Sunday, April 6, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G6: Astros v. Angels

Jered Weaver (0-1, 4.26) vs Scott Feldman (1-0, 0.00)

Against Angels #5 starter Tyler Skaggs last night, the Astros struggled to hit the ball out of the infield. But against Angels ace Jered Weaver today, they had no trouble with that at all. Four times Houston took Weaver deep in five innings, then added one more homer against the Los Angeles bullpen. The result was a 7-4 Astros win, pulling their 2014 record back even at 3-3.

On the Mound:

*The Astros turned over the rotation for the first time in 2014, and Scott Feldman once again pitched like the ace he's been dubbed. He was touched for a run this time, but only one, over seven solid innings, finishing with a 7 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 1 K line.

*Anthony Bass pitched a perfect 8th, but then ran into all kinds of trouble in the 9th, allowing 3 runs (all earned) on 4 hits in 1.1 IP total.

*Chad Qualls came to the rescue following Bass in the 9th, and while he did allow a single that let one inherited runner score, he got the other two outs to tie up his first save of the season.

At the Plate:

*Seven hits for the Astros today, and five of them were homers. Jason Castro returned to the lineup and kicked off the Home Run Derby with a two-run blast in the 1st. He finished 1x4 with a K.

*Next was Matt Dominguez, with a solo shot in the 2nd for his second HR of the year. He'd finish 1x3.

*Jesus Guzman also launched his second HR of the season, with a solo shot of his own in the 4th. He also added a single to go 2x4 with a K.

*Alex Presley got the start in center again with Dexter Fowler still out, and he tallied his first Astros HR with a solo shot in the 5th, finishing 1x3.

*That was it for Jered Weaver, but not for the Astros, as Jonathan Villar added a two-run homer off Matt Shoemaker in the 7th. Villar also turned a fine 6-4 double play on a line drive in the field and finished his nice day 1x3 with 2 R and a SB.

*L.J. Hoes was the only Astro to get a hit but not a homer, but he still scored a run, finishing 1x3 with a K.

Turning Point:

When Jered Weaver hit Jonathan Villar with his second pitch of the game, it may have been a sign that he wasn't as sharp as usual today. After Villar stole second, Weaver knocked down a liner from Robbie Grossman for out #1, but then Jason Castro quickly made it 2-0 Houston. It was 4-0 Houston before the Angels scored a run, and 7-1 Houston until Anthony Bass had trouble in the 9th, so this one was all Astros, all the way.

Man of the Match:

Scott Feldman. Of course he won't be this great every time out, but he's certainly been better than advertised so far.

Goat of the Game:

Robbie Grossman. 0x4 with 3 K, dropping his average to .091 in the early going.


Vbpepper said...

Please take a bit to address the incredible usage of infield shifts by Porter, regardless of the situation (ala when ibanez poked a ground ball through the left side of the infield with RUNNERS ON SECOND AND THIRD, where would have been directly to SS in a normal infield. Hard to quantify for me, but I'm sure you have resources, but the constant use regardless of situation seems over the top. I noted that the Yankees and Angels may both shift, but when the situation is critical (runners in scoring positon) they return to normal lining up of infield.
Any thoughts? Do you think this is dictated by Upper Management and not Porters call? Know it caused a meltdown of Harrell last year.

Anonymous said...

I know that it's a crazy amount. Believe me, over the last few games I've thought it a bit much. However, I was watching the Orioles/Tigers game today before switching over to my 'Stros and they put up a graphic showing the teams that shift the most and it wasn't Houston. It was Baltimore and by a long shot. Tampa was third..

Lyle said...

Harrel just sucked last year. He was grasping at something to deflect blame so he poohed poohed the Astros' shifting regime.

Shifting has always been around and is here to stay, because it works.

Cockroach said...

It was evident in interviews with Luhnow and Porter last year that the usage of defensive shifts is an organizational philosophy, but it's one that they both bought into, so I don't think it's something that Porter is being forced into by the front office. Nor is it something that he's doing against the front office's wishes. As has been pointed out, there are other teams that use shifts even more than the Astros do, so what they're doing is not really outrageous or radical anymore in MLB today. Yes, they'll give up some hits that a traditional alignment would not, but the idea is that the shift will result in more outs overall.

A.J. Burnett didn't like the shifts the Pirates were using last year either, but he still had a fantastic season. Harrell's issues are Harrell's own; the use of shifts behind him can't be blamed for that.

Vbpepper said...

Not in all situations. Today, with runners on first and second in first inning, the shift on Pujols prevented an out, much less a double play as there was no one to cover second when Villar fielded the ball. Altuve was so deep he couldn't get there and when he finally did, too late. While I understand shifts, they have to be used when they do not interfere with getting outs, such as today.