March 31st, 2012
by lisagray

Today was fish or cut bait day for Livan Hernandez, meaning that the Astros would have to either cut him or fork over 100 Large.

He had started 5 games over 16 IP, 23 H, 3 HR, 6 BB, 7 K, 10 R/ 14 ER – 5.63 ERA and 1.81 WHIP.

And they weren’t about to fork over 100 large to give him just one more start, so he got tossed out the Astros door and went straight onto the Braves roster. So mucxh for the Braves have all this excess of starting pitching. Funny, I thought they weren’t signing Roy Oswalt, who would LIKE to sign with them, because the one thing they DIDN’T need was starting pitching. Guess Roy ain’t signing for no 750K.

Anyway, this means that Lucas Harrell actually has a chance to pitch himself into the starting lineup. He’s pitched 16.2 innings: 13 H, no HR, 4 BB, 6 K, 5 R/4 ER: 2.16 ERA, 1.02 WHIP.

Yes, 1 year of Lucas Harrell will be cheaper than 1 year of Livan would have been, how did you guess? Who, me? cynical?

I must say that this is really unusual, that the Astros would pick a young AAA lifer over a about to be washed up old major league vet. Youneverknow…

Weiland pitched very well today: 6 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K. So far this year, he’s thrown 22 IP, 18 H, NO homers, 8 BB, 13 K, 7 R/ER: 2.86 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.

Jordan Lyles, hanging on by his fingertips this spring, pitches at noon for his last attempt to avoid AAA - so far, he’s thrown 15.2 innings: 23 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 9 K, 13 R/11 ER: 6.32 ERA. 1.66 WHIP.

Relievers? Well, no real change from last week – Rhiner Cruz, the Rule V guy, threw 2 scoreless 1 hit innings today, so is hanging on. Lyon and Myers are looking better and better the more innings they throw, and still no idea who will be the last cut. Remember back in 08 when they got rid of Russ Springer, who could “only” throw 1 inning, in favor of Rick White, who was supposed to be able to last longer? Well, Livan/Duke were supposed to be options for long men, even though, for some reason I don’t get, these days managers prefer not to use relievers for more than 1 inning at a time. I never understood why managers pull someone who throws only a couple of pitches in 1 inning and doesn’t let him throw another inning even if he isn’t pulled for a PH. I get not letting him go through the order more than once, but why not more than 1 inning?

I don’t know why not, but these days, it’s how things are done. Seems to me that the more pitchers a manager puts out there in a game, the greater chance that one of em has a BAD night and blows the game and it sure nuff seems to me that’s what happened a LOT last year. Yeah it’s so great to have a nails 7th, 8th, 9th inning guy when you are winning after the 6th. But when you’re behind or tied, well, that’s 3 good relievers you don’t got and what you DO got isn’t near as good, including LOOGYs.


Anyway, to the hitters:

Chris Johnson is still killing the ball: 1.032 OPS over 51 AB. Brett Wallace is hitting .277, but not much power, .426 SLG, in 47 AB. Lowrie is still out with his owie – thumb sprain and the MRI is supposedly OK which means that he’s gonna be fine for Opening Day. Mary Jane Schafer is still dancing around with the hand surgeon.

They’re still clutching Marwin Gonzalez, who singles + walks to a .304 OBP over 38 AB. Matt Downs is really awful this spring – 7 fer 42 with 2 doubles, a triple, 2 BB, 9 K over 42 AB and you do NOT want to know how awful he is with the glove. He makes Angel Sanchez look like a Gold Glover – and Angel played in Bud Norris’ game today and went ofer with an RBI, a walk and a run scored. Jose Altuve isn’t hitting that well – 12 fer 46, but he also has 8 BB and 11 (!!!) K – and here I didn’t think he struck out much. Clank is raking: 13 fer 41 with 6 doubles, a homer, 5 BB (really!!) 6 K and 2 GIDP.

Jason Castro is hitting for average (.333) but not power (.385 SLG). Chris Snyder just hit his 4th homer in 37 AB and has a .270 BA.

In the OF, Bogu is starting to heat up – 10 fer 45 with 2 doubles, a homer, 9 BB, 9 K, 5 SB, no CS. Travis Buck is still hitting – he has a .916 OPS over 37 AB. JB Shuck had a cold week and saw his average drop to .240, and he isn’t walking much either. Fortunately for him, Ruggiano isn’t doing much better, and can’t play CF.  JD Martinez had a lousy week, had only 2 hits and saw his OPS plummet to .697 over 47 AB. I still think that he’ll be the starting LF (thank GAWD that Cust is gone) and if Schafer is still nursing his owie, that Bogu will start in center and Buck in right with Shuck as backup.

Minor leaguers, naturally, are still showing up in the ST games, and Brandon Barnes and Jake Goebbert and George Springer are still getting some PA and doing just fine – but they won’t be on the roster, so it doesn’t matter.

Just a week left until Opening Day.

Which reminds me – I did NOT like having the major league Opening Day official game start at 5 AM and, AND broadcast on a non-standard cable channel. For goodness sakes, everyone should be able to see the Opening Day game. And it should not be held half way across the world. It should be in Cincy, during the day, so we can all call in sick to watch, just like Back In The Good Old Days.

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