Saturday, May 29, 2010

Recap for G49: Astros @ Reds

Roy throws a perfect game. Okay, so it was Roy Halladay not Roy Oswalt. Consider it a favor from me that I tried to divert your attention from the game at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, where the Astros lost 12-2. See Zach Levine's recap for all the gory details.

Why They Lost

Because it's difficult to win win you give up 18 hits, including 6 (yes, that is SIX) home runs. I know this is where a lot of you would like me to begin a profanity-laden diatribe about the pitching of Brian Moehler, but it is not going to happen. By all accounts Moehler is a stand-up guy (who am I to argue with Alyson Footer on the subject), and today just wasn't his day.

Astros Pitching

Brian Moehler: 2.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 3 HR, 66 pitches (41 strikes)
Jeff Fulchino: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 17 pitches (9 strikes)
Wesley Wright: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2 HR, 63 pitches (37 strikes)

Man of the Match: Are you kidding me? Okay, if I have to I'll go with Tommy Manzella who went 1-3 with a double and 2 runs batted in. For the record: I'm still not excited about awarding anyone an Astros County 'Man of the Match' commendation for this game...

Goat of the Game: Again, not going with Moehler here. It was a spot start. No one was expecting much from him (hoping, yes; expecting, no). I'm just not going to go there. Instead, the Goat of the Game goes to the Constable. Yes, that's right, this guy. Instead of going early to a BBQ at a friend's home, I was stuck having to wait until the game was over so that I could write the G49 recap while the Constable sunned himself in some exotic, far away beach locale (I'm just assuming). The game was awful. So for that, Mr. Astros County Constable man, you sir are the Goat of the Game.

G49 Preview Astros v Reds

Today is the 2nd game in a 3 game series in Cincy featuring the AstBros and the Redstockings. It'll be B-Mo squaring off with Lurch.

Moehler hasn't stared a game this season for a reason, he is teh suck. So good luck to him.

Harang has been up and down this year but has a career winning record against us (10-9).

So hopefully this turns into another slugfest because lord knows its fun to see your backup catcher take the mound in the late innings. And speaking of Kevin Cash, did anyone else think "Who the hell is that?". I literally had no idea who was pitching for about 5 minutes, but that knuckleball was dancing like crazy. I approve.


WP: Lyons
LP: Harang

HR: Rolen, Quintero

SB: Bourn, Phillips

I have a weird feeling that the game will be delayed by a natural disaster of some kind. Like a tornado filled with flying cows and street signs. Possibly resulting in a decapitation of a radio announcer.

Score: Hou 5 Cin 4

Don't forget to follow me on twitter during the game for updates and redactions.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Recap for G48: Astros @ Reds

Astros lose 15-6

Why They Lost

Because Zach Levine at the Chronicle had a chance to grab the "briefly unattended head of Mr. Redlegs spotted near the press box and [make a run to] the Kentucky border with it," but failed to do so. Couple that with a "good feeling" from Deputy Jason and you have a recipe for disaster. At this point the Astros fate was sealed. Utterly craptastic performances from the Astros pitching staff were just logical outcomes from the aforementioned gaffes.

Astros Pitching
Road Wandy: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 86 pitches (49 strikes)
Chacin: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO, 37 pitches (18 strikes)
Fulchino: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 15 pitches (9 strikes)
Byrdak: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 17 pitches (8 strikes)
Lopez: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 22 pitches (15 strikes)
Kevin Cash (yes that Kevin Cash): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 10 pitches (8 strikes)

Pence spotted Wandy a 1-run lead with a home run in the top of the first, but after that it was all downhill for the Astros. If you really want to know what happened during the rest of the "game," feel free to read Levine's recap. Personally I have no desire to put you through yet another description of it... Bottom line: the Astros' pitching got pounded. Don't believe me, then take a look at the pitching lines above...

Man of the Match: Hard to believe, but there was one. Kevin Cash (yes backup catcher Kevin Cash) came in to pitch in the bottom of the 8th inning for the Astros. Featuring a 64 - 72 mph knuckleball, he held the Reds to only one run. Cash saved a couple of bullpen arms (or more, considering how the pen had pitched thusfar during the game), and considering that Brian Moehler is not likely to pitch more that 3-4 innings tomorrow, potentially saved a couple of arms from being DustyBaker'ized.

Goat of the Game: So very many to choose from here. Pedro Feliz for his 0-5 performance was a possibility, as were Fulchino and Byrdak (the latter serving up a grand-slam for former Astros farmhand Drew Sutton). Nevertheless, the Goat of the Game goes to Wandy Rodriguez for letting the Reds absolutely hammer him, and for lasting only 3.1 innings knowing full well that the pen was going to be used heavily on Saturday. Mr. Rodriguez, you sir are the Astros County Goat of the Game!

Bud to the DL

Norris hits the 15-day DL with a diagnosis of bursitis and elbow tendinitis. Lefty Gustavo Chacin was recalled from Round Rock to fill his roster spot. Perhaps assuming a short start from Brian Moehler on Saturday, the Astros also called up LHP Wesley Wright from Round Rock and optioned Oswaldo Navarro back to Round Rock.

For those taking a break from math for the Memorial Day weekend, that makes 12 position players and 13 pitchers on the Astros current roster (including 3 lefties in the pen).

Lineups for G48

Astros @ Reds, 5/28/10 (lineup via FS Houston).

1: Bourn (CF)
2. Keppinger (2B)
3. Pence (RF)
4. Lee (LF)
5. Berkman (1B)
6. Feliz (3B)
7. Manzella (SS)
8. Quintero (C)
9. Rodriguez (P)

1. Cabrera (SS)
2. Cairo (1B)
3. Phillips (2B)
4. Rolen (3B)
5. Gomes (LF)
6. Bruce (RF)
7. Stubbs (CF)
8. Hanigan (C)
9. LeCure (P)

G48 Astros v Reds Preview

Hey kids, the Redstockings of Cincinnati welcome the AstBros back to Great American Ballpark today at 6 pm CST. Make sure to tune in because the Reds are fielding a competitive team this season for the first time in 15 years. They are the Halley's comet of the National League Central and you might not get another opportunity in your lifetime to see them in this form.

The Reds will pitch former UT Longhorn Sam LeCure, who will be making his major league debut. I'd like to wish him luck in his new career, but I hope that he leaves the mound tonight crying like a bitch (can I say that here?).

The AstBros will send Magic Wandy out to throw Valtrex balls at the Reds. Look for alot of quick movements by Reds hitters looking to avoid contact with the crafty lefty.

WP: Wandy
LP: LeCure
SV: Lindstrom

HR: Lance, Tommy M, J Gomes
SB: Hunter

Ruptured Anus: Scott Rolen - I know this is a long shot but I have a good feeling on this one.

Score : Hou 5 Cin 3

Follow me on Twitter to see my in game witticisms

Heyman, on the trade chances

But one more, just real quick...

Jon Heyman is speculating on the chances of trading Oswalt and/or Berkman:

But who'll pay the $31 million? With the starter-rich Yankees ("We have five starters we like," one Yankees person said) and Red Sox likely out of the mix, it's hard to find a team that fits Oswalt's desire to go to a contender. In the past he's said to prefer the National League, or oddly enough, whatever team Jake Peavy is pitching for (White Sox now), so he may narrow the field further. The Dodgers are interested but never liked to make any midseason expenditures even before the marriage of the team-owning McCourts blew up and the payroll was cut from $120 million to $83 million. The Braves haven't been huge in-season spenders, either. And the bankrupted Rangers can't possibly fit $31 mil into their budget. The Twins already have run their payroll to an unprecedented $95 million, and it's hard to imagine the Tigers have a lot more money lying around either. Then there's a question as to whether Oswalt would consider the Mets or Nationals strong enough contenders. (Both teams are within striking distance and the Mets have been especially impressive lately.) The Cardinals could be an early guess, but as one competing GM said, "They have to save their money for Albert (Pujols)." The Astros have no chance to pick up Berkman's $15 million option despite public pleas by the longtime star, and it would make sense to find a suitor for him, as well."

A note for the weekend

Good afternoon, gentle Citizens of Astros County. A quick note for you this weekend. I'll be out of town with the wife. And yet! the show will go on. I've asked a couple of people to fill in for me in my absense. I might pop up (while The Wife's asleep) every now and then, but for the time being I'm turning it over to the Deputies.

