Saturday, May 23, 2009

Berkman and Oswalt on list of players released by The Sporting News

No. Not that list. This list.

Lance Berkman was 21st, Oswalt 46th, on The Sporting News' 50 Best Players in Baseball Today, chosen by a panel of 100 Hall of Famers, major award winners and other baseball personalities - which includes 13 Hall of Famers, 13 Cy Young Award winners and 12 league MVPs. Among the MLB legends who filled out ballots for SN: Willie McCovey, Stan Musial, Brooks Robinson, Tony Gwynn, Tom Seaver, Rollie Fingers and Greg Maddux. .

Your top ten:
1. Albert Pujols
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Johan Santana
4. Manny Ramirez
5. Hanley Ramirez
6. Chase Utley
7. Roy Halladay
8. Derek Jeter
9. Mariano Rivera
10. Chipper Jones

And two of those first four names are why PEDs have prevailed in baseball over the last fifteen years. Way to hold the line, guys.

Hampton may pitch tomorrow. Of course, he may not, too.

After losing an Attica-style shower fight with a soap dispenser at Wrigley Field last week, Mike Hampton may not start tomorrow due to the slow-healing cut on his thumb.

"I've got every intent to start."

"We'll wait and see on him a little bit. I'm waiting to talk to him. I want to make sure he knows he can go tomorrow. It's his day to go."

Alyson Footer:
Russ Ortiz was called into Cooper's office Saturday morning, and Cooper told the starter-turned-reliever that he wasn't going to use him that day, just in case his services may be needed the next day.

A couple of things about this shower incident:

1. I'm a fairly private guy. I realize I have not grown up in clubhouses, and I like to shower by myself. Hampton wasn't even pitching that day. Maybe he was doing some throwing before the game, but was it absolutely necessary to soap down?

2. What in the hell was he doing trying that hard to get soap?

Tweet from Chris Rose

Rose: Michael Bourne wearing a microphone for fox on his back. Starting his tv career today.

Are you kidding? If you have a microphone on his back, take a second and check the spelling of his name.

Recap for G41 - Rangers at Astros

Well, that sucked, too. Astros lose 6-3 in nine innings (ha!) to the Rangers, getting all six runs from the 4th-6th inning, and Moehler gave up all of those runs, ending a nice little streak that he had going in good starts.

Moehler: 5IP, 9H/6ER, 4K:0BB
Byrdak: 1IP, 1K
Wright: 1IP, 2K
Fulchino: 2IP, 2H, 2K

Here's the thing about Moehler: He was perfect the first time through the order. A perfect 9x9. What's more, those first three innings took only 26 pitches. Only one of those nine outs was to the outfield - Nelson Cruz' fly out to left (more on that later). Three pop/fly outs, four groundouts, and two strikeouts - both of those strikeouts on three pitches.

Second time through the order? Not so hot. Rangers 1-9 were 5x8 with a sac bunt the next time around. Nelson Cruz got enough power to get his next two fly balls to left to fly beyond the boundary of the field of play and Hank Blalock followed Cruz' 2nd homer with one of his own to right. 3rd time around? 4x5. So after seeing what Moehler had to offer in the first PA, the Rangers got hits in 9 of their next 13 plate appearances.


Wonder what's killing the bullpen? The starting rotation. The starters are just not going deep into games. So I was curious which pitchers have managed to go 7+ innings?

Wandy: Five times
Roy: Twice
Moehler: Once
Ortiz: None
Hampton: None
Paulino: None

See that? 41 games. Eight starts of 7IP+, and three by pitchers not named "Wandy." That's not good. And of course after a long post of Wright's ineffectiveness, he goes out and throws a perfect inning, striking out two. His ERA is now 7.24.

Feldman pretty much shut down the Astros offense. All three Astros runs came on homers - a solo homer (that was under review for seven minutes) by Tejada and a 2-run shot by Blum, his first of the season. Feldman's first inning went by in six pitches. Tejada, Berkman and Lee all jumping on the first pitch. 42 pitches by the end of the 4th. 82 pitches by the end of the sixth.

Four of the Astros hits came from Tejada and Pence, with Lee and Blum providing the only other offense. Pence also started a nice relay from right to get Omar Vizquel out at home.

Man of the Match:
Jeez. Blum, maybe? Tejada? Pence? How about Geoff Blum - welcome to the HR rolls in 2009.

Goat of the Game:
Brian Moehler. Totally ineffective the second time, and as long as he lasted in the third time, around the order.

And the news just keeps getting better for the Hooks

One game is one game. But to enjoy a 4-0 lead, and then to lose 24-6...that could take some time for confidence (not to mention ERAs) to recover.

Here's your pitching line for last night's Corpus/Midland game:

James: 2.1IP, 8H/9ER, 0K:3BB
Lopez: 2IP, 10H/7ER, 1K:0BB
Semerano: 3.2IP, 10H/8ER,0K:3BB

Midland was 14x26 with RISP, and STILL left nine men on base.

That said: Drew Meyer was 3x4, Drew Locke 2x5, and Mark Ori 4x5.

The Meat Wagon now offering service from Corpus Christi

Five days after being called up from Lancaster, off-season signing Chia-Jen Lo was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, effective May 21. He had not pitched since being called up.

Notes for today, perhaps tomorrow

You're going to have to follow along on Twitter for the time being. Moving into a new place, internet isn't set up yet. I've been at Panera for the last two hours - not buying coffee and using their internet.

So I can post to the blog from my phone, but in 160 character bursts. There will likely be updates like that, so check back and see how I'm doing. And if you don't follow along on Twitter, join us. We only need 1,740 more followers to beat Richard Justice.


Negativity? Coop knows of no negativity...

Maybe we identified the problem:

“As far as I know it’s good, and that’s the way I’m going to ride with it. Nobody’s said anything to me so that’s the way I’m going to ride with it. When you struggle, all sorts of things happen, and I’m sensing that that’s probably what’s happening. But I don’t think that there’s any bad relationship, no. If there is, I don’t think it’s really on me. I think my door’s open. And I express that all the time. Here I am. I’m open. I move around among my players every day. And if there are issues, they should be addressed. And I don’t feel that there are any.”

Jerome Solomon's column gives us a glimpse into what's happening with the Astros: sniping, not mutiny...

A couple of players agreed with Cooper that their teammates who are wont to point fingers should first look inward. Managers and players have dealt with far worse than a few chatterers in the clubhouse, and went on to have wonderful seasons. Still, Cooper needs to fix this before he finds himself high and Bligh. Veteran ballplayers can ruin a manager, wreck his reputation and cost him his job. Rarely will they do it publicly. But they’ll underground railroad a guy out of town. Baseball players are like that.

