Saturday, June 6, 2009

G53 MotM

Having read Ryan Sides' comment on the G53 recap last night, I think he has a valid argument.

In retrospect, I think I should have chose Mike Hampton for the Man of the Match. Any time your starter can give you seven innings of one run ball, you should have a good chance of winning the game. Carlos really just padded a victory that we could have won without his blast.
Any thoughts on the MotM for last night's game? Who would YOU have picked and why?
Chris McQuid

Big Angry Z to pull a Roy? reporting that, after Zambrano's contract expires following 2013, he's done.

"I'm serious. I don't want to play. I want to help this team, I want to do everything possible to help this team, but after five years or four years, or whatever I have left on my contract, I just don't want to play."

Read it here:

G54 Preview - Pirates @ Astros

Game 2 of the 3 game series with the Bucs goes tonight at 7:05 pm ET at MMP.

The Astros won in convincing fashion last night, laying the smackdown to the tune of a 9-1 victory. Mike Hampton had a very solid outing, and let's hope our Ace can keep it going tonight. The chuckers:

Roy Oswalt, RHP - Houston Astros

2-2 / 4.28 ERA / 1.34 WHIP
69.1 IP / 55 K / 19 BB

Paul Maholm, LHP - Pittsburgh Pirates

3-2 / 3.82 ERA / 1.35 WHIP
68.1 IP / 38 K / 23 BB

Quite similar statistics for these two pitchers. Roy is much more of a strikeout pitcher though, where Maholm relies more on pitching to contact and relying on his defense. Both guys have had their own mix of brilliant and pretty awful starts this year. Let's hope Roy can work deep into the game to keep on conserving that bullpen.
Chris McQuid

Friday, June 5, 2009

G53 Recap - Pirates @ Astros

Astros win! And in grand fashion. The Astros beat up the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight 9-1 thanks to a seven run sixth inning - capped with a Grand Salami by Carlos Lee, the 13th of his career.

Mike Hampton picked up the win with a very solid outing - his line:

7.0 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 5 K / 0 BB

Jeff Fulchino also pitched 2 scoreless innings in relief.

Some notes from the offensive outburst:

-Michael Bourn went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored

-Humberto Quintero legged out a triple

-Jeff Keppinger & Geoff Blum were the only starters who didn't collect a hit in the game, but Keppy did drive in a run (yes, I just called him Keppy - hopefully it will stick).

Game reactions are not yet available, but I do have.....


-a bit of a toss up between Hampton and Lee, but this one has to go to Carlos Lee.

2 for 5 with 4 RBI, thanks to a big Grand Slam.


-Geoff Blum. Even the starting pitcher collects a hit, a run and an RBI...but Blum throws out an o-fer. On a side note, what is with Blum's power outage this year?

Chris McQuid

LaHawk expendable?

Speculation this evening that, with Valverde's pain-free simulated game, LaHawk and his 2.38 ERA could be on the move.

Sampson has done well, Fulchino has done well, Byrdak? The same. What do you think?

Update on Arias

I guess Wandy didn't tip that pitch. Despite taking a Wandy toss off the coconut, experiencing dizziness and headache, Arias is day-to-day, but okay.

Read it here:

A little late there, Pudge...

Pudge thinks Wandy is tipping his pitches. Or so Pudge told Easy Eddie today.

The issue is apparently with Wandy's left elbow, specifically moving it when he throws his curveball.

Dewey Robinson said Wandy struggled with pitch tipping last year.

Read it here:

One of those "You Gotta Be Kidding Me" moments

Big thanks to Deputy Chris for filling in on game info for Astros County. You're in good hands.

Meanwhile, on the field during BP, Alberto Arias was hit in the head by a fly ball and carted off the field. So I guess he's unavailable tonight?

G53 Preview - Pirates @ Astros

Our Astros open up a 3 game weekend series against the Buccos tonight at Minute Maid Park in Houston. First pitch is at 8:05 pm ET.

Heading into this game, the Pirates are in 5th place in the NL Central with a 25-28 (.472) record. The Astros sit a game and a half back of the Bucs, sporting an unimpressive 23-29 (.442) mark. They are in the NL Central cellar.

The Pirates have a 10-17 (.370) road record this year, while the Astros are 12-16 (.429) at MMP. Tonight's chuckers:

Mike Hampton, LHP - Houston Astros

3-4, 5.07 ERA, 1.44 WHIP
55 IP / 36 K / 22 B

Hampton last faced the Pirates on May 31 in Pittsburgh, and had an impressive showing:

7.0 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / WIN!

Jeff Karstens, RHP - Pittsburgh Pirates

2-2, 4.83 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
50.1 IP / 22 K / 17 BB

Karstens last faced the Astros on May 30 in Pittsburgh, and also had one heck of a game:

7.0 IP /6 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / WIN

Two guys who aren't exactly the aces of their respective pitching staffs, but have had recent success against these teams nonetheless. We could be in for an unexpected pitching duel, or an absolute blowout. We'll find out in a couple of hours!

Deputy Chris

Hello out there everyone in Astrosland! James and Jason are both unavailable for the weekend, so i'm going to do my best to keep you both entertained and informed. It's a 2 for 1 deal.

You may know me under my former title, Citizen Chris - with a juicy link to my original Astros County interview right here.

As of today, I have been Deputized, which i'm actually pretty pumped about. According to Wikipedia, "Deputy is a rank or title, or part of a title, used in various organizations with a codified command structure. It often designates someone who is "second-in-command," and as such, may precede the name of the rank directly above it."

I don't know about you, but to me that sounds pretty impressive! I must say, the transition from Citizen to Deputy has been a smooth one. I have an impressive corner office and a shiny badge....ok, well I have my regular old desk at work and a pen, but what can you do?

Anyway, tune in all weekend long, my fellow Astroholics, for all the latest news! Have a great weekend.

Miggs as trade bait

Jon Heyman's latest column notes that Miguel tejada's name has come up in trade talks, and should he be traded, would most likely be asked to play third base.

However, One Scout said that Miggs was pulling off the ball, and that he didn't like his hitting.

Yeah. Who wants a guy who hits .380 over a month and .350 over the year?

Read the column at:

Astros and the DL

Incredible data available from Beyond the Box Score dissecting DL trips among Major League teams. You should check it out, but as a teaser I'll point out that...

-The Astros rank 2nd behind the White Sox in Fewest Trips to the DL
-The Astros rank 6th in Fewest Average Days on the DL
-The Astros are #1 in Fewest Days Lost to the DL

Players from Cincinnati spent five times the number of days on the DL compared to players from Houston. It was really an eye opener to see which teams seem to care about conditioning and the ones that do not.