The Constable

Live Chat!

Live Chat!

Hey, so let's do a live chat. 10:00am Central, right here.

Eddie's Farm: May 27

Round Rock

The Express scored four in the 6th and two in the 7th for a 7-4 win over Las Vegas. Sergio Perez threw 7IP, 11H/3ER, 3K:0BB for his first win of the season (in Round Rock), and Yorman Bazardo have up a solo homer. Jason Bourgois, Brian Bogusevic, and Drew Locke had two hits each, with Bourgeois getting 2RBI. Jason Castro was 1x3 and drew a walk to raise his average to .272 and his OBP to .426, and extend his 9-game hitting streak.

Man of the Match: Sergio Perez! Welcome to the discussion for 2011!


German Duran hit two solo homers - the game-tyer (?) and the game-winner - for a 3-2 win over Springfield. Doug Arguello threw 7IP, 7H/2ER, 4K:4BB for his 6th win (ERA: 2.47), and Henry Villar closed it out with 3H/0ER, 2K:1BB in 2IP. German Duran was 2x4 with two solo homers - one in the 6th to make the game 2-2, and the game-winner in the 8th. Jon Gaston and Barry Butera added two hits each.

Man of the Match: German Duran


Hm. Lake Elsinore scored the first four runs of the game, and then six runs in the bottom of the 5th for a 12-4 win over Lancaster. Ross Seaton threw 4IP, 5H/4ER, 3K:2BB (2HR), while the bullpen of Schurz, Godfrey, Urckfitz, and Cespedes gave up 7H/8ER, 3K:4BB in 4IP (though Urckfitz had a perfect outing, so this isn't on him). Seaton is now 1-6 with a 5.54 ERA. Freddy Parejo (hitting .320), Brandon Barnes, and Brandon Wikoff had your two-hit games. Jay Austin was 1x5 with 3RBI and stole his second base of the year. Brandon Barnes was caught stealing and picked off, and Albert Cartwright made two fielding errors.

Man of the Match: Jay Austin


The Legends got themselves a 4-run 2nd inning, good enough for a 5-3 win over West Virginia. David Duncan, enjoying a resurgence, threw 5IP, 3H/2ER, 1K:0BB outing to improve to 3-0 on the season. Luis Cruz struck out five in 3IP, and Kirk Clark struck out the side in the 9th to close it out. Jose Altuve was 2x5 with a 3-run homer, while J.D. Martinez and Andy Simunic had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve

Roy's One-Way Ticket: St. Louis

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest status: Depends on Brad Penny/Kyle Lohse

FanHouse (5/27):
Lohse hasn't been placed on the disabled list yet, though that seems likely, and the Cardinals are going to have to move forward as if they have a hole in the rotation that needs filling. Lohse is 1-4 with a 5.89 ERA thus far, so an upgrade was possible anyway but now you'd have to expect that St. Louis is going to be a major player on the trade market. That means you'll hear Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt's names attached to the Cardinals. (Update: Lohse will have surgery on his forearm.)

Rob Neyer (5/27):
But if Brad Penny doesn't come back strong in June, the Cardinals are likely to get into the Roy Oswalt / Cliff Lee sweepstakes, and hard. Unfortunately, the Cardinals don't have a great deal of talent in their farm system, so putting together an attractive package might be problematic. They probably just have to hope Penny's healthy and cobble together starts as necessary.

Matthew H. Leach (and here) (5/21):
No reason to use what resources are available (talent and payroll room) on a starting pitcher when that's the strongest part of the team. Do they put in a call? Sure, you have to. But to pursue seriously, doesn't make sense.

Easy Eddie: Maybe everything will work out!

The Chronicle apparently just found out that the Dodgers may be interested in Roy, and went to ask Ed Wade.

“I don't talk about trades...We believe we can win with the guys that we have here. I still think that as the offense continues to improve, and it will improve, that we have a chance to get back into this thing.”


You may be seeing more Rangers games on FSN

David Barron's TV-Radio column has an interesting note regarding how you may be watching your Astros (beginning in 2014):

Fox is said to be paying in the mid-$40 million range each year to the Astros and Rockets, or about $200,000 per game. Your Uncles Drayton and Les, however, want more. And the terms of the current deal have given them a window to re-up the ante halfway through what was projected to be a 10- to 15-year deal with Fox.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stark, on Oswalt

In Jayson Stark's new Rumblings and Grumblings column, you'll find this:

Roy Oswalt may hit the market someday, but that day clearly is weeks away. Astros scouts have been telling their scout buddies that they still haven't been instructed to start zeroing in on any other clubs or their farm systems in anticipation of an Oswalt trade. So obviously, this man is going nowhere any time soon.

He also lists a whole host of possibilities, but nothing concrete. In fact:

"I honestly see no market for him," said the club official quoted above. "Maybe the Angels. But the Yankees have five starters they like. The Red Sox have five starters they like. I don't see him going to the Mets. The Cardinals aren't looking for starting pitching. The Dodgers have no money. So a lot can change in two months, but I honestly don't see a market."

Recap for G47: Astros @ Brewers

I know that closers are going to blow saves. Just like haters gonna hate, closers gonna close. But sometimes they don't. Astros lose 4-3 in 12 to the Brewers. On a walk-off walk.

Why They Lost

Because the law of averages caught up with Matt Lindstrom, but in a rough way. Oh, and because the Astros were 1x17 w/RISP.

Astros Pitching

Myers67/23:3111-66 (59.5%)21/8
Lopez10/02:015-10 (66.7%)4/2
Lyon11/01:012-9 (75%)1/1
Lindstrom1.24/22:344-23 (52.3%)0/7

Well, Lindstrom came into this game having been given a one-run lead five times, converting five saves, and having given up just three earned runs all season. So of course, with the opportunity to take a road series for just the third time, Lindstrom gives up two runs for the blown save and the loss.

Myers was spotted a two-run lead in the first and gave up three singles in the 3rd for one run, and two singles and a walk in the 5th to tie it up.

In the 9th, Lindstrom gave up a single, sac fly, wild pitch, walk, and another single to allow the tying run across the plate before getting Braun and Fielder to end the inning with Rickie Weeks on 3rd base. With Lindstrom out for a second inning in the 10th, he gave up a single, walk, single to load the bases. Randy Wolf inexplicably came in to pinch-hit, struck out swinging, before walking Rickie Weeks on six pitches to score Casey McGehee.

Prior to today, Lindstrom's longest outing - pitch-count wise - was 25 pitches. He threw 20 pitches in the 9th, and needed 24 more to lose the game.

Astros hitting

Well, the Astros scored three runs - all of them unearned on errors by Alcides Escobar and Rickie Weeks. But they were 7x37 with five walks. But only one extra-base hit - the 18th time they've had one or zero extra-base hits.

However, five of the hits came from Keppinger (2x5) and Pence (3x5). Blum and Cash got the other two hits, with Cory Sullivan drawing two walks, doubling his walk total for the season.

The Astros drew twelve walks this series with the Brewers - the same number the Astros had in the seven games previous (May 17-23)

Congratulations to Lance Berkman, who drew his 1000th walk of his career.

Pitch Count Hero: Keppinger (2x5) - 29 pitches in five PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Pence (3x5) - 16 pitches in five PAs.

Team Pitches/Plate Appearance: 4.2 (189 pitches in 45 PAs)

Man of the Match: Hunter Pence - 3x5 on the day, three multi-hit games in his last four, and eight for his last 16 with three walks and no strikeouts. It's actually been five games since Pence has struck out.

Goat of the Game: Matt Lindstrom. You can't save them all, unless Ed Wade has just traded you.

Kody Hinze: Blowin' up

Nice little article from the Lexington Herald-Leader on Kody Hinze's breakout season so far.

Hinze, on whether he thought he'd break out:
"No, I didn't think I would. I was just going to try to stay afloat and then it just happened to blow up into something big."

On his Wu-Tang tattoos:
His tats include a stacked I, IV, III (for "I love you") on one bicep, a sexy lady and the word Cream ("cash rules everything around me"). "It's just an old saying," he says of the latter. "I just love tattoos."

