Saturday, April 9, 2011

Know Your Enemy: Javier Vazquez

Javier Vazquez has played in the NL from 1998-2003, then the AL in 2004, then the NL again in 2005, then the AL from 2006-08, then the NL in 2009, then the AL in 2010. Now he's back in the National League. And he's back at Minute Maid Park.

*Vazquez' fastballs sits at 91mph for his career, but that dropped off to 88.7mph (89.7mph avg in his first start of '11) in 2010, and he threw that 53.4% of the time. Next up is the curveball (17.3%), changeup (14.7%), and slider (14.5%) - all using 2010 numbers with the Yankees.

*He got batters to chase outside the zone 30.4% of the time in 2010, with a 27.7% avg for his career.

*Against the Astros - in any form - he's 4-5 in 14 starts, with a 4.37 ERA/1.29 WHIP. But at Minute Maid, he's 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA/1.03 WHIP, allowing 28H/11ER, 32K:8BB in 35IP.

*His last time facing Houston was on September 8, 2009, when he went 7IP, 3H/0ER, 9K:4BB in a 2-1 Atlanta win.

*Carlos Lee is 4x15 with 3HR (all solo shots), with 3K:1BB against Vazquez.

*On the road, he's 74-78 for his career with a 4.48 ERA/1.30 WHIP and a 3.04 K:BB ratio - all worse than his home splits.

*Vazquez does a pretty good job w/RISP - allowing a .264/.335/.426 line for a .761 OPS, not terribly higher than his .706 OPSa with the bases clear. With 2 Outs/RISP, Vazquez has only allowed 18HR in 1116 PAs, and opponents have recorded a .669 OPS.

Eddie's Farm: April 8

Oklahoma City
Memphis scored a run in the 7th to break a 2-2 tie and win 3-2. Sergio Perez threw 5IP, 5H/2ER, 6K:0BB and Fernando Rodriguez walked three and allowed a hit in 1.1IP to take the loss. Collin DeLome was 2x3 with his first homer of the year, while Bogusevic was 1x3 with a stolen base - his 2nd in two games.

Man of the Match: Collin DeLome

Tulsa put up four in the 5th for a 5-4 win over Corpus. Jonnathan Aristil took the loss with 4.2IP, 4H/3ER, 3K:1BB, while David Berner allowed two homers in 1.1IP. Erick Abreu struck out two batters and David Carpenter walked two in an inning, but otherwise emerged unscathed. J.D. Martinez was 2x5 with an RBI, while Jimmy Van Ostrand was 2x5 with a homer off Christian Friedrich. Jimmy Paredes added an RBI and an SB, and T.J. Steele and Jon Gaston had SBs.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Van Ostrand

Lancaster dropped G2 to High Desert, scoring four in the 9th, but falling short, 6-4. High Desert got five in the fist two innings off starter Andrew Robinson, who allowed 7H/5R (3ER) in 5IP. Wander Alvino and Mike Ness threw 4IP, 3H/1ER, 5K:0BB. Jonathan Villar (2B) and Jose Altuve (3B) had two hits each and Kody Hinze hit a homer. Jonathan Meter drew two walks.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve

Lexington got their first win of the season, 11-7 over Charleston. Tanner Bushue allowed 6H/4ER, allowing three homers on the night. Jorge De Leon allowed an unearned run. Dan Adamson was 4x5 and every batter had multiple hits, except for Bryce Lane (who drew three walks from the #9 spot) and Jiovanni Mier, who was 0x4 with 3K and a BB. Chris Wallace and Adam Bailey had homers, while DeShields (two errors), Medrano, and Lane had doubles.

Man of the Match: Dan Adamson

J.R. Towles is Cinderella Man

Richard Justice has a feel-good story about J.R. Towles and his various stops along the way.

"I never really lost confidence. I always thought I could play at this level. It's just that when an opportunity comes, I've got to take advantage of it. "I hate the way it happened, but Jason (Castro) will be fine."

Ed Wade isn't sweating the For Sale sign

David Dalati asked Ed Wade if he was worried about the sale affecting his job status:

"There are always dynamics in play that could affect somebody's job. I think the best approach to take is I want to spend the time doing my job instead of worrying about my job. That's got to be your approach. If you start to think about extraneous issues or if you're distracted by the things revolving around you, you're not going to be as effective as you should be doing your own job."

Crasnick, on Wallace

Jerry Crasnick has a good article on Brett Wallace on ESPN today.

An AL Scout:
"He stays in there against lefties and takes the ball the other way pretty well. But I think he needs to go back down to the minor leagues and tweak a few things. He'll probably do OK against No. 4 and 5 guys in rotations. But there are going to be nights when he faces 1, 2 and 3 starters and really looks overmatched."

Mike Barnett:
"For most guys, it takes 1,500 to 2,000 at-bats in the minor leagues before they're ready to play here and another 1,500 to 2,000 to get their feet on the ground at the major league level. To me, he's on a faster learning curve. Most young hitters are so hyped up they don't even remember what pitch they swung at. He can go pitch by pitch and tell you the whole at-bat."

Friday, April 8, 2011

From the Office of the County Clerk - G7: Astros v. Marlins

So the Astros give the fans something to remember them by and lose to the Marlins, 4-3.

*The Astros haven't won a home opener since 2008, when they beat the Cardinals, 5-3.

*This one was on the bullpen. Wandy pitched a good one, allowing 8H/1ER, 2K:0BB. A bullpen of Wilton and Lopez allowed 2IP, 6H/3ER, 0K:0BB.

*Marlins catcher Brett Hayes, who came into tonight 2x2, went 2x4 with two 2Bs. He had six doubles in 83 PAs in 2010.

*Wandy fared much better this time around, though his 7Ks in two starts are the fewest since June 18/24, 2010, when he had 6K over two starts.

*J.R. Towles and Brett Wallace both hit HRs tonight, and Pence and Wallace added doubles. It's the most XBHs of the season, and the first multi-HR game of the year.

*Fulchino gave up a 9th Inning HR to Chris Coghlan. Of Coghlan's 15HRs, that was his 2nd 9th Inning HR, and his first 9th Inning game-winning homer.

*As mentioned previously, Towles hit himself a homer. It was his first since April 17, 2010. Of his nine career homers, six have come in April.

*Brett Wallace had seven total bases on the night. His double and HR were his first and second XBHs of the season, and the first multi-XBH game of his career. Wallace's performance gives him a .270 AVG at Minute Maid, and a .191 AVG on the road.

Man of the Match: Brett Wallace, for his 9th Inning opposite-field homer.

