Archive for Brandon Backe

Pudge an Astro! …I’m confused.

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been into this idea from the start. I just have a few questions about how this happened and what this means.

Are the Astros acting rationally when it comes to Scott Boras?

The Astros have signed a Scott Boras client, going back on their pledge never to do so again. The Boras-shunning came as a result of the Carlos Beltran debacle, as the Astros were uncomfortable with someone who is all business and no folksiness. Perhaps this signals a new found self-confidence in the front office; maybe they can deal with all agents and not fear being made fools of.

Has Ed Wade learned how to bargain?

It doesn’t help your side in negotiations when you indicate from the get-go how interested you are in signing someone (Randy Wolf), or if you say many times that acquiring someone has long been an interest of your owner (Miguel Tejada). Wade actually sounded convincing as he tried to pull off the whole “you need us more than we need you” attitude. Ed Wade played this one almost right. The only mistake he made was waiting for Pudge to light it up during the WBC. Pudge would have come cheaper two weeks ago.

Is Ed Wade a liar?

Apparently, we can’t believe a word Ed Wade says when it comes to whether he’s interested in a free agent. Good for him (see above). As recently as Friday, Alyson Footer sounded scared to ever say Pudge’s name around Ed Wade again:

I was happy to see that Pudge Rodriguez is no longer mentioning the Astros as the teams who are supposedly interested in him. The latest news I read listed only the Mets and Marlins. That is good, because after checking with Ed Wade yet again today, I can assure you the Astros are not pursuing him. And judging from the irritated look on his face, I can also assure you I won’t be asking him about Pudge again anytime soon. At least not for two weeks. Or maybe 10 days. At the very least, I’ll wait a week.

Oh, and he’s not bidding on Pedro Martinez, either.

Alyson, thanks for the scoop. I guess that means we’re signing Pedro next. You know what, let’s all promise each other to never believe Ed again. That was so mean of him.

Are the Astros in preseason panic mode?

Either Wade is a filthy liar/good negotiator, or the Astros are in panic mode. Perhaps the team is finally ready to recognize that even though Spring Training win/loss records don’t matter, it does matter if it looks like your team sucks and your current catchers make Brad Ausmus look like Ted Williams.

What next?

Assuming Ed Wade is a liar AND the Astros are in panic mode, perhaps the team isn’t done wheeling and dealing. The “Good Guys” slogans are gone this year. Could that leave an opening for Jim Edmonds? He’s still out there folks, he did well last year (especially at Minute Maid), and Michael Bourn still looks bad. I know, I know, I hate him too. I’m just saying, he knows how to run up Tal’s Hill.

Will the Astros cut Brandon Backe?

Reports are that Ivan Rodriguez’s base salary will be $1.5 Million. Coincidentally, Brandon Backe will make $1.55 Million, unless the club cuts him loose prior to the start of the season. Ed Wade is saying that their budget for Pudge has changed in the past month or so. There has already been a lot of speculation that Backe could get cut, but with Nieve being claimed off waivers by the Mets, could the ‘Stros afford to be without yet another replacement level pitcher?

Where do we send Lou Palmisano?

Looks like there’s no room for the catcher the Astros picked up in the Rule 5 draft. Technically, the pick was the Orioles’. The two teams had previously arranged a trade if the O’s picked Palmisano from the Brewers. So… who gets him? Baltimore has the top rated prospect in the country, Matt Wieters, ready to play catcher this year. So, Milwakee, I guess you can have him back. That is, unless, Wade slips Quintero through waivers so he can have his cake and eat it too. I sure wouldn’t think he could do that to Q, but it might be that they think Pudge is an injury risk at his age.

How long until Berkman complains about not knowing this guy?

The Puma has been awfully content with his clubhouse mates this spring. But then again, he knows them. As you’ve probably heard, Pudge is currently kicking ass for his native Puerto Rico. So when does he meet the rest of the team? Quick Pudge, learn something about Texas high school football. Also, in case team USA and team PR meet again, he might also want to tell Roy O that he hates Jeff Gordon/loves Dale Jr.

 

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Postcard from a Disaster, aka Monday Morning Quarterbacking in the Summer of Brett Favre

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2008 by beckeesh

Well, we survived the tornado, but not the disaster.  Cecil Cooper lost two games for us this week, and he should have to answer for it.

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Case One:  Tuesday, 8-5-08, Astros v. Cubs

Wandy gave up six, and the Cubs surged to an early lead after two innings played.  However, the momentum began to shift to the Astros’ favor later in the game.  We scored two in the fifth, two in the sixth, and three in the seventh to jump to a one run lead. 

Then, the bottom of the seventh.

Sampson was on the mound after pitching an effective but shaky sixth inning.  He started off the seventh by giving up back to back hits followed by a sac fly from Fukudome.  With the eighth spot due up, Lou Piniella sent in Daryle Ward to pinch hit.