But then we get this from Cooper:
Then I say they probably got a problem. They need to come and talk to me. That’s what I say to that. They should talk to me. Because if I had an issue with someone, I would talk to that individual. And I would hope that they had enough confidence and feel good enough to come and talk to me.”

It seems to me that, as the Manager, Coop should probably go talk to the Veteran Ballplayers and talk to them, instead of letting this drag out and ruin his job, maybe his managerial career.

The Astros are toxic, you're slipping under...

Pretty startling blog from sunshine-and-rainbows Richard Justice today, joining JJO in the "uh-oh" category of covering the Astros. An excerpt:

I hadn't been around the club since the beginning of the season and was stunned by the toxic atmosphere when I returned this week. Some of it surely stems from losing. Winning cures almost everything. However, some of it stems from a general lack of confidence in Cecil Cooper. There's a general feeling that he's not very good at what he does and that he's too stubborn to lean on his coaches for advice.

He's once more doing a really good imitation of the angriest man in America. I'm not sure where this anger comes from. I didn't know him before he became manager, so maybe he has been angry his entire life. I just don't know.

And then...

I do think the players have legitimate reasons to complain. He's not a great communicator or strategist.

Which leads me to wonder: If that's true, that Cooper isn't so much with the "communication" and "strategy," then that's obviously a problem. However, and Justice does say this, the boss is an easy target. Scott Rolen hated Tony LaRussa so much that they had someone in between them to relay messages. I don't know what kind of communicator LaRussa is, but the strategy aspect is indisputable. He bats the pitcher 8th - sometimes. He's responsible - for better or worse - for the situational reliever.

Is Coop to blame for the 09 Astros? Not solely, but if there's a patchwork plan going on until Bobby Heck and Ed Wade get the farm system in order, then something will have to be done to restore some faith in the direction of the team - this year and the next.

On Wright's spot in the bullpen

Ed Wade knows that Wright can get sent down right? Rule 5 picks don't have to stay on the 25-man roster for the rest of their life, just the following season.

I don't know what's happening with Young Wesley - whether it's mechanics, whether it's problems with the Second Season Adjustment.

But Dequam LaWesley Wright (not kidding) is getting absolutely hammered this season.

Wright has appeared in 18 games for the Astros this season. In those games, the Astros have are 7-11. But in those 18 games...

-The Astros have been in a worse position four times.
-Wright has allowed a baserunner 16 times
-Wright has allowed a hit 15 times
-Wright has been pulled before recording three outs nine times (though he is a situational lefty, so take that for what it's worth)
-Despite that, he has thrown 10+ pitches 15 times
-15+ pitches eight times
-Lefties are hitting .476 (10x21)
-Batters are 5x5 on his first pitch
-7th inning batters are hitting .615 (8x13)

So what are the options? Lefty relievers at Round Rock are scarce. Andy Van Hekken is just about it, and he's only been at Tha Rock for about a week - and he did follow up his 1IP/2ER debut with three shutout innings. Should the Astros see what Van Hekken is made of, and give Wright some time to get hisself worked out?

Reactions to G40 - Rangers at Astros

LaHawk, on the bullpen:
“We’re logging a lot of innings, but we still have to go out there and put up a zero."

“We had some opportunities where we could have closed them out ... we just didn’t do it. When they have an offense that’s that good, everybody can hit a home run in that lineup, and the longer this thing goes, the better chance one of those guys is gonna jump one out of here, and that’s what happened.”

Cooper, on Paulino:
“I thought he pitched well, maybe a little up in the zone. He deserved a little better than that.”

Derek Holland:
I didn't run out of gas or anything. One pitch took me out of it. I threw a pitch in a bad location, and he (Lance) got it."

A note on game recaps

One of the goals of Astros County (second to World Domination, and maybe a radio show), is to provide the Citizens with one-stop shopping for news, relevant statistics, and commentary. What Astros County was not doing, as Citizen Chris deftly pointed out, was providing a link to the box score within the recaps. That has changed. The yellow text in the first line of each recap will link to ESPN's box score of that game. Enjoy.

Recap for G40 - Rangers at Astros

Astros lost 6-5 in 10 innings to open interleague play. For some reason, it means a lot to me for the Astros to beat the piss out of the Rangers. The Silver Boot means something to me, and I hate myself for being sucked into it. So when the Astros went to the World Series in 2005, and the Rangers perennially finished out of medal contention (in a 4-team division. Get it?), I was downright gleeful. Now they're in first place, and the Astros are in serious need of rethinking the direction of their franchise - which I think is happening by the way, just not as drastically as, say, the Orioles - I hate it.

What do you do with LaHawk. I was all ready to slam his performance in the 9th inning and make a case for Sampson to take over closer duties on a probational basis, and then I saw this - In the 9th inning, batters facing LaHawk are:

3x28, .107/.194/.143, 9K:3BB, 1XBH. Last night was just one of those things, but we probably should give credit to the Astros for coming back from a 5-0 deficit and tying it up.

Let's just do the thing:

Paulino: 5.1IP, 7H/4ER, 3K:2BB
Wright: .2IP, 2H/1ER
Ortiz: 1IP, 1H, 1K:1BB
Sampson: 2IP, 2K
LaHawk: 1IP, 2H/1ER, 2K:1BB

We did mention Paulino pitching for his job with Backe's impending return from a season's worth of rehab starts. Did he do it last night? Taken into consideration should be his starting/relieving/waiting around role. If a starting pitcher needs a routine to feel comfortable, then Paulino must be the most uncomfortable pitcher in the world. That said, you have to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. We'll see what happens...


Paulino threw an awful lot of pitches - 102 in 5.1IP. The Rangers had 11 plate appearances in which they saw 5+ pitches from Paulino (how's that for alliteration?). That said, Paulino did get 30 non-contact strikes. But there were also six at-bats in which he got to some variation of a 3-ball count. He just wasn't sharp.

At least for nothing else, we'll remember the first quarter of 2009 as the time in which Michael Bourn broke out - he's just raking, 3x5 last night in the most productive game for him in the leadoff spot. Against left-handed pitching, Bourn is 10x30. He's more patient, working the count to three balls 38 times this season already. Last season, Bourn had 22 hits off lefties...all year.

But it was Berkman's three-run jack in the sixth that scored Bourn and Matsui. Just as I was saying "Come on, Lance, hit a homer" in my best Bull Durham impression - he did exactly that, and the Astros went on to tie the game. However, the last good chance for the Astros came in the 8th inning, after tying the game at 5-5, Berkman began the inning striking out on three straight pitches, Lee and Pence singled. Tejada then on the second pitch promptly GIDPed to end the inning. Lance got on in the 10th, but Michaels struck out looking on a borderline pitch. Still, on a 2-2 count, you've got to battle the borderline pitches. Which is easy for me, as I have exactly the same amount of hits in 2009 as Jason Smith - ha!