YotD: June 4

Round Rock
The Express scored a run in the 7th and three in the 9th to defeat Omaha 4-1 last night. Bud Norris threw 6IP, 7H/1ER while Santangelo and Manzella had multi-hit games, Santangelo providing 2RBI.

Corpus Christi
Arkansas defeated the Hooks 6-1 in Arkansas last night, with Polin Trinidad threw 6IP, 8H/4ER, with 4K:0BB. Drew Meyer was 1x4 with the lone RBI.

Lancaster fell to Rancho Cucamonga 5-2 after allowing two runs in the 7th and in the 9th. Thomas Steele was 3x4 with two doubles while Jason Castro and Matt Weston provided the RBI.

Double-header! Two wins on the same day! Kyle Greenwalt got the win in G1 with 6.2IP, 9H/3ER while Brandon Barnes and Kyle Miller provided two RBI each. Brian Pellegrini was 3x4 with an RBI. In the second game, Arcenio Leon allowed 5ER in 2IP, but Bowling Green's pitching was worse. Brandon Barnes was 4x4 with 2HR and 3RBI, while Ebert Rosario and Eric Suttle got two hits each.

On Randy's 10 wins with the Astros

NOTE: This post was written before realizing the Houston Press ran their own story about Two Months With Randy.

So everyone probably knows by now that Randy Johnson won his 300th game yesterday vs. Washington. 24th pitcher/6th lefty, and all that. I want to jog your memory back to 1998...

July 31, the Astros trade Carlos Guillen, Freddy Garcia, and ultimately John Halama to the Mariners.

Because his 11 games were unbelievable. A few stats, if you don't mind...

Record: 10-1
ERA: 1.28
IP: 84.1
H/ER: 57/12
Strikeouts: 116
Walks: 26
Quality Starts: 10
Opponents: .191/.261/.258
10+ strikeout games: 7 (Five straight)
Complete games: 4
Complete game shutouts: 4
Wins vs NL Central opponents: 8

In eleven games, Johnson lowered his ERA 1.05 points, from 4.33 to 3.28.

-On July 31, 1998 the Astros were 3.5 games up on the Cubs
-After his last game of the regular season, the Astros were 13 games up on the Cubs
-Johnson won four games for the Astros following a loss.

So congratulations to Randy Johnson on his 300 wins. And thanks to those two months, "Houston" will appear on a Hall of Fame plaque come 2015 (provided he retires at the end of the year).

Drayton says the R-word


"We have to make a stronger investment and smarter picks in the draft,” McLane said. “You’ve got to invest in young talent. To do that, you need patience, and that’s hard for me. From my business training, you want results very quickly. That doesn’t always happen in baseball. We spend $4 million to $6 million in the draft every year, but we haven’t always made good decisions.”


We need to bring the age of our pitching staff down. We’ve got two in Round Rock (Bud Norris and Yorman Bazardo) right now that they say could be very effective next year. We got some potentially great ones in the draft last year.”

Does he know Astros fans are disgusted?

“They should be. I want them to care. When I bought the Astros, there weren’t high expectations. Today, there’s high expectations. That’s what we want.”

Buried deep in the story, we see an odd quote about Lance...
“Lance is a great person and as fine a talent as there is in baseball. I’m not sure we get his focus all the time. He’s a fun person. He likes to talk and carry on. I also don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for being a great player.”

I hate it when The Media takes one quote and makes a whole story about it. There are a lot of things to be excited about from what Run-DMc said here. That said, what do you think (about the whole thing, and then about Lance's focus)?

Is Wandy tipping?

Article in today's Chronicle, in which Wandy wonders if he's tipping his pitches...

"I have to see the video. Listen, they’re hitting everything I throw really easily. It looks like I’m tipping when I go with the curveball or go with the fastball. They’re seeing them real well. In my mind, I think I have to be tipping something. I don’t know if I’m opening my glove or something. They’re hitting me too easily, and I think I’m tipping what I’m going to throw.”

Recap for G52 - Rockies at Astros

A couple of streaks came to an end, while one continued, in last night's 10-3 loss to the Rockies.

1. The Astros' 4-game win streak.
2. Tejada's 17-game hit streak.

The streak that continued? Wandy continuing his effort to remove himself from Cy Young consideration.

Regard Wandy's first nine starts:
59IP, 43H/12ER. 53K:16BB. 1.83 ERA. .209/.271/.282 against.

Last three starts:
13.2IP, 29H/12ER. 16K:7BB. 7.90 ERA (and that's not counting the six unearned runs). .426/.474/.691 against.

Wandy: 5IP, 10H/7ER, 7K:2BB
Ortiz: 2IP, 1H, 1K
Backe: 2IP, 3H/3ER, 2BB

Wandy gave up four homers. Three of them solo shots, but two to the
recently-rumored-to-be-sent-to-AAA Garrett Atkins. Wandy has never given up four homers in a game.


See that? No fly-ball outs. Meaning every fly ball hit to the outfield either found a hole, or found a seat.

Bourn and Maysonet provided the Astros with four of their seven hits, while Tejada was 0x5, Pence 0x4, and Blum 0x3.

Man of the Match:
Michael Bourn. 2x5 with an RBI.

Goat of the Game:
Wandy. Let's hope he gets it straightened out sooner than later.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Miggs was robbed!

Justin Upton was named NL Player of the Month for May. Not Miguel Tejada.

A comparison, if you will:


In May, Arizona was 13-16; Houston was 11-15. Just to be fair.

Drayton responds to Ken Davidoff

So that's how you get into a New York newspaper.

Drayton, in an e-mail response:
"In regards to your question about Roy Oswalt, there has absolutely been zero discussion about him being traded. Roy is one of the cornerstones of our team and the personal relationship that we share is important to me as well. That is why he has a long-term contract with a no trade agreement. I am not sure where this rumor began, but it was untrue. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to make this clear."

Throw in the fact that the Astros have won four in a row, and it sure looks like Oswalt, despite whatever unhappiness he might have (and there's clearly something going on in that regard), is staying put.

McTaggart runs down the Astros' draft goals

McTaggart runs down Bobby Heck's thought process heading into the draft...

"After last year's Draft we feel good about the quality of depth we have, but there are a lot of areas that need to be addressed and upgraded. Along those lines, my approach is the same as last year. We need to add depth. We're not in position to address needs yet. We need to stack up another class like we did last year. We'd maybe be reluctant to pick a catcher high in the Draft because of what we added last year. We see Jason Castro as a fast-track guy. From that standpoint, we might not invest in a catcher. But we need to keep adding a lot of talent everywhere."

The Astros took a balance of high school and college players last year, but have been more inclined to take high school pitchers in recent years. That's not to say the Astros won't take a blue-chip college player if one falls in their lap, but they would like to get as many young arms in their system as they can.

Startling stat of the draft:
0: the number of Major Leaguers the last three drafts have produced.

