Tag:Astros
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Report: Astros headed to American League

By Matt Snyder

The ownership change of the Astros has been hanging in the balance for months, as Jim Crane is awaiting approval to buy the franchise from Drayton McLane. Wednesday, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported that the change is expected to be made in November. OK, that's fine. Not overly newsworthy, really. But then, Gammons added something that very much does matter, for all of baseball. The Astros are expected to be moved to the American League.

This has been rumored for some time, but never really reported as something that will definitely happen. Numerically, the move makes sense. The National League has 16 teams; the American League 14. The NL Central has six; the AL West four. Moving the Astros to the AL West makes sense, and they would have a natural division rivalry with the Texas Rangers -- albeit very lopsided in the present.

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But look a bit deeper, and the move means the entire face of baseball is changing. With 15 teams in each league, that means there will be interleague play throughout the season. This also points to Bud Selig's plan of expanded playoffs coming to fruition as well, because there's no better time to do so than when there's already a big change. From there, I would hope that the league would look into making the designated hitter rule uniform -- meaning either both or neither league uses it. I've argued in the past this needs to happen.

Stay tuned, but if this report is accurate, baseball is about to undergo major logistical changes. Also, don't expect the move to be made quickly enough to have it in place for 2012. The most likely outcome is the Astros move and the playoffs expand before 2013.

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Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Bud Norris takes swipe at Brian Wilson on Twitter

By Matt Snyder

Have you seen those recent Taco Bell commercials with eccentric Giants closer Brian Wilson? If not, here you go:



Astros starting pitcher Bud Norris has seen it, and he's evidently not a fan (understatement alert). Witness his tweet from Monday night (via Big League Stew).



It's too bad that with Wilson being a closer and Norris being a starter, the odds of one stepping into the batter's box against the other are pretty astronomical.

Also, this kind of disrupts traditional hierarchy. Generally speaking, less established players don't really go after more established players. Norris, 26, had a decent season for the Astros -- who were the worst team in baseball. Wilson is a three-time All-Star and was a prominent member of the World Series champion Giants in 2010.

This example, in a long line of examples, is why Twitter is equally awesome for fans and maybe a bit too much for some athletes. If you're Bud Norris, why go after Brian Wilson? Nothing can possibly be gained by that. And, really? He can't tell if Brian Wilson plays baseball?

We can help, Bud: Yes, Brian Wilson plays baseball. He's better at it than you are.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 10, 2011 9:19 pm
 

Selig says expanded playoffs unlikely in 2012

Bud SeligBy C. Trent Rosecrans

MILWAUKEE -- Postseason expansion is most likely going to baseball, but not as soon as next season, or at leas that's the impression commissioner Bud Selig gave when he spoke to reporters before Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

"I don't know yet," Selig said when asked if an expanded postseason could come in 2012. "I think that might be a little optimistic, but I don't know yet."

As for the idea of two more wild card teams, hearing Selig talk, it sounds like it's nearly a done deal. When asked what he thought about those talking about expanded replay, Selig chuckled -- "Since I'm the guy, I guess, I don't want to be too critical of me."

He expanded on the thought a little bit: "Well, let me start by saying I always enjoy -- you know, I'm a history buff, and you learn history teaches you so much if you look back. When I went to the wild card system in Boston in September of '93 -- and I always give John Harrington a great deal of credit for that, John Harrington and Dave Montgomery were my two faithful guys. They were really smart and understood schedules. 

"You remember I got killed. I was getting killed for a lot of things. It was brutal. He's ruining the sport, what's he doing, and so on and so forth. And we kept expanding and expanding and expanding, and somebody had to make an adjustment. You couldn't have 30 teams and just keep it at six.

"It's worked out, I think everybody would admit, better than anybody could have dreamed. You look back. That's why you don't make decisions based on one year. I know I've heard some people say, look, it's perfect, look what we had this year. 

"And it is correct. But you don't do it on the basis of one year, you do it on the basis of overall. 

I've said to everybody I think 10 out of 30 is fair. I think it will produce the number. I will tell you on my 14-man committee -- Tony La Russa is here today, so he could speak to it -- the vote is 14 to nothing, it's been all the way along. We spent hours talking about it."

Selig talked about a few other things, as well, including:

• The upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations: " I couldn't give you a timetable, because that's always dangerous. But they've been quiet, thoughtful and constructive. I hope we'll continue on that path. 

"Far different from the labor negotiations of the '80s, '70s, '90s, stories every day. They were painful. And I remember saying that a lot that this isn't helpful and it isn't healthy. You need to do your work and hopefully you can do it quietly. I think they have. And I give a lot of credit to both parties, Michael Weiner and the Players' Association and Rob Manfred in our group. We have Jerry Reinsdorf and Arte Moreno are part of the negotiating committee. 

"It's been good. It's really been very good. Very constructive. But we shall see what we shall see."