And speaking of Jason Smith, Edwin Maysonet traded spots with him, getting an eight-pitch pinch-hit fly out to center in his first AB with the Big Club this season.

Man of the Match:
Lance Berkman. Changed the complexion of the game with a 3-run homer, and put himself on base in the 10th. He's still hitting just .239 on the season, but since coming back from those three days off with the sore wrist, he's 12x29 (.414/.528/.655) with 2HR, 8RBI, 3K:7BB

Goat of the Game:
Wesley Wright. First-pitch homer to Saltalamaschsoifhasrio means that his ERA is 7.82.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Well, that's one Off-Day Argument settled

If you had "The Day In Which Jason Smith Gets Released" in your office pool for Off-Day Argument #4, you are correct.

Jason Smith was designated for assignment, and Edwin Maysonet was called up after last night's game.

Welcome, Edwin Maysonet!

Matchup for G40 - Rangers at Astros

Something happened between rain cancellations and delays. Now we're straight - this is G40, Rangers at Astros: Battle for the Bilver Soot.

Felipe Paulino tries to recapture that Starting Pitcher Spirit that was so rudely taken away from him last month by shifting Moehler back into the rotation. He'll do so against a team in which he has never faced: the Fightin' Nolans.

The Astros are 25-23 against the Rangers lifetime in interleague play.


The Astros are 1-6 when Paulino appears in a game, though his first three starts went very well. During the Bullpen Experiment, Paulino watched his ERA climb higher than Hef's blood pressure - from 2.55 following the April 29 G22 @ Cincinnati to 6.93, where it sits currently.

Last start:

Felipe did get 23 non-contact strikes vs Colorado, but gave up four extra base hits (2 2Bs / 2 HRs).

5/12 @COL47/72:48/996/55

Notice the last two starts? 18 strikeouts, no walks. Still has not allowed a home run. Eight of Wandy's 15 walks have been to the first batter of the inning.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 21x65, .323/.405/.415, 10K:7BB
vs Lefties: 15x38, .395/.500/.684, 9K:7BB

When swinging at the first pitch (13): .455/.500/.818, 3XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (51): .404/.451/.532, 7K:3BB
After First-Pitch Balls (59): .267/.421/.422, 12K:11BB

RISP: 17x37, .459/.535/.568, 9K:5BB
Runners on: 21x55, .382/.477/.509, 13K:8BB
2OwRISP: 9x16, .563/.611/.625, 7K:0BB

I think it's probably safe to say that Paulino is pitching for his job tonight. First game of a high-profile series and Backe waiting in the wings, eligible to come off the DL next week. If Paulino keeps it on lock, then maybe he stays in the rotation and Backe rejoins the team from the bullpen initially. If Paulino has another meltdown, it doesn't look good. And I put this squarely on the Front Office. There was absolutely no need to shift Paulino to the bullpen - Ortiz should have been there a week earlier.

Derek Holland

Rookie Derek Holland takes the mound for the Rangers, making his first start of the season. He's coming off a May 15 appearance in which he allowed 5ER in 2.2IP with three walks.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 6x31, .194/.306/.419, 5K:5BB
vs Lefties: 7x19, .368/.400/.579, 1K:1BB

When swinging at the first pitch (9): .111/.111/.444, 1XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (24): .333/.417/.571, 3K:3BB
After First-Pitch Balls (23): .250/.348/.400, 3K:3BB

RISP: 4x13, .308/.400/.615, 1K:2BB
Runners on: 6x22, .273/.333/.500, 3K:2BB
2OwRISP: 4x9, .444/.545/.889, 1K:2BB

1st PA: 9x43 (.209/.277/.419)
2nd PA: 4x7 (.571/.667/.857)

Recap for Brewers @ Astros

Brewers scored four unanswered runs after the Astros had built up a 3-0 lead, losing 4-3 last night as the Astros used six relievers - two of whom didn't record an out.

Oswalt: 6.1IP, 10H/3ER, 7K:1BB
Fulchino: 0IP, 0H/1ER
Byrdak: 0IP, 1H/0ER
Sampson: .2IP, 1H, 1BB
Wright: .1IP, 1H, 1K
Arias: .2IP, 1K
LaHawk: 1IP, 2K

Another homerless outing for Oswalt, which is encouraging, and of the 10 hits he gave up, just two were for extra bases. Also encouraging were Oswalt's 32 non-contact strikes, so his stuff is getting sharper.


What happened in the 7th? Reliever Carousel! Oswalt started off Iribarren with a K, Counsell singled, then Oswalt walked Hardy.

Fulchino comes in to face Braun - hits him to load the bases

Byrdak comes in to face Fielder, and promptly gives up a 2-run single

Sampson came in for Byrdak, got Cameron to pop out, gave up an RBI double to Hart, intentionally walked Mat Gamel, and got Kendall to ground into a fielder's choice.

So everybody combined to nut this game.

Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer in the second and Miguel Tejada hit a solo homer to account for all the runs. Pence's homer was on a 3-1 count; Tejada's count was full.

Oh yeah, and Coop and Berkman got ejected after being called out at home on Pence's single. Berkman was safe, and that's the difference in a 1-run game.

Crew chief Mike Reilly said this was the reason:
"Berkman was ejected for the manor in which he argued the play with the throwing of the helmet, and Cecil was ejected for the same reason."

Among the more curiouser incidents of the evening was in the 6th when, with Tejada on second and Blum on first, Pudge bunted foul twice before grounding into a double play. The only reason I can think of this - and remember, I was moving furniture last night, so I haven't seen any highlights - is that the Astros were playing for a pinch-hitter there. Pudge didn't get it done, Oswalt batted, and pitched to three batters in the 7th. Your thoughts or reactions?

Man of the Match:
Hunter Pence. Big 2-run shot with another single, and he is now hitting .347.

Goat of the Game:
Jeff Keppinger. 0x5 with 5 LOB.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moving day. Check back tomorrow.

Don't watch the Rangers tonight, they won't look like the Rangers we'll see this weekend

The Rangers hope to have Josh Hamilton and closer Frank Francisco back for this weekend's series with the Astros.

Minor League Transactions

A few transactions for you on this busy day:

Placed RHP Jose Duran on 7-day DL
Jack Tilghman promoted from Lexington

Sent Russell Dixon to Extended Spring Training

Peavy update

Jake Peavy may not approve the trade to the White Sox.

Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod:
"If I had to make a bet on it, I would guess that Jake would say he's not ready to take that step today,'' Axelrod said. "But he wouldn't necessarily preclude it at any time in the future.

