Results tagged ‘ Brett Myers ’
At the end of the season, the local chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will vote on their annual team awards, including Astros Most Valuable Player. Considering the struggles of Michael Bourn, Carlos Lee and, to a lesser extent, Hunter Pence this season, you could make a case for starting pitcher Brett Myers.
Myers will play in only about 33 or 34 games, so voting him the MVP of a 162-game schedule might be kind of silly, but the guy has been extremely good this year. He’s pitched at least six innings in all 24 of his starts, and if he does it again in his next two starts he’ll tie the franchise record for most consecutive starts of six innings or more.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” said Myers, who is 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA in his last eight starts. “It’s good the coaching staff is able to go out there and let me compete for six innings or more. It’s all kudos to those guys for giving me the opportunity to go out there and do it. There’s been times I didn’t deserve to go six innings and they stuck with me.”
He’s 8-7 with a 3.21 ERA, but with some more run support (see Friday night) or had a couple of saves been converted, he could be pushing 13 or 14 wins. The Astros thought so much of him that two weeks ago they gave him a two-year contract extension with an option for a third year.
It’s hard to imagine what the Astros would have went through had Myers not been a rock in the rotation all year. Roy Oswalt was traded, Wandy Rodriguez struggled through the first half, Felipe Paulino got injured and Bud Norris has been inconsistent. Myers, though, has risen above it all.
Pence has picked up the pace after a slow start and would get my vote for the Astros MVP, but Myers is in the discussion.
Are the Astros done dealing? It’s likely, but you can rest assured general manager Ed Wade will be exploring many options up until Saturday’s 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline. Lance Berkman said Thursday night the club had not approached him about a deal, and I’d be really surprised if he gets traded at some point soon.
It’s been reported Brett Myers is untouchable, but Jeff Keppinger‘s name has been thrown around in some rumors.
“We’ll stay actively engaged in conversations right up until 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon and beyond,” Wade said. “This is is a deadline where we can trade players without securing waivers. That doesn’t mean that every player gets claimed on waivers after the fact. We’ll try to get as many players as we can through the waiver system, and if opportunities present themselves btewen now and Saturday afternoon and thereafter, we’ll continue to work that and see where it leads.”
Here are some tidbits from the Astros’ 6-3 win over the Giants on Wednesday:
- The Astros snapped a five-game losing streak overall and also snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Giants, which dated to Aug. 2, 2009.
- Astros starter Brett Myers set an Astros franchise record by throwing at least six innings in 15 consecutive starts to begin the season. The last Astros pitcher to throw at least six innings in 15 consecutive starts at any point in the season was Roy Oswalt, who did so in 17 straight starts from Aug. 2, 2008 through April 27, 2009. Roger Clemens was the most recent Astros pitcher to have a 15-game streak in one season (2005).
- Myers improved to 4-0 at home this season with a 2.68 ERA in eight starts. Entering the game, he was one of five Major League starters to be undefeated at home (minimum seven starts). Houston has won Myers’ last seven starts at Minute Maid Park.
- Myers went 2-for-3 with an RBI, marking his second career multi-hit game (Sept. 11, 2003 at Atlanta).
- Right-hander Matt Lindstrom converted his sixth save in his last 10 chances. He is 16-for-20 in save chances this season.
- Right-hander Brandon Lyon owns a 1.75 ERA in his last 27 games, including 24 scoreless outings.
- Second baseman Jeff Keppinger’s three RBIs are his most since a career-high four on May 19 against Colorado. He has four games this season at least three RBIs.
- In his first at-bat with the Astros, Houston native Jason Bourgeois recorded his first hit since Sept. 25, 2009 vs. Philadelphia. He made his first start since Sept. 6, 2009 against the Giants.
- The Astros committed three errors, which ties a season high for a game. Chris Johnson had two of those, giving him three errors in two games.
The Astros try to snap their five-game losing streak and nine-game losing streak against the Giants tonight at Minute Maid Park when Barry Zito (7-3, 3.13 ERA) faces Brett Myers (3-4, 3.34 ERA) in the middle game of the three-game series.
Houston received some bad news prior to Wednesday’s game when it was revealed starting shortstop Tommy Manzella will miss six weeks with a fractured left index finger, an injury suffered diving for a ball in the sixth inning Tuesday. Oswaldo Navarro was called up from Triple-A Round Rock to take his place.
