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Championship Series - Houston Astros v. Texas Rangers - Game Four

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Astros Crawfish Boil: January 5, 2024

It’s another weekend Boil. Bring a friend!

Hunter Brown szn
| Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It’s another weekend boil.

So, who is Declan Cronin, anyway?

Houston Astros News

Houston Astros claim RHP Declan Cronin from White Sox, designate Joel Kuhnel (Click2Houston)

Is 2024 the End of the Astros as We Know Them? (FanGraphs)

Former Astros first baseman Chuck Harrison dies (Houston Chronicle)

AL West News

A’s — The Most Selfish Owners In Sports Are Sinking To A New Low (CBS Sports)

M’s — Mitch Garver feels ‘really valued’ with way Seattle Mariners see him (Seattle Sports)

Halos — Ron Washington focused on Angels’ preparation

Mall Cops — Texas Rangers Theme Nights: Here are the games, dates (WFAA)

MLB News

How Chris Sale can reclaim old form with new team

Mets agree to deal with former Gold Glover Bader

Snell has privately expressed interest in joining this team

Yanks claim OF Thompson from Reds, add RHP Poteet

Houston Astros Birthdays

Friday

OF Nori Aoki (42)

3B Rolando Espinosa (23)

OF Milt Thompson (65)

OF Andy Colon (20)

SS Samuel Capellan (19)

Saturday

LHP Alvin Morman (55)

RHP Franklin Gil (21)

Sunday

LHP Dave Meads (60)

C Andrews Sosa (19)

OF/SS Jim Pendleton (1924-1996)

IF Craig Shipley (61)

C Carlos Corporán (40)

Everystros LXIV

240. Kazuo Matsui (Bagwell score 10.28) is a five-foot-10 switch-hitting middle-infielder from Higashi-Osaka, Japan. Born on October 23, 1975, he started his professional career with the Seibu Lions in 1995, and spent nine seasons in Japan’s major leagues prior to his time in our majors leagues.

In 2004, Matsui made his stateside-debut with the New York Mets, spending three seasons (239 games, .256/.308/.363, 11 home runs, 75 RBI) with the team. He followed with parts of two seasons with the Colorado Rockies (136 games, .300/.353/.426, six home runs, 56 RBI).

On November 30, 2007, the Astros signed Matsui through free agency for three years and $16.5M. In 2008, he played 96 games for Houston, starting 94 times at second base (806 innings, .971). He had multiple-hit efforts nearly a third of the time, with 31 such occurences, including seven three-hit games. Overall, he slashed .293/.354/.427 with 26 doubles, three triples, and six home runs. He drew 37 walks and struck out 53, scoring 58 times and driving in 33, with 20 stolen bases in 25 attempts.

On April 20, Matsui singled, stole second and scored in the fifth, then hit a two-run go-ahead eighth-inning single for a 5-4 lead over the Rockies, in a win by the same score against Colorado. On May 7, he drew a walk in the first, drew a walk and stole a base in the seventh, then drew a walk, stole a base, and scored the walk-off game-winner in a 4-3 victory against the Washington Nationals. On August 9, he hit a single, a double, and a homer in a 9-5, 10-inning win over the Cincinnati Reds.

In 2009, Matsui appeared in 130 games, including 127 starts at second base (1101 13 innings, .991). He had another 30 multi-hit games, including three three-hit efforts. On April 25, he started his day 0-for-3 with a walk before hitting a two-run go-ahead eighth-inning double against the Brewers, in an eventual 9-8, 11-inning loss. On September 5, he started his game 0-for-4 before hitting a walkoff two-run come-from-behind single to defeat Brad Lidge & the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4.

Matsui slashed out a .250/.302/.357 line overall, with 20 doubles, two triples and nine home runs. He drew 34 walks and struck out 85 times, scoring 56 runs and driving in 46. He also stole 19 bases in 22 attempts. He started 2010 going 10-for-71 in 27 games, with one double and one RBI. He made one error in 162 innings at second base for a .990 fielding percentage.

Houston released Matsui on May 24, 2010. It would be his last time in the US majors, but he did return to Japan and played another nine seasons of top-level baseball.

239. Hunter Brown (Bagwell score 14.26) is a six-foot-two right-handed pitcher from Detroit, MI. Born on August 29, 1998, he was Houston’s fifth-round selection in 2019 out of Wayne State University.

