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.
Posted on: August 4, 2009 1:03 am
Edited on: August 4, 2009 1:13 am

Lightning in a Bottle

Luck or skill?  Tonight for the Astros it was a little of the latter, and quite a bit of the former.

They got to Matt Cain in the 6th and got a lead they didn't relinquish.  Of course, that doesn't mean there was no drama involved.

Mike Hampton had a rare good start, allowing one earned run in six innings.  Jose Valverde got the save, though he gave up a run while doing it.  Geoff Blum and Kazuo Matsui provided most of the offense with a solo shot and two-run homer.  Carlos Lee then gave the Astros the necessary insurance run in the 8th to make it 4-2.

Cain ended up with a complete game loss.  He certainly didn't pitch great, considering he gave up four earned and lost it.

There is no other news; the Red Sox were off tonight.

EDIT: I forgot about the big news of the day the first time around; Roy Oswalt is not yet ready to make his next start, so the Astros are bringing back Felipe Paulino.

This smacks of BS and coddling, to be honest.  Paulino stunk in practically every start he made for the big-league club, and because he has options and Bazardo doesn't, he gets to come back up and stink again.  Bud Norris coming up was a good move, because he was doing good at Round Rock this season and the result of his first start bore out what most people thought he was capable of.  Paulino, on the other hand, came into the season with a mandate from Ed Wade that he pitch well or GTFO.  He didn't pitch well, and lost his job to Russ Ortiz (though it took until July for that to happen, for some odd reason).  Now that Ortiz is gone, the guy to replace him should be Paulino?  I disagree, and heartily.

Apparently, this is what happens when a team neglects the farm system for years under an idiot GM.  There are so few players at Round Rock ready to come up and make an impact, and the one guy that IS ready gets caught in this logjam because he has no options (what would be the problem with using him out of the bullpen after Oswalt comes back?  Oh, that's too forward-thinking for this bunch, I guess).  So we're stuck with Paulino until Oswalt comes back.  Obviously, he and Wandy can't come back soon enough.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 2, 2009 5:56 pm

4-2-1-7-0-2-0-1-1 --> 18

The title is the line score for the Red Sox today, specifically the runs they scored in each inning and the total at the end of the game.

Needless to say, it was a WILD game.  Victor Martinez was 5-for-6, Kevin Youkilis was 3-for-4, and the Red Sox clobbered Baltimore 18-10.

Clay Buchholz has not shown his no-hitter form too often since he had it.  Today he wasn't much better, giving up nine hits and seven runs in only four innings.  If he and John Smoltz continue to tax the bullpen, it'll be trouble in late September and October for the team.

In other news, Bud Norris made his first start for the Astros today in relief of Roy Oswalt.  He had one of the more impressive debuts that I've seen recently, throwing seven shutout innings while giving up only two hits; he walked four and struck out five.  The walks could have caused more trouble, but Norris was lucky (or good) at the right times.  The Astros won 2-0, and may have stopped their slide.  I didn't think Norris was up for it, but he proved me wrong.

Good for him, I say.  Hopefully he builds on this, and doesn't turn into Wandy.
Posted on: August 1, 2009 11:05 pm

Beckett Gets 13th Win, V. Martinez Starts at 1B

Josh Beckett continued his season of excellence, throwing seven shutout innings tonight in Baltimore.  He's now 13-4 on the season.

Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis hit solo homers, Victor Martinez drove in a run and got his first hit for the team, and Rocco Baldelli had a run-scoring double.  All in all, a good night for the Red Sox.

In other news, the Astros continued to have bad luck with the injury bug.  Tonight Wandy Rodriguez was the latest victim, leaving his start after four innings with a strained hamstring.  With this injury, the Astros now have no good starters remaining healthy.  Bud Norris starts tomorrow, his first in the major leagues.

Also, according to the FS Houston team, Yorman Bazardo has no options and is not on the 40-man roster.  This makes it unlikely that he'll be filling in for Wandy, leaving Felipe Paulino the only other fill-in option.  This is not good news, as Paulino was particularly bad in his few starts.  The team decided between Paulino and Russ Ortiz back in June and picked Ortiz.  Now Ortiz is gone and Paulino will likely be heading back into the rotation.

It's unlikely that the addition of Paulino and Norris will reverse the team's current slide.  Paulino has not shown himself to be the answer on a consistent basis.  He brings the team down, more often than not.