Who has the best K:BB ratio?

I found myself wondering last night as I was watching Costa Rica drub the U.S....

(and as an aside, I'm already dreading 2010. The World Cup is about my favorite thing in the world. I'm planning on sleeping 90 minutes a night to keep up with both Astros County and the World Cup. I'm in training now.)

Who are the pitchers in the Astros organization with the best K:BB ratio? Let's get it going, organized by highest-lowest K:BB ratio (minimum 10IP)...Also, let's note that these stats are current as of my lunch hour, June 4, 2009.

Warning: This is a long one.

Pitcher (Team)RatioKsBBsIP
Abad (LAN)11.523231.1
Salamida (CC)8.0016220.2
Lopez (CC)6.5013220.2
P Trinidad (CC)5.3332645.1
Powell (LAN)5.2521435.1
Lyles (LEX)5.00601254.1
Burton (CC)5.0010217.2
Villar (LEX)4.50451037.2
Bono (LEX)4.5036856
Mowdy (LEX)4.3313317.1
Meszaros (CC-LEX)3.8627732.2
Tilghman (LAN-LEX)3.7834934
Wolf (LAN)3.6329839.2
Urckfitz (LEX)3.5021622.1
Wabick (LEX)3.2923722.2
Donnelly (RR)3.2513415
Kelly (LAN)3.00301028.2
Greenwalt (LEX)3.0027951.1
Paronto (RR)3.0018624.1
Wandy (HOU)2.95622167.2
Oswalt (HOU)2.89551969.1
Johnson (RR)2.82311146.1
C-Lo (LAN)2.77361325.1
LaHawk (HOU)2.7522822.2
Seaton (LEX)2.73301159
Fulchino (HOU)2.6716620
Bazardo (RR)2.64371459
Moehler (HOU)2.60261041
Icenogle (LAN)2.53381542.2
Hicks (LAN)2.44391645.2
Daigle (RR)2.3819822.2
Cespedes (LAN)2.30231024
Arguello (CC)2.29391752
Arias (HOU)2.1713611.1
Norris (RR)2.07623059
Severino (LAN)2.0012613.2
Rummel (LAN)2.0010517.1
Wagler (LAN)2.004218
Paulino (HOU)1.94331742
Duncan (LAN)1.82311745.1
Wright (HOU-RR)1.80181018
Byrdak (HOU)1.7514820
Hampton (HOU)1.64362255
Gervacio (RR)1.62211324.1
Lumsden (RR)1.608511.1
Muecke (RR)1.46412856.1
Leon (LEX)1.40211528.1
Hallberg (LAN)1.27191531
Sampson (HOU)1.25151233
J Trinidad (LEX)1.25151220
Duran (LAN)1.23161327
Geary (HOU)1.20121020
Capellan (RR)1.09383550
Dydalewicz (LEX)1.07151428.1
Hudspeth (CC)1.00191950.2
Perez (CC)1.00181845.1
Pacella (LAN)1.00101021
Ortiz (HOU)0.96242532.1
James (CC)0.62182942.1

Minor League transactions

Corpus Christi
June 3: Andy Van Hekken was placed on the inactive list
June 3: Chia-Jen Lo was activated from the DL

June 3: Jordan Comadena placed on temporary inactive list
June 3: Signed free agent 1B Matthew Weston

Weston is a lefty first-baseman who was with the Sussex Skyhawks of the Can-Am League. In five games for the Skyhawks this season, Weston was batting .391 9H, 4R, 3RBI. Last season he hit .299 with 22HR/60RBI. Weston was a 12th round pick by the Giants in the 2006 draft.

Astros draft philosophy

ESPN's Jason Churchill and Keith Law (who ESPN is apparently trying to turn into the Next Mel Kiper Jr) break down all 30 MLB teams' draft philosophies. Again, it's Insider-only, but here is the Astros' apparent philosophy:

Astros stay within slot recommendations, often overdrafting in Round 1. Last year's top pick, catcher Jason Castro from Stanford, is off to a nice start in 2009, but C Max Sapp, P Brian Bogusevic and OF Eli Iorg haven't fared well as Houston first-round picks.

Do you want to, or should I, tell them that it's now OF Brian Bogusevic?

Angelos: He's no Drayton

Come on, FanHouse. Why pick a fight? In an article entitled Making Peace With Peter Angelos, Andrew Johnson describes Angelos' tenure as owner of the Baltimore Orioles, and how he's been named the Worst Owner in Baseball (WOB), and how he's not really that bad...

But closes with these parting shots:'s hard to see Angelos as more meddlesome than Astros owner Drayton McLane or more negligent of his fans than Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

Drayton and Easy Eddie are up for the role of The Meddler in the upcoming Batman movie, in which the character talks Batman into trading Robin and the BatMobile to The Penguin to free up payroll to extend Alfred's contract until 2014, with a $24 million option for 2015. projects a different first-round pick by the Astros

Keith Law
projected the Astros
to take Randal Grichuk from Lamar Consolidated with the 21st pick in next week's draft.

Well, he's not even in's projected first round.

Who is Jonathan Mayo's projectino for the Astros?

Jared Mitchell, OF, Louisiana State University
There are varying opinions of Mitchell's upside as a hitter, but no one doubts his speed and athleticsm. A two-sport standout at LSU, there are plenty who believe his bat speed will turn into power and he'll develop into a center fielder with power who can steal bases once he's no longer playing football and can focus only on baseball.

Valverde ready to go?

Within this morning's Notes section, we learn that Valverde may be ready to go on some rehab assignments (he can check with Backe on the restaurants that Corpus has to offer):

JV threw a bullpen and went through PFP for the first time since landing on the DL on 4/27.

"I threw all my pitches. I threw my fastball, my split-finger, my sinker, everything. It was 30 pitches. Everything’s good. I’d be ready to pitch right now."

Pitching coach Dewey Robinson, who supervised:
"Today he was free and easy, fielding bunts, covering first, comebackers, all the PFP stuff. He threw a solid bullpen. He looked good on the mound. Now I think it’s just a case of facing hitters and getting comfortable in a game-type setting."

JJO's interview with Tejada

JJO posted an interview with Miguel Tejada. Some excerpts:

On the future:
"One thing that I always say is this team has been supporting me. What this organization (did) for me, I don't think I don't have anything that I can pay them for everything that they do. The fans and all the support from the players, I think the last thing I have to say is that I don't want to leave from here. I love this town, and Drayton McLane has been great for me. I think I've never been in an organization that gives me more support than they gave me. That's something that I appreciate and I'm never going to forget. If it were up for me, I'm going to stay here the rest of my career. I love it here and what they do for me it's not for me to leave. I don't want to leave this organization before I take it to a championship."

