pudge and Bourn off Atlanta reliever James Parr.

Some Final Toughts:

Everyone in the order had a hit tonight except Miggy.

This season when the Astros play in rain delayed games in Atlanta during the Month of May, and leave 16 men on base, they are 1-0. Hard to believe, right?

The Staff's combined line: 9 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 9 K

Chris Sampson managed to catch a hard grounder with his ankle. The early report says it's just a bruise. He might be out a day or two for swelling.

The rotation will be completely jumbled after today. Sounds like Roy will be pitching Sunday. We'll update in the morning.

MAN OF THE MATCH : Pudge, great game offensively, but really did a great job handling all of the pitchers coop ran out there. Very cool.

GOAT DE JOUR: Miggy, you were the only AstBro that didn't come through with a hit. You are dangerously close to repeating the massive fall off you had last season, only it's starting 2 months earlier this year.
My first time seeing the Astros win since Opening Day 2006 was cheapened by the motorcycle cop blaring "I Swear" outside Turner Field.
Just a quick update from the game: what is it with old people not being able to handle fans of the opposite team. I yelled for Berkman's jack and got The Eye.

G24 Preview : Astros v. Braves

Roy Oswalt is (0-2 3.94) looking for his first win as he gets his first start in this month of May. Many a wizard costume wearing fan will be delighted if he can continue his dominance over the last three starts where he has only allowed a total of 5 runs. The Braves (11-11) do not offer much of a threat to the Astros (9-14) Ace in theory, but in practice Oswalt has NEVER gotten a win against Atlanta, and they are only NL team yet to feel his hand.
However, the Braves opposing starter, Jair Jurrjens (2-2 1.72) should be up to the challenge facing him today in the form of an increasingly inconsistant Astros lineup. The everyday lineup has a habit of not showing up for long stretches of time and last nights yawnfest proved that they are in a hurry to get the postgame spead more often than not. Jair, a 23 year old righthander from Curacao, has not allowed more than three runs in any of his five starts and has been the victim of run support by his breathren in his two losses and one ND.
The other news coming from Astros Brass today, Jose Valverde will be out of action for as many as five weeks now.

Astros Batters against Jurrjens (career)

Bourn 1/2 .500
Michaels 0/1 .000
Pudge 1/1 1.000 1 HR
Smitty 1/1 1.000 1 HR

Braves Hitters against Roy O (career)

C. Jones 1/6 .167
D. Ross 1/4 .250

So not many career AB's for anyone in this game against either starter, but history indicates, the Astros hitters that have seen Jair, have fared well.

This thing about Paulino to the bullpen

While the wife is in the bathroom I did want to chime in and flip-flop around with this Paulino decision.

1: Paulino had three strong starts. Moehler has had four weak innings. Based on merit, and based on what I would hope to be the long-term goals of the Astros, Paulino should stay in the rotation.

2: That said, you're telling me that the bullpen doesn't need a solid arm who could go two or three innings?

3: Let's face it, this will be a temporary move. Someone else will go down and Paulino is your SP6.

Friday, May 1, 2009

G23: Wet, Hot Bummer. HOU falls 7-2 to ATL

You know, I was feeling optimistic tonight. Hampy, on a roll, with something to prove to the Atlanta BooByrds/fans. The Houston Bros exploded out to an early lead, thx to Bourn and Lance combining to force one across in the top 1. Then my sugar plums were jostled by missuer Franceour. He pissed on Hampy's weak juice like Pudge told him, "Hey, Amigo...Here come the pelota de sinko".
From then on, the only thing that stopped the Tomahawking Batsmen from Georgia, was a riveting 117 minute rain delay in which the Reliever Bros managed to beat the Outfield Bros in a game of 'Scene IT! The Harry Potter Edition' on the clubhouse big screen tv.
Aside from the winners of the rain delay festivites, the Local 9 fell 7-2 in part to solid relief pitching from the Braves, shaky defense from Puma and ineffective pitching from Hampton, Geary and Fulchino.
Situational hitting was poor, as both our runs came via outs, which hurts big inning potential.
Bourn is your Man of the Match for tonights game after going 3-5 with a triple and run scored. And Goat de jour will be given to Hampton for not making it through five innings and giving up 5 ER w/ 0 K's.

Tomorrow's game is early: 2:40 cst. And with another day, brings another chance to take some scalps. -Jason
I can see both sides of sending Paulino to the Bullpen. Can you?

-Love, Constable

Hampton Expecting Not so Warm Welcome.

Hampy was supposed to be a front of the rotation mauler for the Braves in 2003. But, after five long, frustratingly injured seasons, the once again viable Mike Hampton will pitch in Atlanta for the the Astros. He will kick off the series against the Bravos facing Sinker-baller Derek Lowe and a Braves team that beat our Bros 3 out of 6 last year (2 of 3 in ATL) and have a current record of 10 wins and 11 losses.

Hampy does have some experience pitching against the Braves. If you remember back to the days of yore, when the Killer Bees were flailing away at the Big 3 of Maddox, Glavine and Smoltz, he compiled a 4-9 career mark with a ho-hum 4.22 ERA. While my fathers Astros were no match for them then, we have at least a fighting chance against this Braves staff which will feature Lowe (2-1 2.15), Jair Jurrjens (2-2 1.72), and JoJo Reyes (0-1 4.26).

Atlanta fans will surely bust Hampy's balls tonight as they remind him of the large chunk of $60M he stole over the last three years with the team. While the fans will surely boo their tomahawking hearts out, the dudes in the Braves dugout will not be so surly. Mgr. Bobby Cox and RF Jeff Francoeur both had kind words about him yesterday as a teammate, but are ready to "put it on him". I don't know what "It" is, but I don't want them putting anything on my Bro tonight.

Auto Pilot: ON

Hey Kids! I'll be your substitute bloggerman for the weekend series with the Atlanta Braves. I will make sure to hit the high points, the low points and keep churning out the Anal Fissure jokes at a Hall-of-Fame clip.

A Note on the Weekend Series with the Braves

Fair Citizens,

I am going away with La Constabless this weekend, and as you may have inferred, we are heading to Atlanta. This is where the players play. But since this is a mini-vacation, updates to Astros County will be handled by Deputy Jason. There may or may not be a Live Blog this weekend, that's up to Deputy Jason and his schedule.