"We aren't hiding anything from anybody. Jake has a strong preference to stay in the National League. He has a comfort zone there, he's been successful, and he's won a Cy Young Award. I don't know that on May 21, that preference has eroded very much. From our point of view we may say, 'Let's give (the Padres) more time and see if a National League team might step up over the next six weeks.'

"If this were any one of three or four other teams and they called about him, Jake would jump at it. He would be willing. They know who they are. They know that certain places are more enticing to him."

So Axelrod just threw a lifeline to the Cubs (which someone should tell Axelrod is in the same city as the White Sox), and the other teams? Are the Astros one of those teams? Who's to say? The tentative deal included three minor leaguers and reliever Clayton Richard, and didn't include Gordon Beckham - the White Sox' first round pick from 2008.

What four prospects would you give up for Peavy? Or would you even do it? Whoever gets Peavy gets this pay schedule:
2010: $15 million
2011: $16 million
2012: $17 million
2013: $22 million club option or a $4 million buyout

UPDATE: Other teams have been interested Peavy, but Peavy has told the Padres on numerous occasions that he wanted to stay in the National League, and there were only three places he would go. The three placesup until now were the Cubs, Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros. The Braves and Astros had long negotiations with the Padres but were unable to come up with a suitable deal for both sides.

YotD: May 20

Round Rock
Off last night

Corpus Christi
San Antonio took it the Hooks' Casey Hudspeth, though he did turn in a QS, in a 6-2 victory over Corpus. Shortstop Wladimir Sutil was 2x2 with an RBI, and Drew Meyer was 2x4.

That was a big'un. The JetHawks scored one run in the 16th, and gave it back in the bottom of the inning. Then they scored three runs in the top of the 17th, and gave one back. But that still means a +2 run differential, and when we're talking about one game...that's good. Jon Gaston was 3x7 while Castro, Flores and Clemens all enjoyed multi-hit games. It was Koby Clemens' 2-run single in the 17th that helped put the JetHawks over the top. Chris Hicks threw 6IP of 1ER ball while the Lancaster bullpen held Lake Elsinore to 2ER over 11IP with 9K:2BB. Jack Tilghman had 5Ks in 3IP.

Charleston used a 5-run 3rd inning to top the Legends 8-7. Brad Dydalewicz only threw 2IP in his first action back from the DL. Arcenio Leon gave up 4ER in .2IP. Steve Brown hit a 2-run homer in the 2nd while Michael Diaz, Ebert Rosario and Brandon Barnes all had multi-hit games.

Differences between Maddon / Cooper

So there's a little thread going back and forth on how Cooper handled the whole "You-bat-then-he-bats. No. Wait. Huh?" scenario that unfolded last night with Michael Bourn shaken, yet not stirred.

Cooper said:
"We have three or four safeguards, two or three coaches and myself. And today no one checked it. So we're all at fault, but I take the blame ultimately because it's my responsibility. That should be the end of it."

Then Cooper said:
"Actually, when (the umpire) said he was out. That's when I noticed it. I didn't even look at it. I put it in my pocked tonight without really checking. Usually I check it every day and today for some reason, I did not check. And no one checked. That was the snafu."

Joe Maddon, to whom this happened four days ago, said:
"It was my mistake. … It was my fault. I screwed up. Nobody else did."

Then Maddon said this:
"Two fives, five there and five there," (pointing to the mistake on the scorecard) "And I said, 'Oh no.' My only concern at that point was that Longo stayed in the game. ... This was unacceptable. I [made a mistake]."

White Sox / Padres reportedly agree on Peavy trade

White Sox, Padres reportedly agree on Peavy trade. More later.

UPDATE: Peavy has to waive his no-trade clause in order for the deal to go through.

This really could not have worked out better for the Astros. As mentioned extensively on this blog, Peavy to the Cubs would have been disastrous. A 1-2 punch of Peavy/Zambrano would have killed. Now, not only is Peavy not heading to the Cubs (contingent on his waiving the no-trade clause), he's out of the National League.

Ortiz must think he's got Cooper on Boiling Points

Man, JJO is hammering Coop.

I figured the lineup card issue would be used as a reflective episode on Cooper's ability to manage a club, and JJO didn't let me down. Regard, word-for-word:

Here's Cooper's side of the story.

"We have three or four safeguards, two or three coaches and myself," he said. "And today no one checked it. So we're all at fault, but I take the blame ultimately because it's my responsibility. That should be the end of it."

Translation, three other people screwed up, too, but I have to answer for it.

When did you know it was wrong?

"Actually, when (the umpire) said he was out," Cooper said. "That's when I noticed it. I didn't even look at it. I put it in my pocked tonight without really checking. Usually I check it every day and today for some reason, I did not check. And no one checked. That was the snafu."

At that point, I wanted to ask Cooper why didn't you at least come out of the dugout to calm Michael Bourn and explain to him that it was your mistake and not his. Bourn is a young player who was obviously upset. Fortunately, Geoff Blum stepped in and calmed Bourn down and let him know that he didn't screw up.

I didn't ask that question because I was dying to figure out why he didn't bother to look at his lineup card. Wouldn't you have to look at it if you wrote it? So I asked, "Who wrote it?"

"I wrote it," he said. "I wrote the original lineup. Every day we come in, I write a lineup, I hand it to my bench coach. He hands it to some one who does it on the computer. There's four checks. And today nobody checked. It is my responsibility."

Cooper has led off with Kaz Matsui consistently, so that's probably why the person who wrote it kept him there on the day Cooper wanted to lead off with Bourn and bat Matsui second.

"I'm sure that's how it really came about just because Matsui is always leadoff," Cooper said. "It's my responsibility. I take full responsibility for it."

Cooper didn't help matters by waiting so long to post his lineup. I'm going to offer Cooper and his bosses a bit of advice and let them know what's going on in the clubhouse. If they have a meeting to figure out what the heck's going on, I promise Cooper and his bosses that the players will say there's a lack of communication, whether it's guys not knowing when they're going to play or pitch or if a player is going to be in the lineup on a certain day.

It's never a good sign when players are frustrated because they keep going back and forth to see if the lineup is up, which is what happened Wednesday while Cooper watched the Texans play Home Run Derby.

"That might have created some of a problem too. I was waiting to talk to a couple of guys. That might have created a problem. But, again, it's my responsibility," Cooper said of the late lineup posting.

Did Bourn appear confused?

"He was confused," Cooper said. "Yeah, he was confused, but I knew exactly what happened."

We're all human. We all make mistakes. Cooper might warrant a pass for messing up the lineup, but a leader would have gone out to tell Bourn that Bourn didn't do anything wrong. Instead, Cooper and his good friend/bench coach Ed Romero remained in the dugouts. That's when leadership was needed.