*Goat of the Game: Wilton Lopez, who gave the Marlins the lead in the 8th Inning


Marlins press has some perspective on the Richard Justice Memorial Press Box, either

The Palm Beach Post's Joe Capozzi makes mention of the new press box:

The other is the view in this picture, taken from the newly-located press box.

We were a level down, in prime seats behind home plate. Now, we’re one level up where we probably belonged to begin with.

Ever since Minute Maid opened (back when it was called — gulp! — “Enron Park”), writers bragged about the prime press box seats. But we often wondered, too, how much potential money the Astros were missing out on by not renting that areas out to companies.

The Astros finally caught on. Can’t say I blame them. And I can’t complain about the new view, either.

Know Your Enemy: Ricky Nolasco

Home Opener! Florida's Ricky Nolasco takes the mound tonight. What should you know?

*Nolasco traditionally throws a fastball at about 91mph, and he threw it 49.2% of the time in 2010 (though in his first start of the season, he threw it for 57.1%). He also throws a slider (23.1% in 2010) at 84.5mph, a curve (15.9% in 2010), and mixes in a split-finger fastball (11.8% in 2010) at 85mph. Nolasco got batters to chase outside the zone in 33.1% of PAs in 2010, and 43.8% in his 1st start of 2011.

*He's 3-1 against the Astros in five games (four starts) with an ungodly 6.26 ERA/1.50 WHIP, though with 10K:3BB. At Minute Maid, he's 2-0 in three games (two starts), with a 3.71 ERA/0.88 WHIP, allowing 11H/7ER, 14K:4BB in 17IP.

*Current Astros are 12x53 against Nolasco (.226/.250/.528), with Hunter Pence tagging him for 3x10 (all homers) and a walk in 11 plate appearances.

*On the road, he's 34-19 for a 4.15 ERA/1.23 WHIP - over half a run better than at whatever stadium the Marlins play at.

*With the batter ahead in the count, they knock him to a .335/.462/.620 line; while when he's ahead, opponents hit .206/.211/.306.

*And Nolasco can clamp down. With 0 out, his OPSa is .817. With 1 out, it's .715. With 2 outs it's .697.

*It's also strange that, first time through the lineup, opponents have a .756 OPS, while the 2nd time through opponents have a .698 OPS. Third time through, that's an .802 OPS.

Telvin Nash's groin apparently hurts

From Telvin Nash this morning:

This groin won't let me free.

Either his groin hurts, or he's tweeting Maroon 5 lyrics.

That said, it'll be ready for the next series.

Eddie's Farm: April 7

Oklahoma City

Jordan Lyles got the start, but went 4IP, 7H/3ER, 1K:2BB, throwing 50 of his 81 pitches for strikes, but OKC needed five relievers to get through and hold on for an 8-7 Opening Day win over Memphis. Of the seven hits Lyles allowed, only one was an extra-base hit - a double. Ross Wolf had a rough outing, alloing 4H/3ER in 0.1IP, and Jose Valdez got the save despite giving up a run in the 9th. Brian Bogusevic was 3x4 with a solo homer, walk, and a stolen base. Anderson Hernandez, Koby Clemens, Drew Locke, and Tommy Manzella had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Brian Bogusevic


Corpus scored two runs in the top of the 5th, but Tulsa answered with three in the bottom of the 5th, and that's your final score. Xavier Cedeno was decent in the opener, going 5IP, 4H/3ER, 2K:4BB. Shane Wolf threw a perfect inning, and Patrick Urckfitz allowed one hit in 2IP. Wladimir Sutil was 3x4, BB, Jon Gaston was 2x4, and Federico Hernandez hit a solo homer. J.D. Martinez was 1x4 with 3K.

Man of the Match: Wladimir Sutil


Raise your hand if you thought Lancaster's pitching would be the story? Lancaster shut out High Desert in a 5-0 win. Jose Cisnero threw 5IP, 2H/0ER, with 9K:1BB and Wes Musick threw 4IP, 4H/0ER, 5K:0BB. Yes, Cisnero and Music got 14K:1BB between them. Jonathan Meyer was 3x4 with two 2Bs, Jonathan Villar was 2x4, Austin Wates hit his 1st HR of the season. Jose Altuve was 2x4 with a t3B, SB. And Erik Castro, who did not play due to injury in 2010, was 1x2 with 2BB and an RBI.

Man of the Match: Jeez. How about Cisnero?


Charleston jumped on Mike Foltynewicz for a 6-1 win over Lexington. Foltynewicz threw 5IP, 6H/5ER, 2K:1BB, but got 11 groundball outs. Gabe Garcia struck out four in 3IP, and Jason Chowning allowed a hit in 1IP. Jiovanni Mier was 2x3 (BB, 2B, RBI), and Mike Kvasnicka, Dan Adamson, and Bryce Lane provided the other hits. Delino DeShields was 0x4 with 2K and a throwing error.

Man of the Match: Jiovanno Mier

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reason to love Twitter #4,215,197

The Lexington Legends posted the lineup (and here) for the season opener tonight:

2B Delino DeShields Jr.
SS Jiovanni Mier
DH Enrique Hernandez
1B Jhonny Medrano
3B Mike Kvasnicka
CF Daniel Adamson
RF Adam Bailey
C Roberto Pena
LF Bryce Lane


Baseball America has the latest round of tranzactionz, so you can keep your knowledge on Swole.

RHP Bubbie Buzachero
RHP Jailen Peguero
LHP Mike Modica
OF Freddy Parejo

That's a shame. We really like Modica, the 24th Round pick of the 2009 draft.

Buzachero was a mid-season pick-up in 2010.

The Astros traded Future Considerations to the Rangers last June for Peguero (and re-signed him in December).

Swing and a Miss: G6 @ Reds

The Reds threw 85 of 136 pitches for strikes today - 62.5%. Thirteen of those were swings/misses.

Wallace: 4 (25%)
Myers: 2 (28.6%)
Pence: 2 (9.1%)
Bourgeois: 2 (8%)
Sanchez: 1
Hall: 1
Johnson: 1

From the Office of the County Clerk - G6: Astros @ Reds

Brandon Lyon makes it interesting, but the Astros come away with their first win of the season - a feat achieved before the Red Sox and the Rays.

*Myers posted his 2nd quality start of the season, throwing 6.1IP, 6H/2ER, 4K:3BB.

*Brett Myers managed to walk opposing pitcher Sam LeCure - something that he had only done 14 times previously, and only once in 2010.

*Myers also walked three batters for the second start in a row. He walked four in each of his last two 2010 starts, and had a four-start stretch from May 16 to June 1 where he walked 3+ batters.

