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Houston Astros Midterm Report Cards: Relievers

Dave Borkowski Stros Bro : C Super Dave hasn't really been that super this year. . . Many Astro faithful are wishing he was no longer an Astro, but I think he still has some use. He's posted a 4.63 ERA over the season in his 35 IP, but like most of the Astros relievers, has blown more saves than he's converted. Dave is basically a middle innings mopup guy.
rastronomicals : D+ Appearances: up. Strikeouts: up. walks: up. Homers: up.
From rates established in 2006.
One thing that's down is innings/appearance, as Psychowksi's long relief job (last year) appears to be held by Moehler (this year). More and more, Borkowski has been pegged into the sixth-inning role that Russ Springer served last year and Rick White couldn't keep this year.
But based only on positive results we saw in '06, I wonder whether he's not somehow more suited for long relief. Right handed spot/long relievers are all over the place, but most of them don't have a history of heroic appearances the way Super Dave does.
Brad Lidge Stros Bro : B+ Stat wise, you look at Lidge's 2.34 ERA and SO/BB ratio of 44/16 over 34.2 innings and you would probably question the grading I give him. He gets a low grade because he lost his job in the first week of the season by blowing saves and still in 3 SVO has yet to convert a save. He's also been injured during the year and just hasn't been reliable. He's been good as a 6th-8th inning guy... but he's not being paid to be a 6th-8th inning guy. He's being paid to be a lights out closer, and he has been anything but lights out in that role this year.
rastronomicals : C- Yeah I guess he's got an acceptable ERA, but Brad Lidge has thrown just two innings in a save situation as closer in 2007, and has received the blown save at the end of both. As he sits on the DL as we reach the break, we still await the first save of 2007 from the man who entered the year as our closer. I'd trade him for a blue chip catching prospect in a split second
Trever Miller Stros Bro : F Trever Miller is a left handed specialist with nothing special. I hate to say it, but Miller is of little to no use to the Astros other than a late innings cleanup guy. Miller has been good on certain occasions and actually earned a save this week... but overall, he's just a high ERA(6.95) guy with below average stuff.
rastronomicals : C- I wouldn't be so bold to suggest that Trever's done well, but the fact is, that he's not been as bad as it looks. Miller has made 46 appearances and has a 6.75 ERA. If you excised just his three worst appearances, the ERA would be at a much more respectable 3.92 Certainly all pitchers have to bear the brunt of their bad appearances, but when you're a one-out guy who gives up four runs in a third of an inning (as he did to Cincy May 1) the ERA is going to be bloated for some time thereafter. Miller has actually been good at stranding or at the very least bequeathing his inherited runners. Through Friday night, only 6 of the 34 runners he'd inherited have gone on to score on him. That .176 percentage is second on the team behind Brian Moehler. And compare Qualls at .304, or Borkowski at .333. The club has now auditioned both Stephen Randolph and Mark McLemore for Miller's job, and only the fact that they've both been pretty lousy has kept Miller employed. His July ERA stands at 0.00, and I'm hoping that we can give Trever a much higher grade at term's end.
Brian Moehler Stros Bro : C Brian is probably the hardest Astro to give a grade to. He really hasn't been used that much this year(30 innings over 19 games) and his outings are few and far between. That being said, his ERA is 5.4 and he's posted a 1-2 record. I gave Dave a C, and Brian hasn't been as good as Dave, so he'll just get a C- and be done with.
rastronomicals : C Like Miller, has a high ERA, but also a very low inherited runners scored ratio. Like Miller, a small amount of his appearances account for a large part of his ERA. In Moehler's case four of his games in May account for 11 of his 20 allowed runs. I said such bad things about Moehler in the Spring, I kind of feel guilty. For what he is, he's been OK, he's been alright. Like, in the 17-inning game, I thought we were toast as soon as they pinch-hit for Albers and brought in Moehler. But he pitched two good innings before the Mets caught up to him.
Chad Qualls Stros Bro : C+ Sadly enough, Qualls has been one of the better relievers in the Astros bullpen this season. Chad has posted a 4.32 ERA and a 5-3 record over his 42 games pitched (2nd on the team). Chad's also blown more saves than he's converted, converting 2 out of 5 this season. Sadly, Chad has been the best Astros reliever (other than Lidge).
rastronomicals : C- Unlike with Wheeler, the homers Qualls has given up in '07 are no surprise. He has a history of giving up some damaging jacks. But he usually gets past them, and by the end of the year has posted a very credible year. I expect no less in 2007.
Dan Wheeler Stros Bro : D- Dan has the most saves on the team by far, but he also has the most blown saves. He's also been the only Astros pitcher to blow a game and then punch the starting pitcher whom he blew the game for. Lately, Dan is just a blown save waiting to happen, and his 10+ ERA in June and July is laughable.
rastronomicals : D+ Wheeler had a nightmare June, but was actually OK through the first two months, when he stood at 0 - 1 with 3.09 ERA, 9 saves and a blown save. But even in May, he'd given up some homers, and some of us were uneasy even before the blown saves started piling up in June. In '06, Wheeler was a flyball pitcher who didn't give up homers, and maybe soime of that was luck.
Maybe most of that was luck.