I'll say messing up the lineup card isn't such a big deal. Joe Maddon did it a few days ago, and no one is calling for his resignation. I'll do some checking today too see how the Rays fans reacted to it, but he had the pitcher hitting #3 for Evan Longoria. So let's keep some perspective here.

The issue is what happened after, and I will admit that Coop could have handled it better. Conspicuously absent from the comments from the clubhouse are Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt. Oswalt didn't have a hand in the game tonight, obviously, but those two have not said a word about Cooper - yea or nay - all season long. Are we seeing the unraveling of a Major League manager? Stay tuned...

Meat Wagon Updated Schedule

Jose Valverde is heading to Miami to get a second opinion on his calf.

“He’s making very good progress, but his agent talked to (assistant general manager) David Gottfried (Tuesday) and asked if they had the ability to get a second opinion. And we said, ‘Yeah, by all means.’ We talked about him seeing a specialist here in Houston, but their preference was to see Dr. Uribe. I guess the agent has a familiarity with him. Our doctors feel that’s just part of the healing process of having an incision and having all that fluid drained. But (Valverde) just wants to confirm that through someone else. We’re wide open if a player wants a second opinion.”


In a scheduled move, Hampton might make his next start on a week's rest instead of four days. It's not normally advisable to throw lefties back-to-back, so in an effort to split them up, Cooper will give Hampton a few extra days to heal his soap-sliced hand.

Reactions to G39 - Brewers at Astros

Wandy dominates again, though he allowed his first homer of the season to Mike Cameron. Arias and Sampson combined in the 9th to make it interesting, but the Astros walked away with the win.

Wandy, on Cooper's messing up the lineup card:
"That’s the first time I see that. It’s the first time. I had never seen that, ever. I was surprised. I asked Carlos Lee, ‘what happened?’ He said the lineup was wrong. I had never seen that. I was really surprised."

Coop, on posting the lineup late:
"That might have created some of a problem, too. I was waiting to talk to a couple of guys. That might have created a problem. But, again, it’s my responsibility. We have three or four safeguards, two or three coaches and myself. And today no one checked it. So we’re all at fault, but I take the blame ultimately because it’s my responsibility. That should be the end of it."

"Tremendous, tremendous. That’s what we need for every day, to have somebody different step up. That’s what we need with the starters doing what they're doing."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Live Blog - G39

You SOBs missed an epic live blog from Deputy Jason. We talked about

-Rick Sutcliffe's sobriety
-Abilene Christian University
-Sam Rayburn High School
-Brian Bogusevic
-Chris Sampson
-Kris Allen
-German exchange students
-The classless-ness of the Houston Press
-Eric Davis
-At-bat walk-up music
-Larry Wayne Jones as a serial killer

You jerkfaces need to support your local Astros blog. I hold it against you.

Brewers v. Astros LIVE BLOG

Houston Press...What the hell?!

Over the line. Check it out:

Arnie the Peanut Dude is a fixture at Astros games, his chatter and canny ability to toss accurately a bag of peanuts far distances often being enough to distract from the crummy play by the home team.

Change that "is" to "was."

That's how you're going to report that someone - anyone - passed away? Bush League. Nice way to slam a team that plays a game through an obituary, and then to remark on his death by using past tense.

Blackout regulations to be addressed

Rob Neyer has a quick post regarding the MLB Owners' decision to revisit the unbelievably ridiculous blackout rules the clubs enforce.

True story: I lived for a significant portion of my life in Abilene, TX. I ordered the MLB Extra Innings package one season. Opening Night I had a party where we invited a bunch of people over to watch G1 of the season. So we get everything ready, people show up. Turn the channel over to the game, and get three hours of black screen. The game had been blacked out.

If you're familiar with your Texas geography, Abilene is a six-hour drive from Houston (though I once made the trip in 4:57. God bless you, Highway 36.) The way Fox Sports Southwest explained it, it was physically possible for me to drive to the game, thus - blackout. I only saw about 40 Astros games that season, even though I had paid the $170, or whatever. And note - you can't cancel the Extra Innings Package. Think of it as a six-month long PPV movie.

Here's Neyer:
If the owners can agree to dispense with their terribly arcane and unfair territorial blackout rules, that would be yet another victory for the fans.
Sure, neither of these things really makes a huge difference to most fans. But that's not really the point. The point is to do the right thing when you can, and seem to care about the happiness of your customers. Most owners don't actually care about their customers, of course ... but as long as the results are good, why worry about motives?

Rob Neyer - I agree with thee.

Heyman has Valverde on the block

In Jon Heyman's column on potential trade candidates, closer Jose Valverde landed at #9. His take:

Houston owner Drayton McLane probably isn't as attached to Valverde as he is to Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman.

I haven't seen a drop-off in production from LaHawk and Sampson in the closer role over Valverde. So that may mean that Valverde is expendable, and I would be all for shopping him for some minor leaguers - even if they were Double-A guys. You?

Matchup for G39 - Brewers at Astros

Be sure to tune in tonight as Deputy Jason takes you on a Magical Mystery Tour through G39. And speaking of G39, is anyone else depressed that the season is almost a quarter over?

I'm with JJO, this is going to be a pretty fun game. Wandy vs. Gallardo - good matchup, and I don't care what anyone says, the Astros need to be playing with a sense of urgency. Berkman said before the Rockets Game 7 that the Astros play 162 Game 7s a year. Well, it's time to play like it, because this season is in danger of slipping away. A loss tonight puts the Astros eight games back of the Brewers for first place. Luckily the Astros have ace Wandy Rodriguez taking the hill tonight.


The Astros are 6-2 when Wandy starts (those two losses? The Astros scored no runs), and his ERA hasn't been above 2.20 since the second game of the season. And with the exception of when Cooper pulled him after five innings at Atlanta on May 3, Wandy would be on a streak of eight straight quality starts.

Last three starts:

5/3 @ATL56/33:38/886/55
5/8 vSD85/07:08/14116/82
5/14 @COL75/211:04/10113/77

Notice the last two starts? 18 strikeouts, no walks. Still has not allowed a home run. Eight of Wandy's 15 walks have been to the first batter of the inning.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 32x136, .235/.300/.294, 36K:11BB
vs Lefties: 5x43, .116/.191/.186, 12K:4BB

When swinging at the first pitch (18): .333/.333/.389, 1XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (107): .216/.267/.268, 32K:5BB
After First-Pitch Balls (74): .156/.270/.234, 16K:10BB

RISP: 8x39, .205/.238/.256, 10K:1BB
Runners on: 17x66, .177/.250/.230, 14K:4BB
2OwRISP: 3x19, .158/.200/.158, 7K:0BB

Yovani Gallardo

Gallardo has been somewhat of a revelation for the Brewers this season. After throwing just 24 innings last season, Gallardo is 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in 2009.

