Tag:Huston Street
Posted on: October 13, 2009 12:33 am

Colorado's Street with no name

DENVER -- It was about as difficult a way to lose as there is.

Colorado scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth Monday to take a two-run lead, 49,940 purple-clad fans were ready for the ride to continue and closer Huston Street moved the club to within one strike of sending this NL Division Series back to Philadelphia.

And then blam, blam, blam.

Chase Utley drew a two-out walk on a full-count pitch, Ryan Howard followed with a game-tying double and Jayson Werth followed that with a base hit that scored what would be the winning run.

Manager Jim Tracy removed Street in favor of Joe Beimel at that point, but it was too late.

"I'm in shock, really," Street said after the 5-4 loss in the library-quiet Rockies clubhouse. "I tried to focus as much as I could on every pitch."

But he still couldn't stop the game from unraveling on him.

"I was out there fighting as hard as I could fight," continued Street, who was tagged with two losses and a blown save in the series. "Sometimes you get beat."

Across the way, Phillies closer Brad Lidge, who has been there all too often himself this year, took a moment out from the champagne shower to sympathize.

"Huston Street has no reason to hang his head," Lidge said. "Maybe he gets it done against another team."

From the beginning, the Rockies knew that Philadelphia and all of their left-handed starters was going to be a difficult matchup. Really, the Rockies matched up far better with St. Louis. Though they were careful with their words publicly, many privately were hoping that the Cardinals played their way into a first-round seeding against Colorado.

But it didn't happen. And just when the Rockies thought they were ready to roll, their season came crashing down around them.

"To have the game in your hands and then have them drop three [runs] on you," said shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who struck out with two on and two out to end the game in the ninth. "We had an opportunity at the end. That's all you can ask for."

"I'm proud of every one of these guys, no doubt about it," Colorado first baseman Todd Helton said. "[Manager Jim Tracy] was talking about guys being unselfish, and there's no doubt about it.

"We do have good guys. The guys here care."

Likes: Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, the projected Game 1 starter in the NLCS and the would-have-been Game 5 starter had the Phillies-Rockies series gone that far, never made it to Colorado. His wife delivered their first baby, a boy named Caleb, last week and Hamels stayed put, preparing for Tuesday's Game 5 start if it was needed. "We would have sent him back home yesterday anyway," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ... Colorado manager Jim Tracy is right. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is going to be a big-time star one day. ... Sam's No. 3, a terrific breakfast joint downtown Denver. "So good it'll make ya wanna slap yo momma" says the marquee outside. And I've gotta say, as I was eating my Denver omelet Monday morning -- what else are you going to order in Denver? -- I was glad my momma wasn't with me, because the food was as advertised. ... In case you missed it when the season ended two Sunday's ago, Hal McCoy's sign-off column was exceptionally eloquent. The Hall of Famer is done as a beat writer, and reading this column, you can see why he lasted 37 years covering the Reds, one of the great runs of our time.

Dislikes: The Astros are interviewing 10 men as prospective managers. Ten? That's paralysis by analysis. If it takes a team that many interviews, then that team really isn't sure what it's looking for. Good luck, Houston fans. ... OK, I get it. Playoff ratings are up on television. Great. Now TBS and MLB, will you quit bombarding everybody with non-stop updates boasting about that fact? And if TBS doesn't pick up its camera angles, replays and certain broadcasters, the ratings won't remain up. And I'm not watching the George Lopez Show just on principle. Just as I wouldn't watch Frank TV, or whatever it was called, last year.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"And you can't find your waitress with a Geiger counter
"And she hates you and your friends and you just can't get served without her
"And the box-office is drooling, and the bar stools are on fire
"And the newspapers were fooling, and the ash-trays have retired
"'Cause the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking
"The piano has been drinking, not me, not me"

-- Tom Waits, The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)

Posted on: November 10, 2008 3:32 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2008 9:14 pm

Oakland acquires Holliday from Colorado

The ever-unpredictable Oakland Athletics have acquired slugger Matt Holliday from Colorado, sources with knowledge of the talks have confirmed to, CBSSports.com, pending the outfielder's passing a physical examination on Tuesday.

The Rockies will receive outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, left-handed pitcher Greg Smith and closer Huston Street in return, though they may not keep Street. One source said Monday that the Rockies are prepared to turn around and trade him -- though to which team he wasn't sure.

St. Louis, the New York Mets, Detroit, Cleveland and Tampa Bay are among the clubs in the market for a closer this winter, though the Tigers do not appear to be involved with Street.

The early strike for Holliday is a bold move for an Oakland club that finished third in the AL West last year, 24 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels.

