Thursday, 27 May 2010
Either McLane is playing silly buggers, or he does not want to trade Oswalt. Perhaps he's looking at his gate receipts.
I mentioned that I had read somewhere that Oswalt has the highest winning percentage of active pitchers in September and October (postseason included). Well my by numbers he is 28-9 95 ER, 307 1/3
4-0 46 2/3 innings 19 ER
41.2 wins above replacement WAR, average of 4.4 a year, and is in rarified air, considering only 13 active players have a career WAR over 30. Oswalt's career war is 7th among active players, behind Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Andy Pettitte, Jamie Moyer, Johan Santana and Tim Hudson (all of those apart from Santana are older).
Meanwhile the Crawfish Boxes compares the two tenures of Gerry Hunsicker and Ed Wade head to head (the first three years of Hunsicker's tenure, compared to Wade's time up to now).
Day game today, as the Astros go for a series win against the Brewers. Brett Myers takes the hill.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Where did it all go wrong guys?
So it has come to this. Last week Roy Oswalt requested to be traded after the Astros season nose-dived. After losing their first eight games, it seemed as if Houston had recovered, clawing back to 8-10, but they have won seven in the last twenty-six games has obviously got to the Astros long-time ace. This club is not going anywhere soon, and with Oswalt around the peak of his career, he obviously wants to taste success, something that has been immune from the Texas club since 2005, experiencing losing seasons in three of the last four years.
From what I’ve read, I gather that Oswalt is not Mr. Popular in the clubhouse at the moment, after seeming to show up team-mates on the field. Frankly, if I had two wins from nine straight quality starts and run support totalling 1.99 runs a game, I think I’d be pretty pissed. And yet, the Astros’ offense in 2005, which was shut-out nine times with Roger Clemens on the mound (averaging at 3.43 runs per game), arguably cost him another Cy Young. Clemens would not be kicking up a stink in the way Oswalt has.
Perhaps Oswalt has glanced across to Philadelphia, where Roy Halladay has finally left the Blue Jays, and seen the line-up he has behind him. Perhaps he expected more from his team. He put in the work to recover from his worst season last year (a 4.12 ERA, poor for him), recording a 1.066 WHIP, his lowest since 2001, and yet there is nothing behind him. Compared to the 1.99 RUNS he gets every game, the Phillies hit 4.91, every time Halladay takes the hill. There is no wiggle room when your team has scored no more than four runs in your first nine starts, and they have only done that three times.
In the back end of the rotation, Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino have had pretty awful seasons, while Wandy Rodriguez seems to have taken a step back. Oswalt and Myers have done their clubs proud in nine starts a-piece, but the real disaster has been the hitting.
Or lack-thereof. Something has gone terribly, terribly wrong in Brad Mills’ lineup. Only Michael Bourn and Jeff Keppinger have done their jobs, with Hunter Pence’s stats barely respectable. As for the rest, Pedro Feliz is on the right side of the Medoza Line, Carlos Lee on the wrong. Lance Berkman is getting nothing to hit. 105 at bats have been wasted on Tommy Manzella. Their getting nothing from the catcher’s spot in the lineup. After two an a bit seasons injury riddled seasons, Kaz Matsui is finally gone, clearing waivers yesterday.
The annoying thing is, you look at the amount of times they have been shutout, and then you look at what they did to Tampa Bay’s David Price in the FIRST INNING. Price had a 1.71 ERA coming into the meeting between the two clubs, and the Astros scored five runs off him in five innings. Although compare the amount of runs scored for and against by the Rays (241-144) to the Astros (132-205).
At least the arms in the bullpen are doing well. Closer Matt Lindstrom has yet to blow a save, Brandon Lyon has recovered from an early season blip, while Chris Sampson continues to excel as a reliever If only they could get some leads to them.
Did anyone say clearance sale?
You might say Ed Wade dropped the ball on this one, but with the budget he’s operating under he had to take some chances. Too much of the budget is tied down by Oswalt, Lee and Berkman. The additions of Lyon, Lindstrom and Myers have been the only successes this season. Feliz was a gamble, but it was better than having Chris Johnson in the lineup. Manzella is a perennial AAA player. As for the two big sticks, people have been saying that Lee was a ticking time bomb at his age, and his power numbers have plummeted. Berkman is coming back from pre-season injury, and had a rough season in 2009. Towles and Quintero have simply been placeholders until Jason Castro is major league ready.