*Myers got yanked after giving up a pinch-hit homer in the 7th to Scott Rolen, tying the game at 2-2. That was the 199th homer he had allowed, but only the 26th homer he had allowed in the 7th inning or later. Rolen's was just the 4th game-tying homer in the 7th or later he has allowed in his career.

*Bullpen alert: Mark Melancon was brought in to face Brandon Phillips, who hit a single. Then Fernando Abad was brought in to face Votto, who also singled, Abad had two on with two outs in the 7th in a tie game, and got Gomes to fly out to right to end the inning. Abad ended up getting four outs, adding a walk.

*Carlos Lee hit a triple - his second of the year, which at the moment, ties him for the NL lead in triples. He hasn't hit multiple triples in a season since 2002, and his career high is three - set in 2001.

*Between 1999-2002, Lee hit nine triples; from 2002-2010, he hit five. So of course, he has two in his first six games.

*Unfortunately for the Astros, this magic didn't extend to the 8th inning, when Carlos Lee had Sanchez on second and Pence on 1st, and grounded out to end the inning.

*And Holy of Holies, Bill Hall drew a walk! Prior to that, he even got a single! Coming into G6, Hall's OPS was .263 - thanks to his day today, that got bumped up to .372

*Matt Downs got the Astros' first pinch hit of the year, a two-out double in the top of the 9th off of Nick Masset that scored Brett Wallace, to take the lead, 3-2.

*Congrats to Fernando Abad on his first major-league win.

*Brandon Lyon did what Brandon Lyon does, and that's make the 9th inning extra nut-punchy. After getting two quick outs, he gave up hits to Phillips and Votto (Votto's being an infield single), before getting a fielder's choice from Ramon Hernandez to end the game with the tying run in scoring position. And this counts as a Save.

*Lyon has faced 15 batters this season, and recorded seven outs.

*Edgar Renteria was 3x3 with a walk. I was all ready to bring an awesome stat about the last time he got on base four times in a game, but one year ago today - April 7, 2010 - Edgar Renteria went 5x5 with a walk against the Astros

*Pence recorded the Astros' first outfield assist of the season, getting Miguel Cairo at second base.

Man of the Match: Brett Myers - doesn't get the decision, but shut down a Reds offense that had scored 20 runs in the first two games of the series.

Goat of the Game: First win of the season - no Goat today.

Betting Man: April 7th

So last night I laid $20 across two bets: the over on total home runs at 2.5 ($10) and the over on total runs at 8.5 ($10).

Happy to say the Over on the runs paid out $19.09, while I lost the $10 on homers.

I have a good feeling about today, with Myers going up against LeCure, so I'll put $20 on the Astros at +125 - paying out $45.


Outstanding Bets: $80
Last Night: +$9.09
Total: $899.09

Know Your Enemy: Sam LeCure

The Astros finish out the series with the Reds with an early start against Sam LeCure before heading home for the home opener. What do you need to know about Sam LeCure?

*According to FanGraphs, LeCure throws your standard fastball, slider, curve, and change. In 2010 he threw the fastball 59.8% of the time with an average of 88.6 mph. The slider came out 16.9%; Next was the curve, which he threw 14.1% of the time, and 9.2% of his pitches were changeups, average 81.3 mph. He got batters to chase the ball out of the zone in 25.9% of the time.

*In two games against the Astros, he's 1-0, with 6H/2ER, 6K:4BB in 7IP. That said, current Astros are 5x15 (.333/.375/.533) against LeCure. Hunter Pence tagged him for a solo homer on May 28.

*He split time between the bullpen and rotation in 2010. As a starter, he's 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA/1.71 WHIP in six starts.

*In day games (four appearances, one start), he's 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA/0.94 WHIP and a K/9 rate of 2.2 K/9 lower than his night game rate.

*At Great American Ball Park, he's 2-3 with a 3.09 ERA/1.38 WHIP, and a .256 BABIP against. Three of the six homers he's allowed have come at GABP.

*Dude is either very clutch or very lucky with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. In 32 PAs under that situation, he's allowed five hits (2HRs), for a .185/.313/.481 line - and a .158 BABIP.

*His OPS-against is 321 points higher with two outs (.942) than with nobody out (.621).

*Impatient hitters can have a field day. On the first pitch (20 PAs), opponents are hitting .471/.474/.765.

Jimmy Traina's podcast with Hunter Pence

SI's Hot Clicks editor Jimmy Traina recorded an interview with Hunter Pence. It's currently downloading.

Fred Nelson says the right things

If you're stressed out about being 0-5, then check out George Vondracek's article on Fred Nelson, the new Ricky Bennett.

A nugget, from Nelson:
"Ultimately it's our responsibility to see that it gets done, along with our managers. That's where my accountability to Ed comes in, that's where the managers' accountability comes in to us and, ultimately, the managers need to make the players accountable. And if that is a change in direction or a change in the philosophy, then so be it. That's who we are."

Astros County for your Car Phone

Some of you have complained, nay, yelled that Astros County loads too slow for you to peruse AC in meetings. So use this link for best mobile results.

God bless you, Brad Mills

Zach Levine reports that yes, Michael Bourn is out of the lineup with a tender Netherlands. But also that Bill Hall has been dropped to the #7 spot. Best news of the morning. The Astros should get an honorary Win just for that.

If the Legends lose tonight, the CEO will dress like an unemployed guy

Mark Maloney has your Opening Day preview on the Legends' season.

Interestingly enough, CEO Alan Stein - apparently a Kentucky fan - guarantees a win on Opening Day. If it doesn't happen, he'll dress like Bruce Pearl - the unemployed former basketball coach at Tennessee.

How does starter Mike Foltynewicz feel about it?
"If I don't (get nervous), there's something wrong with me. Yeah, I'll have a little bit of nerves in there. Especially with the CEO sitting there. If we lose that game, he's got to dress up in his enemy's outfit. ... I don't want to upset anybody right away, so I'll try to do my best."

And $1.3m can change a kid's mind - not to go to Texas:
"That was my dream school, so it really took a lot to get me away from Texas. But it did, and I'm glad that it worked out the way it did."

Nidiffer, on how he got to the Angels

Marcus Nidiffer - whose release surprised Astros County - discussed his release-and-sign.

Nidiffer, on his move to the Angels' system:
“I signed like, literally as I walked out of the door of the Astros’ locker room. It was a quick transfer. I went right back home [from spring training in Florida], dropped my car off and then flew out here [to the Angels’ spring facility in Arizona].”

Lyles excited about his opener tonight

Good article in the Oklahoman today about Jordan Lyles (note: The Constable will be in attendance for his second start at Nashville next week).