On age, leading the league in batting, and work ethic:
"That makes me work hard. I always work harder. Now I'm older than last year. Every day we're getting older. That's why I work harder and harder. Right now I have a different program lifting weights."

Can I make the obvious joke that, technically, Tejada is three years older than he was last year?

Recap for G51 - Rockies @ Astros

Great Live Blog last night from Deputy Jason. He and Citizen Seth had some chatter going, and we also got a random comment from ticket-holder Joe - who rubbed it in that he was at the game, and then checked out. Astros win their 4th in a row, 6-4. It's the first W4 of the year, and the first four-game win streak since the W6 from Sept 6-11, 2008.

Moehler: 6IP, 7H/4ER, 2K:1BB
Byrdak: 1IP, 1K
Sampson: 2IP, 2H, 2BB

Sampson gets a six-out save, after LaHawk pitched in the three previous games. Moehler pitched passably, there were some definite defensive issues in the sixth, but the fifth got him after he allowed a Hawpe single, got Atkins to fly out, Smith singled, and Ian Stewart hit a 3-run homer. A sac fly from Helton got the Rockies their fourth consecutive run of the game, setting the table for another Astros comeback.


Hunter Pence killed it for the Astros, going 4x5 and missing the cycle by a double.
Astros got multi-hit games from Bourn, Pence, Lee, and Blum - with Tejada adding a hit to run his streak to 17 games (and with Jeter's 16-game hit streak coming to an end last night, I don't want to say it's the longest current streak in the Majors - because I don't know that for sure yet, but it's up there).

Since being dropped to the #5-spot, Berkman is 3x10 with 2RBI.

Man of the Match:
Hunter Pence. Two of his four hits either tied the game or gave the Astros the lead.

Goat of the Game:
Between Brian Moehler and Jason Michaels. Astros pinch-hitters/extra outfielders Michaels and Erstad are both hitting below .200. Moehler let the Rockies come back from a 3-run deficit and take himself out of a decision. How about Moehler? ERA is now at 6.37.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wed. Night LiveBlog!

Live Blog Tonight!

Join Deputy Jason as he leads you through an entertaining romp through the English language and the Astros' attempt to win four straight.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Minor League transactions

Corpus Christi
June 1: Activated Jhon Florentino from DL

June 1: Eric Suttle assigned to Lexington from Lancaster
June 1: Placed Jay Austin on 7-Day DL

Keith Law's Mock Draft

The whole thing is Insider-only, but here's what he projected about the Astros' 1st-round pick...

Randal Grichuk, OF, Lamar Consolidation HS, Rosenberg, Texas: Rumors that Grichuk will go in the first round popped up last week, although I haven't heard him tied specifically to any club.

YotD: June 2

Round Rock
Jeremy Johnson threw 5.2IP of 2ER ball while Wesley Wright and Chad Paronto combined for 4.1IP of 0ER baseball as the Express beat Omaha 3-2 in 10 innings. Reggie Abercrombie, Chris Johnson, and Yordany Ramirez had two hits each, with Mark Saccomanno scoring Ramirez on a 10th inning single.

Corpus Christi

JetHawks pitcher Dave Duncan dropped to 0-9 on the year (with some bad luck mixed in there), giving up 6ER in 5IP as Lancaster dropped to Modesto 6-3. Lancaster scored all three runs in the 9th inning. 3B David Flores had two hits and two RBI. Reliever Reid Kelly held the Nuts scoreless in four innings of relief.

The Legends lost 5-3 to Bowling Green, but the Legends gave up three unearned runs on two errors. SP Robert Bono threw 6IP, allowing 1ER on 4H. Federico Hernandez and Brian Pellegrini had two hits and an RBI each. 2008 #1 Overall Pick Tim Beckham was 0x4 with an RBI.

Olney takes on Oswalt

Buster Olney's daily blog on Roy Oswalt's situation. Regard:

He is stubborn and shrewd and smart, and if anybody thinks he will settle for anything less than exactly what he wants, well, he doesn't know much about Oswalt. Particularly when it comes to agreeing to a trade.

Oswalt holds the leverage hammer. Many other teams would love to have him, for sure. At age 31, he has a 130-66 record and is the type of guy with whom you win games. The Phillies would love to trade for Oswalt, as would the Mets, the Cubs and the Brewers. But he wields a full no-trade clause.

Maybe there is a place where Oswalt secretly would really like to play; maybe there is a place he would run to if given the opportunity. Many teams probably would have to lure him, but Oswalt is unlikely to waive his no-trade clause for nothing. It stands to reason that any team looking to acquire the right-hander will have to surrender more than the boatload of prospects that the Astros would require.

The guaranteed portion of Oswalt's current contract runs through 2011. He is making $14 million this season and will make $15 million next year and $16 million in 2011. There is a $16 million option for 2012 on his deal.

Moving forward, and as he ages, Oswalt's leverage will only go down. He is in position right now, if he so chooses, to require any team interested in acquiring him to extend his contract -- perhaps guaranteeing that 2012 option, perhaps adding a year or two to the back end of his contract. Then again, if a team adds him now while the second half of the season inches closer, it may get the best of Oswalt.

Then there are some splits, provided by ESPN Research:
Career before June 1:
W-L: 34-32
ERA: 3.56
K per 9: 6.8

After June 1:
W-L: 97-34
ERA: 3.19
K per 9: 7.7

So what do you do?

Tejada's Tear: May 16-present

Let's just take us a gander at Miguel Tejada's recent tear:

Over the last 16 games...

31x67 = .463/486/.776
Two strikeouts
Four straight multi-hit games

Since hitting 2nd (10 games)
22x44, .500/.522/.773
Six doubles / two homers / Eight RBI

Reactions to G50 - Rockies at Astros

It's a walk-off! It's a walk-off.

"What I've got in my head is just try to be on base as much as I can. Right now, I'm really close to leading off. I'm really selective in the pitches to hit, I can wait for the pitch I want. I am really careful with what I do at the plate. "I've never been leading the league [in hitting], not even for one day," Tejada said. "Now, I'm really happy to be leading for a couple of days. But it's not something I'm looking for. Right now, I just want to see how much I can help the team win some ballgames.""

"He's off to a great start. That's the kind of player he's been his whole career. It's not really surprising. He's a great player."

Ubaldo (ha!) Jimenez:
"I know my fastball was there, but I was battling with control issues. I got runners on every single inning. My breaking ball was good, but they did a pretty good job against me."

Jim Tracy:
"This was a very tough game to lose. The way things are going for us offensively, tonight's game just illustrates it. We have no room for error. We had some chances to open this game up, but our pitchers had to be perfect."

"I think the team will take on Miguel’s spirit and energy. The emotion and spirit that he brings is great and strong.”

