Friday, June 29, 2007

2998, 2999, 3000, 3001, 3002...

Craig Biggio not only made his 3,000th hit into an RBI in last night's game against Colorado, he got thrown out by former teammate Willy Taveras trying to stretch it into a double. If it was any other player on any other day, Houston would be throwing a conniption over the poor baserunning skills employed that ended the inning. Even the first base coach, Jose Cruuuuuuuz, fell into the trap that is a milestone game. He sent him on an outfield arm he knows very well!

That was Biggio's third hit of the night, and if he'd stopped there I still would have been impressed. But the game went into extras after a couple of well-placed home runs (these after Chad Qualls -- you guessed it -- gave up the lead on a two-run home run) and Biggio had more chances to bat than I would have liked (on any other day). He ran out the grounder on two outs in the eleventh to start the patented Astros rally (wait until all chances are squandered before changing your mind about wanting to win the game) and advanced to third on Hunter Pence's double, the softest ever hit in the history of baseball. Berkman was HBP ("You're supposed to hit Biggio!") and Carlos Lee, definitely "not a deer" and probably the only guy in the NL this side of Prince Fielder who could get thrown out at first on a single, made his lack of speed a moot point with a moonshot into the Crawford Boxes.

A little excessive, I say, but why not have a grand slam to end it? I'll take that any day over the game inning double play, quit often hit into by Not A Deer himself.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Because wins and losses are an accurate measure of a pitcher's abilities....

A's-Indians (CLE coverage), top of the second after the last of Carmona's runs score:
"Eight earned runs may hurt your ERA, but it only counts as one L."

Eight earned runs over 1+IP WILL hurt your ERA and that's a lot more damaging than getting nailed for the loss.

Mr. 999 and Where'd our bullpen go?

Far more impressive than 3,000 hits to me, a fairly new baseball fan, is that 999 of Craig Biggio's 2,997 hits have been for extra bases. Not only that, but he has more doubles than any other right-handed hitter in history.

At the risk of sounding blasphemous (his career is as long as my younger sisters' lives), what's so great about Craig Biggio? Consistency? This season, he's consistently mediocre. With the spotlight on his march to 3,000 his inadequacy at the plate becomes the center of attention. Or does it? The Houston Chronicle, on the front of its sports page, proudly proclaims that Biggio went 1-4 last night. He led off the third inning with a single to nab his 2,997th career hit. The next article over talks about how we need to trade everyone.

The Astros went on to lose 5-11 with a 9-run sixth for the Brewers both the loss for Wandy Rodriguez and the nail in the coffin for the bullpen. In 2005, Houston had Clemens, Oswalt, Pettitte, Lidge, Ensberg, Lane, Berkman, Taveras, need I go on? In 2007, Houston has Oswalt, Pence, and Brian Moehler as its steadiest arm in the 'pen.

Jason Lane, can you still pitch?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Disabled List

As my Navy friend so eloquently put it yesterday, "I want to be able to take off from work if I'm tired."

Is it just me, or are there more DL stints across MLB this year than last year? Every time I turn around there's a new name followed by a body part in parentheses parading across the "Bottom Line" on Sportscenter.

Brad Lidge (oblique)
Rich Harden (shoulder)
Darin Erstad (ankle)
Vicente Padilla (triceps)
Jim Edmonds (back)
Curt Schilling (ego)

I mean, should it be this difficult to stay healthy? Milton Bradley, for instance. Three DL stints, I believe, and all of them muscle strains. The Yankees pitching staff during the early season? Muscle strains that led to the firing of the strength coach. The A's pitching staff has lost two starters (Harden and Loaiza) and four+ relievers over the season due to injury.

So here's to America's health care system. You don't need Michael Moore to tell you that the United States is unhealthy and hurting and not getting any help; you can just look at Major League Baseball.