I'll be at the Astros-Braves game on Saturday. If you have Twitter, follow @AstrosCounty for updates during the game. I'll be back sometime Sunday, and we'll pick up from there.

For now, I bring you...Deputy Jason!

Young'un of the Day

Round Rock
A 6-2 L for the Express, but Yordany Ramirez went 2x4 with a double to raise his average to .350 on the year.

Corpus Christi
Take that, you Rockhounds! This time, it was the Hooks' turn to go off in a 12-8 win. YotD goes to Drew Locke, who had a 5x5, 1HR-3RBI night.

Albert Cartwright went 4x5 with 2 doubles in a 13-1 win over Rome.


If you think April didn't hurt Lance, you're just wrong, sir

Nice little off-day article from JJO on Lance's struggles. Lance, you don't really care, do you? But you're so happy-go-lucky! Baseball really doesn't matter to you, right?

“That couldn’t be any further from the truth. You wish that those people could experience just one of the sleepless nights where you lay awake and think about every one of your at-bats and what you could have done differently. Or when you don’t want to eat because your stomach’s in knots because you’re concerned about your performance, the time when you’re short with your wife and kids because you’re thinking about not doing well in the game and the battle that you have to go through. You live that way for three-quarters of the year, and it’s not fun.”

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dude, Valverde's leg is grrroooossss.

So rest just isn't going to cut it for Jose Valverde. He has some hematomas - meaning blood clots within a muscle - that require draining, possibly more than once.

JV's DL stint is retroactive to Monday - so that's April 27, meaning he can come off the DL May 11.

Astros attendance taking a hit in April

Jayson Stark's new column talks about how overblown the attendance decrease is across MLB to this point in the season. But there's no mistaking average attendance is down at Minute Maid Park, and as Stark points out, the Astros are drawing 29,508 customers per game, down 3,881 from 2008 (-11.7%)

Yes, attendance is down, but let's look at the attendance per home series:

Series 1 vs. Cubs (including 43,827 for OD09): 34,998
Series 2 vs. Reds: 28,772
Series 3 vs. Dodgers: 26,388
Series 4 vs. Brewers: 28,120

The Astros have drawn 30,000+ fans three times since that opening series: Friday/Saturday games against the Reds and Saturday against the Brewers.

UPDATE: Stark also points out that the Marlins may be in search of a back-of-the-bullpen type of pitcher if they can keep within striking distance of the NL East lead. Among many possible matches for what the Marlins hope to accomplish with this, Stark puts Valverde and LaHawk squarely on the block.

Valverde comes off the books next year, and I think if the Astros were going to sign him to a multi-year deal, it would have been last year. That said, they did not. Same thing with LaHawk. He's owed $3.5 million this year and is not under contract beyond 2009. So with both of these pitchers, let's say the Astros trade both of them - which they will not do - we're looking at getting at least two prospects in return for rent-a-pitchers, and for once, I think the Astros should end up on the right end of a rent-a-player. I'm looking at you, Randy Johnson. And I'm definitely looking at you, Carlos Beltran.

The Astros value Ross Seaton more than they value you

In an article in the Examiner (which I'm not really sure what this publication does), Stephen Goff takes a good long look at Ross Seaton. An excerpt:

Tal Smith, Astros president of baseball operations, refused to let Seaton go undrafted by his hometown team. Smith acknowledges Spring Wood’s Roger Clemens, Spring’s Josh Beckett, Cy Fall’s Scott Kazmir, and Seaton as the top four high school pitchers ever to come out of the Houston area.

In order to persuade Seaton to sign with the Astros, Smith and owner Drayton McLane needed to come up with a substantially high offer. McLane values Smith’s opinion when it comes to young ball players. When McLane heard Smith describe Seaton as “one of the best ever to come out of high school,” the Astros owner made it a point to something special to sign Seaton.

McLane decided to offer Seaton a signing bonus higher than Commissioner Bud Selig’s slotting system for a typical third-round compensation pick. The Astros’ owner offered Seaton a $700,000 signing bonus to forgo his baseball scholarship to Tulane and a $252,000 college scholarship plan.

Changes in Saturday's matchup

This is of particular importance to me, as I will be attending this game (Note: any Citizens in the Greater Atlanta area, which stretches from Nashville to Jacksonville, attending the game? Give me a shout.), but the Braves' Saturday starter, Kenshin Kawakami, will be skipped due to shoulder soreness. Jair Jurrjens Jwill Jtake Jhis Jplace versus Russ Ortiz.

UPDATE: MLB and ESPN both have Oswalt vs. Jurrjens for Saturday's matchup. By pushing Ortiz to Tuesday's game at Washington, everyone else stays on their regular schedule. I'm in favor of this on so many levels.

Young'un of the Day: April 29

Well, it's April 30, but YotD for April 29...

Round Rock
Off last night

It sure ain't Brian Moehler. So it goes to Jimmy Van Ostrand! 3x5 with 2HR, 4RBI in a 16-9 loss to Midland.

Catcher Federico Hernandez went 2x4 with a 2-run homer in a 4-2 win over Rome.

Chris Minaker collected his 2nd 3-hit game in two days, and collected 2RBI in a 4-3 win over San Jose.

Woody Williams still active

According to ESPN Fantasy Baseball. And if that doesn't blow your mind...

...You can draft him for your fantasy team, and if that doesn't blow your mind...
...He's listed as an Astro, and if that doesn't blow your mind...
...0.1% of teams have Woodrow on their roster!

Baseball Hangman!

In this article we read shocking(!), yet not(!) surprising, news about A-Rod's possible steroid use in places other than Texas.

One of the reasons he is suspected is because of a nickname. Now for our first installment of Baseball Hangman!

(Selena) Roberts broke the story that A-Rod failed a steroid test in 2003. Yankees teammates, Roberts writes, nicknamed Rodriguez "B---h T--s" in 2005...

B_ _ _ _ H T _ _ S


That Was Your Month: April

Record: 9-13, 6GB, 78RS / 92RA

Biggest Win: 7-0 vs. Cincinnati
Biggest Loss: 11-2 at St. Louis
Home: 5-8
Road: 4-5

Most telling stat: 19 of the 22 games this month were against divisional foes. How'd they do? 7-12. Not so good.




Paulino could stay, but now how you might think

The story was filed around 10pm, when it might not have been so evident to JJO or the Chronicle that Moehler got rocked by Midland (the Rockhounds, ironically).