"It’s always an honor to get the first start. I love it when the crowd’s out there and there’s a lot at stake. I feel like I rise to the occasion and I feel like my stuff gets a little bit better when there’s a lot on the line.”

And Arnsberg admitted that Lyles is in Oklahoma City for reasons other than pitching:
“You go back and look at the numbers all of our starters put up and he probably pitched better than any of them,”

Mark Melancon did not see the trade to the Astros coming

An article in the Times-Leader focuses on Mark Melancon, who was quite surprised when the Yankees dealt him to the Astros.

“I was shocked, because it was so out of the blue. At that time, I was focused on being in pinstripes. It didn’t really enter my mind I would be pitching for somebody else.”

Then when he saw how much worse the Astros are than the Yankees, he got excited:
“After about five minutes of realizing what type of opportunity I had here in the Astros organization, I was excited."

Jon Gaston, on the Corpus Effect

George Vondracek has a story on how Whataburger Field is a brutal wake-up call for hitters who are used to the thin air of Coors Lite (what we call Lancaster's stadium).

Jon Gaston:
I kind of saw the wind and I tried to change my swing. It was pretty much brutal. And then after I got talked to by Wes (Clements), our manager, and some other coaches, I just went back to being my old self, see how far I could hit it. If it doesn't got out, oh well. If it does, awesome. It worked out pretty good.

"This year, going back there, I've just got to be mentally strong the whole season, be more convinced with my approach."

Koby Clemens:
"I guess the best way to put it is half the field is a good hitter's park and the other half is not...In Corpus, I kind of got caught up in that wind situation and started pulling a lot. Most of my home runs were pulled. I think that had a big factor why the average dropped down so much because I kind of shut down a lot of the field. Yeah, the wind sucks but if you've got a good swing you're going to hit it through the wind."

Arias update

Good news from Alberto Arias, his 60-pitch bullpen session was successful, and he's scheduled for another on Thursday.

"We're going to have to go real slow with him, and try to stay away from any setbacks."

Don't expect to see Bourn today

He hurt his groin, and left in the 7th with tightness.

"I don't remember doing it at all. I've felt it before, but it wasn't major. It might just be from the cold weather, not being acclimated to it."

With a day game after the night game, expect Bourgeois in the lineup for G6.

I think further explanation is required, Mr. Wallace

Brett Wallace said, in regards to the Astros lack of walks:

"Everybody can play GM when you look at a stat sheet. I think the whole on-base percentage thing is kind of skewed."

I would really appreciate some insight into this thought. If he means OBP is skewed because there's such a small sample size (we're 3.1% through the season), then I can handle that.

If Wallace is inferring that getting on base does not necessarily reflect a tendency to score runs, then perhaps we should hear more about this revolutionary thinking.

"You definitely want to stick to a gameplan. But if I'm looking for a certain pitch ... I don't want to take it just to be selective. Once balls start falling you'll see the on-base percentage go up."

Brett Wallace, our very own Murray Chass!

Swing and a Miss: G5 @ Reds

The Reds threw 105 of their 167 pitches for strikes - 62.9%. 19 of those strikes were swinging:

Hall: 5 (23.8%)
Pence: 5 (20%)
Bourn: 2
Towles: 2
Downs: 2
Lee: 1
Wallace: 1
Johnson: 1

From the Office of the County Clerk - G5: Astros @ Reds

Sweet mercy. The Astros blow their second 4-run lead in five games to remain the only winless NL team - at least Boston and Tampa Bay both lost - in a 12-4 loss.

*Did I mention that the Reds scored 12 unanswered runs? I would liked to have told you that it took some time to go back and find the last time that happened, but I really didn't. On July 20, 2010 the Cubs scored 13 unanswered runs in a 14-7 win over Houston.

*Yes, and the Astros committed five errors. Check my math, but methinks the last time the Astros committed five errors in a game was May 19, 2005 against Arizona in a 6-1 loss. So if I'm right, the last time a game like last night happened, THE ASTROS WON THE PENNANT. (Update: the Astros also committed five errors against the Rangers in 2008).

*The errors were spread around the infield: Towles, Figueroa, Johnson, and two from Angel Sanchez - who committed five errors in 58 games in 2010. Those errors led to four unearned runs.

*Figueroa. He was given a 4-0 lead before he even took the mound - and by the time he threw his 60th pitch, was down 6-4. And the 3rd inning was just a hot mess. After getting Stubbs to groundout to open the inning, Phillips walked, Votto singled, Rolen doubled, Bruce reached on an infield single, Heisey reached on Figueroa's throwing error, before Ramon Hernandez could pop out on the second pitch, Jay Bruce stole third and scored on Towles' throwing error, which brought Heisey from 1st to 3rd. Janish singled, and it took Volquez striking out swinging to end the 5-run inning.

*So the first time through the rotation sees the following numbers: 0-4, 9.62 ERA/1.93 WHIP, 16K:11BB, .336/.405/.467 against, and a .378 BABIP.

*Hey, but Mark Melancon got four perfect outs (facing five batters because of one of Sanchez' errors), and threw first-pitch strikes to all five batters.

*Pathetically, Nelson Figueroa had the only multi-hit day at the plate for the Astros, though Sanchez walked twice and got a hit. Bourn, Pence, Lee, and Wallace also drew walks.

*Bill Hall also got a hit, but then again he struck out three times to give him a line of 2x19, 9K in 2011. The first strikeout came with the bases loaded in the 1st. Hall has a K in every game this season.

*The heart of the order (Pence-Lee-Hall-Wallace) went for a combined 1x14, 7K:3BB.

*Michael Bourn and Angel Sanchez stole their first bases of the season.

*Man of the Match: I'm actually giving this one to Brett Wallace, who drew a bases loaded walk in the first. That's how bad this game was.

*Goat of the Game: Bill Hall. 3Ks from the #5 spot - putting him here has to stop.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Extremely long preview of the Astros season

Sean Pendergast has a really long preview of the Astros' 2011.

Betting Man: April 6th

So last night didn't go so well for anybody. Especially me. I lost all three of my $10 bets, bringing my total available for the season to $910.

Tonight I've got $10 on the Over for runs at 8.5, which would pay out $19.09.

I've also got $10 on the Over for total home runs hit at 2.5, which would pay out $20.50.

And that's it for tonight.

Total Outstanding Bets

Season Total

Lexington preview

If you're looking for an in-depth preview of the Lexington Legends, check this out.

Minor League Openers

Friday morning marks the first of our Eddie's Farm reports of the season (because the season starts tomorrow night), and we couldn't be more excited. If you're a new citizen of Astros County, we do a quick paragraph-form roundup of the minor-league affiliates each morning, and appoint a Man of the Match for each game. Once the short-season affiliates (Tri-City and Greeneville) get started, we add them to the mix. Occasionally we'll throw in the GCL Astros and DSL Astros, but typically it's a long enough post as it is.

