Results tagged ‘ Rays ’

Luhnow meets with Bowa on ‘baseball related matters’

Larry Bowa, a long-time Major League player, manager and coach, was at Minute Maid Park on Friday to meet with general manager Jeff Luhnow at a time when the Astros are searching for a manager.

Luhnow, who picked up Bowa at the airport on Friday morning, wouldn’t confirm whether Bowa was a candidate for the full-time managerial position. Bowa, before leaving the airport, said he was meeting to “exchange baseball ideas.”

Luhnow later said in a text message to “Larry is here to meet with me on some baseball related matters.”

Bowa comes to Houston one day after Nationals third base coach Bo Porter was in town to interview on Thursday. Earlier in the week, the Astros interviewed Rays bench coach Dave Martinez for their managerial position, a source told

Martinez, 47, has been the bench coach of the Rays since 2008 and served as a Spring Training coach for manager Joe Maddon the previous two seasons. Martinez played 16 seasons in the Major Leagues with eight different teams.

As a player, Bowa was a five-time All-Star selection with the Phillies and also played for the Cubs and the Mets. A fiery personality as a player and later as a manager, he was a career .260 hitter in 16 Major League seasons and finished his career with 2,191 hits and won a World Series with the Phillies in 1980.

Bowa managed the Padres in 1987-88 and later managed the Phillies from 2001-04. He also served as a coach with the Phillies, Angels, Mariners, Yankees and Dodgers. In six years as a manager, he was 418-435 (.490) with no post-season appearances.

He was named National League Manager of the Year in 2001 after the Phillies went from last place in 2000 to within two games of the division title the next year. He was dismissed with two games remaining in the 2004 season.

Bowa, 66, has been a studio analyst for the MLB Network since early in 2011.

The Astros began interviewing managerial candidates this week in an effort to find a full-time manager. Brad Mills was let go last month after nearly three years at the helm of the club, and Tony DeFrancesco has been managing the club on an interim basis.

Astros lineup for Sunday

Astros’ lineup for Sunday’s game against the Rays

CF Bourn

2B Keppinger

RF Pence

LF Lee

3B Johnson

1B Wallace

SS Barmes

C Corporan

LHP Happ

Pence likely out until Friday

Astros right fielder Hunter Pence, who hasn’t played since Friday because of a sprained left elbow, likely won’t return to the lineup until Friday’s series opener against the Rays at Minute Maid Park.

Pence showed up at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Tuesday unable to swing a bat because of discomfort in the elbow. He said team doctors told him last weekend he would likely miss the Rangers series, and that will likely be the case.

“It’s just not ready to swing,” he said. “It’s close, very close, but I’m not ready. There’s really no way other to say I can’t really swing. Until I can, I don’t know how you can really play. I’m going to wait until it’s ready so I can play. I’m going to play hard and play good.”

With the Astros having a day off Thursday, manager Brad Mills said it would probably be best for Pence to be held out of the lineup until Friday. Pence leads the club in batting average, home runs and RBIs.

“Unless all of a sudden he shows up and he’s able to swing and everything’s fine,” Mills said. “I don’t see that happening after talking with him today and how sore he was today.”

The good news for Pence is doctors have told him he can’t do anymore damage to the elbow that he currently has. An MRI performed on Sunday showed no tears or ligament damage.

Astros lineup Saturday vs. Rays

The Astros try to make it two in a row over the best team in baseball Saturday when left-hander Wandy Rodriguez takes the ball against the Tampa Bay Rays. Jeff Niemann, a 6-foot-9 right-hander who’s a Houston native and led Rice to the 2003 College World Series title, will make his first pro start in his hometown.

Here are the lineups:


CF Michael Bourn .289-0-5

2B Jeff Keppinger .281-0-17

1B Lance Berkman .220-4-13

LF Carlos Lee .199-5-16

RF Hunter Pence .250-6-17

3B Pedro Feliz .209-1-13

C Humberto Quintero .243-1-4

SS Tommy Manzella .192-1-6

P Wandy Rodriguez .333-0-1


SS Jason Bartlett .248-1-22

LF Carl Crawford .306-3-20

2B Ben Zobrist .299-1-20

3B Evan Longoria .323-9-37

1B Carlos Pena .190-5-19

CF B.J. Upton .224-5-19

RF Gabe Kapler .250-1-7

C Dioner Navarro .184-0-2

P Jeff Niemann .000-0-0


Tough road ahead for Astros

Had the Astros found a way to win Tuesday’s series finale in Los Angeles, they would have been coming home from a 4-4 road trip, which wouldn’t have been too bad. But in reality, there are few positives to take away from a 3-5 road trip that ended with five consecutive losses.