Paulino has done well in his three starts. So well, in fact, that it's a possibility that the Astros will take him out of a role in which he is effective...

Says Coop:
“There is a possibility of him staying around and pitching out of the bullpen. Yes, there is a possibility.”

Reactions to G22 - Astros at Reds

Dusty Baker:
“Sooner or later, I knew we were going to beat those guys. But I wanted it to be sooner. It wasn’t just getting a gorilla off our backs, it was getting King Kong off our back.”

Bourn, on Volquez:
“I believe we should have hit him. We put some good swings on him tonight.”

Cooper, on Paulino:
“I thought Felipe threw the ball terrific. We just can’t seem to score any runs when he’s on the mound. We’ve scored one run in the three starts that he’s had, and that’s not going to get it done for a guy who’s throwing the ball pretty well for us.”

Cooper, on Volquez:
“I didn’t think he was all that sharp,” Cooper said of Volquez. “I really didn’t. I thought he had some life to his fastball. It looked like we had some pitches to hit, but we just didn’t swing it very well. You have to give him some credit. I didn’t think he was like a one-hit type of performance, but I did think he threw the ball really well.”

Bourn, on what happened in center with Lee:
“I called the ball. If I call it I want it. I’m not calling it just for my health. That’s all I can say. I don’t try to bully nobody or do nothing like that. I’m the center fielder. I want the ball. I call it. I want it, simple as that.”

“I wanted to attack the zone, attack the hitters. Ramon (Hernandez) and I were together all night. I could throw my pitches where I wanted.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maybe Paulino's spot in the rotation is safe, after all

Moehler's line this fine evening: 5IP, 11H/8ER, 2K:0BB
That's right. Those are Double-A hitters.

Well, that's 90 pitches. In five innings. Against Oakland's Double-A team.

That Was Your Series: Astros @ Reds

Monday: 4-1 W
Tuesday: 8-3 W
Wednesday: 3-0 L

Most telling stat: Matsui/Tejada: 9x26. Everyone else? 11x64.

Berkman 1x80/01-11:24


Recap for G22 - Astros at Reds

Once again, the Astros have a chance to do something pretty awesome - in this case, sweep a divisional rival on the road - and totally blow it. Yep, Brocail looks like he's still got it. Paulino's performance may have made things a little tougher for Coop, though Moehler probably has one more rehab start in him, so Felipe will have a chance to show he can dominate someone other than the Reds. For years we will regale our children with retelling the story of how the Astros and Pirates combined to get three hits on April 29, 2009...

Paulino: 5.2IP, 6H, 1ER, 3K:2BB
Sampson: 1IP, 1H, 1K
Byrdak: .1IP,
Brocail: 1IP, 1H, 1ER, 2K:1BB


Yep, 32 pitches to get three outs. Brocail's making up for lost pitches when he was on the DL, apparently. How do you get to 32 pitches against six batters?

Bruce: Ball, Ball, SL (strike looking), Foul, infield single
Hernandez: Ball, bunt foul, ball, SL, Foul, Ball, Ball
Nix: Ball, Foul, SS, Ball, Ball, Ball
Rosales: Ball, Ball, Ball, SL, SL, Foul, Sac Fly
Gonzalez: SS, Ball, SL, Ball, SL
Phillips: SL, Lineout

That's how!

Paulino did very well, and that's encouraging. Win two out of three on the road and everything will work out - it just sucks to get embarrassed. And the offense was embarrassing. Miguel Tejada got a double in the first inning. And that was it. Volquez was stunning, and the Astros were stunned. Sure Towles got hit, and Carlos Lee walked. And at least the Astros didn't ground out into double plays - because there wasn't hardly ever anybody on 1st base all night - and the Astros used two pinch-hitters: Michaels and Berkman (Erstad got the start at first). Notice that Smith didn't come in (that guy must tell great jokes. Bawdy ones.) Keppinger didn't play one game in this series. But he at least appeared in every game vs the Brewers. Keppinger also didn't play in the four-game series against the Reds. Did the Astros sign a no-competition clause before the trade, or what?

FPBs: 8
FPSs: 19

Volquez needed 106 pitches to get through 27 batters - under 4 per batter, just over 13 per inning. Doug Brocail threw 942 pitches in the 8th.

Man of the Match:
Felipe Paulino. 0-2 with a 2.55 ERA. Russ Ortiz is 2-0 with an ERA north of Brocail's pitch count. There's no justice.

Goat of the Game:
The top half of the inning. 1x28? That's an .036 average, friends.

Young'uns of the Day

Something I'm going to try on a regular basis during the season, especially since there isn't a whole lot going on news-wise during my lunch hour, is to pick a Young'un of the Day, selecting a Minor Leaguer at each level who fared particularly well in the previous evening of scheduled sporting matches.

Round Rock
Bud Norris. Threw 7IP, 5H/2ER in a 3-1 loss to Memphis. Troubling notes: 7 strikeouts last night, 6 walks. ERA now 2.28.

Corpus Christi
Like a Bubba Sparxxx rap, this one got ugly. 10-2 loss to Midland, and the Hooks will use Moehler as a stopper tonight. However, Drew Meyer went 3x5 with a double.

Albert Cartwright hit what proved to be the game-winning home run in the 7th inning of a 3-2 win over Rome. But the YotD goes to Ross Seaton, who lowered his ERA to 1.14 with a 7IP, 4H/0ER performance.

This one got ugly, too, as Lancaster lost 17-7 to San Jose. However, Jack Shuck (I will not call him "J.B." The Darkness reference is too good to pass up) went 2x5 to raise his batting average to .346. Chris Minaker went 3x5, but two throwing errors keeps you off the YoTD board. Although technically, he just made it. Ah well...

Matchup for G22 - Astros at Reds

Paulino vs. Volquez

Felipe Paulino

Paulino's got one more start to prove he belongs and to force Coop into a tough decision when Moehler comes off the DL. While Paulino didn't pitch poorly on Apr 23 vs. Milwaukee, he pitched so well against the Reds on Apr 19 that it felt like a Jekyll/Hyde performance.

Last two starts:


Apparently the Brewers looked at that Reds game, because while Paulino had a 17:18 strikes looking:swinging against the Reds, that cut down to 21:6 by the time his turn came up against Milwaukee in the Game of One Thousand Singles.

Paulino vs. Cincinnati, April 19


Now look at first-pitch strikes and balls for the Reds / Brewers games...

