Friday, April 10, 2009

Sunday Match-up. Wan-Rod against Kyle Lohse

Saturday April 12th

will pair off against Kyle Lohse, who is coming off a stellar performance against Pittsburgh.

Scouting Report:
Astros: Rodriguez will stay on his regular schedule despite Thursday's off day. The lefty was 1-2 with a 1.11 ERA over four starts against the Cardinals in 2008, allowing three runs over 24 1/3 innings. In his career, Rodriguez is 2-6 with a 4.08 ERA against St. Louis. He's allowed 24 earned runs over 53 innings.

Cardinals: It will be interesting to see how Lohse responds after a pretty tough assignment in his first start. He grinded out seven innings, with the last two being fairly eventful, and needed 108 pitches to do so. Those certainly aren't red-flag numbers, but Lohse did work hard on a chilly night early in the season. It's reasonable to expect him to show no ill effects, but if he does look a bit winded against Houston, his battle against the Pirates may partly explain it.

Saturday Match-up

Saturday April 11th

Roy Oswalt faces off against Adam Wainwright at Busch Stadium.

Scouting Report:

Astros: Oswalt will stay on schedule to pitch every fifth day, which pushes the fifth starter, Russ Ortiz, out of the rotation the first time through. Oswalt was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA over two starts vs. the Cardinals last year. He is 9-6 with a 2.90 ERA in his career against St. Louis.Cardinals: Wainwright's first regular season start looked a lot like most of his games in the spring. There was plenty to like, starting with seven strikeouts. But there was also plenty to give pause, most notably five walks, tying a career high. Wainwright needed 94 pitches to get 16 outs, and that's not going to be good enough. He must be more efficient and get deeper into games.

Cardinals: Wainwright's first regular season start looked a lot like most of his games in the spring. There was plenty to like, starting with seven strikeouts. But there was also plenty to give pause, most notably five walks, tying a career high. Wainwright needed 94 pitches to get 16 outs, and that's not going to be good enough. He must be more efficient and get deeper into games.

Astros claim Wilton Lopez from the Padres

The Astros added a right-handed pitcher to their organization on Friday, claiming Wilton Lopez off waivers from the Padres. They optioned him to Double-A Corpus Christi, and, to make room for him on the club's 40-man roster, transferred infielder Aaron Boone to the 60-day disabled list.

The 25-year-old Lopez has a 6-5 record and a 4.13 ERA and 16 saves over 111 relief appearances during three Minor League seasons with the Padres and Yankees organizations. In 2008, he pitched at three levels within the Padres farm system: Class A Lake Elsinore, Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Portland, making a combined 58 relief outings.

Lopez was originally signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2002.

Anyone think this could be the PTBNL in the Keppinger deal?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lap top wanted

So, as stated the other day, I am going through some legal stuff for my kids, work is crazy and NOW all of a sudden my laptop screwed up. i know the problem and just need to get a new one. No sense in resurecting the dead. If anyone knows someone who wants to sell, trade or GIVE a lap top, let me know. I'm not looking for a hand out by any means, just something affordable in these weird times. If anyone points me in the right direction, I will make them an Unofficial Official, or something really cool!

Brandon Backe throws like a girl...still

So Backe may not be Backe for a while...or something like that. interpret it how you would like. Let's skip the part where I show you the article and give you my now for my thoughts......See ya Backe....that's pretty much it in a nutshell. So he threw like 40 pitches and gave the cliche statement any pitcher gives when trying to re-bound from an injury....something to the effect of: I was just trying to get used to the mound and re-acquaint myself with the rubber. bla, bla, bla.

Honestly, I don't think we need him with the exception of when/if Hampton or Ortiz or Moehler or Wan-Rod or Oswalt gets hurt. OK, so we need him...damn it.

Next Up: Friday @ St Louis

Mike Hampton will make his first start of the year against Albert Pujols and company on Friday. Hampy is attempting to throw a complete season for the first time since 2004. After ending a strong 08' with the Braves and a decent spring training with the spacemen, Hampton has more confidence than ever, plus he uses Head & Shoulders, which helps. During ST Hampy Hamperton threw 30 innings with 22 K's and 7 free rides to candyland. More impressive was his 4.80 ERA. OK, it wasn't that impressive, but still, for a number 5 starter who is like 68 years old, pretty impressive.

Let's look at some lifetime stats against the Red Birds.

Hampy has logged 150.1 IP's, 144 hits, 95 K's and a 3.71 ERA.
This is nothing spectacular by any means, but it is somewhat impressive given his career averages being a little bit higher against other teams. Don't look for Hampy to overwhelm anyone in the game, but he will provide enough support for the Astros to get something going offensively.