Brown made his major league debut for the Astros in 2022, pitching in seven September contests and surrendering two earned runs in 20 13 innings. He walked seven and struck out 22, with a 0.89 ERA, a 2-0 record, a 1.082 WHIP, and an opposing slashline of .206/.275/.288. In his debut, on September 5, he struck out five and held the Rangers scoreless on three hits and one walk over six innings in an eventual 1-0 win over Texas. In the playoffs, he appeared seven times out of the bullpen, and pitched 10 23 innings, allowing two runs and striking out seven to help the Astros to their second World Series Championship in six seasons.

Brown’s truncated seasonal stats resulted in a bWAR of 0.8, which is eight times more than he accrued in his sophomore campaign. Brown was 11-13 in 2023, with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.362 WHIP. Opponents managed a .262/.332/.456 slashline, but Brown struck out 178 for a rotation-best 10.6 K/9.

Although Brown’s 2023 stats were admittedly pedestrian in comparison to his first exposure, the season wasn’t without highlights. On April 26, he pitched a career-high seven innings and struck out eight while holding the Rays to no runs on two hits and two walks in a 1-0 Houston win over Tampa Bay. On June 13, he struck out four over seven shutout innings against the Nationals in a 6-1 win against Washington.

Brown is projected to pitch 134 innings for Houston in 2024, with 9-9 record and a 4.57 ERA by B/R. I think he’ll be somewhat better, but that may be hometown bias. Either way, Brown remains on Houston’s 40-man roster, and will be eligible for arbitration for the first time in 2026.

238. Erik Bedard (Bagwell score 15.93) is a six-foot-one left-handed pitcher from Navan, Canada. Born on March 5, 1979, he was a sixth-round choice of the Baltimore Orioles in 1999 out of Norwalk Community College.

Bedard reached the bigs with the O’s in 2002 and played parts of five seasons with Baltimore (40-34, 3.83, 658 IP, 639 K). He later also played with the Seattle Mariners (15-14, 3.31, 255 13 IP, 249 K), the Boston Red Sox (1-2, 4.03, 38 IP, 38 K) and the PIttsburgh Pirates (7-14, 5.01, 125 23 IP, 118 K).

On January 21, 2013, Bedard signed with Houston for one year and $1.15M. He pitched in 32 games for the Astros, starting 26 of them. On June 3, he held the Angels to one run on five hits and a walk over seven innings in a 2-1 win against Los Angeles. On June 19, he struck out eight over 7 13 innings of one-run ball, holding the Brewers to four hits in an eventual 3-1 loss to Milwaukee. In Houston’s final game of the season, against the New York Yankees, Bedard pitched seven innings of scoreless three-hit ball, walking zero and striking out nine. Houston eventually lost to the Bombers, 5-1 in 14 innings.

Bedard went 4-12 with a 4.59 for Houston, and struck out 138 in 151 innings, walking 75. He held his opponents to a .260/.348/.425 line. Houston granted Bedard free agency following the season. Bedard later played at the major league level with the Tampa Bay Rays (4-6, 4.76, 75 23 IP, 64 K).

237. Fred Gladding (Bagwell score 10.02) was a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher who batter left-handed. Born on June 28, 1936, he got to the majors for the first time in 1961 with the Detroit Tigers. In seven seasons with the Big Cats, Gladding was 26-11 with 33 saves, a 2.70 ERA, and 262 strikeouts in 337 innings. On November 22, 1967, Gladding was sent to the Astros as a PTBNL for Eddie Mathews.

After missing most of 1968 (and posting a 2.538 in 4 13 innings when called on), Gladding had a solid 1969 campaign, leading the National League with 29 saves. He played six seasons with Houston, going 22-23 with a then-franchise record 76 saves. He had a 3.68 ERA and a 1.417 WHIP, with 132 strikeouts in 264 innings.

In 1969, Gladding had seven games where he finished with a WPA over .300. I only mention it because those are the games I highlight when reviewing a player’s career, but they usually don’t have so many of them in a single season. On September 27, he struck out four and held the Reds to one hit and zero walks in two innings for his 29th save in a 4-3 win over Cincinnati.

On August 5, 1970, Gladding struck out four over three scoreless one-hit innings to earn a win in a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the San Diego Padres. On May 22, 1971, he pitched 2 23 innings against the Giants, holding San Francisco without a run through the 11th. Houston won, 2-1 in 12 frames. On August 18, 1972, he saved his 13th game of the year by holding the Phillies scoreless over 2 23 innings in a 4-3 win over Philadelphia.

