Showing posts with label Albert Pujols. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Albert Pujols. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

 Jeff Blogwell missed yesterday. He has been terminated. Permanently. From his existence. There's a doubleheader today thanks to the impending Gulf Coast Shenanigans, so get ready for 14 innings of pure unadulterated joy.

Updated schedule for the next three days:

Tuesday: 3:05pm 1st pitch, 2nd game begins immediately after.

Wednesday: 12:10pm

Thursday: No game because it got moved to Tuesday.

Last night the Astros beat the predictable piss out of the Angels, 11-4. Houston is 16-13 on the year, 11-4 at Minute Maid Park. 

*Framber Valdez: 7IP, 6H/4ER, 11K:2BB. 75 of his 113 pitches were for strikes - the 11Ks are a career-high. Correa:

Framber was doing a great job, so to be able to give him a comfortable lead that was huge for him to go out and just throw strikes and keep dominating.

Framber has walked two or fewer batters in five of his six starts in 2020 (83%). Compare that to 2019, when he walked 0-2 batters in three of his eight starts (37.5%). And 2018 when he walked two or fewer batters in one of his eight appearances (12.5%). All 11 of his strikeouts were on his curveball. Dusty:

His curveball has always been good. What his curveball does is it kind of peels the banana, which is a baseball term where he's sinking away his fastball and then his curveball he either back doors it or peels the banana on the inside part of the plate. 

I've never heard that term. 

*Add further injury concerns to George Springer, who got hit just above the left elbow by Jacob Barnes. X-rays were negative. He's probably not playing in either game today.

*Kyle Tucker got his 3rd straight game in the clean-up spot, and rewarded Dusty with a 2x3, 2BB, 2RBI game. Up until going to Colorado on August 19, Tucker was hitting .193/.227/.349. Since, he's 10x20 with 3HR, 11RBI, 2K:5BB, or hitting .500/.600/1.300. 

*Brantley/Reddick/Maldonado (in the 6-8 spots) combined for a 6x10, 3RBI, 0K:3BB. It was just the third time in Maldonado's career that he got two hits and two walks in the same game.

*Albert Pujols moved into 2nd or 3rd (there are some Babe Ruth Questions) on the all-time RBI list, with 2,087. 172 of those have come against the Astros - his highest against any one opponent, and it feels low by about 1,000 RBI.

*Jake Kaplan says improving the bullpen should be the Astros' top priority in the next week. Buster Olney heard that the trade market got real active yesterday.

*Justin Verlander allegedly threw 20 pitches on Sunday, and Dusty heard "he felt pretty good."

*ESPN's David Schoenfield: Everything you need to know at the halfway point of the MLB season.

*SI: How MLB should build its postseason bubble.

*Inside the A's first-half dominance, and how they plan to make it last all year.

*Former Astros Great Hunter Pence was DFAd by the Giants. Pence, by team:

Houston: .290/.339/.479, 117 OPS+

Philadelphia: .289/.357/.486, 126 OPS+

San Francisco: .265/.322/.429, 107 OPS+

Ar*ing*on: .297/.358/.522, 126 OPS+

If this is the end of the road for Hunter Pence, he'll retire with 1791 hits, 244 homers, 942 RsBI. Not a Hall of Famer, but a genuine joy to watch. 

*Make sure you have Space City Weather bookmarked.

*For last week's 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, I wrote about a 24-year old dude, which is a total Bro Move. But there's a little bit of baseball in there. 

*Wired: How four brothers allegedly fleeced $19 million from Amazon.

*The New Yorker: The "Narcissism and Ego" that led to Steve Bannon's arrest.

*Hard one yesterday as I learned about the death of Justin Townes Earle by 5:30am. We shared a tattoo artist in Nashville who told me some stories, so his passing, while not a surprise, is still heartbreaking. So here's Pitchfork: Justin Townes Earle could write a helluva song. Here's where to start.

*A Musical Selection. RIP, Justin Townes Earle:

Monday, August 3, 2020

Monday Morning Hot Links

I had 18 hours of professional development this weekend. I just wasn't feeling it yesterday morning.

The Astros beat the Angels 6-5 in extra innings. Blake Taylor recorded the first win of his MLB career. Josh James struggled, again. Framber straight Frambushed the Angels. The Astros couldn't do crap with runners in scoring position, scoring six runs on eleven hits and eight walks. Houston is 5-4. They're off today (Monday) before going to Arizona to face the 3-7 D'amon'b'ck'. Tuesday will probably be Cristian Javier vs. Madison Bumgarner. I completely forgot that Bumgarner went to Arizona.

-This three-game series took 766 minutes, or 12.77 hours. If you watched all three games from first pitch to last pitch, literally 1/6 of your weekend was watching the Astros and Angels. Manfred is KILLING IT with his pace-of-play initiatives. Just kidding, he's a threat to the game and needs to be removed in a coup d'etat. Just let Selig be commissioner again in a zany Weekend at Bernie's type of deal.

-Josh James: 3IP, 1H/4ER, 4K:6BB. Just 33 of his 72 pitches were for strikes. Josh James' two starts: 6IP, 4H/8ER, 9K:11BB, 72 of 147 pitches have been strikes. He's had 17 swings and misses over two starts in 2020.

-Framber Valdez: 6.1IP, 5H/1R (0ER), 8K:1BB. The eight strikeouts were one shy of his career-high of nine, on September 23, 2018, against the Angels. Framber has struck out 8+ batters four times in his career. Three of those games are against the Angels. Showing my work. Here's Dusty, on the game:
We needed this game very badly. [There is] a lot of difference between 5-4 and 4-5. We certainly didn't want to go below .500. It was a great game for us. We got some key hits out there. Boy, we're all tired. We need a day off [Monday].

-Blake Taylor: 1.1IP, 0H/0ER, 2K:2BB.
Taylor, 2020: 7.1IP, 2H/0ER, 9K:2BB.

Astros pitchers walked 25 Angels batters in the three-game series. I'm not good enough at the new Baseball-Ref Stathead thing yet, but that's probably a lot of walks in three games, especially if you win two of them. The Astros have won six games in franchise history in which they walked 11+ batters. Two of those came in this Angels series. The Angels have lost 13 games in their franchise history in which they walked 11+ times and lost. Two of those came in this Astros series.

-The Astros were literally 2x17 with runners in scoring position. Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker came to the plate four times with a runner in scoring position, Josh Reddick three times. There were no hits in there.

2019 Astros w/RISP: .268/.353/.503
2019 Astros Postseason w/RISP: .000/.000/.000*
2020 Astros w/RISP: .246/.360/.368
2020 AL w/RISP: .250/.344/.437

*Going off memory, here

-Alex Bregman had the game-winning RBI four innings after hitting a home run. It's his first 2-hit game of the 2020 season, and he has a three-game hitting streak. Bregman, on how he feels at the plate:
Horrible, but we're just getting started. I've just got to get better mechanically. I took BP before the game and got to get some good swings off there. 