To get you ready for tomorrow night, Zach Levine provided your starters for the season opener:

Jordan Lyles (OKC) @ Memphis
Xavier Cedeno (CC) @ Tulsa
Jose Cisnero (LAN) vs. High Desert
Mike Foltynewicz (LEX) vs. Charleston (or whoever CSC is)

Know Your Enemy: Edinson Volquez

Edinson Volquez gets his second start of the season tonight. What do you need to know?

*He's 4-0 in his five starts against the Astros, with a 1.34 ERA/0.98 WHIP, 35K:9BB.

*In 78 PAs against current Astros, they are hitting 11x68 (.162/.240/.221) with 24K:6BB against him.

*Volquez, though, did have a rough time of it in his season opener against the Brewers, going 6IP, 7H/5ER, 5K:2BB, 3HR.

*For his career, Volquez is 7-2 with a 3.25 ERA/1.34 WHIP in March/April.

*The Astros should be ready to jump on the 1-0 pitch. Opponents, in 123 PAs, are hitting .414/.424/.750 with that count.

*That said, if Volquez is ahead in the count, opponents hit .168/.185/.234.

*Carlos Lee has never gotten a hit off Volquez - 0x10 with 3K:2BB lifetime. Pence is 3x14, 5K:1BB, but with a double and a homer.

Starting the season bad is bad, starting the season great isn't so great, either

So goes the circular logic by SI writer Cliff Corcoran, who notes that the Rays, Red Sox, and Our Astros are the only winless teams in baseball.

In major league history, which dates to 1871, 110 teams have started a season 0-5. Just two of those 110 went on to make the postseason, less than two percent...

...105 teams have started a season 5-0. Thirty-six of those teams went on to make the postseason (12 went on to win the World Series and six others played before the World Series was born in 1903), but another 27 finished in fourth place or below, with the other 42 finishing third or second but without claiming the wild card (when available).

Buster Olney: Avert your eyes, Astros fans

Buster Olney's (Insider-Only) post this morning references the Astros, but not in a good way.

Rival scouts walked away from seeing the Astros this spring searching to identify good major leaguers. "Three guys in their every-day lineup -- [Hunter] Pence, [Michael] Bourn, and Carlos Lee, and Lee should be a DH," said one evaluator. The over/under number on wins for the Astros, that evaluator believes, should be 60.

It takes someone labeled as an Evaluator to say that Carlos Lee should be a DH? How much does that pay?

Justice's hindsight is 20/20

Richard Justice's new blog post says the Astros have been the dumbest team in baseball since Gerry Hunsicker left.

Consider these nuggets:
Gerry was in charge when the farm system began to come apart, and there's no defending that part of his legacy. Still, it seems likely he would have gotten it fixed more quickly than the people Drayton hired did.

Since Gerry left, things have spun downward quickly. The Astros went to the World Series the following year, and now they're on their way to missing the playoffs for a sixth straight year and to having three straight losing seasons for the first time since LBJ was in the White House.

Now, do I think the Astros will go to the playoffs? Not really, but to say they're "on their way" after four games against two playoff teams is a touch premature.

Should the Astros have thrown Happ last night?

The Constable questions the decision over at the Chronicle.

The Oklahoman interviews Manzella

Ryan Aber has an interview with OKC SS Tommy Manzella.

Aber asked Manzella about being bounced around in Spring Training:
You get opportunities. Unfortunately, the last time I came up, I didn’t get too much of an opportunity. I was, I guess, more there as an insurance policy. But in either regard, you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do to get ready for the season.

Just in case you were wondering where Chris Truby was

He's the manager of the Lakewood Blue Claws, Philadelphia's SAL team.

Apparently four wins in Cincinnati makes people think about 21 years ago

John Fay's G4 wrap-up notes that the last time the Reds were 4-0, the rest of the 158 games didn't matter, and they won the World Series!

But Dusty Baker had some nice words about the Astros, via Leake's effectiveness:
“He was sharp. Those guys can hit over there. He made some quality hitters swing and miss.”

G4: Swing and a Miss

88 of the Reds' 131 pitches were for strikes (67.1%), and 16 of those 88 strikes were swinging (18.2%)

Hall: 3 (23.1%)
Quintero: 2 (10.5%)
Pence: 2 (12.5%)
Lee: 2 (12.5%)
Sanchez: 2 (13.3%)
Johnson: 1
Wallace: 1
Downs: 1
Bourn: 1
Michaels: 1

From the Office of the County Clerk - G4: Astros @ Reds

The Astros make it four losses in a row to open the season for the second year in a row with an 8-2 loss at Cincinnati.

*With the Brewers winning against Atlanta last night, the Astros are the only remaining National League team without a win.

*The Astros got down 7-0 before putting two on the board in the 5th. This includes a 3-0 Reds lead at the end of the 1st, and a 5-0 Reds lead at the end of the 2nd.

*They've been outscored 12-0 in the first three innings of games this season.

*The Constable said he would post something about this later today, but Happ just didn't look right. He couldn't find the strike zone with a beach ball. Happ, not The Constable. After getting Richard Justice's hero, Drew Stubbs, to ground out on the second pitch of the game, it took 24 pitches to record the next out. In between, he allowed two singles and three walks.

*Happ hadn't allowed three runs in the first inning since his second game as an Astro, when he gave up four runs to the Cardinals on August 4, 2010.

*If we do something completely meaningless, in Happ's last two starts - his last of the 2010 season, and his 2011 opener - he has posted a line of 7IP, 15H/14ER, 5K:10BB.

*Happ issued a one-out bases-loaded walk to Chris Heisey, scoring Joey Votto, and then in the 2nd, hit Heisey with a pitch, scoring Brandon Phillips.

*Meanwhile, the bullpen recorded 4IP, 3H/1ER, 3K:0BB - getting perfect innings from Wilton Lopez and Brandon Lyon.

*Lyon got two of the seven groundball outs of the night.

*In the meantime, the offense looked pretty terrible. Mike Leake needed 10 pitches to get out of the first, getting five strikes while the Astros watched the ball come in.

*Of Leake's 59 strikes, 17 of them were looking.

*Angel Sanchez provided the only runs of the game, getting a 5th inning single to score Chris Johnson and Michael Bourn. Bourn (2x4) and Sanchez (1x3) were the only Astros to get on base twice. Sanchez and Quintero drew your only walks of the game - but both were in the 3rd inning.