On April 6, 1973, Gladding inherited the bases loaded with two outs in the 12th inning, and collected one out to earn the win in a 2-1 triumph against the Atlanta Braves. On October 9, the Astros released Gladding. After his playing career ended, he went on to serve as pitching coach with the Detroit Tigers and later in the Astros system with the Double-A Columbus Mudcats.

236. Wesley Wright (Bagwell score 11.03) is a five-foot-10 left-handed pitcher from Montgomery, AL. Born on January 28, 1985, he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Goshen High School. On December 6, 2007, the Astros chose Wright via rule 5.

Wright pitched six years in the majors with the Astros, starting in 2008. He was 10-15 with two saves, a 4.44 ERA and 238 strikeouts in 239 innings, along with a 1.427 WHIP. On August 12, 2013, Wright was purchased from Houston by the Tampa Bay Rays.

235. Humberto Quintero (Bagwell score 11.40) is a five-foot-10 right-handed catcher from Maracaibo, VZ. Born on August 2, 1979, he reached the majors with the San Diego Padres in 2003. He played parts of two seasons with the Friars (35 games, .242/.284/.337, two home runs, 12 RBI).

Quintero played 344 games for Houston, hitting .234/.266/.319 with 13 jacks and 82 RBI. He started 287 times at catcher, totaling 2502 innings and making 18 errors for a .992 fielding percentage. He threw out 34.4 percent of runners trying to steal and picked off 16 runners napping at first base.

On April 23, 2011, Quintero hit a second-inning single and a 10th-inning RBI-two-run go-ahead ground-rule double in an eventual 9-6 win against the Milwaukee Brewers. On March 20, 2012, the Astros traded him with Jason Bourgeois to the Kansas City Royals for Kevin Chapman and PTBNL D’Andre Toney.

Quintero played for the Kansas City Royals (43 games, .232/.257/.341, one home run, 19 RBI), the Philadelphia Phillies (24 games, .250/.294/.406, two home runs, nine RBI), and the Seattle Mariners (25 games, .217/.250/.319, two home runs, five RBI).

234. Doug Brocail (Bagwell score 12.14) is a six-foot-five right-handed pitcher from Clearfield, PA. Born on May 16, 1967, he was a first-round choice of the San Diego Padres in 1986, with the 12th overall choice out of Lamar Community College.

Brocail got to the big leagues with the Padres in 1992. He played three seasons with them (4-13, 4.86, 159 13 IP, 96 K). On December 28, 1994, the Padres traded Brocail in a 10-player deal to Houston.

Brocail played two seasons with the Astros, going 7-9 with a 4.35 ERA in 59 games, including 11 starts and one save. He walked 45 and struck out 73 in 13 13 innings, with a 1.458 WHIP. On August 17, 1995, he pitched seven innings and held the Phillies to one run on seven hits in an eventual 3-2 loss to Philadelphia. On December 10, 1996, Houston traded Brocail to the Detroit Tigers in a seven-player deal.

After four seasons with the Tigers (17-14, 3.06, 273 13 IP, 234 K), Brocail missed three seasons due to injury. In 2004, he got back to the majors with the Texas Rangers (9-4, 4.94, 125 23 IP, 104 K) and also played once more with the Padres (7-3, 3.51, 105 IP, 62 K). After the 2007 season, Brocail resigned with Houston.

Brocail pitched another two seasons with the Astros (8-5, 4.07, 86 13 IP, 73 K). He had a 1.367 WHIP and a 4.53 FIP. He later served two seasons as Houston’s pitching coach, and later also served in the same role with the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles.

233. Woody Williams (Bagwell score 13.16) is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Houston. Born on August 19, 1966, he was a 28th-round pick in 1988 by the Toronto Blue Jays out of the University of Houston.

Williams reached the majors with Toronto (28-34, 4.30, 613 13 IP, 439), and later also played two tours with the San Diego Padres (51-45, 4.32, 826 13 IP, 528 K), and four seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (45-22, 3.53, 588 23 IP, 412 K). On November 24, 2006, Williams signed with Houston through free agency.

Williams’ first season with the Astros, at age 40, was his final season in the major leagues. He started 31 times through the 2007 season, and also appeared twice in relief. He was 8-15 with a 5.27 ERA and 1.431 WHIP, with 101 strikeouts and 53 walks in 188 innings.

On July 22, Williams had his best game with Houston, with eight innings of shutout ball. He struck out three and gave up zero walks and five hits in a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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