-For just the third time in his career, Jose Altuve came to the plate six times and didn't get on base. (April 5, 2017 vs Seattle, September 18, 2014 vs Cleveland). Coming into yesterday's game, Altuve had faced the Angels more than any other team in MLB (132 games) and was hitting .333/.389/.501 against them.

-Michael Brantley was 3x4 with a walk. He's hitting .438/.514/.656.

-George Springer raised his 2020 OPS from .390 to .697 in three games against the Anaheim Guy Fieris.

-Albert Pujols has hit 658 home runs with 2080 RsBI. 60 of those homers, and 181 of those RsBI, have been against the Astros. His Grand Slam yesterday was his first against the Astros since April 11, 2009, when he did it against Roy Oswalt.

*To clean up some old news: Forrest Whitley has a sore arm, Roberto Osuna had an MRI and is on the IL. Less than 10 games into the season, the Astros had already let Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Will Harris, Collin McHugh, and Hector Rondon walk. Currently Justin Verlander, Brad Peacock, Roberto Osuna, Chris Devenski, and Joe Biagini are on the IL. That's a total of 879IP, probably more since I likely screwed up the addition, that are either gone or unavailable. Considering the 2019 Astros threw 1462.1IP in the regular season, it's not a good ratio.

*The Cardinals had four more positive tests within the team. Let's see how long before the season gets canceled, but I'm gonna bet on the "Well it's not happening to ME" mindset winning out.

*SI: Manfred's bluff to end season further exposes MLB's issues.

*A Musical Selection:

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Sunday Morning Hot Links

Wow that felt good. The Astros beat up on Anaheim after going yard a whole bunch of times and Wade Miley was surprisingly still Wade Miley. Houston is 19-14, two games up on Seattle. Monterrey looks beautiful let's just all move there, Astros included.

*Run Differential Check:
Houston (19-14): +40
Seattle (18-17): 0
Arlington (15-16): +9
Anaheim (15-18): -10
Oakland (15-20): -5

Last night's game was the first time the Astros played a team under .500 when they started the series. Houston is also now 26-13 against Anaheim since the beginning of the 2017 season. They've won 14 of their last 20 games against the Angels.

*The 14-2 win over Anaheim was the 8th time in franchise history the Astros have scored 10+ runs against the Angels. The 14 runs are a franchise high against Anaheim. It's the 3rd time Houston has hit five home runs against Anaheim.

*It's the 2nd time the Astros have hit five home runs in a game in 2019. They're now 1-1.

*Last night was the 16th time in franchise history they recorded ten extra-base hits and the first time since August 4, 2017. And the Astros still only went 4x11 w/RISP.

*Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley each had 4RBI with Bregman hitting two home runs, giving him 8HR on the year. It's Bregman's 2nd career 2HR game - he last (first?) did it on July 10, 2018 against Oakland (a game in which Kyle Tucker went 2x4 with his first career double and three runs scored). Bregman:
For me it's the second time in Mexico. I played in Lagos de Moreno when I was 15, I also have played in Colombia and Cuba. The fans have so much fun out there, the atmosphere was great, every play felt like it was the playoffs. The fans showed their love for the game. We were blessed to play in front of a crowd like that.

I wasn't surprised because our fans travel well and we are an easy team to like (Ed. Note: Hinch must not spend too much time on Twitter, proving he is wiser than most) I saw a lot of throwback jerseys out there, we saw fans all over the city at our hotel, everywhere, so the atmosphere was great.

To those points, Chandler Rome has the scene in Monterrey.

*A.J. Hinch now has 393 managerial wins for the Astros, breaking a tie with Art Howe for 3rd. Next up, Larry Dierker, with 435. That should happen in July.

*Yuli Gurriel had a home run and a triple in the same game for the first time in his career. Bregman, on Gurriel:
Yuli hits line drives all over the field. He's been hitting since he was a baby. This is his 17th professional season. He's a stud. We never worry about him. We know he's going to put together a good at-bat, hit the ball hard.

*George Springer is the first Astro to 10 home runs, and he stole a base - his 4th of the year!

*For the 28th time in his career Jose Altuve had a hit and two walks. The Astros are 25-3 in such games.

*Wade Miley: 6IP, 6H/2ER, 2K:2BB. Love the symmetry. In 2017 Wade Miley led the American League with 93 walks in 157.1IP. In 2019 he was nine walks in 39.1IP. The Astros are 5-2 in Miley's starts, both losses coming when Houston scored a total of two runs. He has yet to give up more than three runs in a start.

*Albert Pujols homered against the Astros for the 53rd regular season game in his career. He has 638 career home runs, 58 against the Astros.

*For the first time all season, Mike Trout did not reach base in a game.

*Verlander is pretty excited about starting today's game in Mexico.
This is a new experience for me. There aren't a lot of new experiences in this game, like completely new, for me after 14 years, so this is fun.

*The LA Times' Maria Torres writes about the Astros and Angels as ambassadors for baseball.

*Check out this young fan completely lose it when he meets Jose Altuve. ABC13 goes a little deeper into the boy's history with the Astros.

*Don't look now but Kyle Tucker was 4x5 with his 7th home run of the season last night. In his last two games he's 7x10 with 2HR and 8RBI, and is hitting .341 in his last ten games.

Kyle Tucker, 4/5-4/16: 4x42, .095/.174/.190, 1HR/3RBI
Kyle Tucker, 4/17-5/4: 18x55, .327/.351/.782, 7HR/14RBI

*Jeff Luhnow says they'll play it slow as the buzz around Yordan Alvarez grows. I know this is a crazy idea, but it'd be okay with me if the Astros didn't trade anybody and Tucker and Alvarez went on to be cornerstones of this franchise. Just me, though.

*You hate to see it: Seattle has lost six games in a row.

*Former Astros Great J.B. Shuck was DFA'd by Pittsburgh.

*NY Times: How a lone Norwegian trader shook the world's financial system. Love to think that one dude surrounded by fish in Norway can almost crater the world.

*Gregg Doyel: Take the time to thank a life-changing teacher today.

*The Telegraph: The inside story of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's extraordinary recovery.

*A Musical Selection:

The Hot Links Playlist on Spotify is now at 100 songs, if you're into that sort of thing.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday Morning Hot Links

Good job, Roggits. Justin Verlander turned in a dominating early performance, the Astros finally got the Big Hit they needed, and Jose Altuve finally hit his first home run of the season. Ken Giles locked it down and the Astros salvaged a win in the series before the off-day. Jexas has the series recap.

*The Astros are 17-9, in 1st place by a 1/2-game over Anaheim. They've scored 5+ runs in six of their last eight games (6-2). We are 16.05% through the season.

*In their last 16 games the Astros have drawn 70 walks - 4.67 BB/game. They've drawn 108 walks through 26 games this season. Houston was at 81 walks through 26 games in 2017. Only the Nationals have more walks this season, with 113.

*Check out Jose Altuve getting the silent treatment:

It feels like a dream come true. I was the last guy in the lineup without a homer, and I wanted to get that one out of the way, and I finally did.

Altuve hit his first home run of 2017 on April 22 and by May 22 had seven. I think he'll be okay.