*Bill Hall was 0x3 with a K, putting him at 1x15 on the season, with 6K:0BB on the season. Hall has had one plate appearance that got to three balls, and he struck out in that one.

*Of Hall's 6K, three of them have come after taking a first-pitch ball.

Man of the Match: Angel Sanchez, I guess.

Goat of the Game: J.A. Happ.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good news about Arias

Maybe Alberto Arias will be effective! While we wait for someone - anyone - to be effective, and for the County Clerk to get off the ledge, Alberto Arias threw off a mound today.

"I guess he looked really good. That's a neat thing to see. Everybody is hoping he can come back and throw the ball like he did in '09."

The Betting Man: April 5

So now I get my first action of the season.

I took the Astros in this one - just a gut feeling - in the moneyline for $10 at +$155. So this would net $26.50.

For the prop bets, which are always fun/nervewracking, I put $10 on the over for Astros' total runs at 3.5. This would pay $17.70.

One other one for the night - I put $10 on J.A. Happ to record more strikeouts than Mike Leake at -120. This would pay $18.33.

Outstanding Bets
Total outstanding: $90
Total Amount Remaining: $910
On tonight's game: $30

Wandy will be popular come July

In Jayson Stark's Rumblings and Grumblings column, Wandy gets himself a mention:

Two early names the same exec nominates as potential pitching targets, just based on the probabilities their teams will be selling by July: Wandy Rodriguez and Mike Pelfrey.

Know Your Enemy: Mike Leake

We're back for G4 at Cincinnati, where we're giving you living room fodder for your Astros Watching Party. If you have those.

*The Astros did wonders for Mike Leake's ERA in his rookie 2010 season. Overall, he posted a 4.23 ERA/1.50 WHIP, with a 1.86 K:BB ratio and a .320 BABIP against. In two games against the Astros, he was 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA/1.40 WHIP, allowing 19H/5ER in 19.1IP. The Astros were able to draw some walks against him, getting a BB eight times, as opposed to 11Ks.

*If the Astros can get runners in scoring position, opponents are hitting .306/.387/.562 off Leake - and that's with a relatively normal .308 BABIP.

*The trick is to be patient - something the Astros haven't really done this season. With the batter ahead in the count (in 2010), they posted a .979 OPS, as opposed to a .649 OPS when Leake was ahead.

*Lefties hit Leake to the tune of .292/.342/.490 in 2010, for an .832 OPS. This would be good news if Astros lefties could hit RHPs. Astros lefties are 1x18 against RHPs in 2011.

Swing and a Miss: Phillies

Something we'll trot out from time to time is the Swing and a Miss series. Maybe after every game, maybe the County Clerk will take up the banner. Anyhow, here's what we have from the Phillies series.

G1: @ Philadelphia

The Phillies collectively (Halladay-Romero-Herndon-Madson-Baez) threw 98 strikes against the Astros in 150 pitches - 65.3%. Below are the per-game swings and misses, with percentage of misses to total pitches in parentheses.

Johnson: 7 (30.4%)
Quintero: 4 (22.2%)
Hall: 3 (18.8%)
Pence: 2 (14.3%)
Myers: 2 (16.7%)
Lee: 1 (8.5%)
Wallace: 1 (7.1%)
Sanchez: 1 (5.3%)

G2 @ Philadelphia

Lee-Baez-Contreras threw 106 strikes out of 155 total pitches (68.4%).

Pence: 4 (28.6%)
Hall: 4 (19.0%)
Bourn: 4 (14.3%)
Johnson: 2 (13.3%)
Michaels: 2 (50%)
Sanchez: 1 (6.3%)
Towles: 1 (5.9%)
Wallace: 1 (7.7%)

G3 @ Philadelphia

Oswalt-Herndon-Kendrick threw 86 of 134 pitches for strikes (64.2%), eight of those were swinging strikes (9.3%)

Quintero: 3 (25%)
Wallace: 3 (15.8%)
Johnson: 1 (9.1%)
Inglett: 1 (20%)

So the Astros made better contact against Roy, but overall, the Phillies threw 290 of their 439 pitches for strikes - 66.1%. Forty-eight of these pitches were swinging strikes - 10.9% of total pitches.

Quality ABs?

In Zach Levine's post on how walks aren't exactly happening, he has this quote from Brad Mills:

“We’re getting there. Plus a little bit of credit to them as well. But the good quality at-bats is something we want to continue to get. We’re hoping that it does breed into better on-base percentage and more walks, and I think it has to.”

I'm guessing "them" means, "the Phillies." And he's right. There's no shame in losing to Halladay, Lee, and Oswalt. But quality ABs?

In the three games against the Phillies, the Astros had 27 plate appearances lasting one or two pitches. They were swinging on ten first-pitch PAs, going 2x8, getting an HBP and a sac fly in the two unaccounted-for PAs.

They started out 0-1 in 53 of 101 PAs, and were ahead of the pitcher (as Baseball-Reference defines it) in just 33 of those 101 PAs.

They worked a three-ball count in 15 PAs over three games, for a 5.0/gm average. The Reds, who begin a series with the Astros tonight (and are 3-0), worked 27 three-ball counts - just for example. Atlanta leads the NL in three-ball counts with an average of 9.25 three-ball counts per game. Only the Brewers have fewer three-ball counts, with 13 in four games.

This isn't good news for the Astros, as the team that delivered those 13 three-ball counts - fewest in the NL - is the Reds.

Are we talking about a ridiculously small sample size between two teams with wildly different opposition? Sure, but patience hasn't been a virtue for the Astros over the course of the past couple of seasons, and three pitching coaches. So are the Astros getting those quality ABs? If we're quantifying in terms of pitch counts, then no.

The best news Astros fans could hope for all year

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the best news possible:

A bullpen catcher of a team (not Braves) says baseballs are harder this year, believes they've been juiced to aid attendance in bad economy.

Hell yes! Doubles, baby!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wade wouldn't have traded Roy without getting Happ

In Brian McTaggart's sunshine-and-rainbows article on J.A. Happ, we learn how essential Happ was to the Roy deal:

"We determined that in order to make a sensible deal, we had to get somebody that was both a now and future piece, somebody that could come in and contribute immediately, but also had the ability to be a part of the program going forward. Aside from the physical ability that J.A. brought to the table, the fact he met those two criteria made him all the more key to making the deal happen."

The Betting Man: April 4th

So we have a friend who, for obvious reasons, will remain unnamed and go by the moniker The Betting Man. Seriously, the guy can't be trusted with $10, or he'll bet on which bird flies off the power line first. Anyhow, what do you do with a guy who has an addictive personality (especially if he's a die-hard Astros fan)? Make sport of it. Almost every day The Betting Man will report on his gaming endeavors - let's see how he does.

