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Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Seven

Everystros XC

Jeremy Peña features in Everystros 90.

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It’s the Saturday Everystros, but you can treat it like a Boil.

Everystros XC

80. Dave Giusti (Bagwell score 23.83) is a five-foot-11 right-handed pitcher from Seneca Falls, NY. Born on November 27, 1939, he was a major league rookie with the Houston Colt .45s in 1962, appearing in 22 games including five starts.

Giusti played six seasons with the Colts/Astros, earning double-digit victories in each season from 1966 through 1968. He was 47-53 overall, with a 4.02 ERA in 118 starts and 58 relief appearances. He walked 263 and struck out 625 in 913 13 innings, with a 1.284 WHIP and an opposing slashline of .257/.309/.385.

On May 30, 1962, just two month’s into Houston’s major league existence, Giusti played a game in which he earned 1.052 WPA. He entered in the sixth-inning with Houston trailing the Cubs, 6-5, and kept Chicago scoreless for nine innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out four to earn his first-ever victory, 8-6.

On April 26, 1965, Giusti pitched a four-hitter against the Pirates, striking out nine and walking zero in a 2-0 win over Pittsburgh. On May 11, he pitched another four-hitter, striking out six in a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On April 22, 1966, he held the Giants scoreless on eight hits, striking out six in a 2-0 victory over San Francisco. On August 13, he again victimized the Giants, but this time he shut them out on one hit, walking zero and striking out four in a 3-0 Houston win. On May 22, 1968, he pitched a two-hitter, shutting the Reds out 1-0 and striking out seven.

Giusti was passable as a hitter as well, slashing .196/.234/.271 with four home runs and 36 RBI, along with 17 sacrifice hits. On October 11, 1968, Houston traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals with Dave Adlesh for Tommy Smith and Johnny Edwards.

Giusti played one season with the Cardinals (3-7, 3.61 ERA, 99 23 IP, 62 K), then joined the Pittsburgh Pirates for seven (47-28, 133 saves, 2.94 ERA, 618 IP, 373 K). He split 1977 between the Oakland Athletics (3-3, six saves, 2.98 ERA, 60 13 IP, 28 K) and the Cubs (0-2, one save, 6.04 ERA, 25 13 IP, 15 K). At last check, he was living in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. SABR Bio

79. Ken Johnson (Bagwell score 32.23) was a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Pineville, LA. Born on June 16, 1933, he spent his first time in the majors with the Kansas City Athletics in 1958, and ended up playing four campaigns with the club, pre-Oakland (6-15, three saves, 5.03 ERA, 143 IP, 96 K), followed by the second half of the 1961 season with the Cincinnati Reds (6-2, 3.25, 83 IP, 42 K). Houston picked him in the expansion draft.

Johnson was a mainstay of Houston’s rotation through every iteration of the Colt .45s, and for the first part of 1965 as well. He pitched in 113 games for Houston, starting 106 times and going 32-51 with one save, a 3.41 ERA, and a 1.174 WHIP. He issued 151 walks and struck out 471 batters over 690 23 innings, holding his opponents to a .251/.296/.363 slashline.

On May 23, 1962, Johnson pitched a five-hitter to blank the Reds, striking out six in a 2-0 Houston victory. On April 17, 1963, he pitched 12 innings and held the Giants to one run on five hits, striking out seven and earning the victory in a 13-inning, 2-1 win over San Francisco.

On April 23, 1964, Johnson pitched a no-hitter against the Reds, and lost, 1-0 on a ninth-inning unearned run. He walked two and struck out nine.

On May 4, 1964, he earned no decision after pitching 10 innings, holding the Giants to two runs on five hits in an eventual 12-inning 3-2 Colts loss.

Johnson didn’t set any records at the plate, slashing just .077/.102/.105 with one home run and four RBI, along with 18 sacrifice hits. On May 23, 1965, the Astros sent Johnson with Jim Beauchamp to the Milwaukee Braves for Lee Maye. Johnson played in five seasons with the Braves (45-34, three saves, 3.22 ERA, 769 23 IP, 390 K), then joined the New York Yankees (1-2, 3.46, 26 IP, 21 K), the Cubs (1-2, one save, 2.84 ERA, 19 IP, 18 K) and the Montreal Expos (0-0, 7.50, six IP, four K). Johnson passed away due to a kidney infection in 2015. SABR Bio

78. Jeremy Peña (Bagwell score 86.15) is a six-foot right-handed shortstop from Santo Domingo, DR. Born on September 22, 1997, he was a 39th-round choice of the Atlanta Braves in 2015 out of Classical High School. In 2018, he was a third-round choice of the Astros out of the University of Maine. Out of 13 players from the round to have made it as far as the majors, Peña leads with an 8.7 bWAR, trailed most closely by Cal Raleigh (6.6 bWAR).