*Alex Bregman collected his first multi-RBI game of the season. He has hits in seven of his last eight games. Bregman:
The guys did a great job getting on base in front of me...When we get people on base we've got to lock it in and come through for the team.

*So Derek Fisher hit a home run on Tuesday night and then Jake Marisnick broke one off himself yesterday. These are the End Times.

*Verlander was dominant, throwing 7IP, 4H/2ER, 9K:0BB. Verlander:
You don't ever want to be the guy starting on the last day of the series and your team is facing a sweep, but my job's to end it. We are tough to sweep because of our pitching matchups, our 1-5, and our rotation. The old adage, 'You're only as good as the next day's starting pitcher,' and I think we like our chances every day.

*By the end of the 4th he had thrown just 38 pitches. He threw 31 pitches in the 4th inning against the White Sox his last time out. While it was his 3rd start (out of six) with 9+ strikeouts, it was his first walk-less start of the season and his first 9K:0BB game since World Series Game 6. He had two such starts in the 2017 regular season.

*Max Stassi has now caught all seven of the Astros' starting pitchers. Hinch:
There's some familiarity that comes with that and his comfort is showing up in how confident he is receiving the ball.

*Do you want a Charlie F. Morton shirt?

Off-Day Playoff Percentage Check

SiteProj. Rec.Div%Playoff%WS%

*The LA Times' Dylan Hernandez says this series - this series in April, this series in April in which the Astros and Angels both scored twelve runs - proves that the Angels are For Real:
They might not finish ahead of the Astros in the American League West, but they are certain to push them. Their victories in Houston were a symbol of the team's resilience and a testament to manager Mike Scioscia's resourcefulness.

It was also a testament to how terrible Joe Smith was on Tuesday, but if you want to interpret that as Geniuscioscia and a key to meaningful baseball in September for Anaheim, okay.

*Over at FanGraphs Jay Jaffe wrote about the Astros eight-game streak of allowing two runs or less, and put it in historical context.

*Missed this from a couple of days ago, but MoiseKapenda Bower brought up this crazy story. In Baseball Prospectus, Matthew Trueblood makes a convincing case that Albert Pujols isn't 38, but rather 40-41 years old.

*In HEADS-UP The Athletic:
-Eno Sarris asks if trying to lift the ball leads to more strikeouts.

*From Jerry Crasnick: How Trevor Bauer set about becoming a better teammate.

*Vice: The Inside Story of Sex Money Murder, NYC's Most Brutally Violent Drug Gang.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

The Astros returned to Houston for a 10-game homestand with a rejuvenated offense and a chance to remind Anaheim who's in charge in this here division and then they absolutely refused to take that chance. Gerrit Cole retired the first 13 batters he faced and then I turned the game on and Valbuena started a chain of events that led to a 1-0 Angels lead. These things are related. The Astros came in having won six in a row, the Angels came in having lost five of six. Baseball!

*The Astros had:
-2 on, 2 out in the 1st = 0 runs
-2 on, 2 out in the 8th = 0 runs
-2 on, 0 out in the 9th = 0 runs

Gurriel was thrown out at 3B trying to advance on what he thought was a wild pitch. Hinch:
It's a tough way to end the game, but I can't fault Yuli for trying to be aggressive. It's a result-oriented decision, right? We love it when it happens and it's second and third and we have a pitch where a bloop single, a sharp single, a ball in the gap, and we score two and we tie the game and we're probably still playing right now.

*Ricky Tyler Skaggs pitched really well, holding the Astros to four hits over 7IP. The Astros left seven on base and were 0x4 w/RISP.

*Shoutout to St. Pius X grad Justin Anderson, who made his MLB debut last night and struck out Carlos Correa to end the 8th inning.

*1-4 in the lineup: 5x15, 1K:1BB
  5-9 in the lineup: 2x17, 5K:1BB

*Evan Gattis was 0x4 last night.
On the road Gattis is 13x43, hitting .302/.400/.488 with 11K:6BB
At Minute Maid he's 2x30, "hitting" .067/.125/.067 with 12K:2BB

*Gerrit Cole threw 7IP for the fifth straight time this season, allowing 4H/2ER, 8K:2BB. His ERA now a disgusting and, frankly, unacceptable, more-than-one-earned-run-per-nine-innings. Not why they brought you here, Gerrit.

The Astros have scored 19 runs in Cole's five starts:
-8-2 win against Arlington
-1-0 win against San Diego (Bregman walk-off pop-up)
-3-2 win against Arlington
-7-1 win at Seattle
-2-0 loss last night.

So that's three of his five starts in which the Astros have scored three or fewer runs. Cool.

*Angels closer Keynan Middleton:
They are the defending champs. We know that. So we have to send a message. I feel like we did that tonight. This game was huge for us.

I don't know how you deal with playing opponents all season long who measure themselves against you, that every play is a statement to be made, every result is a referendum on your ability. Since the beginning of Spring Training we've heard story after story from Rondon, or Cole, or Verlander about how focused the Astros are. Not that the Astros aren't motivated to win every single game, but there's a point where you - the Astros - are playing the game, but your opponent has to Make A Statement.

*Josh Reddick wants to temper your expectations of this series:
Ignore the hype. There's too much hype around both teams.

*Charlie F. Morton is a breath of fresh air: a smart, thoughtful, nuanced athlete who won't just hand out Jeterian cliches. Get yourself a subscription to The Athletic and read this fantastic Q&A with Jake Kaplan.

*The LA Times' Dylan Hernandez wanted to talk to Yuli Gurriel about what he learned in sensitivity training following his suspension for the racist gesture during the World Series. Gurriel wanted to talk about what he learned. The Astros' PR staff wouldn't let him. Hernandez (edited to remove line breaks):
But what has the sport gained if Gurriel doesn't share what he learned? Wasn't that the entire point of this, that Gurriel would pick up something and pass it along? Gurriel understood this, which is why he was ultimately open to sharing his thoughts on the matter. The Astros didn't, prioritizing the comfort of their cleanup hitter over discussions that could have benefits beyond the turnstiles at Minute Maid Park. "At some point, [Gurriel] needs to move on," [Vice President of Media Relations Gene] Dias wrote to me in a follow up email. That's not for the Astros to decide.

I agree with this 100%. Obviously not having been privy to any of the conversation, and not having read the article until this morning, I can't speak to intent. But if the role of Media Relations is to manage your perception, it sure does read like the Astros don't want this story to return to the news cycle and just let it remain a side note in what was a very weird World Series. I think that's wrong.

*Fresno SP Trent Thornton tied a Pacific Coast League record yesterday by recording eight consecutive strikeouts. Fresno lost the game 3-2 after Brendan McCurry allowed three runs in the bottom of the 8th. Former Astros Great Jake Buchanan held the Grizzlies to 7H/2ER, 4K:3BB in 6IP.

*Corpus SP Cionel Perez has been named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week, after he threw 8IP, 6H/0ER, 10K:4BB. Myles Straw was named to the MLB Pipeline Team of the Week.