But the Athletics are attempting to win public support for a new stadium and are telling other clubs that they intend to increase their payroll significantly for 2009 in an effort to contend. The A's opened 2008 with a payroll of about $48 million.

In Holliday, who batted .321 with a .409 on-base percentage, 25 homers and 88 RBI, the Athletics almost certainly are gaining a one-year rental player. Holliday, due $13 million in 2008, rebuffed Colorado's attempts to sign him to a long-term extension and, with Scott Boras as his agent, he is expected to test the free-agent market after the 2009 season.

That, though, fits with some of Oakland's past strategy under general manager Billy Beane, who has mostly eschewed long-term contractual commitments to players because of the A's ever-present financial constraints. He has been aggressive at times, however, in acquiring high-end talent for the short-term.

Pitcher Kevin Appier (1999), outfielder Johnny Damon (2001) and Frank Thomas (2006) all fit under this operating philosophy, but the major difference between them and Holliday is that they were not acquired when the A's were this far off of the pace in the AL West.

Of course, the Athletics figure to have an out, too: If they fall out of the race before the July 31 trade deadline next summer, they'll have a valuable trade chip that Beane can flip for prospects.

While Oakland ratchets things up, clearly, Colorado is in transition mode. Losing Holliday -- general manager Dan O'Dowd informed the slugger of the trade earlier Monday -- leaves a big hole in the middle of Clint Hurdle's lineup.

The Rockies like Gonzalez a lot, but he's a different style of player than Holliday and much younger.

"He can play center field or right field, either place," one scout said. "He's a left-handed hitting prospect, he's only 23 ... he's got a chance to be pretty good."

As for Smith, the scout said, "He actually fits better in the National League, I think. He controls the running game, he's got a good pickoff move, and the guy can hit. I think he'll end up as a No. 5 starter or as a long man in the bullpen."

Posted on: April 1, 2008 6:26 pm

Pass the Maalox and somebody finish the game

Morning has barely broken on the new season, and already it's Maalox time for managers.

With two openers yet to be completed, there already have been seven blown saves on opening day. That ties an opening day record, according to baseball-reference.com. Since saves became an official statistic in 1969, only one other time has there been as many as seven blown saves on opening day, and that was in 1994.

Contributing to this historic occasion already are Oakland's Huston Street (March 25 against Boston in Japan), Boston's Kyle Snyder (same game against the A's), Washington's Jon Rauch (Sunday night against the Braves) Cleveland's Rafael Perez, Detroit's Jason Grilli, Kansas City's Brett Tomko and Milwaukee's Eric Gagne (all Monday).

And that's not even counting the Cubs' Kerry Wood, who blew up the 0-0 game in Wrigley Field against Milwaukee on Monday by surrendering three top-of-the-ninth runs. And it's not counting Atlanta's Peter Moylan, who served up Sunday night's bottom-of-the-ninth homer to Washington's Ryan Zimmerman to deal the Braves, who had been tied 2-2, a heartbreaking 3-2 loss.

The three most eyebrow-raising blown games within that group were authored by Gagne, Street and Wood -- for different reasons.

Let's start with Wood, because while that didn't go down as a blown save, it certainly ruined a what should have been a memorable opener featuring the Cubs' newest folk hero, Kosuke Fukudome. For the sake of both the Cubs and manager Lou Piniella, the days of Wood raising the club's hopes and then tossing a banana peel under them must be finished. The Cubs think they're finished. Wood pitched very well in relief late last season and had a very good spring. His final spring test was pitching on consecutive days and working three times in a five-day stretch, both of which he aced.

The biggest question with Wood is whether he stays healthy, and for now, that was answered during the spring. The club believes he will be very successful as a closer. Piniella indicated this spring that set-up man Carlos Marmol would be used as a closer in the event Wood didn't work. But that weakens the club in the seventh and eighth innings.

It's always a mistake to place too much emphasis on one game -- especially if it's opening day, which usually gets an inordinate amount of attention (and, when the cold, raw conditions that were in Chicago make it difficult for a pitcher to grip a baseball). But let's just say this: Wood had better convert his next few save opportunities, or it's going to be panic time in Chicago.

Is it time to panic in Milwaukee with Gagne? I had a long talk with manager Ned Yost about that late this spring as the Brewers were keeping Gagne hidden away on the back fields. And in the couple of 'A' games he did pitch, he looked nothing like his old Cy Young-winning self.

Gagne went 2-0 with 16 saves and a 2.16 ERA in 34 games for Texas last summer before Boston traded for him for the stretch run. Working as a set-up man (and eventually mop-up man) for Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon, Gagne was 2-2 with an alarming 6.75 ERA and no saves in 20 games.