In Peña’s rookie season of 2022, he finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting, after slashing out a .253/.289/.426 line. He was 132-for-521 with 20 doubles, two triples, 22 home runs, and 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts. He drew 22 walks and struck out 135 times, scoring 72 times and driving in 63. On April 24, he scored twice after reaching on errors over his first four plate appearances, but he also finished the night as the man of the hour when he blasted a come-from-behind, walk-off two-run homer off Jordan Romano for an 8-7 Houston victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Peña authored 33 multiple-hit games through the campaign, including July 3, when he hit two singles and two home runs for three RBI in a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Once Peña reached the postseason with the Astros, he found another gear. He started by walking off the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS-deciding game three with an 18th-inning solo home run for a 1-0 Houston win, but turns out he was just getting started.

Peña hit safely in 12 of Houston’s 13 postseason contests, with a .345/.367/.638 line, five doubles, four homers, eight RBI, and Series MVP Awards in both the ALCS four-game sweep of the New York Stankees and the six-game World Series Championship victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

For his encore presentation, Peña hit .263/.324/.381 in 150 games, going 152-for-577 with 32 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, and 13 stolen bases in 22 attempts. He drew 43 walks and struck out 129 times, reducing his K/BB from 6.1 down to 3.0, and scored 81 runs with 52 RBI.

Defensively, Peña has taken 2492 23 innings at shortstop and fielded at .970, winning the 2022 AL Gold Glove Award. Thus far, he’s 22 DRS above the league “average” shortstop, but most of that came in 2022.

Of particular concern to a lot of readers in the daily boil, Peña’s power stroke inexplicably deserted him right around the All-Star break. He hit his final home run of the season on July 5, and played another 73 regular season games following, then another 11 homerless postseason contests.

Still, also as noted in the Boil, we really don’t need Peña to be a power hitter. His OPS remained nearly the same between the two seasons (.715 to .705), and his defense is still well above replacement level. Even 2023-second-half-Peña is not a bad bet as a number nine hitter. Far better than others who have recently appeared at that spot in the lineup, but I digress. The increase in Peña’s plate discipline, in my mind, is the top reason he stopped hitting home runs, and I guess that’s really kind of ok.

77. Carlos Lee (Bagwell score 30.38) is a six-foot-two right-handed leftfielder and first baseman from Aguadulce, Panama. Born on June 20, 1976, he initially reached the bigs with the Chicago White Sox in 1999, playing six seasons with the club (880 games, .288/.340/.488, 152 home runs, 552 RBI), then joining the Milwaukee Brewers for two seasons (264 games, ..273/.333/.511, 60 home runs, 195 RBI) and the Texas Rangers for the second half of the 2006 season (59 games, .322/.369/.525, nine home runs, 35 RBI). He signed with the Astros through free agency on November 24, 2006.

Lee played five-and-a-half seasons for the Astros, first in left field before he was left at first base. In 815 games, he hit .286/.338/.479. He was 894-for-3121 with 187 doubles, eight triples, 133 home runs, and 26 stolen bases in 41 attempts. He drew 246 walks and struck out 299 times, with 376 runs scored and another 533 driven in.

On April 13, 2007, Lee hit three home runs for six RBI in a 9-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. On May 15, he hit two singles and two home runs in a 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants. On June 28, he singled in the fourth, then ended the game with a come-from-behind walk-off grand slam to defeat the Colorado Rockies 8-5.

On May 6, 2008, Lee hit an RBI-double in the second, a single in the sixth, and a come-from-behind, go-ahead eighth-inning two-run double for an eventual 6-5 win over the Washington Nationals. On August 8, he hit a first-inning homer, hit a single and scored in the fifth, singled in the ninth, and hit a 10th-inning go-ahead two-run double in a 7-5 win against the Cincinnati Reds. On August 13, 2010, Lee hit an eighth-inning three-run go-ahead homer in a 4-1 triumph versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On September 4, 2010, Lee hit an RBI-single in the first and an eighth-inning three-run go-ahead jack in a 6-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. On April 14, 2012, he hit a first-inning RBI-single, a second-inning double, and a ninth-inning game-tying RBI-single in a 5- win against the Florida Marlins. On July 4, the Astros traded Lee to the Marlins for Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen. Lee finished out the season with Florida (81 games, .243/.328./325, four home runs, 48 RBI).

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