Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk - G5: Braves (0-4) @ Colt .45s (3-1)

Tommy Hanson (0-1, 1.80) v.s. Kyle Weiland (0-0, 0.00)

The Houston Colt 45s first took the field 50 years ago today, on April 10, 1962. The Astros paid tribute to their history by hitting the field as the Colt 45s tonight against the Braves - original hats & jerseys included. The 1962 45s beat the Cubs 11-2 behind Bobby Shantz in the first ever Major League Baseball game in Houston.

The 45s didn't have that same magic tonight however as they fell behind the Braves early and never recovered, dropping a 6-4 decision. The Braves improve to 1-4 while the Astros fall to 3-2.

*Kyle Weiland got the start for the .45s tonight and took the loss in a tough outing. His line: 5.0 IP / 8 H / 4 ER / 2 BB / 5 K. He gave up 2 homeruns in the loss.

*The bullpen was ok but not great tonight. Carpenter and Lopez each gave up a run to keep the game just out of reach at all times.

*Weiland did have some bad luck in the top of the 3rd. He got a quick 2 outs and seemed to be on cruise control before he gave up a single to Brian McCann. Dan Uggla then came up and doubled off the wall in left-center, setting up a very close play at the plate which McCann was safe on. Schafer had a bit of trouble with the bounce off the wall - had he fielded it cleanly he might have got McCann and got out of the inning with no damage done. To make things worse, Chipper Jones - back in the lineup for the first time this season - came up next and delivered a 2 run homer to right. In an inning that could have ended with the Astros still protecting a 1-0 lead, the Braves instead took a 3-1 lead, and they led for the rest of the game.

*I have been impressed with the Astros agressive baserunning so far this season, but tonight was a bit of a mixed bag. Chris Johnson did have a nice agressive run in the 2nd when he stretched a single into a double (barely). But in the bottom of the 3rd with runners on corners and none out, JD Martinez hit a bit of a screwball to 1st - Schafer was on third and should have broke for the plate on contact, but instead held up. Freeman had a bit of trouble with the ball at 1st and Schafer would have scored easily. The Astros ended up loading the bases that inning with 1 out and yet didn't push one single run across. A huge blown opportunity.

*In that same inning, Bogey had the bases loaded with 1 out and 2-1 count - where he should reasonably be expecting a fastball. He can even sell out to it and still be in good shape if he gets caught on a breaking pitch. He did get a fastball and was very late on it and fouled it off, before striking out on a terrible ball in the dirt on the next pitch. I've noticed a few times this season in obvious fastball counts where we are way behind on the pitch. In certain situations it doesn't hurt to sell out a bit and get agressive, especially if you are struggling like Bogey has been.

*How good did that Mac N' Cheese Burger on that they showed on FSN Houston look? Those of you who get to attend live games are spoiled, the food at Minute Maid Park looks awesome. On the subject of things looking good, I absolutely loved the Colt 45s jerseys tonight. Very sharp.

*Am I the only one who notices that Michael Bourn has a lot more hustle and heart while playing for the Braves? I remember him pretty much walking to 1st on groundouts, and taking some pretty careless swings. But in this series he has looked absolutely intense. A guy like that forces a lot of errors with his speed. He did try stealing twice tonight - Chris Snyder threw him out once, but he did get one SB in.

*I've noticed a lot of groundballs barely squeaking between 1st and 2nd already this year, and there was another tonight in the bottom of the 8th. Lee laid out but couldn't make contact with the ball (has he knocked one down yet on a diving attempt?) and Altuve didn't even both to try diving although it looked like he would have had a good shot at it if he had. I know it is a small sample size, but Altuve seems almost afraid to dive or jump for any balls that are just out of his reach.

*Despite his one bad play on Uggla's bounce off the wall in the 3rd, Schafer looked great tonight. He made a couple of great running grabs out near Tal's Hill, he went 3 for 5 at the plate, scored 2 runs and even stole 3 bases. You have to love his passion as well. The other night he threw his helmet on the ground after a tough strikeout, and tonight he was absolutely fired up after stealing 2nd for the first time in the bottom of the 3rd. Not to say that throwing your equipment is a good thing, but as a manger you have to love to see your players fired up and wanting to do good for the team. I felt Schafer lacked emotion last year but he has been great to watch so far this year.

*Carlos Lee has also looked great at the plate so far this year, going 3 for 3 tonight with 2 walks and driving in another couple of runs. He is hitting .389 on the young season so far. When he comes up to the plate this year, you know he is going to have a good at bat.

Turning Point:
This is a new feature that I plan to use every night now. It is basically the one play or group of plays that I feel was the biggest factor in the end result of the game. Tonight's Turning Point was Uggla's double off the wall with 2 out in the bottom of the 3rd to score McCann. Had Schafer fielded it a bit cleaner, he may have had a shot at McCann and got Weiland out of the inning with a 1-0 lead. Instead the inning continued and the Braves ended up taking a 3-1 lead that they would never relinquish.

Man of the Match:
Part of me wants to go with Schafer here on a pretty solid performance, but he did have that bobble in left and a costly baserunning error. Ultimately i'm going to stick with Carlos Lee. 3 for 3, 2 walks, 2 RBI, raising his average on the year to .389. Lee looks dangerous at the plate this year, which is very nice to see.

Goat of the Game:
Tough to have to pick a Goat tonight - it was a hard fought game by the Astros and a pretty fun one to watch. But I have to go with Kyle Weiland. He's our #5 starter and he basically pitched like a #5 starter tonight. Anytime your starter gives up 4 runs you know your offense is going to have to have a pretty solid night to pick up a W. Weiland left too many balls up in the zone, and he was too erratic. Of his 99 pitches, only 58 were strikes. He had a tough task tonight, being a #5 pitcher facing the Braves ace, but he could have been sharper.


Anonymous said...

You got that date wrong, fyi. April 10, 1962, not 1963.

CM said...

Thanks for the catch. I had it right just below that, not sure how I missed it there!