Manager Rodney Linares:
"The kid can hit. He will drive the ball. The good thing is that he's starting to recognize breaking balls, and he's doing a good job. I think he's got four or five home runs with two strikes, which is pretty good, and they've been no-doubters. They're home runs anywhere."

Norris out for his next start

Oooh crap. It's being widely-reported that Bud Norris will not be making his next scheduled start Saturday because of what is being called biceps tendinitis, and the Astros' streak of using the same five starting pitchers will end at 48 games.

He will likely return to Houston to be examined by Astros team physician Dr. David Lintner. Norris came to the clubhouse Thursday morning and saw trainer Nate Lucero, complaining of soreness. He last started Sunday against Tampa Bay, giving up five runs in five innings.

Back in February, Tom Verducci listed his ten pitchers who should be red-flagged for injury, and of course Bud Norris was listed because of the IP increase from 2008 to 2009. So now he misses a start. You could probably throw darts at a list of pitchers and hit a couple who are going to be injured at some point in a season, though.

If he goes on the DL, it's hard to say what will happen to the rotation. Hopefully Moehler will not be called upon for the spot start, so that's probably exactly what will happen. If Easy Eddie brings up somebody from Round Rock, here are a couple of candidates:

Josh Banks (27 years old): 63IP, 60H/21ER, 26K:15BB. 3.00 ERA/1.19 WHIP.
Gustavo Chacin (29): 25IP, 24H/10ER, 14K:6BB. 3.60 ERA/1.20 WHIP
Andy Van Hekken (30): 52IP, 53H/24ER, 39K:16BB. 4.15 ERA/1.33 WHIP.
Polin Trinidad (25): 48IP, 53H/24ER, 31K:15BB. 4.50 ERA/1.42 WHIP.

It's a shame that Norris wasn't lined up for Friday, as the Reds have called up Sam LeCure to pitch against the Astros tomorrow night.

Roy's One-Way Ticket: New York Yankees

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest Status: Not Interested

Jon Heyman (5/27):
bad news for astros. yankees unlikely to become heavily involved in oswalt. "we like our starters," one official said.

The Astros were at Robby Rowland's final high school game

I know all 30 teams have scouts at basically every high school and college game this time of year, but it is worth noting that an Astros scout apparently met with 6'6" RHP Robby Rowland, from Cloverdale HS in California.

Rowland is projected as a 3rd-4th Round draft pick by Baseball America and has committed to Oregon.

Bennett, on Castro

Zach Levine talked to Ricky Bennett, who had some nice things to say about Jason Castro.

Assistant general manager Ricky Bennett, who heads player development and is the highest-ranking member of the front office on the Astros' current trip, said he is likely at least a couple months away but is progressing well after a rough start at Class AAA Round Rock.

Castro, 22, has made an adjustment in his swing, and the results have paid off.

“If he continues at this pace, I think there's a chance we'll see him before too long. Offensively, he's getting accustomed to the AAA level. He's calling a better game; that still needs to improve.”

Levine also notes that Hunter Pence has been more patient at the plate lately. Mills:
There's no doubt that he's definitely gone deeper in counts. He's giving himself a chance to get a better pitch to hit as he goes. We've seen that he's starting to hit a few home runs and drive the ball the other way.”

Bogusevic/Johnson making some real progress

Ricky Bennett and minor league field coordinator Dick Scott are in Round Rock and like what they see, particularly with Chris Johnson and Brian Bogusevic.

"Compared to where he was a month ago when Dick last saw him, he said Bogusevic is really, really making a lot of progress offensively. He's hitting the ball to all parts of the field and is really driving the ball. He's got better plate coverage and he's making a lot of progress. C.J. is swinging the bat well, too. Having that injury early in the season, it kind of slowed him down, but now he's got some at-bats under his belt and he's starting to put things together like he did in Spring Training."

Hey, so here's an idea. Why don't we release one of the guys hitting .200 and replace them with someone hitting .300 at Triple-A?
"That's something we've talked about here recently. I don't think we're at the point yet, but if they continue to make progress the next month to six weeks, we have to give them consideration to have an opportunity to play here."

Month to six weeks. If Pedro Feliz is still hitting .207 in six weeks, and Chris Johnson is not on the team, I'm going to get drunk on hand sanitizer, listen to Jerry Jeff, and weep.

Recap for G46: Astros @ Brewers

Okay, so maybe I was a little hasty in the whole "Let's Shut Roy Down" talk, because he flat-out dominated, throwing eight shutout innings for the first time since August 17, 2008 (v. Arizona: 8OP, 1H/0ER). Astros win 5-0.

Why They Won

What? Aside from Roy? If he thought he needed to throw shutouts to get a win, he was right, but the Astros had this one comfortably. It's the first time the Astros had scored more than four runs in his starts since September 10, 2009, when the Astros scored seven - and lost - against the Braves.

Astros Pitching

Oswalt84/09:1109-74 (67.9%)25/13
Lyon11/00:013-10 (76.9%)1/2

Roy threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of 29 Brewers, and got to a 3-ball count three times (only allowing one walk). Oswalt/Lyon held the Brewers to 3.69 pitches per plate appearance.

Astros hitting

Finally, there's more to talk about with the hitting than there is the pitching. The Astros got three doubles on the night (they still haven't had more than four extra-base hits in a game this season), but were 12x35 with 4BB on the night, the second-highest number of hits by the team in a game this season. Their five runs marked the 11th time they've scored 5+ runs this season - and they're 9-2 when they score five or more runs.

Everybody but Feliz and Quintero got a hit, with Berkman leading the way with 3x4 and a walk. Pence, Lee, and Manzella were all 2x4. Manzella, by the by, has five hits and two walks in his last twelve ABs (three games).

Berkman started the scoring in the first, singling in Bourn (Lee got thrown out at home by Carlos Gomez to end the inning). In the third, Keppinger scored on Pence's double, and Pence scored on Lee's single. Manzella led off the 4th with a double, later scoring on Bourn's single. Berkman's single in the 5th scored Pence, and that's how the five runs came to be. The Astros had six hits w/RISP - which has to be a record or something.

They also drew four walks (Bourn, Pence, Berkman, Quintero) for the sixth time this season, and are 3-3 when drawing 4+ walks.

Pitch Count Hero: Pence (2x4, BB) - 27 pitches in five PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Feliz (0x4) - 11 pitches in four PAs.

Team Pitches/Plate Appearance: 4.36 (170 pitches in 39 PAs)

Man of the Match: Hey! There's actually more than one option here - but it has to go to Roy. If you're auditioning for other teams, then you go right ahead.

Goat of the Game: The Astros batters got on base 16 times. You know who didn't get on base? Pedro Feliz.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's lineup shuffle!

Brian McTaggart has your lineup for G46, or "The Hunt For Roy's October" (new title for One-Way Ticket series?) If that guy gets hurt, I seriously might throw my laptop out the window.

A few interesting notes about the lineup:

1. Bourn - CF
2. Keppinger - 2B
3. Pence - RF
4. Lee - LF
5. Berkman - 1B
6. Feliz - 3B
7. Quintero - C
8. Manzella - SS
9. Oswalt - P

McTaggart notes that this will be the first time that Berkman has hit 5th since June 27, 2009. In that game against Detroit, Berkman was 2x4 in an 8-1 win.

Cliff Lee could really screw this Trade Roy thing up

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal has an update and a news flash, apparently, that the probable availability of Cliff Lee could really hurt the Roy Sweepstakes.

Lee, who turns 32 on Aug. 30, is a year younger than Oswalt and a better pitcher since the start of 2008. He also is signed to a more attractive contract, adding to his appeal if the Mariners decide to trade him.

Any team that landed Lee would be obligated only for the rest of his $9 million salary this season. Oswalt, meanwhile, is due the rest of his $15 million salary for 2010, $16 million in ‘11 and a $2 million buyout in ’12...

...With Oswalt, you just get Oswalt – at an inflated rate.

I'll be honest, I'd rather have Cliff Lee than Roy, and the case for Lee is pretty strong, which is why Ed Wade has a lot on his plate right now. I would hope that the first attractive offer that rolls in is accepted, but this is a case of supply and demand, and Lee is a better financial option for many more teams.

Astros maintain interest in Luis Alvaro Abad

With a captip to MLBTR, we find that the Astros are maintaining interest in RHP Luis Abad (as are the Yankees, A's, and Blue Jays).