Hello, friends. It's an honor to be able to share my experiences with you. Way I see it, if you're gonna watch it, you might as well win on it. I have $1000 in a Bodog account, so all lines will come courtesy of Bodog, and we're going to see what happens.

It's April 4, and there's no game today, but tomorrow the lines for the series with the Reds will come out. I can at least catch you up on the bets I've made to this point.

I put $10 on the Astros to win the NL Central at 35/1 odds. That $10 bet could pay out $350, plus my original $10, so we'll put that on the docket.

I also put $50 on the over of 71.5 wins at -110, this could net $95.45.

Outstanding Bets
Total outstanding: $60
Total Amount Remaining: $940


Ryan Rowland-Smith to remain with Astros

Zach Levine reports that Ryan Rowland-Smith has cleared waivers, and will stay with the organization on a minor-league contract.

And apparently there's no decision on just what role The Hyphen will play, either starter or reliever.

Looking back at the Oklahoma City roster, there are five starting pitchers already listed: Lyles, Arguello, Perez, Nieve, and Villar. If they hadn't signed Fernando Nieve, Rowland-Smith would have been a logical fit for the OKC rotation. But they did. There are seven bullpen spots filled in, and just about every other team in the system has eight relievers. Sounds like he's ticketed for a reliever, unless they make another move.

From the Office of the County Clerk: Fun with Rosters!

So the County Clerk took him a gander at these here minor-league rosters, and sent along the following nuggets:

*There are 99 players in Eddie's Farm, from Triple-A Oklahoma City through Low-A Lexington.

*53 of them were acquired through the draft.

*Seven were acquired through trades.

*Number of draft picks still in the system, by year:
2005: 4
2006: 2
2007: 4
2008: 11
2009: 14

*Lowest draft pick (by Round) still in the system: Colton Pitkin (41st Round, '07) - Lancaster; Bryce Lane (41st Round - '10) - Lexington.

Where Did These Guys Come From: Lexington

And finally, with Lexington:

Starting Pitching

Tanner Bushue - Drafted, 2nd Round, 2009
Brad Dydalewicz - Drafted, 8th Round, 2008
Mike Foltynewicz - Drafted, 1st Round, 2010
Juan Minaya - Signed as amateur free agent, 2008
Carlos Quevedo - Signed as amateur free agent, 2006


Ruben Alaniz - Undrafted free agent, 2009
Jason Chowning - Drafted, 28th Round, 2010
Jorge De Leon - Signed as amateur free agent, 2006
Gabriel Garcia - Signed as amateur free agent, 2007
Murilo Gouvea - Acquired in trade with White Sox, 2009 (future considerations)
David Martinez - Signed as amateur free agent, 2004
Alex Sogard - Drafted, 26th Round, 2010
Brian Streilein - Drafted, 37th Round, 2010


Roberto Pena - Drafted, 7th Round, 2010
Chris Wallace - Drafted, 16th Round, 2010


Tyler Burnett - Drafted, 17th Round, 2010
Delino DeShields, Jr - Drafted, 1st Round, 2010
Enrique Hernandez - Drafted, 6th Round, 2009
Mike Kvasnicka - Drafted, 1st Supp. Round, 2010
Jhonny Medrano - Signed as amateur free agent, 2004
Jiovanni Mier - Drafted, 1st Round, 2009
Telvin Nash - Drafted, 3rd Round, 2009
Ben Orloff - Drafted, 9th Round, 2009


Dan Adamson - Drafted, 20th Round, 2010
Adam Bailey - Drafted, 23rd Round, 2010
Bryce Lane - Drafted, 41st Round, 2010

Where Did These Guys Come From: Lancaster

And with Lancaster:

Starting Pitching

Jake Buchanan - Drafted, 8th Round, 2010
Jose Cisnero - Signed as amateur free agent, 2008
Robert Donovan - Drafted, 23rd Round, 2009
Robert Doran - Drafted, 4th Round, 2010
Andrew Robinson - Drafted, 12th Round, 2010


Wander Alvino - Signed as amateur free agent, 2005
Kirk Clark - Signed as undrafted free agent, 2009
Zachary Grimmett - Drafted, 28th Round, 2008
Wes Musick - Acquired in trade with Rockies, 2010 (Lindstrom)
Michael Ness - Drafted, 33rd Round, 2010
Colton Pitkin - Drafted, 41st Round, 2007
Jose Trinidad - Signed as amateur free agent, 2005


Rene Garcia - Drafted, 35th Round, 2008
Ben Heath - Drafted, 5th Round, 2010


Jose Altuve - Signed as amateur free agent, 2006
Miguel Arrendell - Signed as amateur free agent, 2005
Erik Castro - Drafted, 10th Round, 2009
Kody Hinze - Signed as undrafted free agent, 2008
Jonathan Meyer - Drafted, 3rd Round, 2009
Jonathan Villar - Acquired in trade with Phillies, 2010 (Oswalt)


Jay Austin - Drafted, 2nd Round, 2008
Jake Goebbert - Drafted, 13th Round, 2009
Grant Hogue - Drafted, 35th Round, 2009
Austin Wates - Drafted, 3rd Round, 2010

Where Did These Guys Come From: Corpus Christi

And your Corpus Christi rosters:

Starting Pitchers

Jonnathan Aristil - Acquired in trade with Rockies, 2010
Xavier Cedeno - Signed as free agent, 2011
Kyle Greenwalt - Drafted, 20th Round, 2007
Dallas Keuchel - Drafted, 7th Round, 2009
Ross Seaton - Drafted, 3rd Round, 2008


Erick Abreu - Acquired following 2007 season
David Berner - Drafted, 14th Round, 2009
David Carpenter - Acquired in trade with Cardinals, 2010 (Pedro Feliz)
Cesar Carrillo - Claimed off waivers, 2010
Arcenio Leon - Signed as amateur free agent prior to 2005 season
Matt Nevarez - Acquired in trade with Rangers, 2009 (Pudge)
Patrick Urckfitz - Signed as undrafted free agent, 2008
Shane Wolf - Drafted, 26th Round, 2008


Federico Hernandez - Signed as amateur free agent, 2005
Brian Esposito - Signed as free agent, 2008


David Flores - Drafted, 18th Round, 2008
Jimmy Paredes - Acquired in draft with Yankees, 2010 (Berkman)
Andrew Simunic - Drafted, 17th Round, 2008
Wladimir Sutil - Signed as amateur free agent, 2003
Jimmy Van Ostrand - Drafted, 8th Round, 2006
Brandon Wikoff - Drafted, 5th Round, 2009


Brandon Barnes - Drafted, 6th Round, 2005
Jon Gaston - Drafted, 7th Round, 2007
J.D. Martinez - Drafted, 20th Round, 2009
T.J. Steele - Drafted, 4th Round, 2008

Where did these guys come from: Oklahoma City

So McTaggart posted the rosters for Eddie's Farm yesterday, and it's time to take a look at just how the Astros got these guys. Let's start with Oklahoma City, shall we?