Last three starts:

4/29 vPIT82/011:17/9116/74
5/4 @PIT77/35:38/15108/59
5/9 vCHC55/28:54/8102/60

Gallardo hasn't pitched since May 9 due to scheduling problems thanks to a rain-shortened outing. But he did throw against the Astros on April 24 as the Brewers won that game 5-4 against Felipe Paulino. How did that shake out?

Matsui: Single up middle, struck out looking, groundout to third, groundout to first
Bourn: Bunt groundout, single to left, single to center, struck out looking
Berkman: Groundout to 2nd, struck out looking, struck out looking, struckout looking
Lee: Flied out to right, homer to left, flied out to right (Keppinger in) groundout to short
Tejada: Groundout to second, flied out center, flied out to left
Pence: Groundout to second, flied out to center, single to center
Blum: Lined out to first, lined out to second, GIDP
Quintero: Groundout to short, (Pudge in) groundout to pitcher, flied out to center
Paulino: Groundout to short, struck out swinging, (Erstad PH) struck out swinging

Yep, that was a complete game. Through the order...
1st PA: 1x9
2nd PA: 3x9
3rd PA+: 2x13

The Astros got some hard-hit balls, but they found a lot of outfielders. Or they found the same outfielders a lot. Or you know what I mean.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 12x71, .169/.253/.380, 18K:7BB
vs Lefties: 21x99, .212/.291/.323, 29K:9BB

When swinging at the first pitch (15): .533/.563/1.133, 5XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (82): .133/.207/.253, 26K:7BB
After First-Pitch Balls (92): .188/.286/.288, 21K:9BB

RISP: 6x37, .162/.311/.324, 11K:6BB
Runners on: 9x64, .226/.274/.358, 17K:9BB
2OwRISP: 3x17, .176/.364/.353, 5K:4BB

Unsettling stat of the splits: With two strikes, opposing hitters have a 1x33 (.030) success rate.

R.I.P., Peanut Dude

Tweet from Richard Justice this morning:

Sad news from the Astros. Peanut Dude Arnie Murphy died yesterday.

In addition to his awesome work with the Sunshine Kids, did you know he was a representative at the 2006 All-Star Game?


From Minute Maid Park’s Arnie “The Peanut Dude” Murphy, who tosses peanuts with precision, to Coors Field’s Brent “Captain Earthman” Doeden, who is only a cell phone call away from his customers, each of ARAMARK’s 2006 All-Star Vendors brings a personal flair to customer service at their home ballpark.

ARAMARK selected an engaging and enthusiastic hawker from each of the 11 ballparks in which the company provides concessions to represent their home teams at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Each of the vendors will receive an all-expense paid trip to All-Star weekend where they will showcase their hawking and fan entertainment skills in the stands for both the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game.

Peanut Dude was money.

YotD: May 19

Corpus and Lexington were off last night, but Round Rock and Lancaster played games and slapped hands.

Round Rock
Bud Norris threw 5IP and gave up just 2ER, but took the loss as the Express were blanked by Sacramento. Matt Kata, your semi-YotD, was 2x3 and stole a base in the 2-0 loss.

Lake Elsinore defeated the JetHawks 4-1 last night, but Koby Clemens enjoyed a 1.000 OBP as he went 2x2 with 2BB.

Want to support the Rangers? Go to an Express game

Not kidding.

On May 26 the Round Rock Express will host the team’s inaugural ‘Major League Getaway Day.’ The first 5,000 fans through the gates of The Dell Diamond will receive a free voucher to the Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics game May 31 in Arlington. Each ticket voucher will be redeemable for one ticket up to the value of a lower reserve seat, a $25 value.

Seems odd. But apparently there will be an Astros day later in the season.

Houston Press: Astros are a pack of (cowardly) lions

Brutal commentary from the Houston Press this morning on Cooper's Battle for Respect:

Once again, as was the case with Jose Valverde and Geoff Geary, Cecil Cooper let Hampton pitch even though he knew Hampton was injured. Sure, Hampton's injury was only a cut thumb on his pitching hand which he injured on a soap dispenser in Wrigley Field, but Hampton was barely able to make it through four innings. At some point Cooper is going to have to tell one of his pitchers that, no, they can't pitch when they are injured.

But at this point, I think I'm more pissed at the players than I am Cooper. I don't like Cecil Cooper as a manager. I don't like the moves he makes. I don't like how he handles his pitching staff, or his batting order. But damn it, I make my complaints about Cooper public. The players, however, are too cowardly to go public with their complaints. So they send text messages to Ortiz mocking Cooper's moves or questioning why Cooper does what he does. And I agree with them. But the only way they're going to get changes is to actually go public with their distrust and dislike of Cooper.

I'll give Roy Oswalt this: when he had problems with Cooper last year, he let it be known. But this year, so far as I can tell, none of the players have really gone public. They just take the coward's approach and pick on him behind his back.

And it's my opinion that a team of cowards can never win anything. Not that I expected the Astros to actually win anything this year.

Reactions to G38 - Brewers at Astros

Hampton, on his soaping accident:
“It happened in Chicago when I was showering (Sunday). I was getting soap out of the dispenser, and my finger slipped off, and it cut it. I knew I had it. I went out and played a little catch before the game. I kind of glued the wound so it wouldn’t open up. And then it opened up after the first (inning). It just didn’t get any better. I didn’t have a whole lot of feel for the pitches. I thought to be safe it’d be good to get me out sooner rather than later.”

Ortiz, on giving up those two walks:
“I was just a little off. After that, I felt like I made pretty good pitches. But a soft single and a base hit and sac fly — those were the two walks that scored. So I didn’t end up doing my job.”

Ortiz, on his home run:
“I just tried to put a good swing on it. I’m not trying to hit a home run. I hit it good enough. Sometimes that short left field comes into play.”

“Frustration. There’s no way to explain it. We had our opportunities. We didn’t take advantage of them.”

"We didn't have enough hits in key situations. We had them on the ropes and just didn't get any good swings when we needed them."

"It was a little boost of confidence. I kind of surprised myself. I hadn't thrown since my last inning in Fresno in Triple-A, and my first inning I was kind of all over the place. I just wanted to come in and establish the strike zone and get a groove going, and I was able to do that in three innings."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Astros Mock Draft update

Another mock draft update! Here's another projection for you...

21. Houston - Donavan Tate, OF, Cartersville HS (GA) - While a number of teams are shying away from Tate for various reasons including his hit tool, signing bonus demands, and his love of the sport, the Astros sure do love their athletes. The question is whether they'll pay his asking price.

Know who represents Tate? Your friend and mine, Scott Boras.