Here are the lineups:
CF Jason Bourgeois
2B Jeff Keppinger
1B Lance Berkman
LF Carlos Lee
RF Hunter Pence
3B Chris Johnson
SS Geoff Blum
C Jason Castro
P Brett Myers
CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
RF Aubrey Huff
3B Juan Uribe
LF Pat Burrell
1B Pablo Sandoval
SS Edgar Reneteria
C Bengie Molina
P Barry Zito
Maybe this is the kind of win that can galvanize a team. Not that anyone expects the 18-34 Astros to suddenly be in contention in a month, but they can’t play this poorly for this long, right? Tuesday’s dramatic 8-7 win over the Nationals was significant for so many reasons.
The Astros led 4-0 and then booted the ball around in the fifth inning to wipe the lead away. They rallied to take a lead into the ninth, only to watch Matt Lindstrom blow his second save in a week. Then they got up off the mat again in the ninth and won it on a two-run single by Lance Berkman, who had five RBIs and three hits.
“This is the kind of win that sort of gets you going a little bit because we were up big and then they tied it and they got up again and then we’re down,” Berkman said. “Now it looks like we might be headed for another loss, and suddenly you catch a few breaks and end up winning the game. It can be a big confidence-builder for us.”
And how about Brett Myers? This guy has been terrific. He gave the Astros another quality start, striking out 10 batters. He ended all seven innings in which he was on the mound with a strikeout, and allowed just one earned run in seven innings.
“Every win is huge, but we can only focus on this one and not worry about it tomorrow,” Myers said. “We really can’t go out there and say, ‘Oh, we won in [nine] innings last night and we have momentum.’”
Myers and Berkman may not see eye-to-eye on that issue, but Berkman gushed over the right-hander after the game. Puma said he loves Myers’ intensity and no-excuses approach.
“I was prepared not the like the guy just from playing against him, and I’ve got to tell you he’s one of my favorite teammates in terms of his competitiveness,” Berkman said. “He has a perfect attitude for what you’re looking for in a pitcher. If he loses 2-1 win, he’s always blaming himself and takes responsibility. He’s a competitor and not scared to throw the ball over the plate. I just think he’s a great addition to this team.”
Those quotes are interesting, to say the least. But Berkman didn’t stop there.
“That’s the kind of guy you can win with,” he said. “He’s a warrior. The day he pitches he’s focused, he’s intense and I think the team feeds on that. I think the team takes the personality of the that day’s starter, and he does a great job of bringing that intensity to the ballclub.”
Here are some bonus post-game tidbits:
- Tuesday’s walk-off hit by Berkman was his first since a walk-off homer on Aug. 29, 2008 vs. St. Louis.
- Tuesday marked Berkman’s 13th career game with at least five RBIs.
- Berkman has reached base safely in 21 of his last 22 games.
- The Astros are 4-1 in games in which Berkman has mutliple RBIs.
- Pedro Feliz had five sacrifice flies, which is one shy of his career-high of six accomplished in 2005 and 2006.
- Jeff Keppinger has four three-hit games this year and has multi-hit games in nine of his last 15 contests with a .385 average.
- Wilton Lopez stranded all three inherited runners Tuesday and has not allowed an inherited runner to score this season.
- Matt Lindstrom blew his second save in a week Tuesday and is now 11-for-13 this season and 31-for-38 in his career.
- The Astros stranded a season-high 14 runners on base Tuesday.
- Berkman committed his first error of the season in the fifth inning Tuesday. He was the only NL first baseman without an error.
The Astros will try to win their first road series since sweeping the Cardinals on May 11-13 when they take on the Brewers in today’s series finale. Brett Myers (3-3, 3.25 ERA) tries to keep his good run to start the season going against Dave Bush (1-5, 5.59 ERA).
Carlos Lee and Pedro Feliz are out of the lineup in favor of left-handers Cory Sullivan and Geoff Blum (switch-hitter). Astros manager Brad Mills said Bush has pitched better against right-handers, and Lee has especially struggled against Bush, hitting .200 (4-for-20). Feliz is a .176 hitter (2-for-17) against Bush, while Blum is hitting .357 and Sullivan .333.
If the Astros are going to keep pace with their record at this point in the season during their 2005 World Series run, they will have to lose today to fall to 16-31.
Here are the lineups:
CF Michael Bourn
2B Jeff Keppinger
RF Hunter Pence
1B Lance Berkman
3B Geoff Blum
LF Cory Sullivan
SS Tommy Manzella
C Kevin Cash
RHP Brett Myers
2B Rickie Weeks
CF Carlos Gomez
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
RF Corey Hart
C George Kottaras
SS Alcides Escobar
RHP David Bush
It’s time for Interleague Play. The Astros open a three-game series tonight at Minute Maid Park — where the roof is closed, by the way — against the Tampa Bay Rays, the team with the best record in baseball. Brett Myers (2-3, 3.67 ERA), whose only previous appearances against the Rays came in the 2008 World Series with Philadelphia, pitches for the Astros against right-hander Matt Garza (5-1, 2.38 ERA).