FPS: 14 / 15
FPB: 9 / 12

Troubling: Paulino is letting hitters tee off with RISP at a .545 clip (6x11).

Edinson Volquez

It's hard to know what to expect from Volquez - but right now he doesn't look like the 17-6 All-Star pitcher he was in 2008. Volquez' best game of the season was the April 19 game against Houston (typical, right?), but he followed it up with a 5IP, 1H/3ER, 7K:7BB performance against the Braves, throwing only 53 of his 97 pitches for strikes. Against the Astros on 4/19:


FPS: 13
FPB: 14

To come up with four hits against a guy who can't find the strike zone like that is flat-out depressing. But contrast Paulino's BAA with RISP with Volquez, and Volquez BAA with RISP is .125 (3x24). Dude just buckles down. He's had the bases loaded on him 11 times, and it's resulted in 0 hits (2 walks, though). He is not afraid of your three runners on.

Tejada's hits, RBIs

RBIs are a hard stat to judge, because obviously RBIs are not just dependent on the number of hits a player gets. RBIs are contingent on baserunners, and that's kind of a problem for the Astros. That said, here's a pretty wild stat: Miguel Tejada has 27 hits this season - tied for 5th in the NL and only three hits behind leader Carlos Beltran. That said, Tejada only has 4 RBI.

Here are your leaders in hits and their RBI:
Beltran: 30/14
Freddy Sanchez: 29/8
Orlando Hudson: 28/9
Joey Votto: 28/20
Raul Ibanez: 27/17
Nyjer Morgan: 27/11
Miggs: 27/4

Felipe Lopez has 25 hits and only 5 RBI. To find a batter with 4 RBI on the NL hits leaderboard, you have to go down to Casey Kotchmann, t-35th with 21 hits and 4 RBI.

Is this Tejada's fault? Kind of. Tejada is 18x53 when no one is on base (.340), but 9x32 with runners at some sort of base (.281). And with two outs and RISP, Miggs is 3x13 (.231).

Moehler to pitch in Corpus tonight

Thanks to an Express off-day, Brian Moehler will try his hand at pitching to Double-A hitters in Corpus Christi in a second rehab start against Midland.

Says Coop:
"The first rehab he had was 70 (pitches). He needs to get it in the 100 area -- or close to it."

100 pitches. That's what, two or three starts worth of pitches?


So Brandon Backe will make his second rehab start in Corpus Christi on Saturday. Keep it tuned to Astros County for details.

Oh, and any Astros County Citizens in the Corpus Christi who can get a picture of Moehler or Backe with a PoC gets a prize...

The Meat Wagon circles back around, and this time Valverde hops on

Just as we suspected, the Astros placed maniacal closer Jose Valverde on the DL.

Jeff Fulchino will come up from Round Rock to take his place, and LaHawk will take over the 9th inning role. Brocail will step into 8th inning duties.

What say you, JJO?:
They cannot afford to be without their closer long, but they really, really cannot afford to keep shooting him out there and risking further damage and the potential of losing him for way more than 15 days.

Reactions to G21 - Astros at Reds

8-3 win in which tens of people enjoyed a ball game in Cincinnati last night (The 9,878 paid attendance was the smallest in GAB history).

"It was all about the Rodriguez fellas,” Cecil Cooper said. “Pudge swinging it and Wandy basically being in command after the first inning. His breaking ball wasn’t really sharp early, but he got better as the game went on. That to me shows a lot of maturity on his part.”

Pudge, on what he said to Wandy in the 1st:
"I was telling him to calm down. I think he was jumpy a little bit, just getting behind in the count and just trying to point the ball instead of playing catch and throwing it to me. He tried to get too perfect in the first inning.”

Cooper, on Wandy's maturity:
“He used to fall apart when things went bad. In the first inning today, things could have gotten way out of hand. Yet he made pitches and battled through it. It just comes from experiencing it and feeling more comfortable and maturing as a player.”

Aaron Harang:
“I thought I made good pitches in situations. Things went right for them.”

Which sounds vaguely familiar from his last start...
“They were hitting everything right where nobody was. There’s nothing you can do about it.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recap for G21 - Astros at Reds

That was even more fun than last night! Give it up to Deputy Jason, who pushes his Live Blog record to 3-1 (while I sit at a lowly 0-2) in a nice 8-3 win for the Astros 11th straight road win in Cincinnati.

I saw part of this game, and man, do I hate Jeff Brantley (FS Cincinnati, thanks). Wandy looked sharp, and I missed seeing it live where the bullpen fell all to hell, but at least it didn't impact the game, thanks to some Reds' defensive miscues and some good hitting off Aaron Harang. Harang is the anti-Oswalt when it comes to the Astros...

Wandy: 7IP, 5H, 1ER, 5K:2BB
Geary: 1IP, 1H, 1ER
Wright: 1IP, 1H, 1ER, 1BB


It's worth noting that Geary's ERA is now 5.54 and Wright's is 6.43. No esta bueno...

First-Pitch Strikes/Balls:
Wandy: 15/11
Geary: 1/3
Wrighty: 1/3

Geary, Geary, Geary...both relievers gave up lead-off base-runners. But for Geary, he let pinch-hitter Laynce Nix run around the bases at an easy trot before he stopped and slapped hands with Willy Taveras. And then, so did Brandon Phillips against Wesley Wright. Phillips actually had a negative batting average, so that hurts. And then he walked Jay Bruce...pretty bad. Losing Valverde, while it would hurt in the long run, could be even worse if the bullpen acts like this. The Astros are 5.5 games back, and two weeks without Valverde with the Astros' offense doing what it's been doing could push that to 9-10 games back.

The offense did some things tonight. Kaz Matsui went 3x5, and Blum and Pudge both added multi-hit games. Berkman saw 18 pitches, but went hitless. Bourn's 9-game hit streak ended tonight, but it was fun while it lasted. Five of the eight Astros runs scored with two outs. Astros hitters let Aaron Harang throw 16 of his 23 first-pitches for strikes, and didn't give a crap, tagging Harang for five earned runs on six hits in five innings.

Man of the Match:
Kaz Matsui. 3x5 and scored the first run of the game before Harang had a chance to crap his pants.

