September 2011

Astros’ lineup Wednesday vs. Reds

The Astros play their final road game of the season at 11:35 a.m. CT today against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Here is the lineup:

CF Jordan Schafer

RF J.B. Shuck

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

2B Matt Downs

3B Chris Johnson

SS Clint Barmes

C J.R. Towles

LHP Wandy Rodriguez

Astros brass meets with Mills, coaches

Astros president of baseball operations Tal Smith, general manager Ed Wade and assistant general manager David Gottfried met with manager Brad Mills and his coaching staff for about three hours at the team’s hotel in downtown Cincinnati on Monday to discuss 2011 and look ahead to 2012.

“We got their impressions on the guys on the roster and needs and things of that nature,” Wade said. “We thought it was a good meeting. It was a real good exchange of ideas. Folks were very candid in their opinions. They weren’t all on the same page with everybody, which I thought was very helpful. It was good.”

Wade said meetings like this are routine at this time of year.

“We talk about who are the free agents on the club, who are the guys out of options going into Spring Training next year, some other things of that nature,” he said. “We talk about a little bit about needs going forward.

“We literally went player-by-player, starting with the pitchers and then the catchers and infielders and outfielders and some of the guys who are on option or were on the disabled list during the season, long enough for the coaching staff to have some observations. We talked about all that stuff.”

Astros’ lineup for Tuesday vs. Reds

Here are Tuesday’s Astros-Reds lineups:

ASTROS

CF Jordan Schafer

SS Angel Sanchez

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

RF Brian Bogusevic

3B Jimmy Paredes

2B Jose Altuve

C Humberto Quintero

RHP Bud Norris

REDS

2B Brandon Phillips

LF Dave Sappelt

1B Joey Votto

RF Jay Bruce

3B Juan Francisco

CF Drew Stubbs

C Devin Mesoraco

SS Paul Janish

RHP Homer Bailey

Reds have had their way with Astros

The Astros, weather permitting, will open their final road series of the season tonight against the Reds in Cincinnati. Unlike last year when the Astros watched the Reds clinch the division on a walk-off home run, Cincinnati doesn’t have much to play for. They were eliminated recently and were just swept in three games by the Brewers.

But the Reds have had their way with the Astros, going 15-4 in their last 19 games against Houston. In that span, the Astros have averaged 3.2 runs per game, compared to 6.1 for the Reds. What’s more, Astros pitchers have a 5.73 ERA in those 19 games, compared to 3.09 for the Reds. The Reds have outhomered the Astros 25-12 and have made two errors in that span, compared to 13 for the Astros.

Here are some other notes:

– The Astros and their opponents have averaged 6.7 runs per game since Sept. 1, the lowest in the Majors.

– The Reds have the third-worst run differential since Sept. 1 at minus-18.

– Astros rookies have 211 hits since the All-Star break, which is the third-most in the Majors in that span, trailing Kansas City (218) and Seattle (212).

– Astros outfielder Jason Bourgeois hit .157 in August and is hitting .367 in September, a .210 difference that’s the second-highest in the Majors. The Angels’ Erick Aybar hit .190 in August and is hitting .434 in September.

– In his first 22 starts, J.A. Happ was 4-14 with a 6.26 ERA, a .290 opponents’ batting average and a 1.66 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched). In his last four starts, he’s 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA, a .186 opponents’ batting average and a 1.21 WHIP.

Here is the Astros lineup against LHP Dontrelle Willis:

CF Jason Bourgeois

2B Jose Altuve

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

RF Matt Downs

3B Jimmy Paredes

SS Clint Barmes

C Humberto Quintero

LHP J.A. Happ

Who’s the Astros’ MVP in 2011

When outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn were traded in late July, the race for Astros Most Valuable Player suddenly became wide open. Astros manager Brad Mills was asked Friday who he thought should get it, and he threw out the names of Clint Barmes, Matt Downs, Carlos Lee, Bud Norris and Wandy Rodriguez.