By the way, the Astros are 100-100 in Interleague Play, including 6-9 last year.
Here’s the lineup for the Astros:
CF Michael Bourn
2B Jeff Keppinger
1B Lance Berkman
LF Carlos Lee
RF Hunter Pence
3B Pedro Feliz
SS Tommy Manzella
C Kevin Cash
P Brett Myers
Brett Myers is 1-2 with a 3.82 ERA in five starts for the Astros. Those aren’t terrific numbers, but they’re not bad, either. He’s certainly proven to be a solid addition, considering he occupies the No. 3 spot in the rotation nicely and he competes and eats innings. Other than the sudden influx of awful (and predictable and unoriginal) hip-hop music that now permiates the clubhouse almost every night, I’m glad the guy is around. He and I are inseparable these days.
Myers has pitched six innings twice and seven innings three times in five starts. Sure, he’s allowed 41 hits in 33 innings, but that’s his style. He attacks hitters and challenges them to hit his best stuff. Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth made him pay Friday by hitting homers, but if Myers gives up a pair of singles he usually works his way out of it. The homers have been few and far in between so far.
Sending Myers to the mound every five days gives the Astros piece of mind, the kind of which they wouldn’t have if Myers wasn’t around. Bud Norris would be occupying the No. 3 spot, and he’s young and has been inconsistent. Myers is a battler and a proven innings-eater and is doing just what the Astros hoped he would when owner Drayton McLane decided to go above his desired payroll goal and sign Myers to a deal with a guaranteed $5.1 million this year and potentially $11 million over two years.
So far, so good.
Remember how we all joked about Camp Quiet? That was in February, when one of the coldest winters in Florida history forced everyone to wear jackets for workouts. That was back when the Astros weren’t making any news, except for mild ankle sprains by Casey Daigle and Jeff Fulchino.
Things sure have changed.
Lance Berkman, Brett Myers, Roy Oswalt, Michael Bourn, Tommy Manzella, Jason Bourgeois, Alberto Arias and Yorman Bazardo have all gone down with injuries. Suddenly, Kaz Matsui is the healthiest guy on the team. Most of the injuries are strains and not serious, though Arias could be headed for the DL and Berkman had minor knee surgery.
Oswalt joined the M*A*S*H unit Friday when he left his start against the Pirates after four innings with a mild left hamstring strain. Oswalt isn’t concerned, but GM Ed Wade showed enough concern to send Oswalt to Houston to be examined.
The Astros did have some good news Friday, rallying for four runs in the eighth and two in the ninth to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4. Chris Johnson’s two-out, two-run walk-off home run that struck the batters eye in center field a few feet from the top, won the game.
Here’s the breakdown:
The good: Before his hamstring started to bother him, Oswalt looked terrific. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced, striking out six batters in that span. He threw 60 pitches (41 strikes) and gave up three hits and one run in four innings. Brandon Lyon threw one scoreless innings and appears to have put his shoulder troubles in the past.
How about Drew Locke and T.J. Steele? These two guys continue to impress with how they’re swinging the bat in Grapefruit League play when they’re pulled over from Minor League camp. Steele started in center field and went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, and Locke had a three-run triple in the eighth inning in his only at-bat.
Johnson and non-roster first baseman Chris Shelton are making things interesting. Johnson, who has been pretty much pegged for Triple-A Round Rock since the spring started, is hitting .326 and leads the team with five homers and is second with 14 RBIs.
“I’ve got to remember, though, it’s just spring,” he said. “These don’t count yet.”
When asked if he feels he has opened some eyes, he said: “We’ve got a new group of guys coming in and a whole new coaching staff, and that’s all I’m trying to do is show them what I can do if they’ve never seen me play before.”
Shelton, whose double in the ninth set up Johnson’s homer, is hitting .333 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 36 at-bats. He could be making a push to make the team, considering Berkman could begin the year on the DL and they could carry an extra infielder by going with a four-man rotation.
Competition at the end of camp is a good thing.
“That’s the way you want to do it,” Mills said. “You hope you have to make those types of decisions. You hope they come down to the end like this, and that’s exactly what’s happened.”