Goat of the Game:
Wesley Wright. Took 21 pitches to retire the heart of the Reds' order, none of whom are hitting over .273. Gave up a homer to Brandon Phillips, now hitting .191, and walking Jay Bruce - who to the 9th inning had drawn six walks in 68 plate appearances. Discussion. Over.

G21 Astros v. Reds Live Blog

Matchup for G21 - Astros at Reds

Apparently the Astros are so in awe of Roy's pitching against Cincinnati that they can't hit him, either. But happy happy, Hunter Pence came through with the 10th straight Astros win at Great American Ballpark - longest active road winning streak in the Majors. Be sure to tune in to Astros County this evening as Deputy Jason carries his 2-1 Live Blogging against the Reds! Game starts at 6:05 Central.

Wandy Rodriguez

Wandy has turned himself into the #2 starter everyone hoped he would be with four quality starts in four attempts so far this season. The last time he faced the Reds - on April 18 - he threw 7IP, 2H, 0ER, 10K:2BB. In fact, his worst outing of the season was April 12 against the Cardinals when he gave up 5H/3ER in 6IP at Beck's Stadium in a 3-0 loss. Here's the worrying part, though, because Old Wandy might do his thing - that was his only road start. So we should learn more about what 2009 holds for SP2 tonight when he faces Aaron Harang.

One troubling fact of Wandy's 2009 campaign is the complete lack of run support. Apart from the 7-0 win vs the Reds, Wandy has received two runs of offense to work with - the Astros getting shut out at St. Louis and vs the Dodgers.

Last two starts:


My favorite stat of Wandy's is that so far he has allowed nary a homer. And over his last two starts, Wandy has an ERA of 0.69 with a 0.85 WHIP.

Against the Reds the last time out, here's how Wandy fared:

Hairston Jr1x40K:0BB

FPS: 16
FPB: 8

Aaron Harang

Did you realize Aaron Harang was 6'7"? Jeez. Did you also know that Aaron Harang will make $14 million this year? Last time against our chosen team, Harang got nut-thwacked, as he was on the wrong end of that 7-0 loss, but he did get 11 swinging strikes off the Astros. In fact, the game against Houston was his worst on this young season, as he had three quality starts to sandwich his aforementioned nut-thwacking. In fact, Harang followed up the Astros start with a 7IP, 7H/0ER performance - where he got 13 swinging strikes to the Cubs. How did it go against the Astros?


FPS: 17
FPB: 12

Contrast that to the Cubs game in which...

FPS: 16
FPB: 13

Which Aaron Harang will show up? Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion...

Brian Moehler avoids the grand slam like the plague

Interesting little tidbit today:

Brian Moehler has not allowed a Grand Slam in 1360 innings, which is the longest active streak in the Majors.

We're taking good news where we can get it. And while we're talking streaks, the Astros won their 10th straight game in Cincinnati is the longest current road winning streak in the Majors.

Live Blog Tonight!

Deputy Jason will host a live blog tonight at 6pm as 3'8" Wandy Rodriguez takes on 8'4" Aaron Harang live from Great American Ballpark! We had some good chatter going last time around - so live it up, and let Deputy Jason be your conscience AND your guide.

Pudge given reprieve; Blum gets first Goat

As this is a Democracy - or at least a benevolent dictatorship - Pudge Rodriguez had his Goat removed, and that Goat has been passed along to Geoff Blum. Sorry Geoff, enjoy your Goat.

The Goat Stops Here.

Just Shut Him Down Already!

So Jose Valverde, is jacked up. He still hasn't recovered from last week's comebacker off his leg, and will miss at least two more games.

When asked if Valverde would be placed on the DL, Cooper said:
"“We’ll have to wait and see how it goes in the next day or so. Give him a couple days. That’s what he needs. He’s a guy that we need, so we can’t have him limping around and going through the next two or three weeks like this. We need to get him right, so whatever it takes."

Why we're even debating this is totally beyond me. I realize you can retroactively put a player on the DL, but obviously Valverde's hurt, it's not getting any better, and I'd rather have him out for two weeks to get fully healed - let him get all the massages and ice he wants - and come back strong. It's better for him to sit out and "get him right" than to hobble around for a couple of days, make interesting games even more interesting, and then sit out for three more days.

In other injury news, Humberto Quintero will start shoulder exercises today:

“I’ll start moving my shoulder tomorrow. And I think by Wednesday or Thursday I’ll be allowed to start playing catch. I’m feeling better, but the right side of my neck is still real sore.”
Brandon Backe's fastball touched 90 in his rehab start with Round Rock last night, and threw 63 pitches (38 for strikes).

Reactions to G20 - Astros at Reds

Hunter Pence:
“Roy Oswalt is the story of the game. He came out and pitched an unbelievable game. He kept us in it. The offense took awhile to get started. His outing is the reason we were able to win.”

Cooper, on Roy:
“He was solid tonight. And this is the way Roy’s going to be pitching for us all year. That’s what we anticipate. “Tonight was what we ordered, just what we ordered. We needed Roy to go deep in the ballgame tonight, and he did a great job, and then Tim Byrdak and Chris both pitched well for us at the end and closed it out. That’s what we need: clutch hits and some good pitching.””

Berkman, on playing in Cincinnati:
“It’s kind of funny. When I’m struggling, I’ll start feeling better, and I’ll look up at the schedule and we’ll have a trip coming in here.”

Oswalt, on his no decision:
“The team won. That’s all we’re looking for.”

Tejada, on the fourth inning error/injury:
"I just dropped it. I went running to the base, and I think that's why that ball just hit in the middle of my glove. I think I put my head down a little bit. The ball hit me right in my glove."

Reds closer Francisco Cordero:
“I’m not happy because of the way Johnny Cueto pitches. He pitched great. He gave the team a chance to win. I’ve got to make better decisions, better pitches. It happens but I’m a little bit upset.”

Monday, April 27, 2009

Recap for G20 - Astros @ Reds

Poor Roy. A quality start, ERA under 4.00 - life is good. The Astros finally got the big inning late. The Astros, before tonight had only scored five runs in the 9th inning all season long. So getting three runs in the 9th inning tonight sure was nice. Of course that means Roy gets another ND despite putting the whoop on the Reds...yet again.

Oswalt: 7IP, 6H, 1ER, 2K:2BB
Byrdak: .2IP, 1H
Sampson: 1.1IP, 1H, 1K


FPB: 20
FPS: 7

My favorite Astros pitching stat of the night was the three inning-ending double plays Oswalt rolled up on Cueto, Phillips and pinch-hitter Darnell McDonald in the 7th to end the inning still tied at 1-1.

