Archive for tejada

Astros Sweep Cardinals!

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca
Okay, so, I pretty much use this blog as a place to voice my frustration with the club.  My love for the Astros comes accross mostly as love-hate, with the latter half of that relationship predominating.  Mostly, though, I’ve been frustrated with the way this team has been run.  My rants on player performance are normally limited to the context of how it should affect Ed Wade’s decision-making and Drayton’s long-term strategy.

Today, though, I’m just freakin’ excited that the Astros swept the Cardinals.  I honestly did not expect to have this much fun at any time this season.  My only concern comes when I think about how much this series sweep helped the Cubs.  I hate the Cubs.  I like the Cardinals.  I like LaRussa, Pujols, and the remaining Duncan.  I like the moustaches. I like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriters, and I like knowledgeable baseball fans. If any team other than Houston has to win the NL Central, I want it to be the Cards.  As teams who have finished 1-2 in the standings so often in recent years, I hope they can continue to be each other’s well-respected adversary.

Still, there was something so satisfying about sweeping a first place St. Louis team.   Let me say it again: the Astros swept the Cardinals!!  It helped that the club’s three best starters lined up for the three game series, but I still can’t believe it.  The team couldn’t believe it either.  They were jumping around like they just made it to the World Series.  You take the excitement wherever you can get it, and to lots of us who have been underwhelmed so far this year, there was a playoff atmosphere to this series.

As an Astros fan, I have been conditioned to believe that come-from-behind victories simply do not go in our favor.  I have been conditioned to expect opposing teams to get out of late-inning, bases loaded, no-out jams.  Prior to one of the Geoff Blum walk-off singles against the Cubs, it had been months since the team had won a game it trailed after the sixth inning.  To come back in the bottom of the ninth against a closer who has looked fantastic this year is remarkable.  Miguel Tejada has been a spark plug that ignites this team’s confidence and enthusiasm night after night.

Keppinger gives Miggy the rare double-spotlight.

Keppinger gives Miggy the rare double-spotlight.

In all honesty, I still think this team’s pitching is too weak, and I’m worried that the injury bug will continue to strike the… uh… less-than-youthful members of the team.  But for now, who cares? While I’m not jumping aboard the bandwagon just yet, at times like these, even a website called “Disastros” can be downright gleeful.
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Astros Opening Day Line-up?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

Was Friday’s victory over the Phillies a glimpse into what we’ll see come opening day? Cooper fielded this starting line-up:

1. Kaz Matsui (S)
2. Ivan Rodriguez (R)
3. Lance Berkman (S)
4. Carlos Lee (R)
5. Miguel Tejada (R)
6. Hunter Pence (R)
7. Geoff Blum (S)
8. Michael Bourn (L)

Starting Pitcher: Roy Oswalt

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this batting order, so I hope it’s not set in stone. In particular, I’d really like to see Hunter Pence batting 2nd. He’s had trouble with breaking pitches, and hitting in front of Berkman should increase the amount of fastballs he gets, particularly if a speedy Matsui or Bourn is aboard. Plus, Pence is faster on the basepaths than Pudge.

The top of the order isn’t all about speed, though, it’s about on-base percentage.  I know, Pence doesn’t often see ball four, but Pudge is known for never taking walks. In his career, Pudge has struck out three times as often as he has walked. In 2007, Pudge had only a .294 OBP, walking only nine times the whole season. Last year he picked up the pace, with twenty-three bases on balls. Pudge has a .339 career OBP, mostly from his career .301 batting avg. Pence’s career on-base? .336! 

A young guy and an old guy with virtually identical on-base percentages. One on the rise, the other declining. Both righties. One with above average speed, the other with above average speed… for a catcher.

Coop, you’ve gotta bat Pence 2nd and Pudge 6th.

Also, I know this is super-trendy and all, but I’d like to see Bourn batting 9th, with the pitcher in the 8 hole. What’s the point of having Bourn’s speed in front of the pitcher’s spot? A pitcher should be capable of laying a decent enough bunt down for Blum to advance.  I’d much rather take advantage of Michael Bourn’s occasional hit or walk after the pitcher made the final out in the previous inning. It’s like keeping him as the lead-off man, but without having to see him bat so many times. Also, Matsui’s career numbers are much better in the 2nd spot in the order. So, maybe that could be a collateral benefit.

All I ask is for Cooper to put together a batting order that makes sense from day one and stick to it.  No tinkering day to day, with Tejada batting second sometimes, and Bourn leading off every once in a while.  Ol’ Scrap Iron Phil drove us nuts with that; we don’t need more of it.  This line up has people that can hit, and I just hope we fans get to see it have a chance to come together the way it should, even if it struggles at first.