If you look at statistics, Lee appears on his way to 20 homers and 90 RBIs, which could give him the edge. Barmes has played a Gold Glove-caliber defense and has shown some pop offensively, though he’s remained under .250 for much of the year. Downs has been a huge catalyst off the bench has had some huge hits, and Rodriguez has an 11-10 record on a team that’s going to lose 100 games.

So who’s your pick for team MVP in 2011?

Astros release 2012 schedule

For the 26th time in the last 31 years, the Astros will open the regular season at home when they begin the 2012 campaign against the Colorado Rockies on Friday, April 6 at Minute Maid Park in the first of a three-game series.

The schedule, which was released Wednesday, has the Astros opening the season at home with a pair of three-game series against Colorado and Atlanta, including an April 10 game against the Braves that will take place on the 50th anniversary of the franchise’s first game in 1962.

As a bonus, Astros fans will have the chance to get a sneak peek at the 2012 Astros prior to Opening Day when the Chicago White Sox visit Houston for two exhibition games, April 3-4.

The Astros will finish the season on the road at Wrigley Field – one of four trips the team will make to Chicago in 2012 – with the finale coming Oct. 3. Houston will face the Cubs three times in the Windy City, in addition to an Interleague Series against the White Sox in Chicago, June 8-10.

Houston’s first road game of the season will be April 13 with the Astros getting their first look at the Marlins new ballpark, which opens next year, and playing their first game against the soon-to-be re-named Miami Marlins.

In addition to the White Sox, the Astros will play the Kansas City Royals (June 19-20) and Cleveland Indians (June 22-24) at home during Interleague play, as well as their annual home-and-home series against the Texas Rangers.

The Astros will play host to the Rangers May 18-20 and will be in Arlington June 15-17, both of which are weekend series. Texas has won the Lone Star Series from the Astros in each of the last three seasons, winning four of six games this year.

Because of the unbalanced Interleague schedule, the Astros will make two trips to San Francisco – June 12-14 and July 13-15.

The Phillies, who now feature former Astros outfielder Hunter Pence, make their lone visit to Houston for three games Sept. 13-16, and the Cardinals will play at Minute Maid Park three times – May 4-6, June 5-7 and Sept. 24-26.

The Astros will play 17 of 22 games at home from April 30-May 23, with the team’s longest road trip of the season coming July 13-22 when it heads out west for three games in San Francisco, four games in San Diego and for three games in Arizona.

But don’t make holiday plans to see baseball in Houston. The Astros will be on the road on July 4 in Pittsburgh, in Colorado on Memorial Day on May 28 and in Pittsburgh on Labor Day on Sept. 3.

Here is the schedule:

DAY GAMEDATE AWAY HOME
Fri 4/6/2012 Colorado Rockies Houston Astros
Sat 4/7/2012 Colorado Rockies Houston Astros
Sun 4/8/2012 Colorado Rockies Houston Astros
Mon 4/9/2012 Atlanta Braves Houston Astros
Tue 4/10/2012 Atlanta Braves Houston Astros
Wed 4/11/2012 Atlanta Braves Houston Astros
Fri 4/13/2012 Houston Astros Florida Marlins
Sat 4/14/2012 Houston Astros Florida Marlins
Sun 4/15/2012 Houston Astros Florida Marlins
Mon 4/16/2012 Houston Astros Washington Nationals
Tue 4/17/2012 Houston Astros Washington Nationals
Wed 4/18/2012 Houston Astros Washington Nationals
Thu 4/19/2012 Houston Astros Washington Nationals
Fri 4/20/2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Houston Astros
Sat 4/21/2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Houston Astros
Sun 4/22/2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Houston Astros
Mon 4/23/2012 Houston Astros Milwaukee Brewers
Tue 4/24/2012 Houston Astros Milwaukee Brewers
Wed 4/25/2012 Houston Astros Milwaukee Brewers
Fri 4/27/2012 Houston Astros Cincinnati Reds
Sat 4/28/2012 Houston Astros Cincinnati Reds
Sun 4/29/2012 Houston Astros Cincinnati Reds
Mon 4/30/2012 New York Mets Houston Astros
Tue 5/1/2012 New York Mets Houston Astros
Wed 5/2/2012 New York Mets Houston Astros
Fri 5/4/2012 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros
Sat 5/5/2012 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros
Sun 5/6/2012 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros
Mon 5/7/2012 Florida Marlins Houston Astros
Tue 5/8/2012 Florida Marlins Houston Astros
Wed 5/9/2012 Florida Marlins Houston Astros
Fri 5/11/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Sat 5/12/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Sun 5/13/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Mon 5/14/2012 Houston Astros Philadelphia Phillies
Tue 5/15/2012 Houston Astros Philadelphia Phillies
Wed 5/16/2012 Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros
Thu 5/17/2012 Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros
Fri 5/18/2012 Texas Rangers Houston Astros
Sat 5/19/2012 Texas Rangers Houston Astros
Sun 5/20/2012 Texas Rangers Houston Astros
Mon 5/21/2012 Chicago Cubs Houston Astros
Tue 5/22/2012 Chicago Cubs Houston Astros
Wed 5/23/2012 Chicago Cubs Houston Astros
Fri 5/25/2012 Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers
Sat 5/26/2012 Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers
Sun 5/27/2012 Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers
Mon 5/28/2012 Houston Astros Colorado Rockies
Tue 5/29/2012 Houston Astros Colorado Rockies
Wed 5/30/2012 Houston Astros Colorado Rockies
Thu 5/31/2012 Houston Astros Colorado Rockies
Fri 6/1/2012 Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros
Sat 6/2/2012 Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros
Sun 6/3/2012 Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros
Tue 6/5/2012 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros
Wed 6/6/2012 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros
Thu 6/7/2012 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros
Fri 6/8/2012 Houston Astros Chicago White Sox
Sat 6/9/2012 Houston Astros Chicago White Sox
Sun 6/10/2012 Houston Astros Chicago White Sox
Tue 6/12/2012 Houston Astros San Francisco Giants
Wed 6/13/2012 Houston Astros San Francisco Giants
Thu 6/14/2012 Houston Astros San Francisco Giants
Fri 6/15/2012 Houston Astros Texas Rangers
Sat 6/16/2012 Houston Astros Texas Rangers
Sun 6/17/2012 Houston Astros Texas Rangers
Mon 6/18/2012 Kansas City Royals Houston Astros
Tue 6/19/2012 Kansas City Royals Houston Astros
Wed 6/20/2012 Kansas City Royals Houston Astros
Fri 6/22/2012 Cleveland Indians Houston Astros
Sat 6/23/2012 Cleveland Indians Houston Astros
Sun 6/24/2012 Cleveland Indians Houston Astros
Mon 6/25/2012 San Diego Padres Houston Astros
Tue 6/26/2012 San Diego Padres Houston Astros
Wed 6/27/2012 San Diego Padres Houston Astros
Thu 6/28/2012 San Diego Padres Houston Astros
Fri 6/29/2012 Houston Astros Chicago Cubs
Sat 6/30/2012 Houston Astros Chicago Cubs
Sun 7/1/2012 Houston Astros Chicago Cubs
Mon 7/2/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Tue 7/3/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Wed 7/4/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Thu 7/5/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Fri 7/6/2012 Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros
Sat 7/7/2012 Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros
Sun 7/8/2012 Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros
Fri 7/13/2012 Houston Astros San Francisco Giants
Sat 7/14/2012 Houston Astros San Francisco Giants
Sun 7/15/2012 Houston Astros San Francisco Giants
Mon 7/16/2012 Houston Astros San Diego Padres
Tue 7/17/2012 Houston Astros San Diego Padres
Wed 7/18/2012 Houston Astros San Diego Padres
Thu 7/19/2012 Houston Astros San Diego Padres
Fri 7/20/2012 Houston Astros Arizona Diamondbacks
Sat 7/21/2012 Houston Astros Arizona Diamondbacks
Sun 7/22/2012 Houston Astros Arizona Diamondbacks
Mon 7/23/2012 Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros
Tue 7/24/2012 Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros
Wed 7/25/2012 Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros
Thu 7/26/2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Houston Astros
Fri 7/27/2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Houston Astros
Sat 7/28/2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Houston Astros
Sun 7/29/2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Houston Astros
Mon 7/30/2012 Houston Astros Milwaukee Brewers
Tue 7/31/2012 Houston Astros Milwaukee Brewers
Wed 8/1/2012 Houston Astros Milwaukee Brewers
Fri 8/3/2012 Houston Astros Atlanta Braves
Sat 8/4/2012 Houston Astros Atlanta Braves
Sun 8/5/2012 Houston Astros Atlanta Braves
Mon 8/6/2012 Washington Nationals Houston Astros
Tue 8/7/2012 Washington Nationals Houston Astros
Wed 8/8/2012 Washington Nationals Houston Astros
Thu 8/9/2012 Washington Nationals Houston Astros
Fri 8/10/2012 Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros
Sat 8/11/2012 Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros
Sun 8/12/2012 Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros
Mon 8/13/2012 Houston Astros Chicago Cubs
Tue 8/14/2012 Houston Astros Chicago Cubs
Wed 8/15/2012 Houston Astros Chicago Cubs
Fri 8/17/2012 Arizona Diamondbacks Houston Astros
Sat 8/18/2012 Arizona Diamondbacks Houston Astros
Sun 8/19/2012 Arizona Diamondbacks Houston Astros
Tue 8/21/2012 Houston Astros St. Louis Cardinals
Wed 8/22/2012 Houston Astros St. Louis Cardinals
Thu 8/23/2012 Houston Astros St. Louis Cardinals
Fri 8/24/2012 Houston Astros New York Mets
Sat 8/25/2012 Houston Astros New York Mets
Sun 8/26/2012 Houston Astros New York Mets
Tue 8/28/2012 San Francisco Giants Houston Astros
Wed 8/29/2012 San Francisco Giants Houston Astros
Thu 8/30/2012 San Francisco Giants Houston Astros
Fri 8/31/2012 Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros
Sat 9/1/2012 Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros
Sun 9/2/2012 Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros
Mon 9/3/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Tue 9/4/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Wed 9/5/2012 Houston Astros Pittsburgh Pirates
Fri 9/7/2012 Houston Astros Cincinnati Reds
Sat 9/8/2012 Houston Astros Cincinnati Reds
Sun 9/9/2012 Houston Astros Cincinnati Reds
Mon 9/10/2012 Chicago Cubs Houston Astros
Tue 9/11/2012 Chicago Cubs Houston Astros
Wed 9/12/2012 Chicago Cubs Houston Astros
Thu 9/13/2012 Philadelphia Phillies Houston Astros
Fri 9/14/2012 Philadelphia Phillies Houston Astros
Sat 9/15/2012 Philadelphia Phillies Houston Astros
Sun 9/16/2012 Philadelphia Phillies Houston Astros
Tue 9/18/2012 Houston Astros St. Louis Cardinals
Wed 9/19/2012 Houston Astros St. Louis Cardinals
Thu 9/20/2012 Houston Astros St. Louis Cardinals
Fri 9/21/2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Houston Astros
Sat 9/22/2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Houston Astros
Sun 9/23/2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Houston Astros
Mon 9/24/2012 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros
Tue 9/25/2012 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros
Wed 9/26/2012 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros
Fri 9/28/2012 Houston Astros Milwaukee Brewers
Sat 9/29/2012 Houston Astros Milwaukee Brewers
Sun 9/30/2012 Houston Astros Milwaukee Brewers
Mon 10/1/2012 Houston Astros Chicago Cubs
Tue 10/2/2012 Houston Astros Chicago Cubs
Wed 10/3/2012 Houston Astros Chicago Cubs