Hey, good for Ezequiel Astacio

Ezequiel Astacio got his old job back, playing for the San Angelo Colts in 2010.

Astacio was 9-1 with a 3.68 ERA for the Colts in 2009.

2009 Draft in Review

Jason Churchill of took a team-by-team look at the 2009 Draft Class. How did he break down the Astros?

Shortstop Jiovanni Mier is struggling this season -- .235/.308/.263 with 35 strikeouts in 44 games -- but looks the part on defense and had a tremendous 51-game debut in rookie ball this past summer, hitting seven homers. Prep right-hander Tanner Bushue has been stellar in 14 pro starts -- nine this season -- posting a 66-to-20 K/BB ratio. Both third-round picks and the club's fourth-rounder have all struggled as professionals thus far.

Jonathan Mayo's Mock Draft's Jonathan Mayo posted his first 20 picks today. Who does he have the Astros taking at #8/#19?

#8: Zack Cox, 3B - Arkansas
A rib-cage injury has kept Cox largely out of action the past several games, but that shouldn't hurt his Draft stock, with many believing he's the best advanced bat in the country. A guy who can get to the bigs quickly and contribute might be just what the Astros are looking for.

#19: Delino DeSheilds, Jr, OF - Woodward Park Academy (GA)
The buzz about Houston liking DeShields has been loud, to the point where some think the Astros would take him with their first pick to make sure they got him. In this scenario, they get the safe college guy up top and the high school toolsy guy here.

Olney: Trade chatter will pick up after the draft

Between the "he-said/he-said" stuff that's going around (want an example? Check the One-Way Ticket: Texas series), Buster Olney has a note that you can expect the trade talk to be minimized until after the draft:

Some general managers say that the volume of trade conversation is picking up, but a lot of it is preparation for possible deals, rather than actual name-swapping. "I think the draft is preoccupying everybody," said one GM. "Once you get past the draft, you'll probably see some stuff start to happen."

So that means another couple of weeks with Roy-mors (rumors. Get it?). He also goes on to talk about Roy's ability to be wooed:
Of all the players in the majors, I'd say that Oswalt might be the least likely guy I know that would be susceptible to being wooed. He is as direct and as blunt as a sledgehammer, knows what he wants and is not going to be talked out of it.

Frankie Piliere's new Mock Draft

FanHouse's Frankie Piliere just posted his new mock draft, featuring the first full round. He has a live chat at 1pm Eastern today, if you want to debate him, but let's see who he has the Astros taking:

#8: Zack Cox - 3B, Arkansas
Not only is this a fit because Houston has been on Cox heavily all spring, but it's also a match because the Astros are a team that has been quiet and Cox is a player on which there seems to be no consensus. Some scouts have described Cox's defense as borderline "comical" and others believe in his bat enough to overcome that. Houston may be one of those teams. They are in on several guys for this spot, including Choice, Brandon Workman, and Josh Sale. They'd prefer a college arm but the ideal guy may not be there.

#19: Josh Sale - OF, Bishop Blanchett HS (WA)
Houston has shown heavy interest in Sale, but it seems to be leaning toward a safer, college pick at eighth overall. If Sale is still around this late, I expect the Astros to jump on him.

Berkman: Yeah...we're not good

Berkman has an answer for the offense:

We're just not very good. We're not a good offensive team. Nobody's hitting. And until we do, what can you say but that? You can say we're in a slump, you can sugarcoat it all you want, but we're just not good."

Can't argue with that. Carlos Lee is hitting .192. Prior to 2010, the last time that Carlos Lee's batting average was under .200 was on April 17, 2009 (.189), but by May 26, 2009 it was .324.

J.R. Towles still has more RBI than Michael Bourn, Humberto Quintero, and Tommy Manzella.

Astros "not shopping" Oswalt right now

I hope you like that One-Way Ticket series with all the rumors and rumblings about Oswalt, because it could go on for a while.

ESPN's Tony Jackson is reporting that the Astros are not currently shopping Oswalt:
A source with knowledge of the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday that despite Oswalt's request, the Astros aren't looking to trade the right-hander and three-time All-Star at this point. But that could change as the summer moves along and the July trade deadline nears, especially if the Astros continue to languish in the National League Central cellar.

So one thing is for sure: The Astros will continue to languish in the NLC cellar. While I would like the Astros to shut Roy down until he's traded (his value can only go down from this point forward), this isn't the worst idea Ed Wade could have. As teams continue to figure out if they have a shot at the post-season, or as teams pull away from their competition, it could help determine who are the real players for Roy, and make them a tad more desperate. But they'll also be interested in Cliff Lee and Ben Sheets. Risky move, but I get it.

Recap for G45: Astros @ Brewers

So, Houston Chronicle, you have your 15-30. What's your big plan to celebrate? Astros look silly in Milwaukee, losing 6-1.

Why They Lost

Because there is no offense of which to speak. 1-4 in the lineup was 1x16. 5-8 was 6x13, with Quintero getting the lone RBI in the 9th to score Hunter Pence.

Astros Pitching

Paulino67/24:3112-69 (61.6%)17/7
Sampson0.14/40:010-7 (70%)2/0
Fulchino1.21/01:026-16 (61.5%)5/1

Poor Felipe Paulino. When he doesn't pitch well, he really doesn't pitch well. But even when he does pitch well, like tonight in which his only blemish was a 2-run homer to Ryan Braun, he gets nothing. If you wanted to see Roy go apoplectic, let him start the season 0-7. In his last two starts, Paulino has allowed 9H/4ER, 8:8BB in 12IP. If you take out the disaster at San Francisco on May 14, Paulino has thrown 25IP, 10H/9ER, 27K:12BB in May starts.

So Sampson then comes in, and completely nuts it. Here's his 7th inning:
Inglett: HBP
Weeks: HR
Gomez: Groundout to pitcher
Braun: Bunt single to 3rd
Fielder: Single to center
McGehee: RBI single to left

At this point, Sampson has allowed three runs, and when Alcides Escobar hits a ground-rule double, it brings in Prince Fielder, and that run is charged to Sampson. However, eight of the last thirteen batters Sampson has faced got a hit. Seven of them have scored.

Astros hitting

Go ahead and add Randy Wolf to the list of pitchers who had their highest Game Score of the season against the Astros. His 7IP, 4H/0ER day was good enough for a 70, and we're talking about a pitcher who, in his previous two starts (including one against the Pirates), allowed 17H/12ER in 11.1IP, 5K:7BB. Oh no, that won't hold up. Not against the Astros, who had just scored six runs against David Price and the Rays.

The Astros had their chances. Oh yes, they had their chances. Like in the 2nd inning, down 2-0. Pence on second, Feliz on first, Casey McGehee snagged a Quintero shot down the line and got Pence on the force at 3rd (this was actually a Top Play). Manzella walked to load the bases, and Paulino struck out swinging.

But starting with Paulino, Randy Wolf got 15 of the next 16 batters. In the 7th, with two outs, Quintero singled to center, Manzella singled to left, and Jason Michaels struck out looking to end the inning, swinging the bat once in four pitches.

In the 9th, Pence doubled to lead off the inning, and Quintero doubled him home. Manzella strukes out, Blum grounds out. Game over.

So the Astros got seven hits all night, four of them from Quintero and Manzella (two each).

Pitch Count Hero: Pence (1x3, BB) - 20 pitches in four PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Keppinger (1x4) - 12 pitches in four PAs.

Team Pitches/Plate Appearance: 3.94 (142 pitches in 36PAs)

Man of the Match: Felipe Paulino. Dude, it's just not all your fault.

Goat of the Game: There are plenty of candidates on the offense - Carlos Lee and his donut, for instance. But this is going to Chris Sampson. Four hits and one out is not a good ratio.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lineup for G45: Astros @ Brewers

Alyson Footer has your lineup for G45 at Wrigley Field North:

1. Bourn - CF
2. Keppinger - 2B
3. Berkman - 1B
4. Lee - LF
5. Pence - RF
6. Feliz - 3B
7. Quintero - C
8. Manzella - SS
9. Paulino - P

Andy Pettitte: Berkman hasn't asked for a trade

Andy Pettitte would like to tell you that Lance Berkman, unlike That Other One, has not yet asked for a trade.

