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Daily Astros News and Notes

What a victory! El Bufalo rides again, eh? Let's get to the pitching report.

Brett Myers - First off, I'd like to apologize to Mr. Myers. He is apparently a 120-pitch pitcher. He reached the mythical milestone last night for the first time in years. I am humbled. Let's see what he was throwing.

Pitch Type Avg Speed Max Speed Avg H-Break Avg V-Break Count Strikes / % Swinging Strikes / % Nibbleness Time to Plate
FF (FourSeam Fastball) 90.65 92.6 -3.30 6.87 17 10 / 58.82% 0 / 0.00% 6.48 0.417
SI (Sinker) 89.92 91.7 -7.14 3.30 32 17 / 53.13% 2 / 6.25% 4.95 0.418
CH (Changeup) 84.00 84.9 -6.47 3.68 5 3 / 60.00% 0 / 0.00% 6.45 0.445
SL (Slider) 84.97 86.8 2.69 -0.90 52 38 / 73.08% 13 / 25.00% 5.56 0.442
CU (Curveball) 77.18 79.7 6.38 -10.76 9 3 / 33.33% 0 / 0.00% 6.61 0.496

When a pitch is working, ride it like a horse. Myers threw 52 sliders last night, more than any other pitch in his repertoire. He also got 13 swing-throughs and threw 73 percent strikes with the pitch. It had about the same break that it normally does, but Myers was able to spot it well. He was only more careful with his sinker, going by Nibbleness score. Odd too that Myers went away from his curve last night. He may not have had a good feel for it early and decided to scrap it. After all, he only threw three for strikes in nine pitches.

Both his fastballs had good sink, but the two-seamer ran in hard on the hands of hitters. Couple that with some good vertical drop and it explains how Myers got nine ground ball outs. It was also the first time that I can remember his average four-seamer breaking 90 MPH. Of course, that may have been because he only threw 17 of them. Still, it's good to see him throw with a little more zip.

We looked at an individual at-bat earlier this week that ended badly. Let's look at a good ending to a tough situation. In the fifth inning, Stephen Drew hit a leadoff double to left. Justin Upton followed with the score tied at two with no outs. What happened? Myers got a four-pitch strikeout. How did he do it?


Myers got a called strike on his first pitch, working the outside of the zone. He then missed with a fastball off the plate before getting two straight swinging strikes to sit Upton down. Working that side of the zone was exactly what Roy Oswalt did not do yesterday when he gave up the home run. Myers seemed to have a good plan for facing Upton, as the right fielder was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

What was the pitch sequence?


Slider, fastball, slider, slider. Upton must've known what was coming, but he just couldn't hit it. Those are tough pitches, out over the corner, breaking away from the hitter, sweeping over the plate. No wonder Upton swung over the pitches. Last time we analyzed Myers, I showed you how his slider was one of the best pitches in baseball. With this one at-bat, you can see how effective it can be.

Comment of the Day and Leaderboard: Not an original comment, but a very timely one. There was a lot of anger directed AT him too by the fans.

Carlos Lee

"There was a little anger in my swing"

Astros fan for life

by Joe in Birmingham on May 5, 2010 9:36 PM CDT reply actions

Now, the leaderboard:

Name # of Posts
Joe in Birmingham 43
clack 36
timmy_ 14
entropic soul 9
Astrofan 8

The 3,000 hit club: It's not what you're thinking. This post over at the Stat of the Day blog on Baseball Reference talks about all the pitchers in history who have given up 3,000 hits. Among active players, Livan Hernandez leads the way, but former Astro Andy Petttitte also shows up on the list.

This is a really cool breakdown of a wide variety of pitchers. There are career lists for players with the most hits ever. There are lists for guys who just have a ERA+ of 100 or less (both Joe Niekro and Jerry Reuss show up there). It's exactly the kind of thing I love seeing.

The question is also timely, since we just reviewed a Brett Myers start. Seeing the guys on this list, is it necessarily a bad thing to give up hits, if you have the stuff to also get strikeouts? Most every guy on those lists were successful pitchers, because you need some longevity to give up that many hits. Were there any guys who surprised you on the list? Any other Astros that I missed?

Buyers and sellers: Two good links popped up on MLB Trade Rumors Thursday that got me thinking about the Astros and the trade market. This one talks about how the Washington Nationals may be involved in the trade market after a surprising 14-13 start put them in contention. This article talks about how disappointed team president Andy McPhail is in the Orioles offense to this point and hints that changes may be on the way.

When I wrote my trade review for Roy Oswalt, I didn't consider Washington because I didn't think they'd win enough to take on salary. But, don't the Nationals make an intriguing fit? They're still (relatively) close to his home in Mississippi. He'd still be in the National League. He'd get to mentor Stephen Strasberg and John Lannan, like Clemens and Pettitte mentored him back in 2004.

The question is, what does Washington have to offer? I could see the Astros building a package around Danny Espinosa with the idea of moving him to second base to pair with Jio Mier. If the Nats threw in guys like Juan Jaime and Bradley Meyers, this deal probably gets done. It's not a huge win for the Astros, but that's three very solid prospects for Oswalt, who may actually have a higher trade value right now than he did in the offseason.

With the Orioles, Carlos Lee makes a lot more sense. I know he's got the full no-trade clause, but if a deal could be reached for someone like Kam Mickolio and Brandon Waring. Really, I'd take anything to get rid of the next three years of that contract.

FanGraphs writes about Moehler: And the article isn't unflattering to the Astros! Imagine that! While he does take some veiled potshots at Brandon Lyon, R.J. Anderson does a good job of showing an odd trend with Brian Moehler's usage. He's basically a mopup reliever, who is only used when the game is out of reach. As Anderson points out, though, Moehler hasn't been terrible enough to warrant that deployment. Sure, he's not our favorite pitcher, but couldn't he be used in higher leverage situations?

The answer, of course, is that the Astros are blessed with a good bullpen, even with all the injuries. Moehler has filled his role admirably and probably is doing just what is needed. When a guy is a long reliever or swingman, he usually pitches when the starting pitcher struggles to get out of the third or fourth inning. That means he's pitching in a high scoring game, and most likely the Astros are losing. That's the nature of the job. Should Houston really try to mess with what's working?

Relive the 1998 Astros: We tweeted this Wednesday, but the guys over at 1560 The Game are going to be reliving the 1998 Astros season. Here's Lance Zeirlein's explanation:

Today on the radio, I decided I was finished talking about the 2010 Astros and from now on, I was going to follow the 1998 Astros season as it it were being played in real time. For example, Jose Lima (4-1) is on the mound for the good guys taking on Mark Clark of the Cubs (2-2). On Thursday, Shane Reynolds is going to toe the rubber against rookie hot-shot Kerry Wood.

We will be covering the Astros on my radio show, only we'll be talking about the 1998 games that are played on these same dates rather than the 2010 Astros unless this year's squad can give us something more than multiple eight game losing streaks while on pace to produce the fewest homeruns and run scored in about 80 years.

For those of you who can listen to the station, sounds like a really fun idea. Plus, it'll take the sting of those 1-0 losses away for a short while.

Minor notes: One big note about Tuesday's games. Tanner Bushue had another good outing, picking up his second victory of the season. He also pitched seven innings and faced 32 batters. There are no pitch counts listed until players get to Double-A, but I can tell you that Jordan Lyles never faced more than 28 batters in a game in 2009. In fact, Lyles only did that once and basically was limited to about 25 batters a game.

Bushue again struck out five, but gave up three runs and 10 hits while walking one. I'm not sure I like the possibility of pushing Bushue so soon. What do you think? Am I making too much of this?