Recap for G38 - Brewers at Astros

The Brewers have now taken three out of four from the Astros this season, and if the Astros expect to contend in this division, they're going to have to do better than this: Against the Cardinals, Brewers, and Cubs this season, the Astros are 3-11. Things were rolling along okay for our fair team until a cut Mike Hampton suffered in the shower trying to get soap out of the dispenser (there are so many things to discuss with that fact, there's just not enough time) on Sunday came back to haunt him and he exited after four innings. By the time Ortiz left two innings later, the score may as well have been a final.

Hampton: 4IP, 3H/2ER, 4K:3BB
Ortiz: 2IP, 3H/2ER, 2K:2BB
Fulchino: 3IP

Fulchino threw three perfect innings, but Ortiz? Ortiz was not so perfect. He game up the two earned after walking the first two batters he saw. Honestly, 46 pitches to get through two innings. He did get one back by taking Dave Bush deep, but there is plenty of blame for the offense, as well.


Oh yeah, and Kaz Matsui stole home - the second Astros steal of home in the last week. Multi-hit games from Pence (3x4) and Bourn (2x4) provided most of the offense, though Ortiz' homer was the lone RBI of the game. Not that the Astros didn't have their chances.

Bush got 17 non-contact strikes tonight, while Blum and Pudge combined for an 0x8 night, both leaving the bases loaded in the 4th. With RISP and 2 out, the Astros left five men on base.

Longest AB of the night: 7 pitches to Bourn in the 5th

Man of the Match:
Jeff Fulchino. Gave the Astros a real chance with three perfect innings of relief.

Goat of the Game:
Blum. 0x4 with 6LOB.

The Astros as a verse of a Barry Manilow song

CBS Sports' Power Rankings was not very fun to read:

Astros: 21st
The mini-sorta-surge toward .500 is inspirational in the best sickly-orphan-overcomes-adversity sense of the word, but if I'm an Astros fan I'm still rooting for them to tank in 2009 and get the long-needed retooling effort under way. ... All together now, with no apologies whatsoever to top-of-mind superstar Barry Manilow: "Oh Wandy/Well you came and you threw without breaking/You're our new special ace/Oh Wandy/Fertile groupies are yours for the taking/Mind their perfume and lace/Oh Wandy."

YotD: May 18

Round Rock
Off Monday.

Corpus Christi
The Hooks lost 1-0 in 12 innings to the San Antonio Missions last night. This was accomplished mainly by Brandon Backe's eight innings of scoreless baseball, allowing five hits and one walk with five strikeouts and throwing 74 of his 98 pitches for strikes. But rehab assignments don't make you eligible for the YotD. Drew Meyer got two of the Hooks' three hits last night.

Lancaster was dropped by Rancho Cucamonga 2-1 last night, going 2x11 with RISP. Lancaster's YoTD Leandro Cespedes threw 6IP with 6H/2ER, 6K:1BB (ERA now 1.64) and the JetHawks got multi-hit games from Chris Minaker and Koby Clemens.

The Legends came out on top of another 1-run game for the Astros' farm system last night 2-1. Brian Pellegrini scored the first run of the game in the 7th inning with a solo home run. But your YotD goes to pitcher Jordan Lyles: 7IP, 3H/0ER, 8K:2BB

Matchup for G38 - Brewers at Astros

The Astros salvaged a split in a rain-shortened series, and if I was a betting man (which I'm not, and even if I did, it would not be on baseball. I want to go into the Hall of Fame.) and you had asked me which of the games the Astros would win: Oswalt v Wells or Moehler v Harden...I would have lost my money.

Milwaukee comes in to Houston winning eight of their last ten, and coming off a sweep of the Cardinals, taking a 2-game lead in the NLC (six games over the Astros). Last time around, the Brewers took two of three from the Astros...

Mike Hampton

At least the guy has stayed healthy, but the pitching? It's been hit or miss (and mostly hit, and mostly not in the good way). Hampton's last start, last Wednesday vs Colorado, he went six innings for the first time since last facing the Brewers on April 25 and he has not posted a quality start since April 15. Since then Hampton's ERA has risen from 2.45 to 5.31 and the Astros are 2-5 when Hampton starts.

Last three starts:

5/1 @ATL4.15/50:210/972/42
5/6 vCHC5.17/34:48/11107/66
5/13 @COL67/53:26/1595/52

We've talked about Hampton staying healthy as the key to the Astros season, and he certainly has. He's thrown 90+ pitches in six of seven starts, and 100+ pitches four times this season.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 31x109, .284/.371/.422, 16K:14BB
vs Lefties: 12x41, .293/.333/.463, 13K:3BB

When swinging at the first pitch (18): .267/.250/.533, 2XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (83): .321/.354/.449, 15K:3BB
After First-Pitch Balls (72): .246/.394/.386, 14K:14BB

RISP: 11x34, .324/.415/.647, 5K:6BB
Runners on: 18x65, .294/.341/.365, 10K:6BB
2OwRISP: 7x17, .412/.500/.941, 2K:3BB

2 out: .320/.404/.560, 10K:7BB

Unsettling stat of the splits: The first batter of the game is 5x7 and leading off the inning, batters are 16x38 against Hampton.

What happened last time out for Hampton v Brewers?
Weeks: Single to left, grounded out to third, grounded out to second
Hart: GIDP, walked, struck out looking
Braun: Single to right, infield single, single to center
Fielder: Struck out swinging, homer to left, struck out swinging
Cameron: Flied out to center, struck out looking, walked
Hardy: Walked, flied out to left, grounded into fielder's choice
Hall: GIDP, singled to right, 3-run homer to left
Kendall: Singled to right, flied out to right, grounded out to first
Suppan: Sac bunt, line out to first

Hart was 3x3 off Hampton while Hall provided a 3-run homer for the Brewers.

Dave Bush

Bush is just 2-0 in eight starts for the Brewers with a 3.83 ERA, though they are 5-3 when he does start (and those are five straight wins for Milwaukee when Bush starts). Bush did not pitch when the Brewers and Astros played in April. Bush has thrown seven innings in four of his last five starts, and five of his starts have resulted in one-run games.

Last three starts:

5/3 v ARI75/37:07/1396/67
5/8 v CHC74/24:08/1281/51
5/14 vFLA76/27:12/1797/60

Bush has been very economical - throwing fewer than 100 pitches in each of his last three outings of 7IP, and has been getting fly balls and non-contact strikes: 79 NCS in May (57 looking / 22 swinging).

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 17x65, .262/.319/.477, 11K:3BB
vs Lefties: 22x106, .208/.265/.406, 25K:7BB

When swinging at the first pitch (23): .333/.348/.667, 3XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (92): .181/.233/.289, 24K:4BB
After First-Pitch Balls (77): .254/.329/.537, 12K:6BB

RISP: 7x34, .206/.231/.324, 7K:2BB
Runners on: 13x61, .213/.239/.279, 12K:2BB
2OwRISP: 2x14 .143/.250/.214, 3K:2BB

Monday, May 18, 2009

Quick update: Brewers' Rickie Weeks out for the season.

