Geary Down 0-3, But Not Out

April 27, 2009

Astros reliever Geoff Geary is having a little trouble finding his groove early this year. His 0-3 record already matches his career high just three weeks into the 2009 season. The fact that Geary had a major surgery in October, which involved a repair of the hip abductor and an abdominal tear, may be a reason for his losses to the Reds, Dodgers and Brewers, but physically, he feels fine. The reliever had to relearn how to put pressure on his back (right) leg, as well as trust that it will hold up. “I’m striding, getting further out, and using it,” Geary said. His frustrations, however, have not exhausted the pitcher yet and he seems confident despite the slow start. “Give me the baseball,” he said. “I’ll throw the ball every darned day.”

The Woe of “El Caballo”

April 27, 2009

Houston Astros left fielder Carlos Lee is suffering from a possibly strained right Achilles tendon, which may bode unwell for the ‘Stros’ cleanup slugger. The injury was sustained during Lee’s first at bat Friday in Houston’s game against the Brewers when he rotated his leg improperly while swinging at a sinker thrown by Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo. After having his leg taped up between innings, “El Caballo” returned to go yard in the fourth inning, but after his third at bat, he relayed to Astros manager Cecil Cooper that he could not continue to play. The injury is of concern, however, Lee seems to be OK as he hit another homer in his second at bat versus Jeff Suppan on Saturday night. “I feel a lot better, way better than [Friday] after it happened,” he said. “It’s not 100 percent, but it’s good enough to play.” Lee continued, saying that he feels the sharpest pain when he stops running, as “it puts a lot of pressure on it.”

A Good Start for Ortiz

April 27, 2009

Houston Astros pitcher Russ Ortiz came up with a solid start and a 3-2 win versus the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday to snap a three game losing streak. Ortiz allowed four hits and earned two runs in five innings pitched, but the real hero came from the ‘Stros’ catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, who homered in the fourth inning to take the lead. Rodriguez also did his job defensively, as the Gold Glove catcher threw out two base runners and helped secure the Houston victory. The Astros currently stand at 7-12, six games back, last place in the NL Central. They take on Reds tonight at Cincinnati at 6:10.

Bats, Pitching…Ineffective

April 25, 2009

The Astros are continuing their struggle to win games early this season with a talented lineup that seems to be in a funk, and pitching that is only effective through about the first four or five innings. The ‘Stros’ Lance Berkman is batting just .186 with nine RBI through 17 games, which is not typical of the “Big Puma.” Berkman, along with Miguel Tejada and Carlos Lee have all batted in at least 100 runs in the last nine seasons, which is generally indicative of a productive offensive team. However, the problem in Houston, aside from the bats, is that we have only one ace starter in Roy Oswalt, and he can only do so much by himself. Brandon Backe who showed promise on the mound in 2005 has been on the DL for about two years now and has been battling nagging injuries. This problem can be alleviated in the future with concentration by Houston’s front office to the production of a farm system in which an emphasis on pitching is established.

‘Stros Lose Another to Reds

April 20, 2009

The breaks are coming somewhat few and far between for the Astros this season, but with a game remaining versus Cincinnati, they have a chance to even their current series with the  Reds at two games each. Following a 7-0 win on Saturday, the ‘Stros’ Felipe Paulino earned the 4-2 loss on Sunday to Cincinnati’s Edinson Volquez. Astros center fielder Michael Bourn gave Paulino some help defensively by robbing former ‘Stro, Willy Taveras, of a base hit in highlight reel fashion. Bourn’s offensive efforts (he scored both of Houston’s runs), however, would not be enough to overpower the Reds. The two teams meet again tonight at Minute Maid at 7:05. Houston currently stands at 4-8, tied with Milwaukee for last place in the NL Central, 3.5 games behind the division leading Cubs and Cardinals.

3-Game Win Streak…Denied

April 18, 2009

The Astros broke their five game losing streak with a win on Wednesday at the Pirates. Another win on Thursday gave the ‘Stros their first, albeit modest, win streak of the season. From Pittsburgh, they came back to Houston for a home-series against the Cincinnati Reds. Despite a solid effort from Roy Oswalt on Friday, the Astros’ closer, Jose Valverde, struck out his first man in the ninth before walking the next batter on four pitches. He then gave up Houston’s 1-0 lead by throwing the game-winning homer to the Reds’ Ramon Hernandez. The Astros have a rematch with the Reds today at the Juicebox and currently sit with a 3-7 record, four games behind St. Louis in the NL Central standings.

‘Stros Woes Continue

April 13, 2009

With another loss to St. Louis on Sunday, the Astros extended their current losing streak to four. The only win acquired by the ‘Stros thus far came at home, and they have been on the road since. Their 1-5 record puts them 3.5 games back from the Cardinals who lead the NL Central standings. Houston is currently trailing the Pirates 4-0 in the bottom of the third at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park. In other news, former Astros and long time Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas died today at the age of 73. Kalas was a Baseball Hall of Famer as a broadcaster as well as the voice of NFL Films.

Pujols Brings Wood; Oswalt Otherwise Good

April 12, 2009

Roy Oswalt, the Astros’ ace starter, is having a bit of a rough time early this season with an 0-2 record, including Houston’s 11-2 loss to the Cardinals today. The game unraveled for “the Wizard” in the fifth inning, despite a solid outing from Os through four. A grand slam hit by St. Louis’ Albert Pujols in the bottom of the fifth put an end to Oswalt’s chance for a W. Pujols also hit a three-run shot in the seventh off of Wright. The ‘Stros have been in a bit of a slump early in the season, but with 150 some-odd games left to play there is plenty of time for improvement. Another Houston-St.Louis match-up is scheduled for tomorrow at the Cardbirds house at 1:15 PM.

Upset at Minute Maid

April 4, 2009

Well, the Astros lost a spring training match-up today in the ninth inning to the Cleveland Indians, despite a great outing from Houston’s starting pitcher, Mike Hampton. Hampton allowed only one unearned run on six hits through four innings. With a 3-1 lead going into the ninth inning, relieving pitcher Doug Brocail loaded the bases and allowed two runs on a base hit. Despite a very well-thrown ball from right fielder Hunter Pence, Astros catcher Lou Santangelo could not apply the tag at home plate to preserve the ‘Stros’ lead. The Indians then took a 4-3 lead and the Astros were unable to come up with an answer in the bottom of the ninth. The loss evens out the series between Cleveland and Houston in spring training at one a piece.

Attention Astros Fans…

March 30, 2009

The 2009 Baseball season is nigh on hand and spring training is in full swing. The recent acquisition of Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez adds to the Astros’ lineup a much needed glove behind the plate. Rodriguez recently represented Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, batting .500 overall, including a game in which he hit a single, a double, two homers and reached base a fifth time on a walk. This may bode well for the ‘Stros who could use the 13-time  AL gold glover to replace Brad Ausmus, as well as the wood that Pudge has the potential to bring to the plate.