*Good news from Chicago: Danny Farquhar is alert and responding to doctors' questions, and can talk to his family.

*For some reason Richard Justice decided to talk to Albert Pujols about the 2005 NLCS. (It's a fun read). Pujols, on Oswalt's performance in Game 6:
That was an angry Roy Oswalt. He struck me out on three pitches in my first at-bat, and I went back and told the guys, 'We're going to have a long night tonight.'

*From FanGraphs' Travis Sawchik: The Rockies think they have solved the problem with stealing signs.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday Morning Hot Links + PreStros Report

*Yulieski Gurriel and George Springer homered to briefly give the Astros a 2-1 lead but Big Joe, Big Joe Musgrove had himself a rough half-inning in which a chopper down the line almost gave Marwin a highlight (throw was just wide), was followed by a liner into center, which was followed by a Cole Kalhoun Kole Calhoun strikeout, which was followed by a Mike Trout RBI that Springer almost caught, which was followed by just your typical Albert Pujols three-run homer that hasn't landed yet. Astros lose 5-2.

*The Astros are 3-6 against Los Angeles of Anaheim in their last nine meetings.

*The Angels had lost five straight, the Astros had won five straight. Ricky Nolasco improved to 5-0 lifetime at Minute Maid Park. Hinch:
They did a good job of battling (Musgrove) and putting him in sort of difficult situations to have to pitch out of most of the night, and the big swing by Pujols. 

*First base was open to Pujols, who has more home runs against the Astros than any other team, so why did Hinch not walk him to face...C.J. Cron? Hinch:
Cron's pretty good behind him. I want to give Joe a little bit of leeway to make some careful pitches...He had handled Pujols pretty well. He had broken his bat on the pop-up to himself and then the little chopper to third. So if he makes his pitch, I think we have a little bit of a different outcome. 

Okay, so Cron is now a lifetime 2x6 against Musgrove, a lifetime .213/.247/.424 hitter against the Astros, and a lifetime .203/.243/.391 hitter at Minute Maid Park. Is Cron pretty good? Yeah. Is he HOF good with a history of destroying the Astros good? Nah...

*Musgrove's goal is now to go deeper into games, and with more effectiveness. McTaggart notes that the seven hitters who saw Musgrove a third time got four hits.

*Keuchel, who will pitch this evening against Los Anahagels, loves Brian McCann. Keuchel:
His knowledge first of all, but what he sees in the box, what he relays to me, what we talk about between innings. Just everything you could possibly want from a catcher, he's got. 

Suck it, Castro.

*Carlos Correa was again out of the lineup with a withered hand, who says it only hurts when he grips and squeezes the bat. Correa:
It's just early in the season and I don't want to be playing out there hurt. There's still a lot of games to play and I want to be able to play most of the games. 

*Dallas Keuchel, J.J. Watt, and Patrick Beverley are all real life friends.

*19-year old Cuban prospect Luis Robert had a promising private workout at the Astros international complex and then came down with the flu. If MLB clears him soon enough, he wouldn't be subjected to the hard cap for teams that went over their international bonus pool allotment - good news for the Astros.

*Pirates OF Starling Marte was just suspended for 80 games.

*It's time for a smart, progressive PED plan in baseball.

*The curious case of baseball's missing fastballs.

PreStros Report - April 18

A 5-run 2nd inning doomed Fresno (5-8) from the start in a 6-1 loss to Las Vegas. Keegan Yuhl allowed 7H/6ER while a bullpen of Jankowski, Guduan, and Hoyt threw 4IP, 2H/0ER, 5K:2BB. Derek Fisher (2B) and Preston Tucker each had two hits. Colin Moran was 1x3 with a walk.

Corpus and NW Arkansas traded runs all night and, despite allowing two runs in the top of the 9th, Corpus (8-4) held on for a 10-9 win. Drew Ferguson was 3x5 with two doubles and an RBI; J.D. Davis was 2x5 with a double and a 3-run homer; Alejandro Garcia was 2x5 with a double. Every Hooks starter got on base at least once, striking out five times and drawing six walks. And 3B Jack Mayfield made SportsCenter's Top Plays:
Myrtle Beach blanked Buies Creek (9-4) with a 6-0 win. Alex Winkelman had a great start, throwing 6IP, 1H/0ER, 10K:0BB but Andrew Thome cratered in the 7th with 4H/6R (4ER), 2K:0BB. Sebastian Kessay threw a perfect 8th. 2B Osvaldo Duarte had three of BCA's seven hits. Myles Straw was 1x2 with 2BB.

Quad Cities (6-6) poured it on Burlington in a 12-2 road win. Hector Perez threw 5.2IP, 4H/2ER, 7K:1BB, both earned runs coming on solo homers. And homers were the order of the night as Ronnie Dawson, Daz Cameron, Stephen Wrenn, Randy Cesar, and Marcos Almonte all hit one for the River Bandits. Alex De Goti, Jake Rogers, Wrenn, Cesar, Rodrigo Ayarza, and Almonte all had two hits each. After 12 games De Goti (16th Round, 2016 draft) is hitting .366/.458/.585.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Morning Hot Links

*Newest Astro Doug Fister:
The choice to come here was driven from top down. I know we're trying to win a World Series here, and that's your ultimate goal...But as soon as you start breaking it down, the experience in their pitching staff, the youthfulness in the defense, and the way they carry me, taking care of the 25 guys next to you is most important.

Should probably point out that if it's Doug Fister and 25 players in the clubhouse, somebody is hurt or the Astros are trying to use a 26-Man Roster as a new market inefficiency.

*Luhnow talked about why the Astros added Doug Fister:
...One of the reasons we made the playoffs is we have a very successful starting rotation. It's my belief that a championship-caliber team improves even upon its strengths, not just its weaknesses.

*Fister looks like one of the winter's great bargains. (A good read about exit velocity, injuries, and mechanics).

*Some reports said Fister wanted 2yrs/$20m+.

*Via FanGraphs: Astros take the Doug Fister chance:
The Astros are willing to work with someone who throws in the 80s. With Fister, you just wonder where in the 80s he's going to throw.

*ESPN's David Schoenfield:
If there's an advantage the Astros have over their AL West rivals, it's that their rotation options past the top five projected starters look much better, and we know a team rarely gets through a season with just five or six starters.

Spring Training is going to be a Hunger Games-style round robin tournament between Fister, Fiers, and Feldman to see who will be the SP4 and SP5 and who will be the long man.

*Because you were feeling too good about the Astros, read Jeff Passan's history of the Albert Pujols homer.

*The Mariners want smarter players.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

*By now you may have read that the Astros were allegedly *not* the team that won the rights to negotiate with Byung-ho Park; that honor apparently goes to the Twins. Jerry Crasnick compared Park to Chris Carter.

*Dallas Keuchel won AL Outstanding Pitcher, Carlos Correa won AL Outstanding Rookie, and Jose Altuve won the Majestic Athletic Always Game Award (think, heart and hustle/rise and grind) at the MLB Players Choice Awards last night.