Ortiz, on Tejada:
“Coming here, I knew he was a good hitter. Man, he’s just seeing the ball great right now to hit .360-something. And he just keeps rising and rising. Obviously, that’s good for us. Hopefully something like today with him getting that big hit is something that can propel us forward.”

Back to Tejada:
“It’s really fun. When you have that, it makes you come to the park early to work and have a good game. I think right now we’re really feeling real good, especially when we win the games that we’ve won in a row.”

Recap for G50 - Rockies at Astros

Holy Hannah. Miguel Tejada continues his torrid pace - and his hit streak to 16 games - with an 11th inning walk-off as the Astros defeated the Rockies 3-2.

Paulino pitched a pretty great game. A quality start, though he didn't figure in the decision. Kept his pitch count down. Good start from Paulino, and Brandon Backe goes back to the voodoo doll.

Paulino: 6IP, 5H/2ER, 7K:1BB
Fulchino: 1IP, 2H, 1K
Byrdak: 1IP, 1BB
Arias: 1IP, 2K:2BB
LaHawk: 1IP, 1K:1BB
Oritz: 1IP, 1H, 1K (1 win)

Paulino got the first eight batters he faced, striking out the side in the first, and only allowing an infield single to pitcher Ubaldo (I just like saying it) Jimenez. He ran into some troble in the 4th with two consecutive doubles to Helton and Hawpe, and then an RBI single to Seth Smith. And then that was pretty much it, no homers, no other extra-base hits. And, once again, 30 non-contact strikes.


Arias had the roughest outing - 27 pitches (two walks will do that to you) in one inning, but he did escape unscathed, and his ERA is under 4.00.

Berkman remained in the 5-hole and responded with two hits, while the Astros got multi-hit games from Bourn, Tejada, Berkman, and The Revelation - Edwin Maysonet. Anyone get the feeling that it's going to be a good long time before Maysonet comes out of the lineup? I certainly hope so. However, it was Miguel Tejada who did his thing. Four hits. All three RBI. Dude is now hitting .362 after a 4x6 game.

The Astros did leave some baserunners. One in the first, two in the 2nd, technically one in the 3rd (on Lee's inning-ending GIDP), two in the 5th, two in the 6th, two in the 8th, three in the 9th. That's 13. 2x13 with RISP. But thanks be to Miguel Tejada, who is increasing his trade value (come on, his contract runs out at the end of the season, let's get something for him) daily. Josh Fogg only lasted six pitches before giving up the walk-off to Miggs, the Astros first walk-off homer of the year, and Miggs' sixth walk-off homer of his career.

Man of the Match:
Seriously? Miguel Tejada, come on down.

Goat of the Game:
We're going back to Carlos Lee. 0x4 with 5LOB. He ended three innings and struck out looking.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Matchup for G50 - Rockies at Astros

The last time the Astros won three in a row? May 8-10 vs San Diego. So the Astros go at a three game win streak this evening with Paulino facing Ubaldo Jimenez. Strangely enough (or not), this is the exact same matchup that occurred on May 12 at Coors Field. What happened?

I'd rather not think about it. But we must. Here's your line:

Paulino: 4IP, 7H/7ER, 2K:4BB
Jimenez: 7IP, 7H/1ER, 4K:0BB

Paulino turned in a game score of 16 for the evening.


At least Paulino went six innings last time out. It was the first time since April 24 that he made it through the sixth inning.

Last three starts:

5/12 @COL47/74:28/996/55
5/22 vTEX5.17/43:26/13102/66
5/27 @CIN67/44:09/1284/59

So this part, at least, is encouraging: over the last two games, Paulino did record 29 swinging strikes, and 59 non-contact strikes total. So his stuff is there, at least partially.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 30x93, .323/.394/.462, 13K:9BB
vs Lefties: 20x56, .357/.438/.661, 13K:7BB

The lefty average is a concern, and the Rockies have three lefties and a switch-hitter in their lineup. Could be another long night.

When swinging at the first pitch (20): .500/.526/1.222, 6XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (75): .348/.392/.449, 13K:4BB
After First-Pitch Balls (77): .274/.400/.435, 13K:12BB

RISP: 20x44, .455/.529/.545, 10K:6BB
Runners on: 26x71, .366/.451/.507, 16K:9BB
2OwRISP: 12x21, .571/.625/.619, 4K:3BB

Ubaldo Jimenez

Jimenez has been streaky this season. Two starts in April of less than 5IP with 6+ER. Three starts in May 6+ and 1ER. Last two starts of 3ER and 4ER.

Last three starts:

5/17 @PIT65/17:311/5115/66
5/22 @DET76/37:111/9104/66
5/27 vLA6.29/45:213/8109/64

You know what you're going to get with Jimenez: He's going to eat innings, and he's going to get groundball outs. Will that translate to the June version of the Astros (who are way more fun to watch than the May Astros)? We shall see.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 24x105, .229/.311/.276, 24K:9BB
vs Lefties: 36x120, .300/.388/.425, 29K:17BB

When swinging at the first pitch (23): .476/.455/.667, 2XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (112): .242/.309/.303, 29K:7BB
After First-Pitch Balls (128): .248/.373/.343, 24K:19BB

RISP: 13x64, .203/.293/.234, 18K:8BB
Runners on: 29x103, .282/.372/.350, 25K:14BB
2OwRISP: 9x34, .265/.390/.294, 8K:6BB

Encouraging stat of the splits:
1st inning: 14x43, .326/.396/.465

YotD: June 1

Round Rock
New Orleans whooped the dog crap out of the Express 7-1 in NO yesterday. Freshly activated Mark McLemore gave up 6ER in 3IP, while a bullpen of Gervacio, Capellan, and Lumsden held it down to the tune of 1ER in 5IP. Yordany and Saccomanno combined for four of the Express' seven hits.

Corpus Christi
Felix Molina hit a 3-run homer in the 1st as the Hooks took a 1st inning 6-0 lead and defeated Springfield 9-4 last night. Jon Fixler, Collin DeLome and Molina had 3RBI each while Mark Ori went 3x5. Douglass Arguello allowed 2ER in 5IP for the win.

The JetHawks scored the three runs in the 8th/9th to defeat Modesto 4-3 in Lancaster last night. Erick Abreu got the win while Jack Tilghman threw 5IP with 3H/2ER, 6K:0BB. Koby Clemens had a 2-run single, while Jon Gaston hit an RBI double and new signee Gabe Suarez was 2x4.

Ross Seaton threw a complete game shutout, striking out six and allowing just three hits as the Legends won 5-0. Brian Pellegrini hit a 3-run shot in the first and Ebert Rosario was 2x4, kind of making up for committing his 20th error of the season.