So Berkman raised his average with a 6th inning bomb to left field. Bourn extended his hitting streak to nine games. Tejada apparently just couldn't handle the Brewers' pitching staff and went off for a 3x4 night. Then, then, then! in the 9th inning. Lee leads off with a single to right, Tejada did what he does and pulled the ball for a single to left. Jason Smith got on base - after running for Lee - and Hunter Pence came through with The Big Hit and a two-RBI double to deep right. Blum's sac fly got Pence in, and there's your four runs.

Man of the Match:
Hunter Pence. I wanted to give it to Roy, and Lance, but Pence came through with a big hit at a big time.

Goat of the Game:
It's kind of nice to not be able to find a Goat. We'll give it to Pudge, as he was the only Astro to not get on base.

What's happening with the Chronicle?

Jose de Jesus Ortiz hasn't posted a blog in four days. Brian McTaggart hasn't posted a blog in three days (though, ironically, his post about Berkman's home run totals are no less relevant than they were three days ago, because Berkman hasn't hit a home run, or a ball, since.)

I hardly believe this is on JJO or McTaggart - and wonder if there's something up with the Chronicle...

What say you?

UPDATE: It seems as though I should offer an explanation. If you recall, Astros County interviewed McTaggart, who was/is a stand-up guy. Tags is covering the Rockets until they get bounced from the playoffs. I don't have Ortiz' e-mail address, so I didn't ask him. But that makes sense.

PECOTA: This is as good as it gets

Baseball Prospectus has simulated the season one million times. Where do our fair Astros project to the end of the season?

66-96. 29 games behind the Cubs. 5 games behind the Pirates for 6th place in the NLC, and put the playoff chances for the Astros at 0.87%.

And if you start to think, "What bullcrap!" Remember, Nate Silver developed PECOTA, and he projected the 2008 Presidential Election's popular vote as follows:

Obama - 52.3%
McCain - 46.2%

How did it actually play out?
Obama - 52.4%
McCain - 46.3%

So, uh...let's play two!

Jose Valverde hopes 48 hours of sensual massage will help

So Valverde is out for at least two more days...

"It'll take a couple more days. I'm getting massages and ice right now for it. That's all."

LaHawk will take over the 9th inning role for the Astros. And I'm okay with this, especially since we're talking about two games - if we are only talking about two games - against the Reds. So far this season, Reds hitters are 1x7 against LaHawk. And the two games in which LaHawk has pitched in the 9th has resulted in a similar 1x7 rate. profile on Geary

Nice little (or "depressing little") article on Geoff Geary's early season struggles by Alyson Footer sheds some light on just what in the world is happening:

During the off-season, Geary had surgery to repair a hip abductor and an abdominal tear (leading me to wonder if Geary tangled with Leatherface), and may not have been completely healed. Some quotes:

His velocity is slowly climbing back to normal levels, and he hasn't felt thwarted by command issues. He senses the problem is timing, and he also acknowledged that the surgery has probably made him a little tentative in the early-going. Whereas last year he couldn't rely on generating power from his leg as much as his arm, this year, post-surgery, he was able to go back to using his legs more. But now he senses he's dragging his arm, which is messing with his timing.

But it's hard to harp on a guy when he says this about himself:
"It's just going to improve. I can't worry about what I've already done, which is make a fool of myself out there."

Dewey Robinson ain't scurred:
"The two things I look for is how their stuff is. The velocity, the sharpness of their breaking ball, the movement on their fastball -- that's No. 1. No. 2 is their command. If those two are in sync, you're usually going to get pretty good results. To start off the season, his stuff wasn't quite as good as it was last year and his command was a little off. But as we've gone into the season, his stuff has gotten better, and his command's getting better."

Some Minor League notes

We mentioned Chris Johnson's plunking at Round Rock three games into the season, but it seems like it's still bothering him. This isn't news-worthy, as that's exactly what took Carlos Lee out (thanks be to you, Bronson Arroyo. You have a target on your little finger...). However, Alyson Footer brings some more info to light. First reports showed no damage to Johnson's fingers, but further examination showed a microfracture. He'll be out 1-2 more weeks.

Also, Brian Esposito was called up from Corpus to fill J.R. Towles' spot, who obviously came up to replace Q. In order to fill that spot at Corpus, Koby Clemens was called up from Lancaster. Clemens, who was mentioned in a Boston Globe article discussing the "sad aspect of the Roger Clemens story," collected six RBI in Saturday's game vs Rancho Cucamonga - a 3-run double in the 9th and a 3-run walkoff homer in the 10th - as the JetHawks overcame an 8-1 deficit in the ninth inning to win.

Matchup for G20 - Astros at Reds

So the Astros head out for a three-game set at Cincinnati, get their first day off in 15 days, and then head to Atlanta for three games against the Braves. I'll be at the game on Saturday, so any Astros County Citizens who want to meet up - give me a shout. Stay tuned for your Live Blog info for this week, as well.

But today the Astros send Roy Oswalt to the mound against a welcome sight - the Cincinnati Reds. Remember them? They took three of four from the Astros last weekend, and very easily could have taken zero of four, had it not been for a shaky bullpen.

Roy Oswalt

I know we're only four starts into the season, but Roy's 4.68 ERA is +1.53 over his career average, and is 1.44 WHIP is +.24 over his career average, as well. Shall we be worried? Not yet, but it's still worth pointing out.

Last two starts:


Of course Roy gave up those three homers in an inning against the Dodgers, but that's just not what he does against the Reds. Versus those Reds...

First-pitch strikes: 17
First-pitch balls: 9

Roy only got behind 2-0 twice all night, and his longest AB was an eight-pitch AB against Edwin Encarnacion. Roy lowered his ERA by almost 1.6 runs from the Cardinals game to the Reds - let's see what will happen tonight.

Johnny Cueto

Of course the reason the Astros lost the April 17 game to the Reds was this man: Johnny Cueto. Cueto used the Astros game as a springboard to go into Wrigley Field five days ago to shut down the Cubs with 7IP, 4H/0ER where he got 15 strikes looking. Cueto only threw 4.2 against the Astros, but he did walk six - only giving up two hits and one earned run - walking Berkman with the bases loaded to score Roy.

