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Thursday Morning Astros, etc. Round Up

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As a warning, I'm three cups of coffee in, but still no closer to not hating the world for having me be awake, so my tone may be a bit jaded. C'est la vie, right?

I'm starting with the most interesting bit of information I managed to cull from my hunt for worthy links this morning.  I broke my rule about putting JJO on a one month suspension for out pacing Justice as the Chronicle writer who most confused me as to how their mind let them at arrive at their conclusions.  I'm glad that I did, though, because I came across this important piece of information:

Keep in mind, however, that unlike the other candidates, Garner, Clark and Pedrique don't need an introductory second interview with McLane to enter the finals.

Something to consider since there has been relatively little word from the front office as to who has advanced to the second round.

Probably not a good idea, given my state this AM, but I read Justice's latest entry after JJO.  The Phil Garner love train, as conducted by Richard Justice, has officially come to halt it seems.  Justice is now of the opinion that Acta is the front runner—though the important piece of why he suddenly thinks this was omitted from his article—and is now singing his praises:

He'd be excellent, but then so would Bob Melvin and Phil Garner. One thing Acta brings to the job is a history with the Astros. He spent 16 years with the franchise as a player and minor league manager. He once joked that he had a star for a heart. He had a terrible record during his time with the Nationals, but gained high marks for his strategic and communication skills.

Of the candidates we know that are left, it's Acta or bust for me.  But I'm still confused as to how Justice just suddenly dropped Garner like he was hot.  I know that there's a mention of Garner above, but in a week's time, Justice went from giving us Drayton's mailing address to pimp Garner, to mentioning him as virtual afterthought.  That's weird, right?

OK, I can't even pretend like my ire at life didn't bias my selection today.  Here's a line from McTaggart's latest blog entry that has been up for awhile, but I never read in depth.  When I came across this line about Bogar's chances at becoming the next manager, I contemplated trying to start a riot outside of MMP:

Bogar is still young and up-and-coming, which could hurt his chances here. I think he's going to make a good manager someday, but the experience handling star players just isn't there.

Bogar, over the last few days, had become my new favorite, but now, ostensibly because he hadn't actually put on the manager's cap and handled star players, he wasn't brought back for a second interview.  Is the man not in Boston's club house? Did he not spend last year watching BJ Upton? Could the Astros front office make me want to slam my head against a brick wall anymore?  I mean just think of what the front office is depriving us of: the sheer comedy that could spring from Bogar's name if things went south for him...We brought back Garner over Bogar...I...but...damnit

Alright, I have one last Astros related link that rankles me, and then I'll stop with the vitriol.  BtB released it's Power Ranking's based recap of the NL Central.  Here's what was said of our Houston Astros:

Front office management has seemed genuinely dreadful to me since about the time of the Tejada trade, and it seems like, at this point, they're just playing out the string of time they have left with Berkman and Oswalt.  Despite the emergence of Wandy Rodriguez into awesomeness this year (or maybe I just haven't been paying attention--his components are mostly unchanged since 2007), the pitching was just average.  And at the same time, the fielding was below-average, as was the offense.  A lot's been made of Berkman and his 25 homers...but he wasn't the problem with the offense.  Replacement level performances from Blum, Matzui, and Rodriguez were the problem.

I'm a sabr-guy, but come on.  Really? Wandy's performance this year wasn't legit? That's the implication.  His xFIP since 2007 has been 4.29, 3.92, 3.66.  His K/9 has increased each year, and his BB/9 went from 3.1 in 2007 to 2.9 in both 2008 and 2009.  Watching him on the mound, he's clearly pitching from a different mindset.  The entire BtB Power Rankings experience is now complete thanks to this recap.  We can list this a example number 1034938772973084 of why it usually takes more than a cursory knowledge of a team to accurately report on them in this kind of a fashion.

Now for just two cool links [I do feel better having channeled my frustration with life on to others, thankfully]:

JC Bradbury provides some evidence that Dave Duncan just may definitively be a pitching genius.

A very cool op-ed style piece from StatSpeak writer PizzaCutter in a Fan Post over at BtB about the manger's utilization of small sample sizes for strategic decisions.  It was by far the most enjoyable piece I read this morning.