Add Ken Davidoff and Tom Verducci to the list of media pleading with the Astros to sell

Ken Davidoff, of Newsday:
Owner Drayton McLane's outlook always fascinates me. He just doesn't believe in rebuilding, not after a series of second-half runs for contention (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008). That's why the 'Stros are only mildly dead. Loose change: Oswalt wishes he would qualify, but again, because of McLane's philosophy, Oswalt won't come cheaply. If Houston actually did become sellers, then Ivan Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada and LaTroy Hawkins all could have value.

Or Tom Verducci:
Think your team that stumbled through the first two months can still make the playoffs? Think again. While we all might easily remember the comeback of the 2005 Astros, who began June at 19-32 and wound up in the World Series, the reality is that teams that are bad for the first two months tend to remain bad.

Then some stats, courtesy of Verducci:
There have been 104 teams to make the playoffs in the 13 full seasons of the wild card era. Exactly three of them, or 2.9 percent, were worse than five games below .500 when June began. Here are the three outliers:

1. 2005 Astros (19-32 start; 89-73 final record).
2. 2007 Cubs (22-29; 85-77).
3. 2007 Yankees (22-29; 94-68).


So has the Astros' recent history clouded the vision of this franchise? Do you, on some level, hope the Astros completely nut this season to speed along a reframing of the franchise? Or are you okay with the "Hang on and Hope for the Best Until 2012" philosophy?

Stats from last night

Roy's First-pitch stats:
Swinging: 5 (1x5)
Strikes: 17 (5x16, 1BB, 1HR)
Balls: 7 (0x6, BB)

5-pitch ABs or fewer: 24

Drayton: Add, Don't Subtract!

Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago (the most worthless ESPN idea since Dream Job) is reporting that the Astros won't be trading anybody anytime soon, unless it's for higher payroll and diminished results.

An Insider, via Levine:
"The Astros owner, Drayton McLane, has always been steadfast on his direction of the Astros," the executive told me. "Mr. McLane will be more prone to adding to his team rather than trading his present players away." The executive added, "I read your blog and whoever told you Houston will continue moving Oswalt just wasn't correct. Mr. McLane believes in his management team," said the source. "And his players are someone who he believes in as well. I doubt that you'll see [the Astros] ever trading players just to save salary."

The Insider, who is "one of the best-informed people in baseball," did not deny that there were rumblings between Roy and Coop. And you get one guess as to who is going to lose that battle...

San Bernardino Sun blames the Lancaster JetHawks on the Astros

It's a valid point, but it doesn't make it hurt any less.

It's no big surprise that Lancaster has the worst record in the league. Its new affiliation this year is with the Houston Astros, who have the worst farm system of the 30 major league clubs according to Baseball America.

Astros draft board getting set

With a meeting set for Wednesday, Scouting Director Bobby Heck will start to assemble the draft board for next Tuesday's draft.

I have some cool things planned for the draft. If I get the computer issue worked out, I'll tell you some more - but plan on extensive coverage.

Astros Notes

Nice little notes section this morning.

Sean Berry is back!
“It’s tough going through what I’m going through, definitely. But it’s tough leaving these guys hanging, like I felt for three weeks. I’m tired of trying to jump into the television screen."

Thanks to the gut weasels that have laid Carlos Beltran low, Miguel Tejada is now your NL batting leader. Now hitting .353, Tejada's average is now .001 higher than Carlos Benedict Arnold.

Jose Valverde, with a freshly drained calf (/retch), threw off the mound yesterday and reported that "Everything's good." He'll throw a bullpen today and will take grounders before throwing to real live hitters (such as the Astros are) on Saturday.

Plan to see Berkman in that 5-hole for a little while, switching with Hunter Pence.

Geoff Geary will throw a simulated game today.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Short Recap for G49 - Rockies @ Astros

Until I get my laptop straightened out (or someone gives/sells me theirs), we'll do evening posts silly style.

Tejada extended his hit streak to 15 games.
Carlos Lee ended his RBI-less streak with a 2-run HR.
Oswalt threw 7IP, 6H/1ER, 8K:2BB, lowering his ERA almost half a point.

Man of the Match: Roy

Goat of the Game: Michael Bourn. I know he got a hit, but he also was caught stealing and ended two innings - one a GIDP.

Williams not interested in Roy. Unless, of course, Roy becomes interested in Williams

Laptop crapped out today, methinks, so I'm trying a new thing on my phone.

According to Dave Van Dyke, White Sox GM Kenny Williams denied having any talks with the Astros about trading for Roy.

"I haven't talked to the Houston Astros abouy any pitching whatsoever."

Williams even went so far as to say that he didn't know his own Special Assistant, Bill Scherrer, was even following the Astros.

Anyone believe him?

New meaning of "Beanball"

Minute Maid Park just ranked fifth in PETA's annual Most Vegetarian Friendly Ballpark contest.

Not kidding.

I'm actually surprised by this. For almost a year I was a vegetarian (making Prince Fielder and I the fattest vegetarians in America), and that coincided with a trip to Minute Maid Park. It was pretty stinkin' hard to find a veggie dog.

Matchup for G49 - Rockies at Astros

So Clint Hurdle lost the race with Cecil Cooper for First Manager Canned in 2009. And it's the new Fighting Tracies who come into Minute Maid Park for a three-game series. The Rockies are 20-29, 13.5GB of the Dodgers - who hold an 8.5 game lead over the 2nd place Giants.

Here's the interesting thing about the Astros. No NL team has played fewer games against sub-.500 teams than the Astros, with ten (who are 6-4). That means 38 of the Astros 48 games have been against teams with winning records. That 6-4 includes going 4-2 against the Pirates this season. Bring it, Rockies!


Some of Roy's stats are disconcerting. His WHIP, H/9, BB/9, HR/9, SO/BB stats are all worse than his career average. By quite a bit. And all of those are on pace for the worst of his nine season career. Like Berkman, at what point during the season is a slump a downturn?

Last three starts:

5/16 @CHC66/37:06/12108/72
5/21 vMIL6.110/37:19/12106/77
5/26 @CIN67/45:294/6194/61

It's now been five starts since Roy's ERA has been under 4.00. But this is hardly a record. It was September 1 of last season before Roy got his ERA under 4.00.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 35x129, .271/.336/.481, 22K:11BB
vs Lefties: 33x112, .295/.331/.464, 25K:6BB

When swinging at the first pitch (37): .441/.441/.794, 6XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (138): .238/.270/.346, 29K:4BB
After First-Pitch Balls (90): .286/.389/.545, 18K:13BB

RISP: 8x41, .195/.320/.293, 11K:7BB
Runners on: 24x97, .247/.315/.464, 19K:9BB
2OwRISP: 3x19, .158/.333/.158, 6K:4BB

Aaron Cook

Cook comes in at 3-2 on the season with a 4.82 ERA. He has not recorded more than six swinging strikes in a game since May 5...