As for the rotation, if the farm system had any Steven Strasburgs I think I would have noticed. Jordan Lyles (he's 19, which Crawfish Boxes points out, in the Top 10 Dumbest (Yet Plausible) Astros Moves) and Ross Seaton are not quite ready yet, but the Astros will need Castro, and Jiovanni Mier, their shortstop prospect sooner than later.
If Oswalt is on the way out then, while that is a shame, we need a big package to replace him. Although as Rob Neyer points out, you would be STUPID to trade Steven Strasburg, the most hyped prospect EVER, for Oswalt given the amount of money he's on, and the fact that his contract runs out in 2011 (he's owed $15m this year, $16m next year, then has a club option in 2012 worth $16m, with a $2m buyout clause) . Although Steve Phillips apparently would. Ouch. The blogosphere seems to suggest that no team would be willing to take Oswalt without McLane eating a lot of money from Oswalt's contract. The Dodgers might be one mooted option, with either of the blue chip prospects Dee Gordon and Josh Lindblom mooted. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times is all for the deal, and here's what Joe Torre had to say about the Astros' ace:
“He’s one of those No. 1 guys. When you have one of the guys of that quality — like Roy Halladay was talked about last year, or Cliff Lee — for certain that type of pitcher changes the way not only you look at yourself, but the way other clubs look at you.”
Over at Astros County, the resident Constable is ridiculing any thought of Oswalt going to the Mets. What you get from reading the various quotes that the Astros blogger has set out is that there are a lot of barriers to any deal to any team. Ed Wade will have to be smart and play on the greed of other teams.
Among active pitchers Oswalt ranks 4th in win percentage (.647), 4th in ERA (3.21), 11th in wins (139), and 12th in strikeouts (1533). He's won more games than anyone his age or younger than C.C. Sabathia. I remember reading in Elias Sports Bureau once that Oswalt has the highest active win percentage of any pitcher in September and October combined, therefore perfect down the stretch. Drayton here’s an idea, if you want to sell him, I’ll do it, and you’ll get far more than Miggy T, who Purpura nearly landed you with in 2006. Only Johan Santana has been more reliable over the past decade. If a rebuild is on the cards, top billing is to getting rid of as much of Lee’s salary as possible. In the next two years, Rodriguez, Pence and Bourn will be taking far bigger slices of the Astros’ budget than they had done before arbitration.
Then you hear talk about Drayton channelling the spirit of 2005, as if the Astros simply did themselves a hole just for the heck of getting out, the Houdini’s of the National League. Well, at the moment those handcuffs are still on, as is the straitjacket, and your upside down in a tank full of water. That’s magic, and this is baseball. I could look up the Astros’ chances of pulling off a miracle playoff surge, but I’m guessing it would be WAY below 1%. In 2005 the Astros were a good team playing badly, this is a bad team playing very badly.
He said there was no doubt about it. He said Tal Smith and Ed Wade were always showing him numbers. I guess he didn't understand what I meant. Or didn't care. Not that it matters much anymore. The Astros are on a pace to go 55-107. Attendance is down 30 percent since 2007. Apathy is replacing anger. Passion is gone.
A little nugget from Justice, and I’ve got to agree. A rebuild might have been the smart thing after replacing Purpura. Instead Wade went for cut-price veterans such as Hampson and Tejada, hoping they would pay off. The Michael Bourn- Brad Lidge was universally derided, and while Lidge’s 42-save season gave the Phillies a World Series, the trade is looking better day by day.
For a long time Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt have been seen as irreplaceable cornerstones to the Houston Astros franchise, now they might be cornerstones in a trade. They also represent the last vestige of Huniscker’s golden draft generation.
Sad news today as the news broke that fomer Astros pitcher Jose Lima had died of a heart attack. Lima won 21 games for Houston in 1999, and made 112 starts for the club.