Pettitte remains close friends with Astros 1st baseman Lance Berkman who Pettitte stresses also wants to win big now. However, Berkman has not asked the Astros to trade him.

"You know me and Lance are extremely close," Pettitte said. "These guys want to win. Once you've been there. Once you've tasted the playoffs. Once you've tasted the World Series, that's what you want as a competitor. You want to have that opportunity to get back there.

"I know that both of them would love to be here in Houston and for Houston to turn it around and to be a contender. You never know what will happen."

It's probably good PR for Lance if he sticks with the team through this rough patch and is known as a the guy who didn't push his way out of Houston when things started to suck.

This is why there is an Electoral College

As our great country was being formed and shaped by rich, northeastern Deists, there was a debate. There were lots of debates, but the one to which I refer is that of how much power The People should have in deciding the presidency. On one hand, having just fought for their freedom from England, it was a hard sell to the publick that the leader of the country was just going to be appointed for life - that's exactly what most of them thought they were dying to prevent. On the other hand, you couldn't just have the reins of this new country in the hands of whomever got the most white landowners hammered at barbecues. So the Electoral College was formed by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. This would allow the legislature to select the white guys who then would select the president. You just couldn't trust the people as a whole to do what was best.

Why is this important? Because Lance Berkman is fifth in All-Star voting for NL First Baseman.

Roy may not get traded at all

Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi lists ten possible destinations for Roy, but there's apparently a growing number within the industry who feel like Roy may stay put:

A number of people in the industry said Monday that they believe Oswalt will be an Astro on Aug. 1.

“This is probably not happening soon,” one National League executive opined, “and it might not happen at all.”

The ten teams Morosi says are possibilities: Phillies, Nationals, Yankees, Tigers, Angels, Rangers, Dodgers, Twins, Reds, Cardinals.

Joel Sherman on Roy

The New York Post's Joel Sherman dedicates some KBs to Roy Oswalt, who has suddenly made the Astros interesting. I linked to the article in the Angels post, but it's worth pulling a couple of his notes:

A scout who covers the Astros regularly said Oswalt is clearly not happy. The scout pointed to body language that is not good and complaints about run support. In his last four starts, Oswalt is 0-4, though his ERA is just 2.83. “He has become the classic change of scenery guy,” the scout said. Andy Pettitte told me that playing for a non-contender for a while begins to wear at a competitive player such as Oswalt, and that his pal would be re-energized if he were in a pennant race.

A person with strong ties to the Astros told me that morale in the clubhouse is not very good and that there is even growing tension between the club’s two established stars, Oswalt and Lance Berkman.

It's an excellent column, and definitely worth a read. And unlike F*@#%ing Newsday, is free to read.

Roy's One-Way Ticket: Los Angeles Angels

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest status: Apparently interested

NY Post's Joel Sherman (5/25):
If I had to pick a front-runner right now for Oswalt’s services, I would pick the Angels. One AL executive firmly agreed, saying, “If I were going to Vegas, I am all-in on the Angels for Oswalt.”

Buster Olney:
The Angels have a need for a starter like Oswalt, but their farm system has been depleted in recent years.

Levine says what we're all hoping

In Levine's new post, someone says what we've all been thinking, and hoping for, about Pedro Feliz:

They could platoon, banking on the fact that his career OPS is 53 points higher against lefties than against righties, and start switch-hitter Geoff Blum against righties, which would be his natural fit.

Or — and I don't expect this right away — they could go the Kaz Matsui route. Cut their losses on the field while keeping the losses coming in the bank account, as those losses are unavoidable barring a trade.

And of course Chris Johnson's hot re-start at Round Rock is driving this. This is a season about rebuilding. And who wouldn't rather see a 25-year old put up a .600 OPS than Pedro Feliz?

"Leave Roy Alone!"

Channeling his inner Britney-fan-from-YouTube, John Royal speaks on Roy's behalf:

It's hard to understand how any reasonable person would disagree with Oswalt. Yet since Friday's announcement, Oswalt has been called a traitor, a cancer, a diva. People have said that for the money he's making, he should just shut up and pitch. There are fans who are offended that Oswalt that has dared to speak his mind, to criticize his teammates and management. It seems that there are so-called Astros fans out there who would rather the team be a bunch of lovable losers than for the team be full of guys like Oswalt who actually want to win baseball games.

I don't think he's a traitor, cancer, or a diva. I think he's inconsistent in why he wants to leave, but I understand it. I don't resent him for wanting to leave. Wade just needs to pull the trigger before he (Roy, not Ed) hurts himself.

Roy's One-Way Ticket: Atlanta

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest status: Not interested

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (5/25)
Oswalt is under contract through 2012 (the final year is a club option) for roughly $16 million per annum. That’s Derek Lowe money. And what did the Braves spend most of December trying to do? Trade Derek Lowe because he makes too much money. (As we know, they wound up trading Javier Vazquez instead, thereby treating us to the inspired outfield play offered up by Melky Cabrera.)

New poll!

Roy's One-Way Ticket: Chicago White Sox

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.

White Sox

Latest status: No way, despite Peavy' lobbying.

Phil Rogers (5/25):

Given the White Sox's all-veteran rotation and standing as the fifth puniest lineup in the big leagues -- not to mention the stronghold on the 2010 race by Minnesota and Detroit -- Oswalt makes zero sense for the White Sox. If anything, Peavy's 5.74 ERA has to cut down Ken Williams' interest in any National League pitcher and hurt Oswalt's value with 13 other AL clubs. If Peavy could get treated so rudely, couldn't Oswalt? There doesn't appear to be a great market for Oswalt, who is a great pitcher (at least in the NL).

Eddie's Farm: May 24

Round Rock

The Express enjoyed a 6-run 3rd inning and then held on with four scoreless innings of relief for a 9-6 win over Las Vegas. Wesley Wright continued to struggle, allowing 11H/6ER, 2K:0BB in 5IP, but got the win. Wright has allowed 15ER in his last 13.1IP. Jonah Bayliss threw 3IP, 3H/0ER and Casey Daigle threw a perfect 9th for his fifth save. Jason Bourgeois was 3x5 and Chris Johnson and Yorman Bazardo had two hits each. Drew Locke got a triple and 3RBI, and Jason Castro hit his first homer of the season. Encouraging news from Castro, as he has hit safely in nine of his last ten games for a .316/.422/.421 line in that time frame.

Man of the Match: Drew Locke


Corpus took a 5-0 lead on Midland and held the Rockhounds to three runs on ten hits for an 8-3 win. Jeremy Johnson threw 5IP, 7H/2ER, 0K:4BB for his first win of the season. Payano, Nevarez, and Meszaros allowed 3H/1ER, 4K:2BB in four innings of relief. Jack Shuck was 3x3 with a walk and 2RBI, T.J. Steele was 2x5 with a triple, SB, and 2RBI, and Jhon Florentino was 2x4 with 2RBI. Van Ostrand and Gaston added RBIs in the win.

Man of the Match: Jack Shuck.


The JetHawks let High Desert get out to a 7-0 lead going into the bottom of the 5th, came back to tie it, and then let it go in the top of the 9th for a 9-7 loss. Shane Wolf gave up 10H/6ER in 4IP, while Leandro Cespedes and Ashton Mowdy combined for 4IP, 2H/1ER, 4K:0BB (Mowdy had a perfect 8th inning). David Berner allowed 3H/2ER in the 9th for the loss. Albert Cartwright, who is having a heck of a year, was 3x4 with a double, triple, and 2RBI. In his last ten games, Cartwright is hitting .341/.357/.683. Jay Austin and Ebert Rosario were both 2x4, and Brandon Barnes hit a two-run homer in the 5th inning. Freddy Parejo also added two RBI sac flies.

Man of the Match: Albert Cartwright


Lexington was pretty much dominated, losing at West Virginia 3-0. Juan Minaya held WV to 4H/3ER, 3K:3BB in 5.2IP and Zach Grimmett closed it out with 2.1IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:1BB in the losing effort. The Legends were held to four hits - two of them by Jiovanni Mier, and the others courtesy of Jose Altuve and J.D. Martinez. Kody Hinze didn't get a hit, but walked twice. Altuve stole his 14th base of the season, and Mier committed his 14th error of the year.

Man of the Match: Uh. Mier?