Last three starts:

5/16 @PIT1.24/40:13/634/20
5/21 @ATL94/03:123/5108/66
5/26 vLA68/42:316/888/52

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 27x99, .273/.284/.434, 17K:2BB
vs Lefties: 32x114, .281/.394/.430, 9K:22BB

When swinging at the first pitch (33): .344/.333/.531, 2XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (109): .248/.287/.376, 21K:6BB
After First-Pitch Balls (100): .288/.418/.463, 5K:18BB

RISP: 13x53, .245/.354/.340, 7K:10BB
Runners on: 24x86, .279/.373/.430, 11K:14BB
2OwRISP: 3x20, .150/.320/.350, 3K:5BB

Encouraging stat of the splits:
Leadoff hitters: 20x55, .364/.397/.600

Maybe it's our turn to pillage the Phillies

Billy Wagner. Brad Lidge. Roy Oswalt? In a continued effort to stock the Phillies' pitching ranks, maybe the Phillies are interested in Roy.

Jon Heyman defies JJO and continues to speculate on potential destinations for the Astros SP1:

The world champions are aiming high now in their quest for a starter, with Jake Peavy appearing to top their list of desirable aces, perhaps followed by Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.:
"We'd like to add depth at the top of the rotation if we can," But as he admitted, swinging a deal for a top pitcher is "easier said than done," especially with complications such as existing contracts, no-trade clauses and the whims of outside ownership. "There's no question it's tough to do," Amaro conceded.

Heyman runs down the Phillies' minor-league talent that could be made available for a top-of-the-line starter:

Multitalented outfielder John Mayberry Jr. has been impressive in a cameo this year. Also, Philadelphia's farm system contains respectable talent, such as shortstop Jason Donald, catcher Lou Marson, pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Drabek and outfielders Dominic Taylor and Michael Brown.

Yorman Bazardo: PCL Pitcher of the Week

And why shouldn't he?

Last three starts:

5/21 vCOL75/14:2
5/26 vSLC83/06:1
5/31 @NEW92/06:1

Yep, that's 1ER in 24IP. Bazardo hasn't allowed more than 2ER in a start since May 5.

Pudge 3rd in All-Star balloting

Might the Astros be one of those teams - a la Pittsburgh & Kansas City - who only get the token All-Star nod?

Maybe. Pudge is 3rd among NL catchers in All-Star Voting (expect some blazing hot rhetoric closer to the Midsummer Crappic).

Latest voting:
Yadier Molina - 629,007
Jason Kendall - 471,557
Pudge - 423,369
Brian McCann - 416,149

Pudge is the only Astro as high as third place in voting.

If you had to choose one Astro as an All-Star, it should probably be Tejada. Wandy should be in the mix. Pence has a good case as a reserve outfielder. Anyone else?

Keith Law tweets, too!

130 characters of shame. I'll be including a regularly updated post on what Tweeters are posting about the Astros nationwide. Here's Keith Law:

If you've decided you're willing to trade Oswalt and Berkman, is Ed Wade really the guy you want making the deals?

Tweet on Oswalt

Amy K. Nelson of ESPN tweeted (twit?) this morning:

with roy oswalt news this am, spoke to him last week, he's open to being traded, absolutely wants to stay in NL. just like Peavy.

Say it ain't so. I couldn't bear seeing Oswalt in a Cubs/Cards uniform...

Power Ranking Update: June 1

Sporting News:
Astros - 27th:
Is this the week Cecil Cooper gets Hurdled?

Astros - 27th:
Mike Hampton, who has won eight games in a row against Pittsburgh, will face the Pirates on Friday in Houston.

Astros: 26th
It's becoming obvious Roy Oswalt won't be around later this summer.

Employees of the Month

New feature here at Astros County: Employee of the Month. They get to park up front, and 10% off in the Store. What does everyone think about making them an Astros County Employee of the Month shirt? Funny? Waste of money?

Position Player of the Month:
Miguel Tejada: 41x108, .380/.400/.648, 19XBH (14 doubles, 5 homers), 25 RBI. Six strikeouts...all month.

Pitcher of the Month:
LaTroy Hawkins: 1.69 ERA / 1.03 WHIP. 12 games, 6H/2ER. 14K:5BB, 4 saves

Minor League transactions

A few transactions to report over the last couple of days

Round Rock
May 29: Optioned RHP Ryan McKeller to Corpus
May 29: Optioned RHP Evan Englebrook to Corpus
May 30: Chad Spann promoted from Corpus
May 30: Mark McLemore promoted from Extended Spring Training

Corpus Christi
May 29: Released RHP Rob Semerano
May 29: Optioned RHP Erick Abreu to Lancaster

Semerano's 2009 line: 22.1IP, 33H/22ER, 5K:9BB, 4WP, 9.00 ERA / 1.91 WHIP

May 30: Signed SS Gabriel Suarez

Suarez had been with the Independent League Long Island Ducks. In 2009, Suarez's line?
12x34, .353/.353/.405, 9K:0BB, 3SB

May 29: Promoted 3B Kyle Miller from Greeneville

Eddie's Farm: Week 8

Seventh Installment of The Race to Replace

Round Rock
23-28, 2nd place - PCL South, 2.5GB



Corpus Christi
20-27, Last - South, 7GB

Van Ostrand35x122.287/.379/.54915-2624:14


Lancaster JetHawks
16-34, Last Place - South, 17GB



Lexington Legends
25-24, 4th place - Southern, 3GB



Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nick Cafardo's Sunday column

In Nick Cafardo's Sunday column, he takes on a few Astro-related items...

...including ranking Coop 26th out of 30 for current (or soon-to-be ex-) managers:
26. Cecil Cooper, Astros: Has the rap, true or not, that he throws players under the bus in the media and never fully has their trust. On the positive side, he emphasizes discipline.

And on Tejada:
The Astros would entertain a deal for him if they could get a pitching prospect in return. Tejada has made a nice comeback and is hitting very well. Those who have played with him will tell you Tejada, who admitted he lied to Congress about his knowledge of steroid use in baseball, loves the game, loves to play every day, and is considered a great teammate.

Jose de Jesus Ortiz would like to take this opportunity to remind you that he knows far more than you could ever hope to

Silly media. How dare they come sniffing around this ball club and start rumors and make accusations. Bastards.

Everything you heard that didn't come from JJO? False. Untrue. Not remotely correct:

Oswalt isn't talking publicly about any trade speculation, but the Chronicle has learned that Oswalt would invoke his no-trade clause if the White Sox attempted to acquire him.

Oswalt has a no-trade clause, and if he ever waived it to go play in Chicago it would be with the Cubs and not the White Sox.