Yost said this spring that he is going with Gagne's Texas stats last summer and completely discounting the Boston performance because: A) As a closer, Gagne is a different breed; B) He wasn't closing in Boston, and, C) Therefore, he didn't have the adrenalin and situations he needed.

That works in theory. But here's the reason why I'm concerned if I'm Milwaukee (which is paying him $10 million in 2008): No, Gagne wasn't closing in Boston. But while he regularly was getting lit up and booed out of Fenway Park, you would think a self-preservation mechanism would have kicked in that would have given Gagne the adrenalin he needed. He never could find it. Nor has he been able to find his old fastball. Where he once jacked it up to 98, 99 m.p.h. in his heyday in Los Angeles, now Gagne's fastball tops out at 92, 93. And there's all kinds of suspicion as to why. You can start by finding his name in the Mitchell Report.

Street probably won't be under as intense a spotlight as Gagne and Wood this season simply because Oakland isn't expected to be in contention. But scouts who saw him in the Cactus League this spring were buzzing about how poorly he threw. There's no indentifiable reason yet but, at this point, it seems clear that something could be up with Street. A hidden injury? A simple slow start? Stay tuned.

And, stay tuned Tuesday night. Mariano Rivera (Yankees) and Jeremy Accardo (Toronto), and Jason Isringhausen (St. Louis) and Manny Corpas (Colorado), you're up.

Two more openers yet to be competed. And an opening day blown saves record clearly within reach.

Posted on: March 19, 2008 10:46 pm

Day ahead in Japan, day behind here

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Boston and Oakland players took an admirable and righteous stand Wednesday before departing for Japan. Who doesn't think the lowly coaches and trainers should be compensated? Especially if the players are earning $40,000 each?

But before delivering too much praise, let's all take a breath and remember that it was the players who dropped the ball on this one to start with.

While negotiating their deal last fall, the players negotiated to make sure they were taken care of, but nobody bothered to think about the managers and coaches.

Had they done so then, Wednesday's drama/Keystone Kops routine would have been deftly avoided.

That would have been the best option of all.

And though it was important to get it right in the end, this entire thing wound up making baseball look silly -- and revealing how uninformed the players really are.

While Boston's camp in Florida was the nerve center, the Athletics pretty much just played follow the leader all day. I was in their clubhouse at 8 a.m. Pacific time, and all the A's were hearing at that point was rumors.

"I was under the impression that the coaches and everybody would be taken care of," veteran reliever Alan Embree said.

He could have been speaking for everybody else, pretty much. The Red Sox also were under the same impression, apparently, until the last minute.

As the A's heard about what was going on and tried to keep track of the situation by watching television (ESPN was scheduled to broadcast the Boston-Toronto game, which started late because of the Red Sox players' meeting), several phone calls were exchanged from the Oakland to the Boston clubhouses. Athletics first baseman Mike Sweeney spoke with Boston pitcher Curt Schilling, among other calls.

"I want to go to Japan," Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby said. "We're all packed up. But it's not right. I'm glad they're doing something about it."

The Athletics went into their own team meeting not long after Crosby spoke. During that, across the country, the Red Sox took the field to play Toronto. Negotiations patched things up.

Just as quickly as the storm broke out, the skies cleared.

And the planes took off for Japan.

The most astute comment of the day came from Oakland player representative Huston Street: "From here on our, there has to be more communication on every front and less assumed.

"This isn't a small-time operation."

Even though on Wednesday, it looked like one.

Likes: An item printed from the Internet posted on a bulletin board in the Oakland clubhouse entitled, "17 Ways to Make Your Trip to Japan 10 Times More Enjoyable". ... A's general manager Billy Beane standing in the Oakland dugout before his club's Cactus League finale with the Los Angeles Angels, shooting the breeze while wearing "Arsenal" shorts -- an English professional soccer team -- and a T-shirt. Looked like he was going straight into the weight room. ... This quip from one of the San Francisco writers before Wednesday night's game with the Cubs when a reporter asked what the clubhouse access times are: "Bonds is gone. There is no policy. Do what you want."

Dislikes: Knowing Ted Williams' head is still frozen somewhere near Scottsdale Stadium. ... Thinking of the sad, early death of Kirby Puckett every time I drive by the Scottsdale Hospital right across the street from the stadium. It's where Puckett was first taken when he had his stroke two springs ago.

Sunblock day? Yes, but still not real hot. Sunny and a comfortable 75 or so.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"You can't stop us on the road to freedom
"You cant stop us cause our eyes can see
"Men with insight, men in granite
"Knights in armor intent on chivalry"

-- Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com