Tag Archives: astros

The Morning Edition (August 1, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • Essentially nothing happens at the trading deadline
  • The Pirates win their 4th game in 3 days against the Cardinals
  • Minor dominates as the Braves crush the Rockies
  • Three Astros pitchers I’ve literally never heard of shutout the Orioles
  • The Indians walk off on the White Sox
  • Beltre and the Rangers walk off on the Angels
  • Bailey dominates the Padres

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Sale takes on Masterson in Cleveland (12p Eastern)
  • Matt Harvey day! (1230p Eastern)
  • Someone named Zeke Spruill pitches against Darvish (7p Eastern)
  • Cain and Hamels in Philly (7p Eastern)
  • The Cardinals try to avoid a 5 game sweep in PIT (7p Eastern)
  • Felix faces the Sox (7p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Are you ready for the A-Rod coverage?

With such an incredible day of baseball behind us it is sad to realize that a ridiculous amount of coverage will be focused on the impending attempt of MLB to ban Alex Rodriguez for life. A-Rod. The Yankees. The City of New York. Steroids. I’m surprised ESPN hasn’t melted already. Let’s talk about the games, okay? The Pirates have won four straight against the Cardinals and might grab a fifth today. The Pirates are going to finish over .500 and will likely make the playoffs. Woah.

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The Morning Edition (July 31, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • Tigers, Red Sox, and White Sox consummate a 3 team deal with Iglesias, Peavy, and Garcia on the move (Tigers coverage)
  • A’s add Callaspo from the Angels for Grant Green
  • Wheeler flirts with a no-hitter, Mets win in extras
  • Davis homers to beat the Astros
  • Pirates sweep a double headed with division rival Cards

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Gonzalez and Verlander (1p Eastern)
  • Dickey faces Colon (330p Eastern)
  • MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline (4p Eastern)
  • Wainwright and Locke hook up in game 4 of the NL Central Series (7p Eastern)
  • Kuroda and Kershaw out west (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • How’s your team doing at the deadline?

I spend much of late Tuesday covering the Tigers deal (link above) so I don’t have a lot of thoughts. I’ll give you quick analysis of tomorrow’s deals in this spot and on Twitter. I like the Callaspo move for the A’s. Like the big deal for all parties involved. Enjoy the deadline.

 

Tigers Pull The Trigger, Grab Veras for Vasquez

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The Tigers have been looking for a bullpen piece for a long while, essentially all season long. They’ve had great contributions from Benoit and Smyly, but do need a trusted arm to round out the back end of the bullpen. What they need is a righty who dominates righties and can get lefties out as well in big situations. That’s pretty much what they got. They needed a healthy Dotel, which they don’t have yet, so they went out and traded for one.

The deal looks like this. The Tigers sent 19 year old OF prospect Danry Vasquez and a Player to Be Named Later to the Astros for RHP Jose Veras. Veras will be used in late inning setup situations in tandem with Drew Smyly and instead of Bruce Rondon. I like this trade, let’s break it down.

Jose Veras is a journeyman reliever on a cheap contract that includes a cheap team option for 2014. The Tigers are getting a year plus of Veras in this deal and at almost no financial cost. Veras has thrown 43 inning in 42 games this season and has a 9.21 K/9 and 2.93 BB/9. The strikeout rate is very much in line with his career pace, but the walks are a big step forward. He has a 2.93 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, and 0.6 WAR, which all point to a very good overall season. He’s also doing it in the AL West, so his competition is actually going to get easier.

Veras is having his best season to date and his win probability added and run expectancy numbers are also in line with his stat line. All told, it looks like the Tigers are getting a solid relief pitcher and there aren’t any red flags involved. By New English D’s own reliever metric, SOEFA, Veras comes in at 0.24, which is an above average number.

Veras throws a sinking fastball, curveball, and splitter which all seem to be effective pitches for him and he doesn’t have a big platoon split.  What is very encouraging for me about the Veras pick up is that the entire key to his improved value is his decreased walk rate. Take a look at his BB/9 over his career:

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What I find encouraging about this is that I think this is coming from a real change in his approach on the mound. Something I found out while researching a piece about Adam Wainwright and Matt Moore is that throwing strikes overall is less important than throwing first pitch strikes. Getting ahead early is more important than hitting the zone period. Check. This. Out.