The not-so-good: The only regulars the Astros had in the starting lineup Friday were third baseman Pedro Feliz and left fielder Carlos Lee, so perhaps that helps explain why Pirates starter Zach Duke shut them out on two hits for 6 2/3 innings. When the benches emptied in the eighth, the bats came alive.
Bud Norris, who was originally scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game, followed Oswalt and Lyon and threw four innings, giving up four hits and three earned runs. Norris struggled in the ninth against some Pirates hitters that aren’t going to make the team, but Mills was glad he was able to get up and down four times after missing a start with the flu.
What did Norris take from the 58-pitch outing?
“It was a whirlwind because I thought I was on the Minor League side, but I’m glad [pitching coach Brad Arnsberg] moved it around so I could pitch out there,” he said. “I felt good, my body felt good and arm felt good, and I’m glad I pitched as long as I did. I had only had 7 1/3 innings coming in and that was the biggest part. I completely understood the reason for it and I’m glad they go me out there.”
What they said: “This late in camp, there’s always concern, no doubt about it. The one positive on that note is he wanted to go back out. He said he felt the strain in his left hamstring. He’s concerned about it, but he’s not so scared that he wasn’t willing to go out there and pitch.” – Mills on the health of Oswalt.
What’s next: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will make his penultimate start of the spring when he faces the Tampa Bay Rays at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Osceola County Stadium. Rodriguez, who threw 90 pitches in his previous start Monday, has gotten knocked around this spring. He’s given up 20 hits and 16 earned runs in 13 innings in his four starts. Matt Lindstrom, Jeff Fulchino, Tim Byrdak and Yorman Bazardo are also scheduled to pitch.
Astro-notes: Michael Bourn, who’s been out a week with a strained oblique, went 1-for-4 with a stolen base in a Minor League game Friday and said he’s ready to return to action. Mills said Bourn could be in the lineup Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays. … The Astros trimmed their roster to 38 players on Friday, optioning left-handed pitcher Wesley Wright to Triple-A Round Rock and reassigning right-hander Shane Loux and infielder Oswaldo Navarro to Minor League camp.
It’s a warm and muggy day here in Kissimmee, and the Astros survived a grueling three-day road trip across Florida and back and will play the Pirates at Osceola County Stadium. Roy Oswalt, who’s had two of his four starts rained out, will start today and could go five or six innings.
Bud Norris, who was originally scheduled to start in a Minor League game, will throw behind Norris. When asked about the change, manager Brad Mills said simply he wants to see Norris pitch. Norris lost some time with an illness, and Mills was to get an up-close look at him. Thus, Wilton Lopez and Sammy Gervacio will throw a Minor League game today.
The Astros also made some roster moves this morning, optioning left-hander Wesley Wright to Triple-A Round Rock and reassigning right-hander Shane Loux and infielder Oswaldo Navarro to Minor League camp. Wright told me he’s going to be in the rotation at Round Rock.
Here are some other morning tidbits, including some injury updates (I’ll have a full injury story posted later today on injuries):
- RHP Brett Myers told me he felt a little stiff, one day after leaving Thursday’s game with a mild left groin strain. Mills said he doesn’t expect Myers to miss his next start, which would come against the Phillies on Tuesday in Kissimmee.
- 1B Lance Berkman, who’s nearly two weeks removed from arthroscopic knee surgery, is making slow progress, but he’s still hopeful he will be ready on Opening Day. He still isn’t running or doing any baseball drills.
- CF Michael Bourn (strained oblique) will get three to five at-bats in a Minor League game today, and if all goes well he could return to the Astros’ lineup Saturday. “He asked me if he could get five [at-bats] and I said the whole reason is we don’t want him to get too tired,” Mills said. “I said, ‘If you’re OK, I’ll trust you to go ahead and get five.’ We’ll see how it goes.”
- SS Tommy Manzella (strained quadriceps) is steadily improving and he’ll take some ground balls today. Manzella said he ran at about 60 percent on Thursday with no problems. He’s hoping to get a few at-bats perhaps in a Minor League game this weekend and return to action sometime next week.
- RHP Alberto Arias (rotator cuff impingement and weakness) will play light catch today for the first time since being diagnosed. He’s still likely headed to the disabled list, and Arias told me this morning he thinks he’s about two weeks away from perhaps getting into a game. It’s way too early to speculate about his return.
- RHP Yorman Bazardo, who hasn’t thrown in nearly two weeks because of s shoulder strain, threw a bullpen Thursday and was encouraged. “It was good,” he said. “I have a lot of soreness today.” There are no plans to get Bazardo into a game at this point. Remember, Bazardo is out of options, so he would have to clear waivers when he’s sent down.