Levine's Minor-League Notebook

Zach Levine has a new minor-league notebook, which talks about Eddie's Farm and the Future Farmers of Awadeica.

Between now and the June 7 first round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft, the Astros will merge the three lists — an East ranking, a Midwest ranking and a west Ranking of draft-eligible players — into their final board.

“We've got the groundwork on three boards,” said Heck, whose staff will spend this weekend at college tournaments “seeing guys playing against better competition.”

Solomon: Yeah...this isn't 2005

Jerome Solomon reinforces our opinion that this is not 2005.

While the record might be almost identical, the circumstances are radically different. The obvious difference in talent and experience and even the overall mood of the team leads one to expect the dog days will arrive sooner than August.

It's nice to have team leaders look around and take on the challenge of making the team better. Not so nice when team leaders look at the challenge ahead and volunteer to be on the first plane out of town.

And a 2005 quote from Roger Clemens who, while a douche, sure could get you excited about the Astros:
“The veterans have to try and do a little more so you don't put that kind of stress on our younger players. You don't want them to feel that side, especially because they have not been in that situation that much. We have and I have, so I take that challenge head on.”

That's about as striking a difference as I've seen between these two teams.

Matsui off the dole

Once Matsui cleared waivers yesterday, the Rockies came in and signed him to a minor-league deal.

GM Dan O'Dowd:
"We are looking to do something similar to last time. Put him in the minor leagues and see where he's at. There is no guarantee of a call-up. We all remember the magic of 2007. But I also know that this is 2010."

If Matsui hits .290 for Colorado, what do you think the chances are of Ed Wade forgetting about 2008-2010 and re-signing him to a $15m deal?

Steve Phillips explains why he's not in baseball

Former GM/intern-humper Steve Phillips appeared on WFAN yesterday and said that, if he was Washington GM Mike Rizzo, he would trade Stephen Strasburg for Roy Oswalt.

If Mike Rizzo is half as ridiculously, staggeringly short-sighted as Phillips, Ed Wade better be on the phone right now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The only thing eerie about the similarities between 2005 and 2010 is that people seem to believe them

McTaggart has an article in which there are apparently some similarities between whatever passes for this team and the 2005 team:

"I think there are some comparisons in that, just like that year, this year's roster is a lot more talented than the record would indicate. At that time, we weren't thinking we were going to make a World Series appearance, but we looked around at who we had and we thought, 'There's no way we're this bad.' This is similar because it's the same thing. I look around and think there's just no way we're this bad. In that way, we're similar."

Proving why I love Brad Mills like a brother, is Mills himself:
"Any time you start comparing to things like that in the past, I think you start getting in trouble a little bit as well. We have to play the best we can with who we have right here and go from there. I think there are a lot of good things. We've talked about the pitching. Any time you have some good pitching you can put it in place. We haven't swung the bats like we have hoped or thought we were capable of, and we think that's going to come around as well. You put those factors together and there's a good opportunity things are going to be getting a lot better."

Berkman, on the current roster and its impending implosion:
"The one thing Drayton has shown in the past is tremendous patience. He's not somebody that's going to make a hasty decision and blow the whole roster up. I'm not saying they're not going to do that at some point, but they're going to give this team every opportunity to be successful before they go in that direction."

Justice catches Drayton in some contradictions

Just read the post. It's worth it.

You mean nobody wanted to trade for Kaz?

Kaz Matsui cleared waivers and was granted his release. I, personally, find it shocking that nobody wanted to part with a package of hot dogs, or a tin of Walker's Shortbread for him.

Chris Johnson: Player of the Week

Congratulations to Chris Johnson, named PCL hitter of the week today.

Johnson led the hit .458 (11-for-24) in six games during the week with three home runs, nine RBI, 11 runs scored, three doubles and a triple. He currently rides an eight-game hitting streak, during which time he is hitting .469 (15-or-32). Johnson hit safely in six consecutive at bats and reached safely in nine consecutive plate appearances during the first two games of the Express series against Reno, both season bests for Round Rock.

Phil Garner has no basis for his thoughts, but offers them anyway.

Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi needed to talk to someone close to Oswalt for an angle on his news and notes column. Naturally, he picked Phil Garner, who hasn't spoken to Roy in three years. So what gems did Random Man have to offer?

Where does he want to go?
“I never talked to him about it, but I would imagine his preference would be to stay closer to home.”

Would he want to stay in the NL?
“That’s a good question. I don’t know that. He loves to hit, so he may have a problem with (going to the American League).”

Would he go to the White Sox, Phil?
“That might be a factor. He really wanted to get Jake down in Houston. That would be important to Roy. I could see (Oswalt having interest in Chicago).”

Would he go to the Angels, Phil?
“He and Ausmus are close. I tend to believe Roy pitches best when he’s pitching to someone he’s comfortable with. I know Brad had back surgery, but he’ll probably be available later in the season. He may be a drawing card for Roy.”

So why exactly was Garner interviewed?

Keith Law's Mock Draft!

Keith Law posted his Insider-only mock draft. But let's see who he has the Astros taking at #8:

Josh Sale, OF - Bishop Blanchet High School (Wash.)

The Astros have been all over Sale this spring, and they have nothing like him in their system. They also like Cox, but I don't see Sale going ahead of No. 8.

At #19:
Delino DeShields, Jr 2B - Woodward Park Academy (Ga.)

The DeShields/Astros connection has been running rampant for a month, and it's not out of the question that they might take him at No. 8 if Josh Sale is gone. I've also heard that the Astros could take Alabama outfielder Reggie Golden either here or with their first sandwich pick.

Nevarez activated

Pitcher Matt Nevarez has been activated from the DL and assigned to Corpus.

Eddie's Farm: May 23

Round Rock

Back-and-forth game between Round Rock and Reno, and ultimately it's Round Rock who comes out on top 5-4 on Bourgeois' walk-off triple. Weirdness on the pitching side, as Tim Byrdak threw the first inning (So he could join the team in Milwaukee?) and then turned it over to Andy Van Hekken, who threw 7IP, 7H/3R (2ER), 5K:0BB in relief, technically. Yorman Bazardo got the win, throwing 1IP, 1H/0ER. Jason Bourgeois was 2x5, and Matt Kata was 2x4 with 3RBI. Chris Johnson was 1x4 with a double and two runs scored. Bourgeois came up with Collin DeLome on first with one out, and hit a triple to center, scoring DeLome, and winning the game.

Man of the Match: Jason Bourgeois


Corpus pulled a Houston yesterday, scoring four runs in the 1st inning, and losing anyway, 8-5. Jordan Lyles got lit up, giving up 9H/6ER, 5K:1BB in 6IP, while Henry Villar allowed 2ER in 3IP. Wladimir Sutil, T.J. Steele, and David Cook (3RBI) had two hits each - which were all the hits the Hooks got. The Hooks did draw nine walks on the day, but were 1x9 w/RISP.

Man of the Match: David Cook


Despite out-hitting High Desert 12-8, the JetHawks lost 7-3. Brad Dydalewicz threw 4.1IP, 6H/7R (5ER), 2K:4BB. Mike Schurz (2.2IP), Pat Urckfitz (1IP), and Kyle Godfrey (1IP) combined for 4.2IP, 2H/0ER, 5K:2BB. Albert Cartwright, Mark Ori, Federico Hernandez, and Brandon Wikoff had two hits each with Ori, Barnes, and Hernandez getting doubles, and Cartwright hitting his 4th homer of the season.

Man of the Match: Albert Cartwright


Lexington put the whomp on Greensboro, 6-0, as the Legends got thirteen hits, held Greensboro to six, and let Greensboro make four errors. Robby Donovan improved to 4-3, holding Greensboro to 6H/0ER, 4K:2BB in 7IP. Arcenio Leon threw two scoreless innings, striking out three. Miguel Arrendell was 3x5, while J.D. Martinez, Our Boy Aaron Bray, Rene Garcia, and Grant Hogue had two hits each. RBIs came from Arrendell, Mier, Martinez, Bray, Kemp, and Hogue in a total team performance.

Man of the Match: Robby Donovan.

Jose Lima's Five Greatest Games as an Astro

Jose Lima was 46-42 in 4+ seasons with the Astros, with a 4.77 ERA/1.33 WHIP. He went 21-10 for the '99 Astros, with a career-best 3.58 ERA, finishing 4th in the Cy Young voting - behind Randy Johnson, teammate Mike Hampton, and Kevin Millwood.