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Veras is throwing dramatically more first pitch strikes this season than ever before and it seems to be leading to fewer walks. If Veras has really changed his approach this much, I can completely buy into the drop in walk rate. If Veras really is a 3 BB/9 guy with his K rate, he could be a very solid and valuable piece for the Tigers as they go deep into October.

This move doesn’t just improve their 7/8th combination, but it makes the middle relief better by pushing Alburquerque and Rondon earlier into the game. Veras makes the Tigers better.

As for what they gave up, I’m comfortable with it. Vasquez ranks 5th in TigsTown’s midseason update and #8 on Marc Hulet’s preseason list among Tigers prospects. He has plus potential at the plate, but there are questions about his defense already. He’s 19 and already a LF only type player, it seems. The key to Vasquez is that he’s at least three seasons away from the majors and won’t be ready to contribute until about 2016 and beyond. The Tigers window is now and another solid bullpen arm could be very helpful in October. The Tigers are trading potential value from 2016-2022 for a shot at a title in 2013-2014. As far as I’m concerned that is a risk you take when the prospect isn’t a top tier guy. Unless the PTBNL is a significant piece, the cost is worth the benefit.

The Tigers needed another high leverage reliever for the stretch run and the postseason and they got one in Veras who seems to have turned a corner in his ability to limit runs via a lower walk rate. That walk rate looks real given his first pitch strike rate. They gave up a good prospect to get him, but that prospect is far from the big leagues and the Tigers are in a very real position to win now.

Veras should help the Tigers down the stretch and could be a difference maker in October. Flags fly forever and this is a move that makes a flag more likely without a huge cost.

The Morning Edition (July 29, 2013)

over Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • Fernandez goes 8, K’s 13, walks none to lead the Fish past Cole
  • Ross narrowly out pitches Corbin to win in AZ
  • Cingrani and Capuano pitch to a draw before Puig sends everybody home
  • Wood shuts down the Giants, who waste a nice start from Lincecum
  • Gordon’s 12th inning bomb lifts the Royals
  • The Nats unload on the Mets, win 14-1
  • Lester leads the Sox to a 5-0 win
  • Toronto walks off on Houston
  • Jeter homers in his return, Soriano leads the Yanks to victory

What I’m Watching Today:

  • David Price tries to stay hot versus the Sox (6p Eastern)
  • Weaver faces Garza (7p Eastern)
  • Beachy makes his 2013 debut (7p Eastern)
  • Jacob Turner goes against the Mets (7p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Are the BioGenesis suspensions coming today?

Reports have the suspensions coming down this week, likely all at once. We’ll see which players are actually affected, which rumors were wrong, and which players have kept their names out of the press. The impact on the pennant race will be real, but likely not substantial because a given player can only have so much impacted over 55 games. Teams will scramble to find replacements, but the impact will be unpredictable. We’ve had months of speculation that was absolutely unnecessary, now we’re actually going to see something happen. Stay tuned.

The Morning Edition (July 26, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • Buehrle gets a 2 H, 2 BB, CGSO against the Astros
  • Marlins win as Eovaldi and Nicasio combine for 13 shutout innings, but neither factor in the decision as both teams score late
  • Kuroda goes 7 scoreless to lead the Yanks past Holland and the Rangers
  • The Nationals cough one up to the Pirates, but Harper rallies back to walk off

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Jordan Zimmerman welcomes the Mets in Game 1, Harvey goes in Game 2 (130p/7p Eastern)
  • Newly minted ground ball machince John Lackey takes on the O’s (7p Eastern)
  • Wainwright faces Minor in ATL (7p Eastern)
  • Homer Bailey meets Clayton Kershaw (10p Eastern)
  • Felix gets the Twins (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • What’s a good sign a player’s breakout is real?

Edwin Encarnacion has really improved his stock in the last couple of seasons with the power, but the K% is coming down really nicely. There aren’t many big power bats who don’t strikeout more often than this:

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The Morning Edition (July 24, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • Myers and Longoria homer, but the Rays finally lose to the Sox
  • Dodgers out slug the Jays, 10-9
  • Cole leads the Pirates over the Nats
  • Miller gives the Cards 6 scoreless in win over the Phils
  • Yanks get two in the 9th to top the Rangers
  • A fine start from Fernandez leads the Fish past the Rockies
  • Parker and Cosart pitch well in Houston

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Liriano and Strasburg face off in DC (7p Eastern)
  • Price goes against the Red Sox (7p Eastern)
  • Garza makes his Rangers debut in NY (7p Eastern)
  • Jacob Turner heads to Coors (830p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Which young NL pitcher, not named Harvey, do you like?

