Results tagged ‘ Brett Wallace ’
Astros manager Bo Porter gave struggling first baseman Brett Wallace the day off Wednesday after he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts during the team’s 22-hit outburst on Tuesday. Wallace is 1-for-21 this season with 17 strikeouts.
“Sometimes you need to take a step back,” Porter said. “You can be trying so hard with extra work and video and reading game reports and over-analyzing each and every at-bat to where you probably need to take a step back. We’re going to give him the day off, we have an off day on Thursday, and Friday send him back in there. I think the results are going to be in a more positive light for Brett.”
Wallace singled in his second at-bat of the season March 31 against the Rangers, but has gone 0-for-19 since with 16 strikeouts.
“I think the thing that’s kind of crazy is swing-wise, I feel pretty good and my swing feels like it’s not that far off,” he said. “It’s just timing and contact point adjustments that need to be made. I think that’s one of the things you just have to keep your head down and keep working, and the more at-bats you get, you see the ball travel and let it get a little deeper and go from there.”
Brett Wallace, who began last season as the Astros’ Opening Day first baseman and was competing for a backup infield spot this spring, was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in a series of roster moves announced by the club
Wallace was hitting .271 with one homer and seven RBIs in 48 spring at-bats entering Sunday’s Grapefruit League finale against the Tigers. He played both first and third base this spring in an effort to increase his versatility, but will start the year in the Minor Leagues.
The Astros also announced shortstop Marwin Gonzalez had made the Opening Day roster, along with outfielders J.D. Martinez and Brian Bogusevic, second baseman Jose Altuve and catcher Jason Castro. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the five players — all of whom are on an Opening Day roster for the first time — were notified prior to Sunday’s game by manager Brad Mills.
The only surprise in the group is Gonzalez, a Rule 5 pick who hasn’t had a good spring at the plate but has played terrific defense, including a pair of nice plays Sunday.
The moves leave the Astros with 31 players in camp ahead of Wednesday’s deadline to set the 25-man roster. Considering left-hander Sergio Escalona is still on the roster and is facing Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, the Astros have five remaining cuts to make.
As a Rule 5 pick, the Astros must keep Gonzalez on the 25-man roster all season or risk losing him.
Wallace, acquired by the Astros at the Trade Deadline in 2010, got off to a terrific start at the plate last April, but slowly watched his average decline. He was sent to the Minor Leagues at the end of July and return to the big league club when rosters expanded in September, but Carlos Lee was entrenched as the starter at first and rookie Jimmy Paredes had taken over at third.
Wallace will remain with the team through this week’s exhibition games and play third base in Oklahoma City.
What a weekend for the Astros.
When they get back together at Minute Maid Park on Monday afternoon, there should be some introductions in order. In the past 72 hours, the Astros traded away the best hitters in their lineup — outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn — and sent starting third baseman Chris Johnson and first baseman Brett Wallace to the Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Instead of Bourn and Pence, fans will have to get to know players like Luis Durango and Jimmy Paredes. Who are they? They are the newest additions to the club and will join the team Monday. There’s a good chance when the Astros hit the field Monday against the Reds they’ll have three players in the lineup who spent most of the season at Double-A Corpus Christi. Houston Hooks, anyone?
With Johnson going to Oklahoma City, it looks as though Paredes will start at third base. He was iffy defensively during Spring Training when he was in the middle of the infield, and he strikes out three times more than he walks. But he’s as athletic as crazy and just 22 years, so I’m anxious to see what he’s got. Just like I’m anxious to see more of J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve.
I’m guessing Carlos Lee plays first base until Wallace returns. Jason Bourgeois will play center field until Schafer is healthy, with J.D. Martinez in left and perhaps Brian Bogusevic in right. Jason Michaels and Durango will be in the mix, too. When Schafer returns in about 10 days, Bourgeois could play right field. This all has to be sorted out.
The times certainly have changed for the Astros, and it’s going to require a large amount of patience from the fans. For the second year in a row, the Astros traded two key players and stocked up on prospects. If they pan out the way the Astros hope, they will be well-positioned for the future. As for now, it’s time to enjoy the kids.
The following links are a recap of the day’s coverage on MLB.com:
On a final note: I’m taking the next few days off, but will be back in the saddle later this week. Thanks for turning to MLB.com for the best coverage of the Astros at the Trade Deadline.
The Astros sure let one get away Tuesday, with second baseman Bill Hall committing a costly error with two outs in the third inning. Instead of escaping the inning, starter J.A. Happ gave up a grand slam homer to Jerry Sands that gave the Dodgers a 5-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Dodgers sent down the final 12 batters of the game after the Astros had loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth to win, 5-4.
“It’s always unfortunate when the next guy comes up and hits the grand slam after you make an error,” Hallsaid. “[Happ] knows I’m out there playing my heart out, and I know he’s out there pitching his heart out. But sometimes the other team gets the best of you, and they got the best of us today.”
Here are some postgame notes:
- The Astros have had 11 of their last 13 games decided by three runs or less, and nine games in that span decided by two runs or less.