Starting Pitching

Jordan Lyles - Drafted, 1st Supp. Round, 2008
Sergio Perez - Drafted, 2nd Round, 2006
Douglas Arguello - Signed as amateur free agent, 2001
Fernando Nieve - Signed as amateur free agent, 1999; Signed as free agent, 2011
Henry Villar - Signed as amateur free agent, 2001


Gustavo Chacin - Signed as free agent, 2009
Sergio Escalona - Acquired in trade w/Phillies, 2011 (Cartwright)
Casey Fien - Signed as free agent, 2010
Fernando Rodriguez - Signed as free agent, 2010
Jose Valdez - Signed as free agent, 2009
Ross Wolf - Signed as free agent, 2010
Wesley Wright - Rule 5 pick from Dodgers, 2007


Carlos Corporan - Signed as free agent, 2010
Robinson Cancel - Signed as free agent, 2011


Koby Clemens - Drafted, 8th Round, 2005
Brian Dopirak - Signed as free agent, 2010
Anderson Hernandez - Claimed off waivers, 2010
Tommy Manzella - Drafted, 3rd Round, 2005
Oswaldo Navarro - Signed as free agent, 2009
Jose Vallejo - Acquired in trade w/Rangers, 2009 (Pudge)


Brian Bogusevic - Drafted, 1st Round, 2005
Collin DeLome - Drafted, 5th Round, 2007
Drew Locke - Rule 5 pick from Dodgers, 2009
J.B. Shuck. - Drafted, 6th Round, 2008

Interesting note about the video room

Alyson Footer has a pretty cool post about how the iPad is changing the video room.

Roy: I remember having a lead once with Houston

The Philadelphia Daily News' Paul Hagen has a column about Roy's start yesterday against the Astros, with some good points.

The Phillies staked Oswalt to a 5-0 lead yesterday. That itself sort of made Oswalt feel like he was looking into a funhouse mirror. Let's just say that he didn't get much run support before he was traded last season.

"Yeah, last year they gave me one. And I couldn't hold it," he said with a slight chuckle.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Barmes to look like Bagwell

Clint Barmes will be wearing a protective pad over the hand he has now broken three times when he comes off the DL.

"It's just a Velcro patch that goes over the top of my batting glove and the pad goes on there. It's exactly what [Bagwell] had. It's something I guess I might want to get used to. It's kind of a freak deal, but this is the second time it's happened."

From the Office of the County Clerk - G3: Astros @ Phillies

Bud Norris got roughed up early, and the Astros still haven't figured out that, if they're not going to get on base with a hit, they could try walking. Astros start 0-3 for a second straight year after losing to Oswalt and the Phillies, 7-3.

*Bud Norris gave up two first-inning homers, to Ryan Howard and Ben Francisco. Norris gave up 2+ HRs four times last season, and on two of those occasions did two come in the same inning.

*Norris had only given up four 1st-inning HRs in his career, prior to today. He failed to record 15 outs for the first time this season (obviously) and for the eighth time in his last 28 starts.

*Enerio Del Rosario continued his scoreless streak, but gave up the runs charged to Aneury Rodriguez. The Astros have said that they project Aneury to the rotation, and given his Rule 5 status, isn't going anywhere.

*Hunter Pence hit his first homer of the season in the 4th inning, and his third hit of the season - three games before his third hit of 2010. He came into this game with a 1.029 OPS against Philadelphia, the highest against any team he has played 4+ games against.

*Bourn drew the first unintentional walk of the season - after 23 innings. He has two of the three walks this season (Wallace also got a walk), and the Astros have a nice little 28K:3BB ratio this series.

*Bill Hall got his first hit as an Astro today, giving him a series line of 1x11, 1RBI, 5K. Hall was the last of the everyday players to get a hit in 2011.

*The Astros were outscored 21-11 in this series. Last year, they were 0-3, and were ourscored 18-6.

Man of the Match: Hunter Pence

Goat of the Game: Bud Norris

Know Your Enemy: Roy Oswalt

This guy sounds familiar.

*Oswalt finished the season with Philly, going 7-1.

*In 50 April starts, Oswalt is 21-18 with a 3.42 ERA/1.24 WHIP.

*Oswalt has actually pitches better with lower run support. When his team scores 0-2 runs, Oswalt is 3.04 ERA/1.19 WHIP. With 3-5 runs scored, that's 3.19 ERA/1.16 WHIP, and with 6+ runs it's 3.31 ERA/1.21 WHIP.

*When he gets ahead in the count, opponents hit .207/.213/.284.

*Oswalt has never lost at Citizens Bank Park, going 9-0 in 10 games with a 2.10 ERA/1.03 WHIP. It's one of three stadiums Roy has made 5+ starts and not taken a loss.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G2: Astros @ Phillies

Angel Sanchez did his best to prove people wrong by getting some hits and Carlos Lee showed up about 50 games before he did in 2010 - but Ugly Wandy was pitching, and the Phillies rolled the Astros 9-4.

*The Astros struck out 14 times last night, including three Ks each from Bourn and Hall. They struck out 10+ times in a game 17 times in 2010.

*And, as expected, the Astros didn't draw a walk, meaning that they haven't worked a four-ball count in 18 innings this season. Of those 17 games with 10+ Ks, the Astros combined that with 0BBs in 13 of them, and 21 games overall.

*Carlos Lee is the offensive story of the night, going 3x4 with a 3B and a HR and 4RBI. His first HR came in G27, and he last hit a triple on April 25, 2010.

*Lee accounted for all four Astros runs. He had three 4RBI games in 2010, and twice had 3+ RBI that accounted for all of Houston's runs. And he is now 8x21 with 7RBI against Cliff Lee.

*Angel Sanchez managed to get on base three times (with 2x3 and reaching on an error), and scored three runs.

*We mentioned Ugly Wandy, who got lit up, to the tune of 4IP, 9H/7ER, 5K:1BB. In April starts dating back all the way to 2010, Wandy has posted a line of 28.2IP, 34H/17ER, 19K:9BB.

*Enerio Del Rosario and Mark Melancon were the only pitchers to not allow a run.

Man of the Match: Carlos Lee

Goat of the Game: Wandy Rodriguez