Houston Chronicle BBWAA Voting Members

The list of Hall of Fame voters was released. 725 voting members means that 544 votes have to be cast for a player/manager to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Who are the voting members from the Houston area?

John Black - Bayshore Sun (1972)
Richard Justice (1984)
Bill Hartman - Fort Bend Herald (1985)
Dale Robertson (1986)
Jose de Jesus Ortiz (1997)
Brian McTaggart (2004)
David Barron (2005)
Rene Cardenas - La Prensa (2006)
Steve Campbell - Houston Chronicle (2007)
Joseph Duarte - Houston Chronicle (2008)
Zachary Levine (2008)

Updated Very Public Admission of Idiocy: Shiner is correct. I nutted this post.

Hawkins feels like he got hit by a car

Astros closer LaTroy Hawkins does not feel well. Maybe you noticed, but Chris Sampson picked up his first career save yesterday against the Cubs. That's because LaHawk slipped trying to Go-Go-Gadget Legs on Hunter Pence's tee shot that sailed, allowing Bobby Scales (who had to add a few more lines to the Screenplay That Is His Life) to score the winning run in Saturday's game.

“I’m sore everywhere. I feel like I was in a car accident. Just slipped backing up home plate. I got jarred. I fell on my left side, and then to add insult to injury, when the ball hit the concrete (backstop), it almost came back and hit me in the face. I caught it, but still …”

One more transaction

Alyson Footer has been named the Astros' Senior Director of Digital Media, effective June 1.

World Series to start before 8pm; Bosses rejoice

When I was back on East Coast time, I dreaded October. It's my favorite month of the year, but I dread it. Or rather, my boss dreaded it, because everyone came in to work looking like it was 28 Years Later. Red eyes. Wild hair. Jerky movements.

This is all due to Fox Sports, which has made a fairly consistent effort over the last ten years to destroy everything that is Good and Right about sports on television. Be it a flame shooting off of a hockey puck; commentators who have not been covering college football call the National Championship; Jeanne Zelasko and Joe BuckCarver.

Or how about alienating an entire generation of baseball fans who have to be in bed before the end of the 2nd inning - thus rendering the Holiest of Sporting Events, the World Series, meaningless, as they have to listen to Stuart Scott or Chris Berman recount the Wondrous Majesty of the World Series into a 60-second clip, and then making those viewers listen to drivel about Tim Tebow, Tony Romo, Kobe, between coverage segments the next morning?

Well, no more! Bud Selig and Fox have caved! Now kids can stay up until the 4th inning before they have to go to bed! And working professionals will only look like dog crap the next morning, instead of hammered dog crap, as first pitch will be backed up 40 minutes.

Apparently this marks the first time since Game Four of the 1979 World Series (the last time the Pirates won the World Series) that a WS game has started before 8pm EST.

And still no afternoon World Series games.

Transaction Roundup - May 18

I'll be better about this, but there were some transactions as players get shuffled up and down lately. Players organized by destination (so I don't put the same player getting promoted/demoted twice).

Round Rock
May 16 - Chris Johnson promoted from rehab assignment from Lancaster

Corpus Christi
May 16 - Chia-Jen Lo promoted from Lancaster

May 10 - Eric Taylor retired
May 12 - Koby Clemens sent down from Corpus Christi
May 16 - Brian Pellegrini promoted from Lexington
May 16 - Chad Wagler sent down from Corpus Christi
May 16 - Signed free agent OF Eric Suttle

May 11 - Jorge de Leon promoted from Greeneville
May 11 - Michael Diaz sent down from Corpus Christi
May 16 - Marques Williams promoted from Tri-City
May 16 - Michael Hacker promoted from Tri-City

Andy Van Hekken: Express

Let's hear it for Corpus pitcher Andy Van Hekken - brought up to Round Rock (though gave up 2ER in 1IP). Hooray for promotions!

Eddie's Farm: Week 6

Sixth Installment of The Race to Replace

Round Rock
16-22, 3rd place, 3GB



Corpus Christi
18-17, 2nd place, 1.5GB

Van Ostrand26x80.325/.419/.62511-1613:9


Lancaster JetHawks
12-25, Last Place, 11GB



Lexington Legends
18-19, 6th place, 3.5 GB



The First in a Series of Off-Day Arguments

Which comes first:

- The date in which Jason Smith gets his first hit of the season.

- The date in which Jason Smith gets released.

Chris Johnson back at Round Rock

This could have happened at any point over the last four days, but I've been so stinking busy I didn't notice. Chris Johnson was 2x5 last night for the Express. Welcome back to Triple-A, Chris Johnson!

UPDATE: Johnson actually returned to Round Rock for Saturday's game.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pinch-Hitting Ast-woes

I've noticed something - the Astros pinch-hitters are doing a lot of pinching, and not a lot of hitting.

In fact, let's look at this. In 36 games in a pinch-hitting role the Astros three standard pinch-hitters are...

Erstad: 4x15, 1 triple, 6K:2BB, 2RBI
Michaels: 2x15, 1 double, 0RBI, 6K:2BB
Smith: 0x13, 1RBI, 4K:0BB

Total: 6x43 (.140), 16K:4BB

Recap for G37 - Astros at Cubs

So the Astros ended up with a split in the two-game series, Sampson got to pitch in the 9th (and it got hairy. I wonder, as I haven't played competitive baseball in a very long time: is the mindset of pitching in the 7th different from the 8th, and the 8th from the 9th?). The Astros are now 2-5 against the Cubs so far this season.

Moehler: 5IP, 5H, 3ER, 4K:2BB
Byrdak: 1IP
Arias: 1.1IP, 2H
Sampson: 1.2IP, 4H, 2ER

Moehler snapped a 7-game ND streak, and it's worth pointing out that since returning from the DL, Moehler has a 2.25 ERA - and 11K:3BB ratio.


Pudge hit his 300th home run breaking a 2-2 tie in the 4th and joining Mike Piazza, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra as the only catchers with 300 homers. Congratulations, Pudge.

The Astros got multi-hit games from Berkman (now hitting a robust .230, eight points behind Matsui), and Tejada. While may see Pence later on this post. And I think you know what that means. Jason Smith struck out to end the 6th inning - 0x25.

Longest AB of the night: 7 pitches by Bourn.

Man of the Match:
Pudge - congratulations on your 300th homer, which was a big part of the Astros winning this game.

Goat of the Game:
Hunter Pence - 0x4 with 4Ks.