Because of the recent turmoil surrounding Cecil Cooper, some national media, without even talking to Oswalt, have insinuated that he wants out of Houston. One report even claimed Oswalt was upset that the Astros didn't try to acquire Peavy.

As some of you will remember, this winter I reached Peavy on Oswalt's cell phone when they were on a hunting trip. During that phone interview Peavy admitted that he'd embrace a trade to the Astros, promising to discuss trade talks for the first and last time of the winter that time. Peavy remained mum the rest of the winter until he got to spring training.

Would Oswalt love to have Peavy in Houston? Absolutely. But it is irresponsible and a flat out lie for anybody to write that Oswalt wants out of Houston because he's upset that the team didn't acquire Peavy.

In this blog on Thursday, I wrote about Scherrer being in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh watching the Astros. I didn't write about it in the paper because I was assured by a top National League official who would know that the Astros and White Sox weren't in any trade talks.

That can always change, but I'm writing this blog just to make clear that Oswalt isn't going to accept a trade to the White Sox.

So before folks continue to speculate on Oswalt, cross the White Sox off that list. Now, if the Cubs or St. Louis Cardinals call, I would expect him to say yes right away if the Astros approach him and ask him to do it to help the franchise rebuild for the future.

To recap: You are stupid. The media is stupid. I am stupid. Ken Rosenthal is stupid. Jon Heyman is stupid. We all should bow before the Knowledge of the Houston Chronicle and JJO, and feel shame that we ever doubted.

Recap for G48 - Astros at Pirates

How about that! Mike Hampton outperforms himself against the Pirates. So here's what I propose: Roy only pitches against the Reds. Hampton only pitches against the Pirates. Backe only pitches against the Cardinals. Wandy pitches the rest of the games. What? It's only, like, 110 starts. Anyhow, behind Hampton's performance, the Astros took the game and the series, 2-1.

Hampton: 7IP, 3H/1ER, 3K:1BB
Sampson: 1IP, 1K
LaHawk: 1IP, 1H, 2K

It looked like Same Old Not-Hurt Mike Hampton at the beginning, didn't it? Nate McLouth leads off with a homer on a 2-0 pitch. Andy LaRoche grounds out, and Freddy Sanchez walks. Then he gets Craig Monroe to hit into a double play. After one inning, Hampton's pitch count is 24.

But then. Then! Hampton allowed two more hits after McLouth's home run. Both of them were singles. He got 19 of the next 21 batters, and closed out with 10 in a row.


Can I point out that 17 of Hampton's 18 contact outs were groundballs? That's how you win a game. Or at least that's how the Astros almost lose a game, because they weren't exactly knocking the cover off the ball. Let's give it to Quintero for an RBI single to tie the game up, and for joining Maysonet and Tejada with multi-hit games. Tejada's hit streak is now 14 games. It took Mike Hampton scoring the go-ahead run in the 7th on a Tejada single for him to factor in the decision

We did see some lineup changes. Bourn got the day off, so Maysonet was in the #1 spot. Pence/Lee/Berkman made up your 3/4/5 spot (it didn't help Berkman - 0x3 with a BB). In fact, 3-7 were a combined 1x18.

Man of the Match:
Mike Hampton. Great game, hopefully kicks off a good streak.

Goat of the Game:
We'll give this one to Jason Michaels. 0x4 (all flyouts, so there was some luck involved), batting average is now .179.

Matchup for G48 - Astros @ Pirates

Well, the Astros had the chance, with a sweep of the Pirates, to get out of sixth place. With Moehler's CG and Wandy's 4.2 (did I really just type that?), the Astros can still win the series and pull within one game of 5th. And in order to do that, the Astros would like to see the Apr 15 version of Mike Hampton. Not all the other versions.


Hampton should be rested, throwing just 136 pitches in his last two starts, but the Rangers hit him hard his last time out on May 24 (but they hit everybody hard last weekend), but there has only been one start this month - vs Chicago on May 6 - that Hampton got more than 18 non-contact strikes.

Last three starts:

5/13 @COL67/53:26/1595/52
5/19 vMIL43/23:22/760/31
5/24 vTEX58/50:16/1676/48

Against the Pirates on 4/15?
Morgan: Groundout to 2nd, Strikeout swinging, Strikeout swinging
Sanchez: Groundout to catcher, Lineout to first, Strikeout swinging
McLouth: Single to right, Walk, Single to second
Doumit: Groundout to third, Strikeout looking, Flyout to left
LaRoche: Flyout to left, Strikeout looking
Monroe: Flyout to center, Single to right
LaRoche: Groundout to pitcher, Flyout to right
Vazquez: Strikeout swinging, Strikeout swinging
#9 spot: Strikeout swinging, Single to right

1st PA: 1x9
2nd PA: 3x8, BB
3rd PA: 1x4

Paul Maholm

Maholm has been pitching well for the Pirates this season, coming in with a 3-1 record and a 4.11 ERA. He has only given up three homers all season, but his K:BB ratio (1.62) is the lowest it's been since 2006 and lower than his career 1.82 ratio. He had strung together two good starts, giving up 1 ER in 13IP before getting rocked at Wrigley Field last time out (the ERA was 3.30 before that Cubs game...)

Last three starts:

5/15 vCOL75/04:110/11103/60
5/20 @WSH64/17:36/10114/74
5/25 @CHC47/72:36/1293/59

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 54x188, .287/.343/.420, 20K:16BB
vs Lefties: 7x50, .140/.259/.160, 14K:5BB

When swinging at the first pitch (40): .297/.316/.405, 2XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (113): .259/.292/.343, 22K:4BB
After First-Pitch Balls (112): .237/.360/.376, 12K:17BB

RISP: 22x70, .314/.360/.414, 5K:5BB
Runners on: 34x108, .315/.362/.407, 11K:8BB
2OwRISP: 9x31, .290/.371/.484, 1K:4BB

Encouraging stat of the splits:
4th inning: 20x48, .417/.462/.563

Lee goes to the video

A: May 16

Q: When is the last time Carlos Lee had an RBI.

And that, my friends, was a solo home run against Chicago.

So Carlos has been spending some time looking at video, trying to get some inspiration.

“For me, I think the most important thing is rhythm at the plate. At this time I don’t feel in rhythm. I’m in front on the curveballs and behind on the fastballs. It’s a long season and you go through tough times like this, but I just need to get back in rhythm.”

So we'll keep track of consecutive ABs without an RBI. Currently? We stand at 47.

Reactions to G47 - Astros @ Pirates

"This hurt. You want to put a stop to this situation. We’re losing a lot of games. To lose in this manner is very painful for us."

"He just didn’t seem like he had his good command tonight. He couldn’t seem to stop the bleeding in the first inning. That’s two outings in a row. We have to figure out what the heck’s going on."

Pirates manager John Russell:
"We were much more aggressive. Ready to hit every pitch."