The tale of the tape: Joel Pineiro:

Astros hitters have only logged 27 Ab's lifetime against Pineiro. The big 3 of Berkman, Lee and Tejada have pretty much owned Pineiro in the small snippet of AB's. Berk and Tejada are sluggin like 2.100000 against him. Hell, even Brandon Backe has a .333 avg against the guy. All of that really may not matter as Pineiro threw six scoreless innings on Monday to close out spring training. He was a former potential closer for Boston before Papelbon was well, before Papelbon was Papelbon. Pineiro was converted to a back end starter for the 2009 campaign. Pineiro's 6-2 record, 3.94 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 14 career games (13 starts) at Busch Stadium paints the picture of a match ups pitcher with minimal appeal.

Swami says:

Look for the big 3 to mash against the Puerto Rican on Friday. Astros 6 Card's 4

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

May Fortune Favor the Foolish.

Another installment from Scott Barzilla, very good read. Any Bill James fan is a friend of mine! once again, thanks Scott.

May Fortune Favor the Foolish

By Scott Barzilla

It’s hard to call Ed Wade foolish considering that the club nearly pulled off a miracle in 2008 and had a better draft than the club had had in years. However, a series of winter moves seem to be either head scratchers and/or duds. Toby Hall was brought in to solidify the catching situation. Oops. The club let Ty Wigginton go because he was too expensive only to see him sign for three million a season. Then, they quickly scooped up washed up third baseman Aaron Boone only to lose him to open heart surgery this spring. Despite all of these events, everything seems to be working out. The club has a significant upgrade at catcher with Ivan Rodriguez and presumably a defensive upgrade at third base with Jeff Keppinger and Geoff Blum.

Fielding is kind of a new wave in statistical analysis. Bill James and his ilk have pretty much pegged offense at this point in time, but we have a number of different approaches to fielding analysis. Part of that is dependent on how you approach fielding. Some look at pure volume of plays made while others look at percentage of plays made. My personal favorite is the Fielding Bible approach. John Dewan takes plays that other players at the position routinely make, sometimes make, and rarely make and then creates a +/- approach to the analysis. However, this isn’t to say that this is necessarily the best approach.

One of the things we have learned across the board in fielding analysis is that players can have career seasons and slumps just like they can with the bat. Anyone that bases any analysis based on only one season deserves what they get with the glove or the bat. The Yankees seem to use this approach and they’ve been burned more than occasionally. You don’t have to be a seamhead to know that you better steer pretty clear of A.J. Burnett. Of course, the Yankees and Braves didn’t know that. Most reasonable people could see Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright’s meltdown coming a mile away. The same is true with hitters and fielders. The Cubs are buying big into Milton Bradley after one great season in Texas. If you drafted Josh Hamilton in your fantasy draft then I wish you the best of luck.

When we move back to fielding we look at one of the facets of baseball people rarely focus on. Who could blame them? A scant ten years ago you had about as good a chance of picking out a truly good fielder as winning at the roulette wheel. Sure, everyone can pick out the butchers and the best, but the in between is harder to peg. Now, those odds are a little better. Still, very few teams make moves based on the sabermetric fielding numbers I described above. The Astros may have lucked out based on everything that has happened. Since Morgan Ensberg melted down, the Astros have seen a collection of butchers man the position regularly. Mike Lamb and Ty Wigginton aren’t going to win any gold gloves. Before we look at 2009, we should look at how the old Astros did the last three seasons at the position.

INN +/-

Ty Wigginton

1573.2 -26

Geoff Blum

854.1 +12

Aaron Boone

1024.0 -20

Which of these don’t belong? Well, it would be the guy who is staying. Through their bumbling, the Astros managed to shed themselves of the two worst defensive options they had at third base. They replace them with Blum and Jeff Keppinger. Keppinger has a zero (average) rating at the position in over 250 innings over the last three seasons. So, a weakness has become a strength. Kaz Matsui has a good defensive pedigree even if he didn’t perform well last season and Miguel Tejada played inspired (for him) defense last season. Combine that with Lance Berkman (who is second to only Albert Pujols in defensive prowess) and you have one of the better defensive infields in baseball. Imagine what would have been if the Astros had any luck.

On the other hand, the Astros probably considered the offensive numbers and they are beginning to change the high strikeout tendencies of their offense. Below we will look at last season’s lineup with their walks per 100 PA and strikeouts per 100 PA. Then, we will look at the current lineup assuming that Keppinger gets the majority the plate appearances at third base. Hopefully, this projects to the Astros having fewer slumps than they have had in the past.


SO/100 BB/100

CF Michael Bourn

21.60 7.20

2B Kaz Matsui

12.56 8.77

1B Lance Berkman

16.24 14.89

LF Carlos Lee

10.19 7.69

SS Miguel Tejada

10.81 3.60

RF Hunter Pence

19.31 6.23

3B Ty Wigginton

16.08 7.46

C Brad Ausmus

16.40 10.00

When you only have two guys in the regular lineup that even draw ten walks in 100 plate appearances then things are bad. If you have three regulars that have three times as many strikeouts as walks it’s really bad. No wonder this team scores runs in bunches. We can only hope that things will be better with a little more contact in 2009.