In the wake of the news of Jose Lima's passing yesterday, let's look at the five greatest games Lima pitched as an Astro.

#5: August 1, 1998

Astros at Pirates. Lima allows a Collier double to left, scoring Jose Guillen and giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Jason Schmidt strikes out and Tony Womack pops up to end the inning. Derek Bell drives in Biggio to tie it up in the 5th, and Lima gets the next eleven batters to throw a complete game, 5H/1ER, 10K:1BB performance. Ricky Gutierrez draws a bases loaded walk in the 8th to give Lima the CG win.

#4: August 16, 1999

Brewers at Astros. It didn't start out so well. Lima walked two batters in the first inning before getting Geoff Jenkins to strikeout swinging on four pitches, but after allowing a leadoff single to catcher Dave Nilsson, Lima got 15 consecutive batters before walking Rich Becker and turning it over to Billy Wagner with a 2-0 lead, who preserved the win (striking out the side on 10 pitches). Lima's line: 8IP, 2H/0ER, 4K:3BB.

#3: June 6, 1998

Royals at Astros. With the Cubs having already defeated the White Sox in inter-league play, the Astros needed a win to get back to a tie for first in the NL Central, and Lima came out dealing. He got the first seven Royal batters, and an inning-ending double play to face the minimum through three. Lima drew a one-out walk, and Biggio brought him in with a homer to left to give him a 2-0 lead. Lima scattered five hits and a walk over the complete game shutout and threw 90 of his 127 pitches for strikes.

#2: October 2, 1999

Dodgers at Astros. The Reds and Astros were tied going into G161 at 95-65. The Reds and Brewers played at 12:15pm, the Astros at 3:05. The Astros would have known that the Brewers put up seven runs on Juan Guzman in the 3rd inning, and needed a strong performance from Lima. So Lima comes out and gives up a leadoff single to Eric Young, and walks Todd Hollandsworth - but gets Eric Karros to strikeout swinging and end the inning. Lima got the next eight straight - striking out four in a row at one point. Lima and Chan-Ho Park traded zeroes until Biggio hit a leadoff first-pitch homer in the 6th to give the Astros a 1-0 lead. Lima got two outs in the 8th before giving up a single to Hollandsworth, and with Karros on deck, Lima was lifted for Wagner. The Astros got a second run in the 8th. Lima got his 21st win and Wagner his 39th save.

#1: May 16, 2001

Astros at Cubs. I was a big U2 fan, and had a buddy in college who bought and sold tickets for a broker in Austin and got screwed by Ticketmaster. So he comes to me and asks if I can go to Chicago to see U2 the Tuesday after finals. I sold two guitars to pay for the trip, and we took off. In every state we bought a food that was appropriate to that state. Pork Rinds in Arkansas. In Tennessee I had Red Man and almost got hit by a semi, causing me to swallow my dip and puke down the side of my car at 70mph. I got buzzed at the Jim Beam Distillery in Kentucky. In Chicago, we had front-row seats to U2 and the show was incredible.

In the hotel after the concert, we watched SportsCenter and saw that Sammy Sosa had hit his 399th career homer that night against the Astros. So we spent the last of our money on left field bleacher seats for the following game. We got there two hours early, and Jose Lima was shagging flies in left field in front of us having pitched the night before. Wearing our Astros jerseys, we yelled, "Lima Time!" Lima turns around, looks at us and yells, "You wearing an Astros shirt in the bleachers at Wrigley Field! You gonna get your ass kicked, man!"

Sosa hit his 400th career HR to right field off Shane Reynolds. We ran out of money, and went to a riverboat casino in Joliet, and in 15 minutes turned our last $15 into $225, slept in the parking lot of a Methodist church, and drove back to Texas.

My point is this, and it sounds like we all have a story like this: my favorite memory of Jose Lima wasn't him winning a game. It was him interacting with me, an Astros fan at Wrigley. I had never been talked to by a player from the field, and I will - obviously - never forget that.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Byrdak activated and Chacin (?) sent down

What the heck? Tim Byrdak has been activated from the DL.

So who gets sent down? Not Moehler. Not Wilton Lopez. But Gustavo Chacin, and his 2nd-lowest ERA (or eight hits in 5.1IP). I kind of get it. But maybe not. So talk me out of being pissed about this.

Recap for G44: Astros v. Rays

Son of a gun. The Astros score six runs, and lose. This season, when they have scored 5+ runs, they are now 8-2. Astros lose 10-6.

Why They Lost

Because Bud Norris kind of sucks this year. And in the one game that the Astros' offense comes alive, and spot Norris a 4-0 lead, he nuts it (as well as Moehler. And Sampson.)

Astros Pitching

Norris56/4 (5R)10:3114-68 (59.6%)25/19
Moehler04/20:011-7 (63.6%)2/1
Chacin10/01:011-7 (63.6%)1/2
Fulchino10/01:217-6 (35.3%)4/1
Sampson14/30:026-17 (65.4%)3/2
Lopez11/00:014-9 (64.3%)1/0

Brutal. 10 of the 15 outs that Norris recorded were by strikeout, but he allowed nine baserunners in 5IP. In his nine starts this season, Norris has recorded that sixteenth out (5.1IP+) just once. Things were fine until the 3rd inning. Ben Zobrist took an 0-2 pitch to right for a homer. Carl Crawford was safe on a Manzella error. Jaso pops out, Carlos Pena singles in Crawford, to cut the lead to 4-2. In the 5th, then, Carl Crawford drew a one out walk when Norris got the count to 2-2, and John Jaso homered. Hank Blalock homered two batters later. Norris day was done. Norris now has six Disaster Starts (More, or equal, number of runs allowed as innings pitched).

Then Moehler comes in for the sixth, gives up three singles, a double, and two runs, and his day is over.

When Sampson comes in for Fulchino, he gives up a single, double, triple, and three runs.

So everybody blew today. Except for Gustavo Chacin, whose 1.69 ERA was rewarded with a demotion to Round Rock. Chacin was the only pitcher to not allow a baserunner, so naturally he'll get sent down (we'll get to this in a different post).

What do you do with Bud Norris? Demote him? Hell and no, you don't. You run him out there for 35 starts, like you ran Michael Bourn out there all season long in 2008 and let him figure it out. It's not like he's costing us wins. It's not like we'd be four games out, and looking at Norris' record thinking, "That sumbitch is holding us back." On-the-job training. Like Wal-Mart.

Astros hitting

The Astros got four extra-base hits - and that's the most they've had in a game since May 9 against San Diego (and four all season). That's also more extra-base hits today than they had in the four previous games. Doubles for Keppinger and Quintero, and homers from Pedro Feliz (that's 1000 homers in Minute Maid. At this rate, it'll be 2104 before they hit 2000) and Hunter Pence. Pence has seven homers, easily the team lead. It's the Astros' 5th 2-homer game of the season, and they haven't had more than that all season.

The Astros scored four runs in the 1st inning, which is the first time they've scored more than two runs in the 1st. They've only scored 4+ runs in an inning six times this season.

So when the Astros start the second in the lead, they're now 2-6.

Pitch Count Hero: Pence (2x4) - 22 pitches in five PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Keppinger (3x5) - 14 pitches in five PAs.

Man of the Match: Hunter Pence.

Goat of the Game: Bud Norris.

Roy's One-Way Ticket: Washington

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest status: Interested, but a longshot

Washington Post (5/23):
While General Manager Mike Rizzo did not confirm or deny the interest, he intimated the Nationals have been active in pursuing players and praised Oswalt.

"We have interest in a lot of people," Rizzo said. "We're always on the phones, we're always doing our due diligence on players. Oswalt is a tremendous competitor and a tremendous pitcher...Whether or not the Nationals want to acquire Oswalt, it seems unlikely a deal could be struck."
The Nationals are looking to improve their rotation and have expressed interest in trading for Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt, according to a baseball source. The Nats have not confirmed that they have interest in the Astros' ace, and Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, did not return a phone message Sunday.

If the Astros and Nationals can work out a deal, Oswalt, 32, and right-hander Stephen Strasburg would be a perfect 1-2 combination in the rotation.