*Jim Crane said the Astros are prepared to increase payroll in the right parameters:
We'll focus on spending money wisely and adding a dimension or two that we might need. What's really nice is what we set out to do is starting to work. You've got a great farm system to draw from and you've got a lot of guys coming up, too, that could be Major League ready.

*Luhnow said there's a balance to strike:
The outcomes we're looking for is to create outs with our pitching staff and create runs with our offense and there's many different formulas. We don't feel like, 'We need a guy throwing 97 or else we're not going to be successful.' 

*Any decision to be made regarding the cheatin'ass Cardinals will be made before the beginning of the 2016 season.

*Tal's Hill will be removed before the beginning of the 2017 season.

*Richard Justice just !loves! the new Spring Training facility.

*It's that time of year again!

*Jeff Passan gives the rundown on 192 free agents.

*Albert Pujols is doubtful for Opening Day 2016.

*Rockies SS Jose Reyes was arrested for alleged domestic abuse

*Sad news in MLB as former Braves/Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson has passed away at the age of 29.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The American League West can go screw itself

I'm starting to seriously hate the AL West.

First it's Albert Pujols signing an eternal contract with the Angels that includes a provision where he doesn't age, regress, or die.

Then it's Yu Darvish signing a contract with the Rangers. This, of course, could not turn out the way that everyone is sort of expecting (meaning: Darvish is probably going to be pretty damn good).

Now it's highly-coveted Cuban defector (which makes him more bad-ass) Yoenis Cespedes signing a 4yr/$36m contract with Oakland.

Screw this AL West noise. If we get enough people together to donate the money to cover the discount Crane got for allowing the Astros to move to the AL, can the Astros move back to the NL Central?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Best-Case Scenario for Astros fans, 2019

Thoughts on the Astros, and the Angels

If you're like me, you simply could not believe what had taken place. First, the Astros get moved (against their will) to the AL West. One of the reasons I didn't start looking for flamethrowers on eBay was because now, at least, Albert Pujols wouldn't be able to slay the Astros every chance he got.

Then I saw the tweets roll in that the Angels had spent the GDP of 46 countries to sign Albert Pujols. And then C.J. Wilson. And I got mad. I wrote a one-word email to some friends, and I bet you can guess what that one word was.

But then I started to think objectively. A future division rival has just committed $327 million to two players who will not be worth it towards the end of their contracts. Before the realignment mess, I was hoping that the Cardinals would over-commit to Pujols, because it would hamstring their payroll. So the Angels did it, instead.

Will Pujols out-produce his contract? Maybe. Seven of the ten players on Baseball-Reference to Pujols are Hall of Famers. And the other three are Ken Griffey, Juan Gonzalez, and Manny Ramirez; and Griffey is definitely a HOFer. Seriously, just take a second and look at Pujols' B-R page. It's insane.

C.J. Wilson is a different story. C.J. Wilson's similar players through age 30 are Joe Page, Paul Lindblad, Joe Price, Ray Narleski, Grant Jackson, Bob Chipman, Dave Hamilton, Fred Scherman, Don Mossi, and Ricky Horton. Exactly.

I don't know about the Angels' financial flexibility, but with paying Vernon Wells for three more years, and Jared Weaver through 2016, it's unlikely they'll be adding too terribly much in the future (not that they necessarily need to.) But they've just committed to Albert Pujols until 2021, and C.J. Wilson through 2017.

That said, where we should be concerned is through an existing AL West war. If the Rangers answer the Angels' moves by signing Prince Fielder, or...I don't know who's left, but if the Rangers answer with their own high-splash signing, it's not good for the rebuilding Astros. Should this happen, and the Angels/Rangers are looking like the US and Soviet Union in the late 1950s and the Astros are, you know, Bermuda, where the fallout will be terrible if shots are fired, it's a bad position to be in.

Luckily for us, after six hours, Jeff Luhnow looks like a freaking genius.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pujols out for Tuesday?

Albert Pujols hurt his hammy yesterday, and may be out for tomorrow's series opener against the Astros.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Remembering Game 5

It was five years ago today that one of the most remarkable games in Astros history was played. Let's remember it.

Going into the final two games of the season, the Astros had lost two games to the Cubs - including the September 30 game when Brad Lidge came in to preserve a 3-2 lead, and allowed three straight hits, a fielder's choice, and a single to pinch-hitter Todd Walker, scoring Michael Barrett for the go-ahead run and the Cubs win. A Philly win at Washington cut the Astros' Wild Card lead to one game.

Again, Philly won on October 1 at Washington, but Roger Clemens threw 7IP, 6H/1ER, 5K:3BB, and Craig Biggio led off the game with a first-pitch homer off the Cubs' Jerome Williams, eventually winning the game 3-1. On the last day of the season, Philly again beat the piss out of Washington, and an Astros loss would send it to a tie for the Wild Card. Sending Roy Oswalt to the mound to face Greg Maddux, Oswalt wasn't perfect, but Maddux got roughed up for ten hits and six runs (four of them earned), and the Astros were playoff-bound for the second straight year.

The 82-80 Padres, meanwhile were bound for a First Round matchup with the 100-62 Cardinals (despite having the 7th-best record in the NL). The Astros would face the 90-72 Braves, setting up a rematch of the 2004 NLDS that saw the Astros win their first post-season series in franchise history.

Of course, the Astros won the 2005 NLDS, featuring the incredible 18-inning game which featured the series-clinching Greatest Chris Burke AB Of All Time (or the GCBABOAT, as it's known in my house) in Game 4. The Cardinals swept the Padres to set up the second 2004 rematch of the postseason.

Chris Carpenter beat Andy Pettitte in Game 1, while Roy outdueled Mark Mulder in Game 2, with Lidge getting the save. Clemens beat Matt Morris in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead, with Brandon Backe getting the ball in Game 4. Backe got the no-decision, but did enough in 5.2IP to earn the win (2H/1ER, 7K:3BB) as the Astros were one game away from their first trip to the World Series.

Game 5 saw a starting pitcher rematch, with Chris Carpenter getting the start for St. Louis and Andy Pettitte taking the mound for the Astros at Minute Maid Park in front of 43,470 fans, who were all about the Astros (as the Texans had been defeated the day before at home to Seattle, 42-10, to drop to 0-5).

Pettitte hit (insert some adjective for "gritty" here) David Eckstein on a 1-2 count to start the game, and walked Jim Edmonds on five pitches. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Pujols popped up to third on the first pitch, and Reggie Sanders flied out to left - also on the first pitch. Larry Walker grounded out in front of the plate, and Pettitte was out of the inning, having thrown just 13 pitches.

Craig Biggio took a 1-2 pitch back up the middle for a single in the bottom of the 1st, Chris Burke laid down a sac bunt to move Biggio to second, and Lance Berkman fouled off three straight pitches after working Carpenter to a 3-1 count before laying off the eighth pitch of the at-bat, and drawing the walk. With one out, Biggio on 2nd and Berkman on 1st, Morgan Ensberg and Mike Lamb didn't get the ball out of the infield, and the inning was over.