Astros’ lineup for Tuesday vs. Phillies

Here is the lineup the Astros will use to try to avoid their franchise-record 98th loss of the season Tuesday against the Phillies:

CF Jason Bourgeois

SS Clint Barmes

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

2B Matt Downs

3B Chris Johnson

RF Jason Michaels

C Humberto Quintero

LHP J.A. Happ

Astros’ lineup Monday vs. Phillies

Here is the Astros’ lineup for Monday’s game against the Phillies and Roy Oswalt:

CF Jordan Schafer

SS Angel Sanchez

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

RF Brian Bogusevic

3B Jimmy Paredes

2B Jose Altuve

C Humberto Quintero

RHP Brett Myers

Oswalt, Pence return. Will you cheer or boo?

For the first time since they were traded to the Phillies, pitcher Roy Oswalt and right fielder Hunter Pence return to Minute Maid Park for tonight’s game against the Astros. Oswalt has been with the Phillies for more than a year, but this will be his first trip to Houston in those red shoes. Pence was traded just a few weeks ago and is flourishing with the best team in baseball.

Oswalt, who left in Houston one win shy of tying the franchise record for wins, asked Astros management for a trade last year when he didn’t like the direction the club was headed. Pence certainly didn’t ask for a trade, but the Astros were in payroll-trimming mode and were able to land some of the Phillies top prospects in exchange for the high-flying outfielder.

Earlier this year when Lance Berkman made his return to Minute Maid Park with the Cardinals, he received a nice ovation. Not surprising, since he’s one of the most popular players in franchise history. Pence and Oswalt are in the same category. But Astros fans haven’t always been so kind to those who have returned in different uniforms.

Carlos Beltran, who spent only four months in Houston and had a legendary performance in the 2004 playoffs, still gets booed six years after he shunned the Astros and signed a big-money deal with the Mets. Brad Lidge, the closer during the terrific playoff seasons in 2004 and 2005, still gets booed as well, which is a little strange. I’m guessing it has to do with giving up his homer to Albert Pujols in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS than it does anything else. Lidge was a model citizen and good player in Houston.

So, what will be it be, Astros fans? Boos or cheers for Oswalt and Pence?

Pendleton “super excited” to return to Astros

Lance Pendleton, who spent nearly the entire spring in Astros camp after he was taken in the Rule 5 Draft, was claimed on waivers Friday by his hometown club and will report to the Astros on Saturday – his 28th birthday – in time for the game against the Nationals in Washington.

“I’m super excited to get picked up and it makes it even better that it’s with the Astros,” Pendleton told MLB.com.

Pendleton, a right-hander, was in Houston on Friday when Astros general manager Ed Wade called and informed him he had been claimed. He gave him the option of flying to Washington to meet the team or just catching up the Astros when they return home Monday.

“Ed Wade called and said, ‘Hey, looks like we’re doing this all over again,’” Pendleton said. “I said, ‘Sounds good to me.’ He told me I could take my full three days and meet them on Monday or meet us there, and I said, ‘No, I’m ready to go.’”

Wade was pleased no one claimed Pendleton before the Astros.

“We liked him enough to take him in the Rule 5 Draft in December and we would have liked to have retained him in Spring Training,” he said. “We couldn’t get a deal workout with the Yankees to retain him. He’ll go into the mix and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Pendleton was offered back to the Yankees at the end of the spring and appeared in 11 Major League games, posting a 3.21 ERA for the Bombers. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (3-4, 3.11 ERA in 18 games, including 10 starts) and was designed for assignment on Tuesday.

“I’ve been up and down four times now with the Yankees, and when I was up it was sporadic on the mound,” Pendleton said. “I threw well when I got out there and felt pretty good. Going a week and a half or so between innings, it’s hard to stay sharp. When I went back down in Scranton, I threw pretty well.

“I would say it’s been a successful season for me and how I’ve been feeling. There are still things to work on and continue to get used to the bullpen. With the Astros, I’ll probably be in the bullpen. I don’t know what their long-term plan for me is. They might only have a three-week timeframe, but whatever they’re willing to give, I’ll try to take advantage of it.”

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