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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 51 at Pirates

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Fernando Nieve Oliver Perez
1 - 3, 5.36 2 - 5, 6.04

Saw an interesting note at the official site:

Exemplifying the team's offensive struggles, Willy Taveras twice attempted to steal off Pirates starter Ian Snell on Friday. Insignificant in itself, but Snell is one of the quickest pitchers to the plate (1.2 seconds) and catcher Ronny Paulino is just as impressive in getting the ball to second base (1.9 seconds). "Most of the time, you would never try and steal off of that," Garner said. "But we're going to try and do it because we're not doing anything else." Taveras was 1-for-2 in his attempts, though replays showed he was safe on the first inning try he was called out on. .

Hey! I remember that Caught Stealing! I wrote at the time:

Garner gets aggressive and sends Willy (which I like) and Taveras gets thrown out (which I don't)
OK, so I liked the move, but what's important here is that I didn't know the reason NOT to like it. I had absolutely no clue Snell was so fast to the plate. I suppose the information is out there somewhere, but I did not have it. Yet I presumed to have an opinion anyway. And that's the thing about spending your days second-guessing the manager: the skipper is often in possession of information that not only you don't have, but also often has the lowdown you couldn't possibly have.

I never saw enough of Hal Lanier to have an opinion, but since Lanier got canned, I've basically liked the managers in alternate cycles. I liked Art Howe, didn't like Collins, liked Dierker, didn't like Williams, and I like Garner. And as with the president's first 100 days, usually I've formed the opinion of a manager within the first 50 games.

So my favorable impression of Garner early on is going to color my views of him for the duration of his tenure. I'll readily admit that.

And becaue of what I said above about the information game, it is also not my style to routinely criticize the manager. I even gave Williams some slack. "Manager's decision," right?

So what I'm saying here is that I don't like to criticize the managing, but sometimes you are given no choice.

Last Seven Days
Astro G AB H BA OBP OPS
Eric Munson 2 13 6 .462 .533 1.072
Preston Wilson 7 29 11 .379 .419 .868
Willy Taveras 6 27 10 .370 .414 .858
Eric Bruntlett 5 14 5 .357 .400 .829
Orlando Palmeiro 3 3 1 .333 .333 .667
Mike Lamb 4 18 6 .333 .350 .906
Craig Biggio 7 25 7 .280 .455 .815
Lance Berkman 6 15 3 .200 .381 .781
Morgan Ensberg 7 26 5 .192 .405 1.059
Brad Ausmus 6 19 3 .158 .238 .396
Jason Lane 6 19 3 .158 .304 .673
Adam Everett 7 29 4 .138 .194 .366
Chris Burke 4 12 1 .083 .294 .377

In her postgame coments this morning, saylinara takes issue with the double switches that were run comparatively early in the game by both Garner and then Cooper after Phil got the hook. Her point was that maybe if Ausmus had entered the game, rather than just pinch-hitting and departing, in the twelfth, the play at the plate in the eighteenth may have gone better for our beleaguered Astros.

That's a good point: asking anyone to catch 18 innings is asking a lot.

But I'm also thinking of the double switch that was made in the sixth inning. Garner removed Wandy in the double switch that brought in Palmeiro in replacement of Wilson.

Who, if you look at the pretty little table above, is our hottest hitter lately. I've been on the bandwagon along with everyone else who has been calling for PW's head, but these are facts, undeniable.

And the switch was made in the sixth inning. In defending the Ausmus move, it's at least a little reasonable to say that you can't assume the game is gonna go 18. But removing your best hitter from the game in the sixth inning is never advisable.

It kind of reminds me of the Chris Burke game, you know? Garner came out a winner in that one, but there also he removed his hottest player earlier than might have been necessary.

Anyway, just some thoughts.