Lefties are hitting .219/.286/.281; Righties - .212/.316/.394.

First-pitch strikes: 37
First-pitch balls: 30

Versus the Astros:
FPS: 14
FPB: 7

These Reds come in dumping along, too. After taking 3 of 4 from the Astros, the Reds took 2 of 3 from the Cubs and then the Braves won a series 2-1 in Cincinnati. Micah Owings did some pitching yesterday in an 8-2 win.

Power Rankings Day - Week 4

Week 4 of a number of information sites' Power Rankings. Let's get to it:

Astros: 29th
Only Philadelphia (3) has fewer errors than Houston (5).

Sporting News:
Astros: 29th
The good from back-to-back wins against the Dodgers was erased by the ensuing three-game losing streak.

Fox Sports:
Astros: 26th
Series against the Brewers would've gone better if not for the bullpen.

What the heck, Miguel Tejada?

It's pretty well-documented (by me) that Miguel Tejada was hitless against the Brewers, dropping his average from .365 to .303 in three days. What the heck happened? Let's take a gander at those 13 ABs...

7th inning: 8-pitch, 3-2 groundout to third; 3 fouls, one strike swinging (SS)
5th inning: 2-pitch, 1-0 flyout to left with 1LOB
3rd inning: 2-pitch, 1-0 groundout to third with 2LOB
2nd inning: 2-pitch, 0-1 groundout to third; one strike looking (SL)

10th inning: 2-pitch, 0-1 flyout to center with 3LOB (1SL)
9th inning: 4-pitch, 1-2 flyout to center with 1LOB (1SL)
8th inning: 2-pitch, 0-1 groundout to second (1SL)
5th inning: 5-pitch, 1-2 strikeout swinging (1SS)
4th inning: 1-pitch popout to short
2nd inning: 5-pitch, 2-2 groundout to second (1SS)

7th inning: 2-pitch, 0-1 flyout to left
4th inning: 7-pitch, 3-2 flyout to center (1SS)
2nd inning: 2-pitch, 1-0 groundout to second

A couple of things to note:
Six groundouts: three to second, three to third
Five flyouts: three to left, two to center
One popout: to short
One strikeout
Perhaps most telling, this 13AB skid has occurred since Tejada was dropped from 2nd to 5th in the lineup. Maybe it's time to move him back...

Meat Wagon News

The Astros Notes section is turning into a health report. But as we commented on how Valverde did not look 100% over the weekend, it turns out that he really is still hurt:

Says Zachary Levine:
"In closing Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Brewers, Valverde felt pain on every pitch and, upon trying to cover first base on a ground ball to Lance Berkman, could only hobble at best.

Says Valverde himself:
"Maybe I have to take two more days; I don’t know. I have to check it tomorrow."
Brian Moehler will make another rehab start on Wednesday with Corpus Christi (Round Rock is off on Wednesday, something I bet the Astros wouldn't mind one of these days.)

"One hundred pitches — that’s my goal."
And speaking of Round Rock, Brandon Backe will make his first rehab start of 70-75 pitches tonight for the Express.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eddie's Farm: Week 3

Third installment of Eddie's Farm, where we look at how the Astros of July will look.

Round Rock
6-12, last place, 2.5GB



Corpus Christi
8-8, T-2nd, 1.5GB

Van Ostrand14x37.378/.500/.4860-67:6


Lexington Legends
10-8, 4th place, 1GB



Lancaster JetHawks
6-11, Last Place, 6GB
(statistics through yesterday's game - not today's)



Reactions to G19, Brewers @ Astros

"Our bullpen was pretty good today. That's what we need out of them. We hadn't been getting it, but today we got it."

"I'm not 100 percent right now. I'm pitching because I have to support my teammates. This is my job, and I'm going to have to do it, but I don't feel 100 percent."

Brocail on Robinson's mound visit:
"I'm glad Dewey came out because I was working so fast trying to find a groove that I ended up rushing, dropping my arm. He basically came out and said 'listen, get back up on top, slow everything down and listen to what Pudge has to say and help yourself out' and that's what happened, and thank God."

Cooper, on Brocail:
"He's just a little rusty; the guy's been on the DL for two weeks. And here he is being thrown into a one-run ballgame right away, but that shows you what Bro's made out of; he was ready for it."

That Was Your Series: Brewers @ Astros

Friday: 5-2 L
Saturday: 9-8 L
Sunday: 3-2 W

Most telling stat: Berkman/Tejada - 0x24, 12 LOB



Recap for G19 - Brewers at Astros

At least it wasn't a sweep. The Astros finished their 10-game homestand 4-6, and will head to Cincinnati where hopefully the Roy and the Astros can do what they do - lose close games to the Reds.

But today was fun. Valverde turned in a scoreless performance (and kept the ball on the ground), got his ERA under 6.00 and Russ Ortiz got to 2-0 - the first Astros' pitcher to get to two wins. Bet you wouldn't have Russ Ortiz in your pool.

Ortiz: 5IP, 4H, 2ER, 3K:4BB
Wright: .2IP, 1H
Sampson: .1IP, 0H, 0K:0BB
Brocail: 1IP, 1H, 2K:2BB
LaHawk: 1IP, 1H, 2K:2BB
Valverde: 1IP, 1K:1BB

Pretty notable that Geary and Byrdak both sat their rear ends down the whole game. They're the only two relievers who didn't play, though Geary was most likely unavailable after throwing two innings last night.


Brocail got back to his old ways in throwing a lot of pitches to get not many guys out, but that's how the Astros roll. Ortiz spent 96 pitches on 15 outs. Let's look at Ortiz' first pitches, yes?

Balls: 16
Strikes: 8

I've been amazed by how Ortiz pitches from behind. To throw first-pitch balls, and then get behind 2-0 to four of those batters, and only one of those batters get on base? Hardcore.

Again there wasn't much going on for the Astros' bats. Berkman's average is now .167. Tejada is now hitless in his last 13 ABs - that lasted the whole Brewers series. The first run of the game came on a throwing error, while Lee and Pudge provided the only legitimate runs - Lee with an RBI single scoring Bourn (still hitting .333 in his last 27 ABs) and Pudge hitting his second homer of the season. Jason Smith flied out to center and is now 0x19 on the season. But let's not lose sight of the fact that Jeff Keppinger - even though he left six men on base, is 11x27 this season.