These numbers are fun. After last night, take a look:

Name IP K% BB% ERA- FIP- xFIP- WAR
Shelby Miller 110.2 26.50% 6.70% 76 81 88 2.3
Jose Fernandez 111.2 24.70% 9.30% 72 84 92 2.0

I was on the Miller bandwagon early, but Fernandez has really impressed me lately. Tough call.

The Morning Edition (July 23, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

From Last Night:

  • MLB suspends Ryan Braun for the remainder of the season
  • Rangers acquire Garza from the Cubs
  • Matt Moore gets the CGSO as the Rays beat the Sox, move to 18-2 in their last 20
  • Feldman’s solid start lifts the O’s over the Royals
  • Gee flirts with a no-no, but the Braves take the game in the 9th
  • Grilli hurt in win over the Nats

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Jarrod Parker and Jarred Cosart pitch in Houston (8p Eastern)
  • Miller pitches against the Phils (8p Eastern)
  • Jose Fernandez heads to Coors (830p Eastern)
  • Corbin gets the Cubs (930p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Thoughts on the Braun suspension?

Obviously the Braun news populated the headlines on Monday, and I have a lot of disjointed reactions I’d like to share. Recognize that these don’t all go together or in order:

  • I want MLB or MLBPA to lay out the evidence they have against him. I understand Braun accepted the punishment, which is a partial admission of wrongdoing, but the info that has been made public is not grounds for punishment. I want to know what it is they have on him before I make my final judgments about a person’s character. I see no reason to rush to judgment.
  • Braun broke the rules, it appears, and lied about it boldly. That was wrong, but let’s not act like this is such a terrible thing. He should be punished, but this is a sport that has no punishment for dangerous felonies like DUIs. Braun behaved badly, but this isn’t the worst thing an MLB player has done in the last two seasons. Perspective would be nice.
  • Also, most people break rules to get advantages in life. Braun is to blame and deserves punishment, but you’re not perfect either.
  • Braun being linked to BioGen doesn’t mean the failed test in 2011 was legitimate. The two may not be related. Again, I want to see some evidence. If they are related, my reaction will be different. Evidence is important, speculation is not.
  • People are going to town on Braun for tearing down the “sample transporter” person from 2011 and think he should apologize. That person didn’t do his job correctly, even if Braun was dirty. Braun’s guilt doesn’t make up for that guy’s failure. Braun might not have been nice to him, but Braun’s career was at stake. You might have done the same.
  • Finally, imagine how you would feel if it was you or a close family member. I’m not asking you to feel sorry for him, but I am asking you to temper your reaction accordingly. He’s a public figure and there are no consequences for anything you say behind a keyboard, so you probably feel okay spewing vitriol. But seriously, this is a person who made a bad choice. He didn’t kill anyone, he didn’t endanger others. The reaction to Braun is not properly weighted to the severity of the offense.
  • If he’s guilty, he should be punished. But that’s it. The focus should be on the field, not on the people who made choices to take themselves off of it. Instead of vilifying Braun, why don’t you celebrate the ones left in the game.

The Morning Edition (July 22, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

From Last Night:

  • Harvey dominates the Phils over 7 innings, allows 3 H and 10 K as Lee struggles
  • Masterson flirts with a no-hitter in a 7-1 win over the Twins
  • Giants waste a great start from Bumgarner
  • Colon drops a CGSO on the Angels
  • Wainwright’s 8 strong innings lead the Cards over the Padres
  • Felix turns in 6 solid inning as the Mariners thrash the Astros
  • Peralta and Alvarez throw gems, but it takes a Gindl walk off in the 13th to finalize the Crew and Fish
  • Kershaw throws well, Zimmermann gets rocked in Dodgers win at Nats
  • Bailey K’s 12 but the Reds fall to the Bucs
  • Rays win…again

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Darvish comes to Yankee Stadium (7p Eastern)
  • Scherzer and Sale (8p Eastern)
  • Garza showcase continues against Skaggs in AZ (930p Eastern)
  • Lincecum returns to the mound for the first time since his no-hitter (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Should the Rays scare you?