Buster Olney (5/22):
"The feeling among rival executives is the Nationals are apt to be very aggressive before the trade deadline, the kind of team willing to take on a contract -- like Oswalt's -- that might appear outsized to other teams. Washington's window of opportunity is opening, and the promotion of Storen so early tells us that they will work like crazy this summer to climb through."

Buster Olney (5/22):
The Nationals are thought by other teams to be in position to be aggressive, if the front office decides to make moves. But Oswalt would have to approve a deal to a franchise that hasn't been in the postseason in almost three decades, and to a team that lost 103 games a year ago.

Sporting News (5/22):
He'd be the perfect mentor for Stephen Strasburg and bring immediate legitimacy to a rotation that still is a weakness. Washington, though an up-and-coming franchise, isn't a bona fide contender yet and plays in a loaded division. Thus, Oswalt could exercise his no-trade clause to block the deal.

Roy's One-Way Ticket: Florida

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest Status: Not interested

Joe Frisaro (5/23):
Obviously, adding a starter the caliber of Lee and Oswalt would make a huge impact. I just don't see the need for a starting pitcher when the more pressing issue is the bullpen. Starting pitching hasn't been the Marlins' problem...A more realistic deal would be for a relief pitcher.

(May I interest you in a reliever named Matt Lindstrom...?)

Bourn, Berkman out of lineup

Michael Bourn appealed his suspension and got it reduced to one game, which he will serve today. Also, Berkman will be out of the lineup today for a day off.

But good news, so will Evan Longoria. If the Astros get shutout today, my prediction of four weekend runs will come true.

Eddie's Farm: May 22

Round Rock

The Express took a 3-0 lead that held up until the 8th, and ultimately lost in 12 to Reno, 5-4. Sergio Perez threw 7IP, 4H/2ER, 5K:5BB, and Yorman Bazardo allowed the tying run in the 8th. Casey Daigle threw 2IP, 1H/0ER, and Roy Corcoran got lit up like a college student - allowing 5H/2ER in 2IP to drop his record to 1-7. Matt Kata was 3x5, Jason Castro was 2x4, and Collin DeLome had an RBI double. Michael Garciaparra hit a pinch-hit RBI single in the 12th to cut the Reno lead to one, but Marcos Cabral grounded out to end the game.

Man of the Match: Sergio Perez


Tyler Lumsden allowed 4ER in 4IP, and that was pretty much all it took for a 5-3 loss to Midland. Lumsden went 4IP, 5H/4ER, 2K:3BB, while Erik Stiller (2IP, 2H/1ER), Brian Wabick (2IP, 2H/0ER), and Edwin Walker (1IP, 1H/0ER) tried to give the Hooks' offense a chance, but 'twas not to be. Koby Clemens was 2x4 with a double for the only extra-base hit of the night. Sutil, Gaston (2BB), Santangelo, and Florentino added the other hits. Barry Butera got a pinch-hit appearance with one out in the bottom of the 9th, with Gaston on 3rd and Duran on 1st, and he promptly GIDPed to end the game.

Man of the Match: Koby Clemens


The JetHawks scored six runs in the bottom of the 9th, but fell short against High Desert in a 9-7 loss. Dallas Keuchel dropped to 1-4, allowing 9H/7R (6ER), with 2K:1BB in 3IP. Mike Modica gave up 3H/2ER in 3IP of relief, while Ashton Mowdy and David Berner were the two pitchers to hold the Mavericks scoreless. Albert Cartwright was 3x5, and Freddy Parejo, David Flores, John Curtis, and Brandon Wikoff had two hits each.

Man of the Match: David Flores


Lexington enjoyed a 7-run 5th on their way to an 11-6 win over Greensboro. David Duncan threw 5IP, 5H/2ER, 2K:0BB with both runs coming on solo homers. Luis Cruz allowed a run in 2IP, and Jose Trinidad gave up one earned and two unearned runs. Jake Goebbert, J.D. Martinez, Kody Hinze, Our Boy Aaron Bray, and Brian Kemp all had two hits each - with Goebbert also drawing two walks - and Hinze getting 3RBI, Martinez and Bray getting 2RBI each. Jiovanni Mier was the only Legend without a hit (not counting Grant Hogue's pinch-hit strikeout), and committed his 13th error of the season.

Man of the Match: Because it's good to see him back in the lineup and have a good one - Aaron Bray.

Roy's One-Way Ticket: Cincinnati

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest Status: Interested

Sporting News (5/22):
Cincinnati has earned contender status more quickly than most expected, and the contracts of Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang will come off the books after this season (freeing up money). A rotation of Oswalt, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman would be impressive. The Astros are far from eager to have Oswalt haunt them in head-to-head meetings in the future.

John Fay (5/21):
Oswalt makes $15 million this year, $16 million next year, and there’s a club option for $16 million with $2 million buyout in ’13. That’s probably out of the Reds’ price range. But Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, who make similar money, are in the final year of their contracts. I don’t think it will happen. But my guess is the Reds at least look into it.

Roy's One-Way Ticket: Philadelphia

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest status: Not interested.

Todd Zolecki (5/22):
There are indications the Phillies will not be in the hunt. They traded Cliff Lee for three prospects in the offseason, so it would be surprising to see Philadelphia then trade top prospects to get Oswalt.

PennLive (5/22):
Sure, a top of the rotation that featured Halladay, Oswalt and Cole Hamels — assuming all are healthy — would be tough to beat come playoff time, but there’s too much working against the Phillies in any potential deal for the right-hander...So dream if you want, but just don’t expect the Phillies to add Oswalt. Two Roys aren’t meant to be.

Roy's One-Way Ticket: San Francisco

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Henry Schulman (and here, and here) (5/21):
Doubt Oswalt will be moved soon despite trade request. Astros will want bidding. Anyway, Gs don't need Oswalt, but a bat. (In the two tweets following, he notes that Berkman makes more sense, and the Astros wouldn't need Madison Bumgarner or Buster Posey to get the job done. Like we need Buster Posey, with Castro in Round Rock.)

McLane vs. Hunsicker: An expose

Richard Justice has an in-depth interview with Gerry Hunsicker.

On his relationship with Run-DMc:
“The only thing I want to say is that we had our ups and downs together. With all the challenges, you'd have to say we had a successful relationship. He gave me an opportunity to be a general manager.”

Run-DMc, your turn:
“Gerry and I got along. I have a real good policy that if I can't get along with somebody or somebody doesn't like me, there's no point. We didn't agree always. I never raised my voice to him, and he never raised his voice to me. We had some really good times. If I'd disliked him, we would have parted ways a long time ago.”

Hunsicker, on the 2010 Astros:
“I don't like to see anybody suffer, especially an organization where I spent so much of my career. I know it's a tough period. I have a lot of respect for the people running the baseball department. I go back a long way with Ed (Wade) and Tal (Smith). They're two very solid baseball men and will get this thing turned around. I still think it's a team good enough to challenge in that division. There's not a monster in that division. You look at that roster, and I really think, barring injuries, they're good enough to get back into the race in that division.”

Astros/Lexington offering ESL classes to players

Pretty cool article in the Lexington Herald-Leader this morning about The Apparatus' efforts to help their Spanish-speaking players with their English.

Allen Rowin, Coordinator for Player Development:
"The first year is always the toughest. They are away from home, they are struggling with a new language, and they are trying to play baseball at the same time. If we can ease their minds on some of the language and culture, hopefully that will help them out on the field, too."

And one quote, which makes me laugh:
Jose Trinidad, 22, a right-handed Legends pitcher from the Dominican Republic, said he spends a lot of time practicing English. He wants to avoid repeating an earlier incident when someone thought he was calling them "a bad name."

But, Trinidad said, "I was only talking about someone going to the beach."

Tri-City markets what's successful, and that's not necessarily the product on the field

Good article in the Troy Record this morning about the Tri-City ValleyCats, and their continued - and growing - success in Albany, NY area. And that success doesn't have much to do with what the Astros are sending them:

ValleyCats GM Rick Murphy:
"I can’t control what happens on the field...So, we understand what are our assets and what are our liabilities and when you understand what your strengths and your weaknesses are, you market the (strengths). So we market our facility, we market the cleanliness, the safety, we market the affordability and that all ties into the value-conscious consumer."