Posted on: August 13, 2009 10:35 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2009 10:36 pm

Two Steps Forward....

The Red Sox couldn't finish off the sweep this afternoon against Detroit.  All in all, they played pretty well until they ran into Justin Verlander today.  Even so, they didn't play too badly, though it's becoming clear that Clay Buchholz is either not quite ready or just had some bad luck.  He's got a no-hitter on the resume, but his other starts have barely shown a glimpse of that brilliant outing.

I think Theo waited too long on Smoltz, and he's making the same mistake with Buchholz.  Buchholz is a different case since he's still really young and is a product of the Red Sox farm system.  But if the team wants to keep winning consistently, I think he's going to have to go for now.  The next problem would be, who replaces him in the rotation?  I wish I knew the answer.

In other news, the Astros lost again in Florida.  It was ugly all around, as the pitching stunk and the offense wasn't much better.
Mike Hampton seriously needs to go.  And since Yorman Bazardo showed tremendous improvement today, he might be just the guy to take Hampton's spot in the rotation.

The other problem tonight was Chris Sampson.  He was terrible.  It's a possibility that he's hurt again, and playing in spite of the pain.  It has been proven with every practically every injury that Sampson has had that he does not play well when attempting to pitch through pain. His performance is such that the team may have no choice but to get rid of him after the season.  He proved that he can't start and win consistently, and now he's terrible in the bullpen.

My guess is that his shoulder is still bothering him.  But if it isn't, then there's a bigger problem.  Given the economy and Drayton's stand on payroll, Sampson could find himself non-tendered this offseason unless he improves.
Posted on: August 12, 2009 11:03 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2009 10:37 pm

Big Bats Crush the Opposition

The Red Sox had another strong night at the plate against Tigers starter Zach Miner.  Mike Lowell hit another home run in relief of the suspended Kevin Youkilis, Jason Bay hit a two-run shot as well.

Josh Beckett was pretty impressive again, throwing seven strong innings.  He gave up three hits, two runs, and struck out six.

In other news, the Astros put up 14 runs on Florida and finally won a game at LandShark, 14-6.  Hunter Pence hit two home runs; Lance Berkman and LaTroy Hawkins came back; Bud Norris started, and while he wasn't great, he was adequate.  He's still 3-0, though, so not much to complain about.
Posted on: August 12, 2009 12:44 am

Holy Crap, It's a Win Streak

It's true, the Red Sox have now won TWO in a row.

After last week's many debacles, this two game streak is looking like a miracle.  I hope it keeps going.

Mike Lowell hit two home runs tonight, sparking the offense along with Jason Bay, who hit an early three-run homer.

In other news, the Astros took a 7-2 lead in Florida before losing 9-8 in the 11th.  Just like last year, going to Florida has put a dent in their playoff hopes.  Luckily, this visit came early enough that their deficit is not quite insurmountable.  But without better pitching, it's not going to happen.

Roy Oswalt started tonight and looked good at times.  In the end, he didn't pitch very well.  He was not as strong coming back as Wandy was.  Jeff Fulchino was not very good tonight either; Wesley Wright and Alberto Arias did little to help the cause.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 10, 2009 11:31 pm

End of the Losing Streak

Well, after coming home and facing the Tigers, the losing streak is over.

Ramon Ramirez got the win after Nick Green hit a sacrifice fly.  Jonathan Papelbon got the save with little trouble too.

After getting swept by Tampa Bay and the Yankees, this win feels pretty good.  It'd be nice to rattle off a long winning streak.

In other news, the Astros went to Florida, and lost.  It wasn't any different than what happened in September last season.  Darin Erstad played particularly well, with a two-run homer and a RBI double.  But the pitching just wasn't there again; Brian Moehler wasn't good and only got through five innings.  Chris Sampson was disappointing again.

We'll see how the rest of this series goes; it's looking like unless they get serious quickly, there will be no playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 9, 2009 11:53 pm


Victor Martinez hit a two-run homer, but Daniel Bard and Hideki Okajima conspired to take a win away from Jon Lester tonight.

I'm disgusted by this team currently.  Neither one of my teams are doing really well at the moment.  The Red Sox have now lost the series against the Yankees; they're 0-6 in the biggest week of the season.  Terrible.

In other news, the Astros won 2-0 today; they won the series with Milwaukee.  Wandy Rodriguez came back today and threw seven solid innings.  He allowed five hits and two walks, struck out three, and gave up NO earned runs.  That's a great effort to me, but Cecil Cooper, as usual, can't resist taking a dig at one of his players.

Cooper suggested none too subtly that he thought Wandy had been better before.  In fact, there have been fewer than five starts in 2009 where Wandy has been better, and quite a few where he was worse.  Frankly, I'll take another five or six outings like this from Wandy.  If he throws seven innings and gives up no runs, not only is the team in excellent position to win, he's saving the bullpen too.

But it would be crazy to expect Cooper to understand that, I guess.

Geoff Blum was the hero on offense today with a timely 4th inning home run.  There wasn't much else besides his big hit, but that's ok.