The answer is yes under certain conditions. First, if you cheer for the Rays, no the Rays should not scare you. Also, if you’re team is wildly out of the race, then you should just enjoy baseball and not sweat the standings. But everyone else should be worried because the Rays are dangerous. They probably won’t sustain a 17-2 pace for the rest of the season but they are putting the East on notice. On May 7th, the Rays were 14-18 and looked like they weren’t going to be able to provide their usually excellent starting pitching. Since then, they are 44-23, which is a 106 win pace. This is a good team that just had their rough stretch early, which is often a nice way to lull your opponents into a false sense of security. I picked the Rays to win the East and haven’t wavered. They are baseball’s 3rd best offense and 11th best pitching staff and have one of baseball’s best managers and easily the best GM. This is a team that should scare you. They have one of the game’s best in Longoria, an excellent super utility guy in Zobrist, the underrated Jennings, the young Myers, and the lightning in a bottle Loney. Not to mention the pitching is back. They Rays are hot and are only going to cool off a little.

The Morning Edition (July 21, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

From Last Night:

  • Mariners become the first team to ever score 4+ runs while getting just one hit as they beat the Astros in a game in which Bedard left the game without allowing a hit after 6.1 IP
  • Indians waste a solid start by Kluber, fall to the Twins
  • Kuroda shuts down the Sox, Yanks edge past Lackey
  • Rays stay hot against the Jays
  • Greinke and Gio pitch great, but the Nats take it in 10

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Lee, Harvey…Oswald? at Citi Field (1p Eastern)
  • Kershaw takes on Zimmermann in DC (130p Eastern)
  • Felix goes to Houston, strikeout warning in effect (2p Eastern)
  • Wainwright goes against the Padres (2p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Who’s regretting the offseason now?

Something I noticed last night was that 11:25pm, the Blue Jays, Royals, and Angels (the 3 AL teams that made big moves this offseason) all have the same number of wins as the Mariners. All at 45. The lesson here is that big moves don’t make a good team. I’m not knocking what the Blue Jays did, but the Angels and Royals made poor moves. To recap, the Angels gave $125 million to Josh Hamilton (which is risky in itself) instead of doing anything to improve their pitching staff and the Royals traded away a great young hitter for a starting pitcher who can’t help the team win because they don’t score any runs. Even if Shields and Myers were a good swap in terms of dollars and value, it certainly didn’t make sense to trade from a weakness to get more pitching when that new pitching was only enough to make you a .500 team. Setting that aside, my point is that the national media latched onto the big moves and called these teams the big winners in the offseason. That was silly. You have to look at the whole picture and the whole picture almost always favors the club that adds complimentary pieces instead of big names. The media chases stories, MLB teams should chase wins. Remember that next time you’re reading offseason winners and losers. Texas “had a terrible offseason” if you listened to the writers. Funny how that works out.

The Morning Edition (July 20, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

 

From Last Night:

  • Brandon Barnes hits for the cycle in a loss to the Mariners
  • The Cards shell Marquis, but the Padres make it interesting
  • Holland goes 8, but gives up 3 runs in a loss to the O’s
  • The Phils pummel the Mets setting Kendrick up for a terrible start that still ends in a win
  • The Rays win an 8 HR slugfest with the Jays
  • Soriano coughs up a strong start for Strasburg

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Hamles versus Wheeler at Citi (1p Eastern)
  • Kuroda and Lackey (4p Eastern)
  • Burnett takes on Latos (4p Eastern)
  • Greinke goes against Gio (7p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Where does the cycle rank among cool baseball achievements?

Obviously the cycle is awesome for it’s value (at least four times on base) and it’s cool factor (getting each type of hit) but where does it rank among other cool things. No-hitters, perfect games, 4 HR games, CGSO? Let’s take a look at the numbers since 1916:

  • Perfect Games: 21
  • No-hitters: 204
  • Cycles: 240
  • Cycles w/a walk: 39
  • 4 HR: 14
  • 15 or more K: 232

If you asked me I’d most prefer to attend a perfect game, no question, but all of them would be a lot of fun. I’ve been to about 3-4 near no-hitters and a 14 K game.

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