And then, with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh, Cecil Cooper made the call to have Sampson INTENTIONALLY WALK DARLYE WARD. 

I’m sorry, WHY?  Daryle Ward is a career .264 hitter, and this season he’s only hitting .227.  He’s only 1-for-4 against Sampson with two strikeouts, and he’s never faced Wesley Wright.  In fact, I can’t believe Cooper didn’t salivate at the idea of getting the lefty-lefty matchup there.  Why not bring in Wright to face Ward and force Pinella to manage his way out of it? 

WHAT WAS COOPER THINKING?!

I can tell you, I was sitting very close to this action at the time, in a group of ‘Stros fans, and all of us were asking, “What’s he doing here?  Why is he walking Ward to face another pinch hitter?” and  “Wait, doesn’t that mean we’ll see Soriano this inning?” and finally, “Do we have this right?”

We did have it right, and Cecil Cooper had it all wrong.  It would not be his first mistake.

Fontenot (lefty) had been announced to pinch hit for the pitcher, Howry, but Coop went to the bullpen again.  Wesley Wright came in for the Astros, so Pinella burned Fontenot and turned to Geovany Soto (righty) for a better matchup. 

This makes it bases loaded, one out in the bottom of the seventh, Astros 7, Cubs 6, Geovany Soto v. Wesley Wright. 

The count went 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2… Strikeout!  

Strikeout! Strikeout! 

Now it’s bases loaded, TWO outs!  TWO OUTS!  “Maybe things will turn out OK after all.  Go ‘Stros!” we’re thinking.

We temporarily forgot that coming to the plate was… Alfonso Soriano.

Well, Wright is DEALING, so bring it on, Soriano!

<<<PA Announcement:  Pitching change for the Astros.  New pitcher Doug Brocail.>>>

MISTAKE NUMBER 2, COOPER, SIR.  We fans in the stands were deflated.  Weren’t you?

I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of what happened next:  grand slam, left field.  Grand slam on a 1-2 count! Brocail would give up another run that inning, and we would not be able to come back. 

Eleven, eleven, eleven, 11 runs Cubs, 7 runs, Astros. 

Of the fateful moment, Cooper had this to say:  “It was a pitch that [Brocail] didn’t get where he wanted,” Cooper said. “He wanted to bounce a slider and ended up hanging it. When you hang it to guys like [Soriano], they’ll make you pay.”

I have yet to hear any explanation for walking Daryle Ward.

[We got] down, and I felt like the Cubs, a first-place club and a talented club like that, it’s kind of tough to come back. But we got some big hits and everybody played well.”

Everybody, Coop?

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Case Two: Wednesday, 8-6-08, Astros v. Cubs

This case is a lot simpler to make:

Brandon Backe, EIGHT earned runs in the third.

No one up in the bull pen.

Two earned runs in the fourth.

Who is that, Byrdak out there?

Eleven, eleven, eleven, 11 runs Cubs, 4 runs, Astros.

What made this loss really hard to take was the fact that once out there, Brydak threw 2 2/3 scoreless, and LaTroy Hawkins, who pitched the eighth (to boos from the Cubs audience) STRUCK OUT THE SIDE!

I’ll call this a WAY #2 loss: bad starting pitching.  But in my mind this game, like the one before it, was lost by Cecil Cooper.

Wandy! Wandy!

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , on July 26, 2008 by beckeesh

Thank Jesus, the Astros won last night against a tough Brewers club.  Rodriguez got the win, and deserved it, after pitching 6 innings, fanning 7, and allowing only 1 run. 

The run he allowed was Corey Hart, Astros killer.  After reaching first base to lead off the 2nd, he advanced to second on a balk by Wandy.  Wandy had clearly been trying to hold Hart at first, and when his balk allowed him to reach second, Wandy looked so pissed.  He then stared him down at second, took his mind off the batter Bill Hall, and allowed an RBI double to left center.

Other than a HBP (please –  Rickie Weeks has been hit 13 times this season) and allowing a few walks, Wandy dominated, and that was the key to the game.  Oh, that, and we finally managed to drive in some runs in the 7th.  (Yeah, bases loaded no outs and we actually scored a few!)

Wandy is our ace.  Who’da thunkit?  Last October, I was sure Wandy would be shipped in a trade.  Nope, somehow this 29 year old lefty is still hanging around.  I couldn’t be more pleased with his performance this season.

Tonight, Brandon Backe takes the mound.  What do you think about this 30 year old’s chances?  Corey Hart has pounded him in the past, 6 hits in 15 ABs, including a homerun and three doubles.  Mike Cameron, Ryan Braun, and J.J. Hardy all have an OPS over 1.1 against our man Brandon.

I’ll call 6 earned in Backe’s start tonight.  Would you take the over or the under?