• On the use of the pitch tracker on TV broadcast: " Well, it's part of the world we live in. They do that in all sports now and different things. I really am not critical of that. If I were them, I guess I'd do the same thing."

He added, "I keep asking people how accurate those zones are and I get different answers from different baseball people.  But, a lot of competition out there, a lot of things. So I can't blame them for doing that, I really can't."

• On his meeting with prospective Astros owner Jim Crane last week: "I thought the meeting was constructive. And other than that I don't have anything to say about it. It was the first time he and I really spent any time together, and I thought the meeting was constructive. But nothing more than that."

• On TV ratings for this postseason without the big-market teams: "I'm satisfied. I really am. I think that having different clubs win is not bad at all. And I'm proud of that. But, you know, and I really mean this, what's better for ratings is something we just can't worry about. I think I looked at the last two weeks, it's been just miraculous. Produced great ratings, by the way, I might add. But that last Wednesday night of the season, only baseball -- and I've said this before -- could produce something like that."

• On the Mets' ownership situation: "No, I don't have any concerns. I've talked to Fred [Wilpon] a lot about it and they seem to be making good progress at what they're trying to do. And he feels comfortable with it and I really don't at this point. They've made no demands or anything. They seem to be moving along in the right path."

• On standardizing the designated hitter: "So we've done this 39 years. And I'll say it again, it would take some overall big event that maybe would force people to make a decision. But right now the National League guys don't like it. The American League does like it. And that doesn't bother me at all. 

"Somehow on a great night of irony, that one League has one rule -- and remarkably the fate of western civilization hasn't been changed."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 6, 2011 9:44 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 9:44 am
 

Graphic: The price of wins

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Our friend David Fung has done a couple of cool graphs for Eye On Baseball, and this one comes from an equation by Doug Pappas of Baseball Prospectus about just how much a win really cost each team in Major League Baseball in 2011.

The most surprising part isn't that the Yankees are near the top, but so too were the Astros -- of course, when you don't have too many wins, the one you do get are bound to be expensive (I'm looking at you, Twins). Tampa Bay and Arizona, not surprisingly, are getting the most out of their money.

You can see more of Fung's work on his blog, FunGraphs, and follow him on Twitter (@CobraDave).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 4, 2011 12:16 pm
 

Astros' Schafer arrested for marijuana felony

By Evan Brunell

SchaferJordan Schafer of the Astros has been arrested with third-degree felony marijuana possession, the Houston Chronicle writes.

According to a police report, Schafer was pulled over in a 2008 Land Rover with an expired Mississippi license plate after pulling up next to an unmarked police vehicle. (Schafer played in the Braves’ minor league system in Mississippi.)

The report said the driver’s and passenger’s side windows were partially down with a “strong odor of marijuana” coming from the vehicle. Schafer was also said in the report to have a joint in his hand. The police conducted a traffic stop for the expired plate and found a clear plastic bag with a leafy substance that tested positive as marijuana.

The 25.9 grams that the police report claims were in the bag exceed the 20-gram cutoff for felony charges rather than misdemeanor. Schafer also, according to the report, had three marijuana peanut butter cups in the car and claimed ownership of all the drugs.

25.9 grams equates to about 0.9 ounces, which is under the legal limit of one ounce in many states. The arrest came outside the Cheesecake Factory, where he was arrested at 12:28 a.m., and was later released on $2,000 bond. While Schafer didn't give the police his employer, it is no secret he plays for the Astros, coming over in a trade-deadline deal for Michael Bourn. Schafer hit .242/.309/.315 across 337 total plate appearances with 22 stolen bases, missing time with a broken hand.

Schafer was previously suspended 50 games in 2009 for HGH use. He was never tested for it or even found to have purchased it, but enough evidence was gathered by MLB to suspend Schafer, who denied using HGH.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 1:11 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 2:04 am
 

Verlander, Kershaw win pitching triple crowns

By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, now that we've got that pesky playoff thing all figured out, we can get to the important stuff, like batting titles and the such, right?

OK, while eight teams still have something to play for, 22 other teams are done, and so are the regular-season individual titles. So what were the best marks in the biggest individual categories? Here you go:

American League
Batting average: .344 -- Miguel Cabrera
Home runs: 43 -- Jose Bautista
RBIs: 119 -- Curtis Granderson
Stolen bases: 49 -- Coco Crisp, Brett Gardner
Wins: 24 -- Justin Verlander
ERA: 2.40 -- Justin Verlander
Strikeouts: 250 -- Justin Verlander
Saves: 49 -- Jose Valverde

National League
Batting average: .337 -- Jose Reyes
Home runs: 39 -- Matt Kemp
RBIs: 126 -- Matt Kemp
Stolen bases: 61 -- Michael Bourn
Wins: 21 -- Clayton Kershaw, Ian Kennedy
ERA: 2.28 -- Clayton Kershaw
Strikeouts: 248 -- Clayton Kershaw
Saves: 46 -- John Axford, Craig Kimbrel