Pettitte took over for the top of the 2nd, allowing a double to Yadier Molina, but getting Hector Luna and Chris Carpenter to end the inning - with runners in scoring position for the second time in two innings.

Jason Lane led off the bottom of the 2nd with a single to left, and Brad Ausmus doubling through the hole to put Lane on 3rd base with nobody out. Adam Everett struck out swinging on three pitches. Pettitte put one on the ground, and Pujols threw home to get a breaking Jason Lane, Molina tagging him to preserve the scoreless-tie. Biggio, in his 2nd AB of the game, sent a liner to left field, scoring Brad Ausmus for the first lead of the game. Burke struck out swinging to end the inning, but the Astros were ahead.

With Eckstein leading off the top of the 3rd, he sent Pettitte's first-pitch to center field, dropping in front of Chris Burke. On the 1-1 pitch to Jim Edmonds, Eckstein stole second, and an Edmonds liner to right was hit too hard for Eckstein to score from 2nd. Pujols and Sanders both struck out swinging, but Pettitte then walked Larry Walker to load the bases. Mark Grudzielanek then sent a 1-1 pitch to right field, scoring both Eckstein and Edmonds and putting Walker on third base. Pettitte struck out Molina to end the inning, and while he struck out the side, the Cardinals had a 2-1 lead.

Carpenter and Pettitte both retired the side in order next time around, and Jason Lane was hit on a 1-2 pitch to lead off the 4th. Ausmus grounded out, and the Cardinals could only get Lane at second base. Adam Everett singled on an 0-2 pitch, putting Ausmus at second base with one out. A Pettitte sac bunt moved the runners up, and Biggio lined Carpenter's first pitch to left, ending the threat.

The Cardinals and Astros traded singles in the 5th, but nothing came of it, and the game headed to the 6th inning, with the Cardinals still leading 2-1. Grudzielanek singled to left, but was thrown out by Berkman (playing left) trying to stretch it into a double. Yadier Molina then singled to left, but Luna and Carpenter didn't do anything with their ABs - Pettitte needed three pitches to get those two outs.

Lane and Ausmus flied out to left and right, respectively, and Everett stood in, worked the count full, and grounded out to Carpenter on the 8th pitch of the game. After six innings, Pettitte had allowed 7H/2ER, 4K:2BB, HBP and thrown 102 pitches. Carpenter had allowed 6H/1ER, 6K:1BB, HBP, and had thrown 98 pitches.

In the top of the 7th, Eckstein again led off, and sent a groundball to Everett, who committed the error to allow Eckstein to reach. He was picked off two pitches later, to erase him on the basepaths. Edmonds resumed his AB, and reached first - this time thanks to Mike Lamb's catching error. With 110 pitches thrown, Pettitte's day was done, and Phil Garner called on Chad Qualls to relieve him. Qualls had thrown the previous day, ultimately getting the win in Brandon Backe's gem, needing nine pitches to get his three outs - two by groundball, and one flyout.

Qualls got Pujols and Sanders both to groundout to third base, and the inning was over. In the bottom of the 7th, with Qualls due to leadoff the inning, Garner send Orlando Palmeiro to pinch-hit, and he grounded out on an 0-1 pitch. Biggio hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Hector Luna, who nutted it, allowing Biggio to reach base for the third time of the game. Chris Burke singled through the right side, and Biggio took the extra base, setting up Lance Berkman with runners on 1st and 3rd, with one out. Berkman took Carpenter's first pitch deep, and the Astros regained the lead, 4-2. Morgan Ensberg singled to left to keep the inning going, but Mike Lamb flied out to center to end the inning.

A slew of defensive changes followed to start the 8th. Mike Gallo came in to pitch, Willy Taveras came in to play center, Burke moved from center to left, Berkman moved from left field to first base, Eric Bruntlett came in for Biggio, and Mike Lamb's day was over. Gallo ultimately just threw one pitch, getting a grounder right back at him off the bat of Larry Walker. Grudzielanek flied out to center and Molina grounded out to end the Cardinals' side of the 8th. Lane, Ausmus, and Everett went down in order (though getting Isringhausen to throw 21 pitches to do it), and the game headed to the 9th.

Brad Lidge entered the game. He had thrown 4IP in the NLCS entering Game 5, and had allowed 4H/1ER and a walk. This is after he had thrown 4IP in the NLDS against the Braves, allowing 2H/0ER, with 5K:4BB. And that's after Lidge had posted 42 saves in the regular season, with a 2.29 ERA/1.15 WHIP, walking 23 batters all season long. So he had thrown 78.2IP entering Game 5, and with 23 walks in the first 70.2IP, he had walked five batters in his last 8IP. Still, he was the Best Closer In The Game.

Albert Pujols said of Lidge: He's probably the best closer in the game besides Mariano right now. He has probably the best slider in the game. The Astros had lost one game all season with the lead to start the 9th inning.

Tony LaRussa: "I was thinking, If one guy gets on base, then Jim Edmonds, he's got legitimate game-tying power. And if we got a little something going, and you've got Albert and you've got Reggie, I think that's the strategy you want to have."

John Rodriguez was sent in to pinch-hit for Hector Luna. In two plate appearances against Lidge in 2005, he had an RBI sac fly and a strikeout. Rodriguez took a first-pitch ball, swung and missed at the next three pitches. One out.

John Mabry stepped in. He waved at the first pitch, took the second for a ball, waved at the third, fouled off the fourth, and struck out swinging on the 5th. Two outs. Lidge had thrown nine pitches, six of them swings and misses, one foul, and two balls.

Meanwhile, the Astros were starting to celebrate. Larry Walker: "We were looking over to their bench, and guys were high-fiving. A couple of guys were even dancing. But until that fat lady sings, you can't do that."

Jason Isringhausen: "Any time we go into the ninth with the bottom of the lineup coming up, all we're trying to do is get a hit, get a walk, get a couple of guys on -- because we know: We've got to get Albert up there."

David Eckstein hit for what seemed like the 12th time of the game. Eckstein: "The one thing I didn't want to do was get into any type of jumpiness. Any type of anything in my body besides just focus on the baseball. And it's pretty calming to step into at the plate in that situation. I have no idea, no reason why."

He took the first pitch for a ball, took a called first strike, and took a called second strike. The Astros were one strike away from going to the World Series. But he reached out and tagged the fourth pitch for a grounder to left.

On the first pitch to Edmonds, he took off for second, but Ausmus didn't make a throw. That first pitch, though, was a ball. Edmonds swung at the second pitch, and watched the next three go by for balls, and the Cardinals had runners on 1st and 2nd. Still two outs.

Phil Garner: "You have to let Edmonds hit the ball in the next count. You can't walk him and [Ausmus] knows that and that was a mistake."

In all of Pujols' MVP season in 2005, he had 36 starts in which he did not get a hit. At this point in the game, Pujols was 0x4 and had left five Cardinals on base. In only seven instances had Pujols gone 0x5 in a game.

