Results tagged ‘ National League ’
Astros bench coach Joe Pettini has been chosen by National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa to serve as the bench coach for the NL at the 83rd All-Star Game, which is scheduled for July 10 in Kansas City.
La Russa, who retired after leading the Cardinals to the World Series title last year, invited his entire Cardinals coaching staff to join him in Kansas City — Dave Duncan (pitching), Derek Lilliquist (bullpen), Mark McGwire (hitting), Dave McKay (first base coach; currently with the Chicago Cubs) and Jose Oquendo (third base coach).
La Russa also named Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Mets manager Terry Collins as his NL coaches. Collins was an NL coach while manager of the Astros in 1995 under NL manager Felipe Alou at the All-Star Game in Arlington.
Pettini won two World Series titles as La Russa’s right-hand man, including last year’s scintillating run that culminated with a victory over the Rangers. Pettini, 57, left the Cardinals after more than 25 years as a player and coach in the organization for a chance to reunite with general manager Jeff Luhnow, who spent the previous eight years with the Cardinals.
As I ponder the many ramifications of the Astros possibly moving to the American League in the near future, one of the first things that popped into my mind was how weird an interleague series in St. Louis would be. Never mind the designated hitter, the bevy of West Coast games and being able to see them play in Arlington three times a year.
As the Astros await approval of a transfer of ownership to a group led by Houston businessman Jim Crane, an industry source has confirmed for MLB.com commissioner Bud Selig has asked Crane to agree to move the Astros to the American League if he’s approved as owner.
Crane signed a sales purchase agreement in May to buy the team from Drayton McLane for $680 million, but Major League Baseball has yet to approve the deal. The possible league switch has kept the deal from being approved, the source said, but it could still get approval without Crane’s consent to switch leagues.
McLane declined to comment Thursday, and Crane didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
Why the Astros? Simple geography. Baseball would like two 15-team leagues, which means six five-team division. The problem is the AL West has four teams and the NL Central has six. Because the Astros are farther west than any other team in the NL Central, they would be the most logical team to change leagues.
It’s hard to fathom the Astros leaving 50-plus years of NL tradition behind to join the AL, but it is exciting in a way. The Yankees and Red Sox — baseball royalty — would come to Houston once a year, and we’d be no longer subject to watch pitchers try to hit. Sure, I’m with most of you. I like the NL game and the strategies involved with pitchers hitting, but I could be sold on baseball AL-style.
Plus, we’d have year-round Interleague Play. With 15 teams in each league, at least one team from the AL and one team from the NL would have to be playing each other all the time.
AL baseball is higher scoring, but that comes with longer games. Just ask the Yankees and Red Sox, who seem to play four-hour games on a regular basis. I would miss the rivalries with the Cardinals and Cubs and making trips to PNC Park and Wrigley Field. Of course, this is coming from a guy who hasn’t been to Fenway Park in 20 years, either.
Of course, the Astros could wind up staying in the NL, which would be fine with me. I grew up on the speed and defense and great pitching of the Astros teams that played in the Astrodome in the 1980s and 1990s. But you’re always intrigued by what’s on the other side of the fence, and the Astros might find out soon.
Here’s a statistical look back at the Astros’ 2010 season:
- Of the eight teams that made the playoffs this year, the Astros played seven of them and posted a combined 14-35 record (they didn’t play Minnesota). Here’s how they fared against teams that made the playoffs: Yankees (0-3), Rays (1-2), Rangers (1-5), Giants (2-7), Braves (1-5), Reds (5-10), Phillies (4-3).
- The Astros hit only 108 home runs this year, which is their fewest since hitting 96 while playing home games at the Astrodome in 1992. Their 611 runs scored their fewest since 1994.
- The Astros were 59-21 when scoring four or more runs and 21-18 in one-run games.
- The Astros were 44-34 against the NL Central, winning the season series from every team except the Reds.
- The Astros had seven sweeps and were swept eight times.
- The Astros were 7-6 in extra-inning games.
- The Astros had 123 different batting orders in 162 games.
- The Astros hit three grand slams: Carlos Lee (June 9), Lance Berkman (July 27) and Jason Michaels (Aug. 1).
- The Astros hit back-to-back home runs only once (Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence on May 9).
- Only two players had multi-homer games: Carlos Lee (July 28) and Hunter Pence (Aug. 17).
- Chris Johnson led the Astros in batting (.308), Hunter Pence led the team in home runs (25) and RBIs (91), Jeff Keppinger in doubles (34) and Michael Bourn in triples (six) and stolen bases (52).
- Brett Myers won the team’s pitching triple crown among starters, leading the club in wins (14), ERA (3.14) and strikeouts (180).
- Here’s where the Astros ranked in various offensive categories in the 16-team NL: 13th (tied) in triples (25); 14th in hits (1,438), doubles (252), batting average (.247); 15th in runs scored (611), RBIs (571); and last in home runs (108), total bases (1,974), on-base percentage (.303), slugging percentage (.363) and OPS (.667) and walks (409).
- The Astros struck out 1,025 times, which was the fewest in the NL.
- Here’s where the Astros ranked in the NL in various pitching categories: second (tied) in quality starts (95); third in saves (45); sixth in runs allowed (729); eighth in strikeouts (1,183); 10th in ERA (4.09), shutouts (10); and 11th (tied) in batting average against (.262).
- The Astros went 42-39 at home to finish with a winning record in each of the last 10 seasons at Minute Maid Park.
- The Astros drew 2,331,490 fans in 81 games this year, for an average of 28,784. Since drawing a record 3,022,763 in 2006 (the year after their World Series berth), attendance has dropped four years in a row. The Astros drew 3,020,405 in 2007, 2,779,487 in 2008 and 2,521,076 in 2009. Major League Baseball’s average attendance dropped for the third straight season, falling 1 percent this year.
- RHP Wilton Lopez stranded 32 of the 33 runners he inherited this year.
- RHP Brandon Lyon didn’t allow a run in 33 of his last 36 appearances.
- CF Michael Bourn led the league in stolen bases for the second year in a row with 52.