The Astros are 13-26 and on a pace to go 54-108, which would easily be the worst season in their history. There are still three-fourths of the season to go, and a lot can and will happen between now and then. But as you look at the immediate schedule, things aren’t going to get easier for the Astros.

The Rockies will throw NL Cy Young contender Ubadlo Jimenez are them on Thursday, and then the Rays — the best team in baseball — invade Minute Maid Park this weekend and will throw three starters who are a combined 14-2. The Astros are last in the Majors in nearly every offensive category, which makes the upcoming pitching matchups even more disheartening.

Here are the pitchers the Astros are going to face the during this weekend’s home stand:

Wednesday — LHP Greg Smith (1-2, 6.35 ERA): Smith accepted reassignment to the bullpen last week, but before he makes his first appearance as a reliever, he’s got one more task to attend to: Another start. Thanks to Colorado’s rotation being thrown off by Friday’s rainout and subsequent doubleheader on Saturday against Washington, manager Jim Tracy announced Smith would start this game at Houston. Smith has started seven games for Colorado this season and has a 1-2 record and a 6.35 ERA. In his last start, on May 10, the lefty went 5 2/3 innings against San Diego, allowing eight hits and four earned runs, while striking out six and walking four. Wednesday will mark his first career appearance against the Astros.

Thursday — RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-1, 1.12 ERA): He offered another brilliant outing against the Nationals on Saturday, silencing their bats for eight innings while yielding two runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out five. He paid for a couple mistakes, including hanging a split-finger fastball to Adam Dunn, who sent it 442 feet into the third deck at Coors Field for the first home run Jimenez has given up all season. He was efficient with his pitches, throwing 115, including 70 for strikes, and kept a tight game in hand, only trailing after giving up a first-inning run, then shutting down the Nats until the Dunn solo shot. Jimenez set the tone for the Rockies to sweep their first doubleheader since September 2007, a game into their 21-of-22 win stretch that catapulted the club to its first World Series appearance.

Friday — RHP Matt Garza (5-1, 2.38 ERA): Garza will make his ninth start of the season against Houston. Garza only gave up five hits, two walks and one run over six innings in his last start, but he didn’t have his best stuff while earning a no-decision against the Mariners on Sunday. His fastball command was a little off, and he admittedly struggled to find the strike zone at times, throwing just 56 of his 106 pitches for strikes. Still, he battled through six innings, benefited from excellent defensive play behind him and kept his team around long enough to win. Friday will be the Rays’ first Interleague game, and Garza will face the Astros for just the second time in his four-year Major League career — and his first time against them away from Tropicana Field. The 26-year-old has gone eight or more innings in four of his starts, allowed one earned run or less in five, given up two runs or fewer in six of them and will hope for more of the same in Houston.

Saturday — RHP Jeff Niemann (3-0, 2.54 ERA): The Houston native and former Rice University ace will make his first Major League start in Houston. The 6-foot-9 right-hander has worked into the seventh inning for quality starts in seven straight appearances and in all but one of his starts — the sole exception being his injury-shortened first start of the season against Baltimore. He gave up a season-high 10 hits Monday night in a 4-3 win over the Indians, who scored three runs off Niemann. He admitted he wasn’t as sharp as he could have been against Cleveland, but Tampa Bay’s defense and bullpen helped make up for the starter’s second-shortest outing of the season. Niemann has never faced the Astros in his short career, and this will be his fourth start in Interleague Play. He has recorded a win and two no-decisions in his previous outings, none of which went longer than six innings, but he did not allow more than three runs in any of them.

Sunday — LHP David Price (6-1, 1.81): Price will take on the Astros in his ninth start of the season after another impressive outing against the Indians on Tuesday. The American League’s first six-game winner pitched six innings, scattered four hits, walked three, struck out five and gave up just one unearned run. He likely could have gone deeper into the game, but manager Joe Maddon has been limiting his starters to around 100 pitches. The left-hander had great control of his fastball against Cleveland, and he threw 65 of his 97 pitches for strikes. Price’s first career start against Houston will be his fourth in Interleague Play. He is 1-2 in those outings and allowed five earned runs in two of the three starts — both losses.