Chris Carpenter: "I'm sitting there thinking that we've got the best closer in the game on the mound -- but we also have the best hitter in the game at the plate...It was an unbelievable feeling."

Pujols stood in for the first pitch, with Eckstein on 2nd and Edmonds on 1st. Pujols was taken off-balance by Lidge's first-pitch slider. Strike one. He hit .330/.430/.609 in 2005. But with an 0-1 count, he "only" hit .281/.281/.484. With runners on 1st and 2nd in 2005, he hit .380/.436/.640. But in the 9th inning, Pujols hit .184/.293/.367 in 58 PAs.

I was nervous. I was in my lucky spot - in the kitchen, but to where I could still see the television. Hands behind my head.

Lidge dug in for the second pitch. Pujols: "I was just thinking, 'Don't swing at the same slider that I swung at the first pitch.'"

You know what happened next, what happened 412 feet later. Brad Lidge's crouching. Andy Pettitte's "Oh. My. Gosh."

Larry Walker: "I've never heard 43,000 people shut up, just like that, in my life. One second, you could barely hear in here. And the next second, all that noise was gone. And the only noise you could hear was on our bench."

Ray King: "When that ball flew over our heads, I turned to Marty Mason, our bullpen coach, and said, 'That's why they pay that guy 100 million bucks.'"

Pujols: "I just couldn't believe that I did it."

Willy Taveras and Jose Vizcaino grounded out to first, and Chris Burke ended the game with a fly ball to right.

Garner: "It's terrible. You're as high as a kite one minute ... We were feeling pretty good, but you have to play every out. We failed to play every out tonight. We just didn't do it."

Lidge: "It stings. (But) we're going to win, and when that happens, it's not going to matter."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Holy Crap.

Buster Olney's Pujols-for-Howard rumor made everybody guano crazy for a few days, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss has some relevant information for us Astros fans.

First, we see that the rumor has really pissed off Tony LaRussa which, I think we can all agree, is satisfying.

Second, we see that the Astros are on his list of teams to which he would approve a trade:

Pujols said last month any talks regarding an extension will be placed on hold once the season starts. The narrow window for a deal has led to a widespread belief that the matter will push into next winter. Pujols currently enjoys partial no-trade protection that allows him to specify each November fewer than 10 teams to which he will accept a trade. Pujols cited the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Angels, the Houston Astros and the Florida Marlins as teams on his current list.

Good God...

But let's make a clarifying note: there is no way the Astros could pull this off. Cardinals fans would riot in the streets if they traded Pujols to Houston, and didn't get big-league talent in return. Even if the Astros traded Roy, plus the entire 2008 draft class, they would still have to sign him to that extension - around $300 million. An organization like the Astros, who are trying to contend and rebuild isn't doing both, even if they had the pieces to trade.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pujols aiding in the destruction of the Negro Leagues Museum. Bourn comes to the rescue

Hopefully this will anger Sluggerio, one of the baseball gods. Albert Pujols was in Kansas City this weekend, and didn't show up - nay, even record a message - to thank the Negro Leagues Museum for either of his two awards.

Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger:
Too bad baseball’s best player didn’t come to make it better. The museum gave him two awards. He accepted neither in person, and didn’t record a video thank you like several others who couldn’t show up -- and like he's done in the past.

Pujols was in Kansas City this weekend, you know. He worked a hitting clinic and signed autographs for kids at a facility in north Kansas City on Sunday. Word is he drove from St. Louis and back to do the clinic – a good cause on its own – so he could spend more time with his family.

The problem with that is he owns a house in Kansas City. The other problem with that is there are hotels in Kansas City. Pujols has expressed support for the museum, and toured a few times, but hasn't yet accepted an award in person. He’s recorded personal acceptances in the past, but this year kept museum officials unsure of whether he’d attend up until the day of the show.

If Pujols would’ve come to be honored, the museum surely could’ve sold more tickets in a year they're in desperate need of money.

The fact that the Negro Leagues Museum is in financial jeopardy is a travesty in itself. But when simply showing up for an event in which you were being honored - across town - is too hard, that is reprehensible.

I know Pujols is a good guy. I get it. But come on.

Michael Bourn, who was this year's recipient of the NL Cool Papa Bell Award (for his league-leading stolen bases), was there. And he brought his dad:
“Today is a day you’ll never forget in your life,”

Good for you, Michael Bourn.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Where were you?

Big League Stew is counting up the top record-breaking and playoff home runs in the 2000s. Where does the Pujols/Lidge homer stand? Number three...

If you hadn't watched this one live, it'd be hard to believe that a three-run home run in Game 5 of the '05 NLCS could be ranked this high, especially when the Cardinals were eliminated in Game 6. But those who bore witness to Pujols' home run will still be talking about it 50 years from now. The hit was equal parts majesty (it hit near the train tracks atop Minute Maid Park) and devastation (Astros fans were one strike away from getting to celebrate the franchise's first World Series berth at home) and it still causes most fans to curse in amazement upon seeing the replay. The ball traveled so high and far that even the Astros made a joke to Lidge that they could see it outside their plane windows on the flight after the game. Quite simply a Hall of Fame moment for a Hall of Fame player.

Interestingly, the Astros figure in three of the top 10 moments. At #4 is the Podsednik Walk-Off in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, and Chris Burke rounded out the list at #10 with the 18th-inning home run.

But for me, the most memorable home run in Astros history is the Pujols homer. I was in my lucky stance (in the kitchen, looking at the tv over the sink, hands clasped behind my head, and swaying left-to-right), waiting to celebrate the Astros' first trip to the World Series. Instead, as soon as the ball left Pujols' bat I crumpled to the floor, only to get up and vomit in the sink (true story. Ask La Constabless.) I didn't see the ball land until SportsCenter the next morning, after I had called in sick to work.

So, let's do this. Where were you when Pujols hit The Home Run?

Update: C70 at the Bat is referring to this heartbreaking poem.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Major Awards

As the lone Houston Astros representative of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, and as bloggers don’t have a voice in voting on the major end-of-season awards, the BBA is holding their own voting. Below is my ballot for the major awards. Complain if you like.

National League Rookie of the Year
Chris Coghlan, Florida
Batting in the leadoff spot in 446 of his 504 ABs, Coghlan posted a line of .336/.397/.473 and a season total of .321/.390/.460 with 46 total extra-base hits. His .850 OPS was 22nd in the National League.

2. J.A. Happ, Philadelphia
3. Tommy Hanson, Atlanta

American League Rookie of the Year
Andrew Bailey, Oakland
The 25-year old Bailey was thrust into the closer role following the Huston Street/Matt Holliday trade, and he proceeded to put up 26 saves with a 1.84 ERA/0.88 WHIP. Striking out 91 batters in 83.1IP, Bailey only blew four saves all year, and allowed 2+ER in a game only three times, and only gave up two earned runs from July 31 until the end of the season (both earned coming in the same game, on September 5).

2. Rick Porcello, Detroit
3. Elvis Andrus, Texas

National League Manager of the Year
Jim Tracy, Colorado
It’s a song we’ve all heard before, and TBS won’t let us forget. How Tracy took a team that was 18-28 end up 92-70, win the Wild Card, and make a serious run at the Dodgers for the NL West title.