Man of the Match:
Pudge Rodriguez! 2nd HR of the year and threw out Weeks and Kendall trying to steal.

Goat of the Game:
Miguel Tejada. Because Berkman can't get The Goat every time he goes hitless. Tejada was 0x13 this series.

The Curious Case of the Strained Achilles Heel

Wonder how Lee got hurt? Let him tell you in his own words...

“Before I hit the home run, (Yovani Gallardo) threw a sinker in and I was trying to get to that ball and I kind of rotated at the plate (and) my spikes got caught in,” he said. “Couldn't rotate, so I put a lot of pressure on it. That's when I felt it. I feel a lot better, way better than yesterday after it happened. I came out early, did some exercises, ran a little bit. It's not 100 percent but it's good enough to play."


Brian Moehler will likely make another rehab start before...doing something. Says Coop:
“I would think he’d probably have to make one more (rehab start). The info I got he wasn’t quite trusting it, so I would think probably one more. That’s what I would think. He’s got to feel good until he can get his pitch count up there and still maintain velocity and everything and keep his legs under him instead of having his leg issue. It’s a little difficult. He needs to get used to that brace and trust that brace. That thing supports him.”


Doug Brocail was activated from the DL, and that means Jeff Fulchino made his way on back to Round Rock. Sayonara, Jeff Fulchino. But with this bullpen, we'll probably see you soon. I like you.

Matchup for G19 - Brewers at Astros

The Astros end their 10-game homestand in which they were thoroughly unimpressive. Losing a series to the Reds, winning one - surprisingly - against the Dodgers, and losing this series against the Brewers.

Russ Ortiz

Russ Ortiz will attempt to build on the last four innings of his last outing and string some innings together where he isn't pushing a pitch count limit by the end of the third inning. This will be his third start of the season.

Last two starts:


Here's the thing. In those 9.2IP, Ortiz has faced 44 batters, walked seven, given up hits to six, and thrown 215 pitches. An average of 22 pitches per inning. That's a lot.

First-pitch strikes: 28 (.167/.276/.333), with 10K:4BB.
First-pitch balls: 31 (.292/.452/.375), 1K:7BB

Manny Parra

Handy Manny is another Brewers SP whose season hasn't exactly started as planned, starting out 0-3 with an 8.16 ERA / 1.74 WHIP. He did mix in one quality start, but here you go...


I imagine we'll see Keppinger in the lineup today - righties hitting .256/.333/.488 off Parra while lefties are hitting .333/.474/.467. The Astros saw a lot of Parra last year:

May 3 A4IP9H/5ER3K:4BB8GB/8FB
May 30 H6IP4H/1ER6K:4BB4GB/12FB
June 11 A5.1IP10H/5ER3K:0BB9GB/11FB
July 25 H6IP8H/3ER5K:2BB14GB/5FB
Aug 20 H5IP6H/2ER2K:4BB10GB/7FB

Vs. HOU: 3-2, 26.1IP, 37H/16ER, 19K:14BB, 5.47 ERA / 1.94 WHIP


At what point is it okay to talk about having Jason Smith check out what the Hill Country has to offer?

The stats are brutal:

0x20 (two sacrifices though), so 0x18
0x5 with men on
0x4 with RISP

Last night in the bottom of the 11th, with 0 out and Hunter Pence on first base, Jason Smith nutted two bunt attempts and then couldn't get it done to push Pence to 2nd base.

Is three weeks too early to talk about sending him to The Rock?

Edwin Maysonet at Round Rock is hitting 9x27, .333/.471/.407 with 7K:7BB
John Gall is hitting 18x59, .305/.391/.475, with 2HR-10RBI, 8K:9BB

If Jason Smith comes up to bat - at any point in the game - what is your first reaction? Maybe this should be a factor...

Carlos Lee's achilles heel

Carlos Lee has an achilles heel - it's his Achillies. I missed this yesterday that Carlos Lee is struggling with a strained achilles tendon in his right heel that he suffered while hitting a home run Friday night. He came out of the 7th inning Friday night and went 1x4 - with a homer - last night.

"Your power comes from your legs, and your back leg is where you load and release a lot of your power."

Reactions to G18, Brewers at Houston

9-8 loss in 11 innings to the Brewers, where the Astros pulled ahead, and then dragged behind. Lost in extras despite being out-hit 17-10.

“We showed some fight. We continued to fight hard. We had a chance. We had a lot of opportunities, and so did they. But we’ve got to make better pitches late in the ballgame.”

Cooper on Geary, who has three losses:
“Geoff’s a guy that’s pitched well for us in the past. We’ve got to get him fixed, whatever the problem is. Right now he doesn’t have his sharp, sharp breaking ball. His velocity is not where it could be and should be, and we got to get it straightened out. That’s all. We’ve got a lot of season to play. Do we want to be 6-12? No. If we keep battling, we’ll get it right.”

Cooper on what happened with Pudge in the 8th:
“Pudge turned around and asked (DiMuro where the pitch was), and (DiMuro) said, ‘don’t show me up.' And I don’t think he actually showed him up. That was his take on it. I told him it was not a reason to throw him out of a ballgame right there. It was just a bad decision.”

Cooper on umpire Mike DiMuro:
“After things started to escalate a little bit, I was trying to make sure Pudge gets out. I knew I wasn’t finished. I had to go out and tell him he blew a lot of calls tonight. He was missing a lot of pitches. A lot of our guys were complaining. I had to tell him. And when I told him he basically said, ‘You’re out of here.’ I thought he had a bad zone.”

“I threw all my pitches. I know this guy’s a good hitter. He hit my fastball.”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal reporter Anthony Witrado:
The Brewers' offense handed the bullpen its first lead in the eighth inning. Prince Fielder singled and Mike Cameron got ahead, 2-0, in the next at-bat against Houston reliever LaTroy Hawkins. That second ball prompted Astros catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez to come out of his crouch and blister plate umpire Mike DiMuro with a tongue lashing that got him thrown out. Houston manager Cecil Cooper, whose team had issues with the strike zone all night, came out to defend his player and soon followed him out the door, although neither left the field immediately, sticking around to yell more.

Ryan Braun:
"A win is a win at the end of the day, but this one is more fun. It's a sign of being mentally tough. A lot of ups and downs. Ride the rollercoaster, but we ended up where we wanted to be. To come back and win a game like this is definitely indicative of the fact that we're playing well. We're headed in the right direction as a team."