With Wandy and Roy Oswalt coming back, it would appear that the Astros could round into form sooner rather than later.  I would argue that the addition of Lance Berkman (a healthy and good-hitting one, at that) is the key to this particular season's puzzle.  Without Berkman, the rest of the lineup hasn't quite clicked.  It's a bit hard to figure, though, considering that Bourn has played well leading off, Tejada is having a monster season, Lee is being his usual consistent self, and Pence has bounced back from his sophomore slump.  But for some reason, Berkman's absence has proven to be quite profound.
Posted on: August 8, 2009 11:05 pm


The Red Sox haven't played too well this week.  It's a big week for them, and they're coming up short again and again.

I don't really have a lot of motivation to blog about this.  It just angers me, really.

In other news, the Astros got beat, again.  Shocking.  Mike Hampton is out with an injury, and Yorman Bazardo made a less-than-impressive debut.

I'm not selling the farm on Bazardo yet, obviously.  He's going to have to have a few starts before I give up on him.  Bud Norris has made a difference thus far, winning both his starts.  I fully expect Bazardo to put up that kind of effort once he breaks into the rotation.  I'm not sure when that will be, exactly.

After the mess with Paulino, it's bluntly obvious that he can't be trusted.

Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez should be coming back soon.  With Hampton out for an as-yet undetermined amount of time, and the demotion of Paulino, it looks like the rotation will be Oswalt, Rodriguez, Moehler, Norris.  Spot #5 might be filled by Bazardo.  That's how I would do it, and honestly, I'm not sure there's anyone else besides Bazardo that COULD do it.

Sure, there's Chris Sampson.  But he looks like a solid reliever now, and I doubt he'd get moved back to the rotation full-time.

It'll be interesting to see what happens.  But ultimately, it probably won't matter.  That road trip the team blew against Chicago and St. Louis looks to have sealed their fate.
Posted on: August 5, 2009 11:43 pm

Two-Game Sweep in St. Pete

The Red Sox started off decently, but then fell out-of-whack with the terrible start by Brad Penny.  He was decent earlier in the season, but now he's just a liability, like Smoltz and Clay Buchholz.  Yeccccccccccch.

In other news, the Astros lost the series against San Francisco after another dreadful pitching performance.  Brian Moehler was the culprit this time; he started off just fine, but then let it get away later in the game.  The bullpen wasn't much help either.

Felipe Paulino might be getting another start, and it looks like Bud Norris will get at least one more too.  That's probably good news in Norris' case (though I hedge because rookies can be unpredictable).  In Paulino's case, it's just a matter of how he'll lose.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 5, 2009 12:53 am

A Disappointing Night

Takashi Saito gave up a homer to Evan Longoria in the 13th inning tonight.

Surely, Tito and the rest of the coaches told the guys that Longoria SHOULD NOT IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE be allowed to beat them.  Perhaps the message got lost in translation.  Either that, or nobody prints out scouting reports in Japanese.

Seriously, whatever the case may be, this should not have happened.  The bigger gaffe was earlier when Dustin Pedroia grounded into a double play to end a bases loaded threat for the Sox.

It's a big week for the team as they play the Rays and Yankees in quick succession.  So mistakes like these need to be at an absolute minimum.

I have faith in the Red Sox, though.

In other news, the Astros looked absolutely pathetic through eight innings tonight before finally mustering up the effort to thwart a shutout.  Still, the 8-1 loss does nothing to help, and shows that the team's slide that was abated by Bud Norris' excellent start hasn't ended.

The thing that bothers me the most was that I was right about Felipe Paulino coming back up.  He made three starts at Round Rock between his demotion and today, and all of them were terrible.  He came back up tonight and promptly stunk it up again, just like he has all season.

I know, or at least THINK I know, what this situation is really about with Paulino.  The Astros have a kid named Yorman Bazardo in the system who I've referred to recently.  I heard about him from byronlhsdrmr, a fellow blogger here whose opinion I respect.  Bazardo is pitching well at Round Rock and has been for pretty much the entire season.  The problem is that he's not on the 40-man roster, and he has no options left.  What that means, basically, is that he couldn't be returned to Round Rock without clearing waivers.

So instead of bringing him up here and keeping up on the roster, Ed Wade and the rest of the peanut gallery in the Astros' front office thought that it would be better for the team to bring Paulino back, because he has options and a mandate from Wade to pitch well or get out.  He hasn't pitched well, and Wade still hasn't gotten rid of him.

Instead of playing it safe and putting Roy Oswalt on the DL, the Astros have been waffling.  If Oswalt goes on the DL, then Paulino is going to be up with the major-league club for awhile longer, since there's no other pitching depth besides Bud Norris and Yorman Bazardo.  Norris is already up here, too.

The smarter move would have been to get Bazardo up here and think about the waivers and whatever later on.  But instead of playing it smart, the Astros decided to play it dumb by bringing back a pitcher who has already shown he doesn't have what it takes to be successful.  We don't necessarily know that about Bazardo.  We do know that Paulino stinks.  And he just proved it, again.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or