2B Kaz Matsui

12.56 8.77

3B Jeff Keppinger

5.06 6.71

1B Lance Berkman

16.24 14.89

LF Carlos Lee

10.19 7.69

RF Hunter Pence

19.31 6.23

SS Miguel Tejada

10.81 3.60

C Ivan Rodriguez

16.34 3.81

CF Michael Bourn

21.60 7.20

Pudge isn’t exactly an efficient hitter, so the talk of having him hit in the two hole is downright scary. Having Keppinger in the second spot is actually an appetizing thought. He isn’t a traditionally high OBP guy, but he will make contact. He is a great guy to do hit and runs with because he will put the ball in play. The key for this season is for Hunter Pence to continue improving as he did at the end of last season. Keppinger and Rodriguez are mixed blessings, but overall the lineup is better since Rodriguez and Bourn are able to hit near the bottom.

Astros top Cubs 3-2

So, it's 11 at night. I found some time to get on here. Yay me! (unenthusiastic)

Here's the skinny from Yahoo:

Jeff Keppinger’s broken-bat single in the 10th inning off closer Kevin Gregg gave the Houston Astros a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.

Hunter Pence homered and Michael Bourn had an RBI single for the Astros, who carried a 2-1 lead into the eighth before Alfonso Soriano hit a long home run off LaTroy Hawkins.

Ivan Rodriguez opened the bottom of the 10th with an infield single down the third-base line, his first hit with Houston after starting the season 0-for-7. Lance Berkman followed with another single off Neal Cotts (0-1) before Cubs manager Lou Piniella brought in Gregg.

First off, Hunter Pence, I screwed myself by not starting you tonight in my fantasy leagues (got him in 2 out of 4). I thought you were going to start off slow this year after your performance last night. I no longer have a man crush on you.

The Astros piled 10 hits through 10 innings. Pretty impressive considering. Hitting .277 (.278 if you're a rounder) as a team is pretty impressive as well, considering.

Ah, do you smell it? No, it's not what the Rock is cookin, ya Jabroni. It's the smell of seeing the ball, making contact and things happening. Wait, does that really have a smell?

So my prediction of Lee being the game breaker wasn't true, so what? he went 0-4. Gulp, pride swallowed.

Offensive player of the game: Hunter Pence

Offensive suck of the game: P-Rod"less" (went 1-4 with 3 K's and left 2 guys on base)

Pitcher of the game: Wan-Rod and Valverde. Wandy had 4 K's and 3 free rides to Candyland in 6 IP. Valverde was Valverde K'ing two in the ninth.

Next up: Wednesay VS Chicago Cubs - Moehler will take the mound against Ted Lilly.

I got some time!!! Next Game Tonight

Wan-Rod is on the mound against Ryan Dempster. The tale of the tape:


Dempster proved last season that you can go home again. He successfully made the transition back to starting and won a career-high 17 games. Named to the All-Star team, the right-hander became just the second pitcher since 1969 to record 25 or more saves in a season, then win at least 17 games the next year (baseballstats). John Hiller was the last to do so in 1973-74. There's no place like Wrigley Field for Dempster, who was 14-3 at home. It's the most wins in Chicago since Fergie Jenkins won a franchise-record 15 in 1967.

Dempster is 4-10 lifetime against the spacemen with a 4.50 ERA over the course of 122 IP's. Look for him to have a mediocre game against the 'Stros tonight.


Rodriguez has won nine games in each of his four Major League seasons and ranks in the top 10 among all NL left-handers in wins (sixth), innings pitched (ninth) and opponents batting average (seventh) during that span. Rodriguez was 5-5 with a 2.99 ERA over 14 home starts in 2008, and he posted three months with a sub-3.00 ERA: April (2.31), June (2.30) and September (1.38).

Wan-Rod really needs a good start to the year. If he can get the confidence wheels rolling, I see him winning 13 games +/- this year. Wandy is 4-4 with a 4.68 ERA lifetime against the Cubbies. With that being said about Wandy and Dempster, look for this game to be won in the batters box.

Astros Lineup against the Cubs (in no particular order):

Berkman .240
Bourn .341 (in 41 AB's)
Blum .225
Keppinger .343
Matsui .275
Tejada .349 (in 68 AB'S)
Pence .283
Lee .310

That's all I have time for, but you get the point. Look for Lee to be the deciding factor in the game tonight for the 'Stros. Wow, I did this in 5 minutes. Like I said earlier, sorry for the hiatus I HAVE to take. I will be posting but it won't be the in depth, good stuff. Good luck and thanks to the guys that sent me some emails. I am looking at adding one-two bloggers to keep this thing going! Email me if you want to help!

Astros Lose....and i'm on hiatus

So, I vowed to never do this, but I must take a break. I just started a custody case for my kids and on top of that everyone and their mom are ordering appraisals. I have absolutely no time. Stay up to date with Astros County until further notice. Oh and the Astros lost 4-2 to the Cubs.