- LHP J.A. Happ suffered a tough-luck loss despite lowering his ERA to 4.99 to 5.30. He gave up only three hits and one earned run in five innings, but a grand slam homer accounted for four unearned runs.
- Happ has allowed three earned runs or less in five of his last six starts, posting a 3.67 ERA in that span, which covers 34 1/3 innings.
- The Astros’ bullpen threw four scoreless innings in relief of Happ. Since blowing a save in Atlanta on May 17, the bullpen has combined to throw 19 innings, allowing earned run in that span.
- RF Hunter Pence had two doubles, giving him six straight multi-hit games and seven of his last eight. He is the 19th player in franchise history to have multiple hits in at least six straight games (Brett Wallace did it earlier this season).
- 1B Carlos Lee went 1-for-3 with two RBIs. In 18 games in May, he’s hitting .314 with two homer sand 10 RBIs. He hit .194 in April.
Astros manager Brad Mills said it’s too early to consider any drastic lineup changes involving left-fielder Carlos Lee, who entered Thursday in an 0-for-15 slump in the clean-up spot, or first baseman Brett Wallace, who’s batted primarily fifth and is seventh in the National League in hitting.
Mills has faith Lee is going to break out of slumber and cites his stature and the fact he snapped out of an early-season slump last year as reasons to keep him put. Lee has hit fourth in the batting order in all 25 games and was hitting .198 with two homers and 13 RBIs entering Thursday.
“If you look at his numbers from June on last year, I think they were pretty good,” Mills said. “Is that going to happen this year? We don’t know, but we think there’s a pretty good chance because it happened last year and his track record of being so good in years past.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Carlos. He’s got a great attitude this year and we’ve been happy the way he’s played left field and a lot of the plays he’s made and the real good, solid at-bats he’s had. With his track record and what he’s done for the organization and for the teams he’s been on, there’s no doubt it’s a good time for him to work through this.”
Wallace extended his hitting streak to seven games Wednesday, during which he was hitting .552 (16-for-29), and remains in the fifth.
“There might be at some point down the line we might want to move him if that continues, but right now let’s let him be Brett Wallace and get three hits in a game like he’s done the last couple of days,” Mills said.
It was a tough loss for the Astros on Wednesday. They were down 6-0 and scored three times in the eighth and twice in the ninth to get within 6-5 before Hunter Pence struck out swinging to end the game with the tying run at second base.
“The guys really gave me a golden opportunity, a great opportunity to get a big hit and I wasn’t able finish it off for them and pick it up,” Pence said. “He got me, and I’ve got to find a way to become better for it.”
You can read my entire game story by clicking here:
Here are the post-game notes:
- Wednesday was the 900th game at Minute Maid Park. The Astros are 503-397 all-time in the venue.
- The Astros turned five double plays on Wednesday, the most for the club in one game since it turned six on May 17, 2003 vs. the Phillies at Minute Maid Park.
- LHP J.A. Happ extended his scoreless inning streak against the Cardinals to 12 2/3 innings before allowing a solo homer to Matt Holliday in the fourth inning Wednesday.
- RF Hunter Pence now has 12 RBIs in 12 home games this year. He entered Wednesday tied for sixth in the league in RBIs at home.
- 1B Brett Wallace extended his hitting streak to seven games by going 3-for-4 on Wednesday and has now hit safely in 15 of last 16 games with an at-bat. He’s hitting .443 (27-for-61) in that span.
- SS Angel Sanchez extended his hitting streak to five games by going 2-for-5 Wednesday, which ties his season high. He’s hitting .409 (9-for-22) in those five games.
- C J.R. Towles has now reahed base safely in all nine of his starts this season, hitting safely in eight of those nine games. Astros catchers are hitting .329 (27-for-82) this season.
- SS Clint Barmes played in his third rehab game Wednesday, going 1-for-4 with a run scored and a walk for Double-A Corpus Christi in an 8-2 win at Midland. He’ll play for the Hooks again on Thursday and is expected to be activated on Friday to make his Astros debut.
Things could have been so much different for the Astros on Wednesday. Had Wandy Rodriguez been able to get an inning-ending double play in the first — instead of having to settle for a fielder’s choice — the Cubs wouldn’t have later erupted for five runs in the inning.
Had Brett Wallace been able to clearly see Bill Hall’s blooper drop in right field and been able to get to second base, he wouldn’t have been forced out and perhaps would have scored on Matt Downs’ ensuing home run.
The Cubs scored three times in the ninth against the Astros bullpen to break the game open and win 9-5, but you couldn’t help but wonder what if?
“We fought at the plate and bounced back,” Downs said. “I feel like we fight to the end every night. We just haven’t caught some breaks here and there.”
Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez (0-2) nearly got an inning-ending double play in the first when he coerced Marlon Byrd to hit a one-out comebacker to the mound. Rodriguez threw to second for a force out, but shortstop Angel Sanchez’s relay throw to first base was late to keep the inning alive. The Cubs went on to score five two-out runs to take a 5-0 lead.