Norris is a rookie, so I'm not expecting much in his first go-round.  We've seen pitchers come up recently that haven't done much of anything.  Hirsh, Buchholz, Astacio, and Wandy Rodriguez are names that come up.  Of that group, only Wandy is still around, because he improved sufficiently to guarantee himself a spot in the rotation (though to be honest, the only reason that is is because they still haven't found a left-handed pitcher with enough talent to replace him).
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 30, 2009 5:46 pm

Some Good, Some Bad, and Some Brutally Ugly

The Astros played well at the beginning of the day, but it turned ugly once again, as another of their mediocre starters gave up a ton of runs.

Russ Ortiz, the whiner, had yet another bad start.  He had a few good starts in a row, but the last two or three have been utterly awful.  I hope I don't have to hear him whining for the rest of the season now, because I'm sick of him.  I wish he and Hampton could get cut today, but unfortunately, I'm not that lucky.  Not only that, there's not a whole lot of depth in the farm system that's ready to come up and replace these two losers.  Bud Norris looked better than these two in three innings yesterday, but let's face it: he's a rookie, he's probably just gonna be getting spot duty in the bullpen, and if he started he probably wouldn't be much of an improvement.

It's a tough time right now.  The team has played well in stretches, especially when they swept the Cardinals last week.  But it's looking pretty ugly now, and right when they have a chance to move up in the division race, they're moving four steps back.  The good news is that there's a lot of season left.  The bad news is that Roy Oswalt is hurt, he might miss a couple starts or more, we don't know that for sure yet.  And Lance Berkman is already on the DL and won't be back until mid-August.  The other sluggers in the lineup haven't done a whole lot in his absence either.

Then there's the ugly: two starts in two days, with 9 runs or more given up in both.  Pathetic.

In other news, the Red Sox won.  David Ortiz tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, and hit a home run today that provided the margin of victory.  It's disappointing, to say the least, that he was on drugs along with former teammate Manny Ramirez.  As a fan of the Red Sox, who joined the bandwagon really late admittedly, I'm personally disappointed and saddened by the revelation that Ortiz tested positive.  2003 was the year I became a fan of the team, so it hits close to my heart.
Posted on: July 29, 2009 6:33 pm

This Afternoon Game Stunk

And Mike Hampton stunk right along with it.

The aged formerly good pitcher gave up nine earned runs in just four innings today.  He's making other older gentlemen pitchers look quite good (John Smoltz, I'm looking at you).

The offense was putrid today as well.  No runs today, and they let Randy Wells (who?) throw eight innings against them.  Pitiful.

In other news...well, there actually isn't any.  The Red Sox play later tonight, so there will be no entry to celebrate their latest win or bemoan their latest loss.  Stuff happens.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 28, 2009 11:43 pm

Astros Win One for Their Ace

Roy Oswalt went out in the second inning with an injury, but that didn't bother Jeff Keppinger and the rest of the Astros tonight.

Even with a short bullpen (and with the fresh ones short on talent too), the Astros were able to pull out an 11-6 win over the Cubs.

Keppinger went 4-for-5 with a double and a triple.  Miguel Tejada and Geoff Blum hit home runs also.

As for Oswalt, I'm not sure how long he'll be out.  But if he does happen to miss significant time, it leaves the Astros with one solid starter in Wandy Rodriguez.  So I'm hoping it was just a minor thing that forced him to miss tonight, but not more than a couple days.

In other news, the Red Sox lost a tough extra inning game to Oakland.  The bullpen didn't do its job tonight.  Not only Papelbon, but Manny Delcarmen and Takashi Saito were staring into big bowls of fail.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 28, 2009 11:49 am

Extra Innings Granny Crushes Astros

Last night, Alfonso Soriano hit a grand slam off of Chris Sampson in the 13th inning to win the game for the Cubs, 5-1.

Sampson had pitched well, but in the 13th inning the wheels came off.  He looked like he was tired; he loaded the bases and then allowed the grand slam that ended it.

I suppose it's good that the game didn't go on longer.  But it sucks that such a winnable game got away.

In other news, Josh Beckett is 12-4 after a dominating seven inning, 10 K performance last night against Oakland.  He continues to be the team's ace and has kept his momentum going post-All Star Break.
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