2. Fredi Gonzalez, Florida
3. Tony LaRussa, St. Louis

American League Manager of the Year
Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota
Yes, Mike Scioscia’s Angels had to overcome a whole lot of adversity at the beginning of the year, and I’m happy they’re in the playoffs. Yes, Joe Girardi won 103 games. But with a payroll of $8.4 billion (approximately), they should have done that well. Ron Gardenhire took a team that was without Justin Morneau for the final few weeks of the season, made up seven games from September 6 to take the AL Central from the Tigers, which looked to be a vastly superior team. The Twins might get it handed to them by the Yankees, but Gardenhire deserves this award.

2. Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
3. Ron Washington, Texas Rangers of Texas

National League Cy Young Award
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco
No, it’s not because I’m an Astros fan and won’t give it to a Cardinal. Tim Lincecum finished in the Top Five in Wins (4th), Strikeouts (1st), WHIP (4th), Complete Games (1st), Innings Pitched (3rd), ERA (2nd), and Win% (5th). Three of his losses came in quality starts, and in seven of his quality starts he received a No Decision.

2. Chris Carpenter, St. Louis
3. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis

American League Cy Young Award
Zack Greinke, Kansas City
Child, please. Greinke had the best ERA and WHIP in the American League, and won 16 of his team’s 65 games. Righties only hit .211 off of him. He got a no decision in eight quality starts, and in four of those starts he allowed 0 or 1 run. If the Royals can score two runs for him in those games, he finishes 20-8.

2. Felix Hernandez, Seattle
3. C.C. Sabathia, New York

National League MVP
Albert Pujols, St. Louis
This is a no-brainer. Prince Albert had the NL-Best in homers, SLG (exactly 50% of his 186 hits were for extra-bases), OBP, OPS, and runs. His Triple Crown run came up short, but he did finish in the Top 3 in BA and RBI, as well. Pujols also only struck out 64 times all season. He’ll be the 2nd $300 million man, but will actually be the first to deserve it.

2. Hanley Ramirez, Florida
3. Chase Utley, Philadelphia
4. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego
5. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee
6. Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco
7. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado
8. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia
9. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington
10. Andre Ethier, Los Angeles

American League MVP
Joe Mauer, Minnesota
I wanted to go against everyone else and give it to Jeter, but I just couldn’t ignore that Mauer hit .365 over 138 games and had the top BA, OBP, SLG (and, obviously, OPS) in the American League. Like Pujols, Mauer had an upside-down K:BB ratio (63K:76BB), and hit .376 in August and September.

2. Derek Jeter, New York
3. Kendry Morales, Los Angeles
4. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
5. Mark Teixeira, New York
6. Kevin Youkilis, Boston
7. Adam Lind, Toronto
8. Chone Figgins, Los Angeles
9. Jason Bay, Boston
10. Zack Greinke, Kansas City

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Kennett, MO coach has jokes!

In today's Daily Dunklin Democrat, there's a story about the flu going around in advance of the Battle of Dunklin County. Of course, this features the Malden Green Wave versus the Kennett Indians.

Except the Kennett Indians are all Tebowed with the flu. How hard is it hitting the team, Coach Kenneth Riedinger?

"Like Albert Pujols hit Lidge..."

If this is true, then this means that Kennett will get traded in a year and a half, run the table in 2012, and then collapse.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Recap for G125 - Astros at Cardinals

11 games back. Thanks to a pathetic offense and an effective Adam Wainwright, Magic Wandy took the loss despite allowing just three hits in a 1-0 loss at St. Louis. So that's 11 back with 37 to play. Anyone want to call this season?

Last night's game was the first time since August 16, 2006 the Astros have lost a 1-0 game. It is, however, the 9th time the Astros have been shutout this season. Let's just do the thing:

Wandy: 7IP, 3H/1ER, 6K:1BB, 15/25 first-pitch strikes, 30/64 non-contact strikes (24 called:6 swinging)
LaHawk: 1IP, 1K, 2/3 FPS, 4/11 NCS (1c:3s)

The pitching wasn't the problem. Wandy gave up an RBI double to Pujols in the first, and that was pretty much it. No other offense to speak of. After Pujols' double, Wandy retired 20 of the next 22 batters. Problem was, after a Michael Bourn leadoff double in the 1st, Adam Wainwright got the next 17 batters, which Bourn broke up with another single. This was just a miserable performance by the Astros' batters, going 0x5 with RISP (0x3 in the first inning alone).

Pitch Count Hero: Blum - 20 pitches in 3 PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Pence - 12 pitches in 4 PAs

Man of the Match: It could go to Bourn for providing two-thirds of the offense, but this one is going to Wandy. Remember Road Wandy last year? 4-2 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP (1.35 and 0.25 higher than his road stats, respectively). Road Wandy this year? 5-6 record - thanks, offense - but a 3.95 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP, lower in both.

Goat of the Game: Hunter Pence. 0x4 - 1K and three groundouts, and 0x2 with Michael Bourn on base.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tejada questions Coop's strategy

I missed this over the weekend, but it seems that some players weren't so happy with Coop for walking what - for a time - was a .250-hitting Albert Pujols to face a .586-hitting Matt Holliday on Friday night.

"I think that now is not the time to walk anybody to pitch to (Holliday). I think Holliday is very hot. I think now the last thing you want to do when you're going against somebody who's hot is for you to walk somebody to pitch to that person. By being hot, his self esteem is higher than what he normally has. Why? Because you're going to walk somebody to face him. Since he's hot everything is going to go well, like (Friday) night. Did you see how he did (Friday) night? What we need to try to do is try to walk Holliday. I think in this game it doesn't matter how good you are, if they throw a pitch well I don't think you're going to hit a home run. Just because you're a strong hitter doesn't mean you're going to be in front of anybody. In this game the important thing is to try to throw the ball where it should be pitched and let fate do what it's going to do. If you have to walk Pujols, walk him. But I think right now we have to not just think of Pujols. We have to think of Holliday, too. I think we have to think that if we have to walk Pujols, we have to walk Holliday too."

"Pujols is such a dangerous hitter that you're always cautious of what he can do to you. There's certain situations that I think I would pitch to him because even as good as he is he's still making an out over half the time he's going out there. You never want to mess with him when he can really hurt you, but I think there are situations in the game where you take your chances. It's one thing if they didn't have anybody that was behind him that really scared you, but they have Holliday and they got Ludwick and DeRosa. They got guys back there that can really swing the bat well. Depending on the situation in the game you don't necessarily want to give (Holliday) any extra baserunners."

I see this going either way. Albert Pujols is the type of guy who ends a "slump" with one swing of the bat, and has routinely done exactly that against the Astros. If Pujols gets a big hit in an important spot against the Astros, we all lament, weep, and gnash our teeth. So I'm okay with walking Pujols at every opportunity, but it's hard to justify throwing anything worthwhile at a guy hitting .586 for the week.