The Astros scored five times in the sixth to get within a run, 6-5, and could have pushed another run across the plate in the sixth and possibly tied the game. But first baseman Brett Wallace was an easy force out at second base after retreating to first on a blooper by Hall that fell between right fielder Tyler Colvin and second baseman Darwin Barney.
Wallace thought Colvin caught the ball and went back to first, where he was greeted by Hall urging him to scurry to second. The Cubs gladly took the force out as Carlos Lee crossed the plate to make it 6-3. Downs followed with a two-run homer that could have been a three-run homer.
“Just from that angle with the second baseman going back, you’re basically blocked out,” Wallace said. “It was just a ball that I have to be far enough to get to second if he doesn’t catch it, but in the same sense if he catches it and throws me out at first there’s point to being off. It was really just judgment. I couldn’t see the baseball and it looked like Colvin scooped it up.”
After watching the replay, Wallace thought he would have been thrown out at second anyway had he seen the ball drop.
“[Darwin] scooped it pretty cleanly and made a pretty good throw to second,” he said, “but it definitely would have looked a lot better if was making the out at second.”
Here are some post-games notes from the Astros’ 4-3 loss to the Marlins on Friday:
- With Friday’s loss, the Astros are now 23-27 in home openers in the history of the franchise.
- Friday marked the Astros first multi-homer game of the season, getting one each from C J.R. Towles and 1B Brett Wallace. The last time the Astros hit two homers in a game was on Sept. 21, 2010 at Washington.
- Wandy Rodriguez was handed a no-decision Friday after tossing seven innings, allowing one run on eight hits. Friday marked his second time to start an Astros home opener, also in 2008 vs St. Louis. In those two games, Rodriguez has pitched 14 1/3 innings allowing 1 earned run
- Dating to last season, Rodriguez has posted 11 consecutive quality starts at Minute Maid Park. Since June 24, 2010, he is 5-1 with a 1.56 ERA at Minute Maid, and the Astros have gone 6-5 in those games.
- Towles connected for his first homer of the season and has now hit safely in all three of his starts this season. This is the second time Towles has homered in an Astros home opener (2008).
- Wallace hit his first home run of the season and tied his career high with three hits. His only other career three-hit game came on Aug. 30, 2010 vs. St. Louis.
- With a crowd of 41,042 on Friday, the Astros have sold out 10 straight Home Openers dating back to 2002. In the history of MMP, the Astros have sold out 11 of their 12 home openers.
One of the first things Astros manager Brad Mills spoke about following Friday’s gut-wrenching, 5-4 loss to the Phillies on Opening Day was how well his team played. Sure, the Astros coughed up three runs in the ninth and lost a game they should have won, but for 8 1/2 innings they played pretty much flawless baseball.
Mills is a stickler for doing things the right way on the field, being prepared and making the plays you’re supposed to make. For the most part the Astros did that, and that’s a good sign going forward.
For all those who were disturbed by what the Astros in Spring Training or the high ERA that Brett Myers had in Grapefruit League play, Friday should go a long way into reminding you how meaningless Spring Training results are. The Astros played as well for 8 1/2 innings Friday as they had at any point during the spring, and that tends to happen when your starters stay on the field for most of the game.
“It was a great game,” right fielder Hunter Pence said. “We came out and got in the fight and competed. They found some holes at the end and we weren’t able to get the final outs, but we’ve got three games here. We’ve got two more to go and we’re going to keep going up there battling and going hard. I’m pretty happy with what we did today.”
Here’s what stood out to me today:
- Brett Myers was downright terrific. I enjoy watching him pitch and compete. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he’s not the same pitcher he was while he was in Philadelphia, when he was throwing in the mid-90s. He’s a true pitcher now, and has good command. He kept the ball down and never let the Phillies get in a rhythm at the plate.
- If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m not a huge fan of the game of Angel Sanchez. I’ve said repeatedly that he’s slow and he’s not a good defensive player, but I have to admit the guy is growing on me. Those shortcomings are still true, but he makes the routine plays for the most part and he can hit. He’s not going to hit for much power, but he went 2-for-4 with two singles in the No. 2 hole on Friday. He’s a good guy to have on the team. It just took me a while to realize it.
- Humberto Quintero had a very nice spring at the plate, and he went 1-for-4 in his regular-season debut Friday. The most impressive thing about his game was throwing out Shane Victorino while he was trying to steal second base, and Quintero did it while he was still in his crouch. As the Phillies found out last year, his arm is a huge weapon. The Astros may be alright with him starting three days a week.
- Brett Wallace had a quiet game, going 1-for-4, but he went the other way for a single against a left-handed pitcher, which is an extremely encouraging sign. He looks like he’s picked up where he left off in Kissimmee. I don’t know if he’ll ever hit for much power — he just hasn’t shown that much at all — but the kid can swing the bat.
- The Astros didn’t strike out any batters on Friday. Unusual to say the least.