Results tagged ‘ Wandy Rodriguez ’

Astros-Cards preview

The Astros open their final series of the season Monday night at Minute Maid Park against the Cardinals, who come to town one game behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL Wild Card chase. The Braves are at the Phillies, which is who the Cards would play in the first round of the playoffs if they can edge the Braves for the final playoff spot. The Cardinals have 21 of their last 29 games.

Before we get to the lineup, here are some things you my find interesting:

  • The Astros currently have the youngest team in the NL at 27 years, 131 days old. Only the Royals are younger (26-4).
  • If you’re looking for a positive sign from the Astros, take note of this. The previous three times the club has lost at least 90 games, it came back and improved by at least 15 games the next season. They went from 64-97 in 1975 to 80-82 in 1976; 65-97 in 1991 to 81-81 in 1992; and 72-90 in 2000 to 93-69 and a division title in 2001. I’m just saying.
  • Carlos Lee, who enters Monday’s game with 94 RBIs, has the third-most RBIs in the NL since 2005. He trails only Ryan Howard (858) and Albert Pujuols (824).
  • Tonight’s pitching matchup features two pretty good left-handers in Jaime Garcia and Wandy Rodriguez. Of the lefties who will qualitfy for the ERA title, Garcia is fifth in the NL with a 3.45 ERA and Rodriguez is sixth at 3.51.

Here is the Astros’ lineup:

CF Jason Bourgeois

2B Angel Sanchez

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

RF Matt Downs

3B Chris Johnson

SS Clint Barmes

C J.R. Towles

LHP Wandy Rodriguez

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?

Wandy claimed, so now what?

We know that Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez was claimed off waivers by the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies aren’t a contender by any stretch, so their motives behind claiming Rodriguez are a little fuzzy. Maybe they wanted to block him from going to Arizona for the next three years, or maybe they actually have interest in adding him a month after trading away Ubaldo Jimenez.

Whatever the case, the Astros and Rockies have 48 hours — until noon CT Thursday — to resolve the situation. At this point, three things can happen:

1. The Astros and Rockies can work out a trade.

2. The Astros can simply give Rodriguez (and his contract) to the Rockies in exchange for a $20,000 waiver claim.

3. The Astros, either unable or unwilling to work out a trade, can pull Rodriguez off waivers, which would mean he’d remain with the Astros for the rest of the season.

The most likely scenario is the Astros wind up keeping Rodriguez. They had difficulty trading him prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline in part because of the $36 million he would be owed after this year if he switches teams. The Astros would likely be asked to take on some of that money.

Unless the Astros get blown away in a trade offer from the Rockies, they would probably just to hold onto him until the offseason and try to deal him again. Of course, they might be so eager to free up more payroll that they could simply give Rodriguez to the Rockies, making Colorado responsible for the rest of his contract. That’s a risk the Rockies took.

Interestingly, Rodriguez pitches against the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon in Denver, so they will get an up-close look at Rodriguez, who’s had a pretty good year (9-9, 3.31 ERA) on a team that’s 44 games under .500. We’ll know by Thursday afternoon if he’s going to remain with the Astros for the rest of the year or will be wearing a Rockies uniform.

Who will be the Astros’ All-Star

Considering the Astros are 29-54 and have the worst record in the Major Leagues, it would be surprising if they had more than one representative for the All-Star Game, which will be July 12 in Phoenix. The teams will be announced at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday.

Right fielder Hunter Pence, who had three hits Saturday, appears to be the overwhelming choice to be the team’s lone representative. He leads the team in batting average (.323), home runs (10) and RBIs (57), where he ranks among the league’s leaders.

But don’t discount center fielder Michael Bourn, the Astros’ lone All-Star representative last year. Bourn went 4-for-5 on Saturday to increase his batting average to .297 and on-base percentage to .362. He also leads the Majors in stolen bases and appears on his way to winning a third consecutive Gold Glove.

Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 2.97 ERA) has had a nice first half, but I can’t imagine him making it at the expense of either Pence or Bourn, assuming the Astros only get one All-Star.

So who’s your Astros’ All-Star in 2011?

Lyles staying in the rotation

With left-hander Wandy Rodriguez set to come off the disabled list and start Monday’s game against the Braves, the Astros created a roster spot by optioning reliever Jeff Fulchino to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Aneury Rodriguez, who has made eight starts, was moved back to the bullpen so the 20-year-old Jordan Lyles could remain in the rotation.

Lyles, the Astros’ top prospect, will start Thursday against the Pirates at Minute Maid Park. He’s 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in three Major League starts. It also means Fernando Rodriguez, who threw two scoreless innings Sunday, remains in the bullpen.