If you want to know who led in other stats, you can check out our stats page.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:57 pm
 

On Deck: Wild cards hinge on final day



By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

AL wild card: It's the final game of the season, and we've got two races currently tied. The first of them is the American League wild card, where the Red Sox and Rays are knotted at one apiece. Boston will send ace Jon Lester to the mound in the hopes of downing the Orioles. Lester has never lost against Baltimore, running up a 14-0 record. On the year, he has a solid 3.49 ERA but that mark is 6.97 over his last four starts, so there's concern there. He'll be opposed by Alfredo Simon. Meanwhile, down south, the Rays offer up their own ace in David Price to take down the Yankees. New York is already in the playoffs, so they could choose to rest some players and give the Rays a weaker opponent to play against. To that end, even the Yankees don't know who will be starting Wednesday night. Red Sox vs. Orioles, 7:00 p.m. ET | Yankees vs. Rays, 7:00 p.m. ET

NL wild card: Over in the NL, the Braves are new to this. The Red Sox have had an extra day to get used to the idea of falling into a tie, but Atlanta woke up Wednesday knowing the final game of the season was crucial to the playoff hunt. After all, if they lose and the Cardinals win, they're out. Fortunately, they have a pretty good pitcher heading to the hill in Tim Hudson, who will oppose Joe Blanton in what figures to be a bullpen game for Philly. On paper it's a mismatch, but the way the Braves has been playing lately is the complete opposite of St. Louis. Meanwhile, the scorching Redbirds offer up Chris Carpenter against the hapless Astros, who will send Brett Myers to the mound. Phillies vs. Braves, 7:00 p.m. ET | Cardinals vs. Astros, 8:00 p.m. ET

StrasburgNo walks: Stephen Strasburg has a very good chance to accomplish an incredible feat in his fifth and final start of the year. So far, he's walked absolutely zero batters in his 18 innings, striking out 14. That's a K/BB ratio of infinity. Thanks to the magic that is Baseball Reference's Play Index, I ran a query of all starting pitchers who had at least five consecutive starts with no walks in the millennium. There's been plenty of streaks of no walks allowed, most namely the amazing Greg Maddux who racked up two separate nine-game streaks of no walks allowed. If Strasburg gets through the game, he'll be tied with 15 others for five consecutive starts. Interestingly, Kevin Slowey accomplished the feat earlier this season, but before that you have to go back to Cliff Lee in 009, then Curt Schilling in 2006. Strasburg himself went six straight starts without a walk last season. He's opposing Chris Volstad in Jack McKeon's final game as Marlins manager. Nationals vs. Marlins, 4:10 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 27, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 4:14 pm
 

On Deck: Wild card chases dominate action



By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

AL wild card: It's all tied up in the Ameican League, as the Red Sox and Rays are both battling for the right to play in October. Everyone knows how the Sox have collapsed and the Rays have ascended, so we won't recap that here. Jeremy Hellickson, who seems certain to lock up the AL Rookie of the Year award, will take on the Yankees and Bartolo Colon. The Red Sox will counter with Erik Bedard -- who hasn't been the pitcher the team hoped it was getting at the trade deadline -- going up against Zach Britton. Given the pitching matchups, one would expect this tie to extend another day with both teams winning, but games are played on the field. Red Sox vs. Orioles, 7:05 p.m. ET | Yankees vs. Rays 7:10 p.m. ET

NL wild card: If the Braves can win tonight with the Cardinals losing, Atlanta will have somehow staved off collapse to win the wild card. Hopes rest on Derek Lowe, no stranger to postseason heroics, in matching up against Roy Oswalt. The good news is that the Phillies have stumbled lately, which works in Atlanta's favor. The bad news? Oswalt is a better pitcher than Lowe, whose 4.92 ERA is third-worst, behind 2004 and his rookie season of 1997 when he was a reliever. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are in must-win mode with Jake Westbrook heading up against Henry Sosa of the Astros in what is a lopsided matchup... on paper. Remember, Houston defeated St. Louis Monday night. It's going to be an entertaining night. Braves vs. Phillies, 7:10 p.m. ET | Cardinals vs. Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET

VelezDubious history: As SB Nation's Rob Neyer points out, the Dodgers' Eugenio Velez is hitless in 36 at-bats in the majors this season. Given he also finished 2010 with nine straight hitless, he's tied for the longest hitless streak. However, it doesn't count because it was split between two seasons. However, Velez has set a record for the most hitless at-bats in a season, not counting pitchers. Velez already outdistanced Hal Finney, who was 0 for 35 in 1935. With two games left, Velez should get a couple more at-bats to further extend his ignominious record -- or to end it with a hit.  Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET

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