“I didn’t have my mind made up or told myself I should or shouldn’t be here,” Lyles said. “If they told me I was going somewhere else to pitch, I would get my stuff ready for my next start, wherever it was. You can’t control that stuff. I’m happy to be here, and hopefully I’ll have another good start.”

Aneury Rodriguez, a Rule 5 pick up from the Rays, went 0-4 with a 5.80 ERA as a starter after beginning the season in the bullpen. Fulchino is 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA in 13 relief outings, but he’s 0-1 with a 12.60 ERA in five innings in his last five games.

“Fulchy’s got the stuff and has had some good success here the last couple of years,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “We want him to go down there and be able to work on command of his pitches and be able to throw the ball over the strike zone with consistency.”

Lyles on his way to Astros

The Astros announced Saturday afternoon they will place left-hander Wandy Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list Monday with fluid in his left elbow joint and will purchase the contract of top prospect Jordan Lyles, a right-handed pitcher, from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Lyles, 20, the Astros’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year last year, will make his Major League debut on Tuesday when he gets the start for the Astros against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He’s 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 10 starts this year for the RedHawks. Lyles is also scheduled to start June 5 in San Diego, manager Brad Mills said.

“He’s been pitching well,” Mills said. “His last outing [Wednesday] was six shutout innings and he only threw 77 pitches. He’s put some pretty good outings together. Everyone’s excited with the way he threw in Spring Training for us and we’re exited for him. This will be a good time to see him pitch.”

Rodriguez underwent an MRI on Saturday morning because of discomfort in his elbow. He was scheduled to start Saturday’s game against Arizona, but was scratched on Friday. Rodriguez is 3-3 in 10 starts this season with a 3.41 ERA, and is 3-1 in his last seven starts with a 2.16 ERA.

In Lyles’ last seven starts, he has been one of the top starting pitchers in Triple-A, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.00 ERA. In that span, he has allowed two runs or less in six starts and one run or less in four starts.

Lyles, the club’s 38th overall pick in 2008, dazzled the Astros in Spring Training, posting a 1.98 ERA in five appearances while competing for the fifth starter’s job – a spot that eventually went to Nelson Figueroa.

To make room for Lyles on the 40-man roster, catcher Jason Castro will be transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

 

 

Astros-Brewers lineups for Sunday

Happy Easter from Milwaukee, where the Astros will try to win their second consecutive road series in today’s finale against the Brewers. In case you missed it, the Astros outlasted the Brewers 9-6 in 10 innings Saturday in a wildly entertaining game.

Sunday’s game features a pair of lefties, with former Astro Randy Wolf (2-2, 3.18 ERA) starting for the Brewers against Wandy Rodriguez (1-2, 5.48 ERA). Rodriguez is coming off a strong outing in New York, where he won his first game of the season by allowing three hits and one run in seven innings. He went 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in three starts against the Brewers last year and is 7-6 with a 3.94 ERA against them lifetime.

Wolf beat Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay in his last start, throwing six scoreless innings. He’s 6-5 wiht a 3.44 ERA in 16 career starts against the Astros.

With Wolf on the mound, manager Brad Mills has gone to his all-right-handed lineup:

ASTROS

CF Jason Bourgeois

SS Angel Sanchez

RF Hunter Pence

1B Carlos Lee

2B Bill Hall

LF Jason Michaels

3B Chris Johnson

C J.R. Towles

LHP Wandy Rodriguez

BREWERS

2B Rickie Weeks

CF Carlos Gomez

LF Ryan Braun

1B Prince Fielder

3B Casey McGehee

SS Yuniesky Betancourt

RF Brandon Boggs

C Wil Nieves

LHP Randy Wolf

Astros can’t catch a break

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.”

Johnson out of Astros lineup

Third baseman Chris Johnson is not in the Astros’ starting lineup today, presumably because he’s nursing a sore left arm. Johnson was hit by a pitch on the back of his upper left arm Tuesday and told me after the game he was having trouble moving the arm. We’ll know when we get to visit with manager Brad Mills.

The Astros will try to win consecutive games for the first time this year when they send Wandy Rodriguez to the mound to face Carlos Zambrano, who’s dominated the Astros in his career and even through a no-hitter against Houston in 2008. He’s 14-8 with a 2.63 ERA in his career against the Astros. Rodriguez is coming off a strong start, allowing eight hits and one run Friday against Florida.

Here is the Astros’ starting lineup:

ASTROS

CF Michael Bourn

SS Angel Sanchez

RF Hunter Pence

LF Carlos Lee

1B Brett Wallace

2B Bill Hall

3B Matt Downs

C J.R. Towles

LHP Wandy Rodriguez

Astros postgame tidbits from Friday

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.
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