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Sunday, March 31, 2013

OPENING NIGHT CHATTER - Rangers vs. Astros

Apologies to Gamingboy for stealing his thunder…

They’re in far different places, the Rangers and Astros, these two franchises that will open the 2013 Major League Baseball season Sunday night at Minute Maid Park at 8:05 ET on ESPN. The Rangers are constructed for the short term, hoping to win now and knowing that anything short of another World Series would be a bitter disappointment. Life is really simple for the Rangers in that way.

Even after an offseason in which Josh Hamilton and others departed via free agency and Michael Young was traded, the Rangers believe they’re good enough to win. Their lineup has been solidified by the signings of Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski, and if right-hander Yu Darvish has a breakout season, the Rangers probably are good enough to play deep into October.

There are questions about the quality of the rotation and the reliability of the bullpen in front of closer Joe Nathan. Young’s departure significantly shifts the clubhouse dynamics, and after last season’s late collapse, the Rangers could use a good start to change the conversation.

But they’re good, and with a very good farm system, they’re likely to hang with the A’s and Angels in an American League West race that’s expected to be extremely competitive.

For the Astros, this is a season of transition, beginning with their move to the American League, complete with new colors and a new logo. They’ve got a rookie manager in Bo Porter and see this Opening Day as the next step in the reconstruction of a franchise. They believe they’re doing it the right way, building from the ground up, predicting that once they’re back that they’re back for good.

“Clearly, when you’re moving from one league to another, that’s a monumental change,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “To have the opportunity to showcase our new uniforms, our new manager, our new staff, a lot of our new players on the national stage like that against a powerhouse like the Rangers is a good thing for baseball and a good thing for the Astros. Hopefully, people will see something they like that night and decide they want to come down to the ballpark.”

This season’s success won’t be measured strictly in terms of the won-loss record. But there’s also a quiet confidence inside the organization that they’re going to be far better than people think and that they’re going to be competitive sooner rather than later.

For those of us so desperate for baseball we’ll even watch the

Astros

American League.

Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:25 PM | 167 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, nothing, rangers

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   1. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4400241)
Yay, real baseball!

Good luck Bo Porter; you're going to need it!
   2. Dale Sams Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4400243)
The Rangers are constructed for the short term, hoping to win now and knowing that anything short of another World Series would be a bitter disappointment.


Wha?? Temper those expectations pardners. You should be thrilled if you even make the playoffs this year.
   3. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4400253)
Apologies to Gamingboy for stealing his thunder…


No apologies needed. Now let's get this ############ started.
   4. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:28 PM (#4400255)
No apologies needed. Now let's get this ############ started.

Absolutely, albeit with a 60-minute break for Game of Thrones.
   5. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4400258)
Will this be blacked out on MLB.TV? I can't find a confirmation one way or the other. The mlb web site lists the Premium service as blacked out, but has a Watch option for the Basic...
   6. Dan Evensen Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4400259)
Yay, real baseball!

Well, kind of. I don't expect the Astros to play "real" baseball all year.
   7. Canker Soriano Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4400264)
40+ years old, and I still get excited on opening day, even when certain teams (*cough*Cubs*cough*) have no chance this year, again.

I paid for the MLB.tv thing this year for the first time, and I plan to use it. I'm having a second monitor installed at work so I can watch games on the side. Here's hoping for a robust day game schedule.
   8. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4400269)
I remembered about an hour ago that this wasn't an interleague game.
   9. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: March 31, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4400275)
Absolutely, albeit with a 60-minute break for Game of Thrones.

Come on, man. DVR King Joffrey or whatever his name is and watch him after the ballgame.
   10. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4400278)
I'll be watching GoT on DVR or On-Demand or whatever, just like how I did Doctor Who on DVR during the Elite Eight game last night.

Good ole' DVR.
   11. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4400281)
Also, while we are on the topic of Game of Thrones, I found this by Wezen-Ball to be quite funny.
   12. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4400300)
Best resurrection ever
   13. base ball chick Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4400310)
it makes perfect sense that on Opening Day - seeing who the teams are, that the conversation immediately goes to some fantasy game/tv show
   14. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:27 PM (#4400314)
bbc, I guess this is it - the official, final, irrevocable exit of the 'Stros from the NL. My sympathies.
   15. formerly dp Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4400315)
I paid for the MLB.tv thing this year for the first time, and I plan to use it. I'm having a second monitor installed at work so I can watch games on the side. Here's hoping for a robust day game schedule.
Will this game be watchable on MLB.tv or is it going to be blacked out? I cut the cord with Comcast last year, so hoping to watch the game on my computer after getting back from a Game of Thrones viewing party.
   16. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4400327)
Baseball Tonight has just taught me that there's a guy who breaks in gloves for players.

It has also taught me that I have a pretty low tolerance for a bunch of guys jabbering at each other in a studio, but I guess I already knew that.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4400329)
I'm having a second monitor installed at work so I can watch games on the side.

Air traffic controller, I assume?
   18. bigboy1234 Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4400333)
Ravich just said Verlander was clearly the best pitcher in baseball, do people agree with that?

I'm not willing to say that, I do think he is without a doubt top 5 with Kershaw, Strasburg, Lee, and Price though. HM to Hamels and Felix.
   19. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4400334)
so what's the final tally on individual players making more than the Astros roster? is it 10?

   20. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4400338)
I'm having a second monitor installed at work so I can watch games on the side.

Air traffic controller, I assume?

I want to get a look at the request form that he submitted for it.
   21. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:06 PM (#4400341)
John Kruk is in the booth?? ####### seriously? Sunday Night Baaeball is going to be completely unwatchable this year isn't it?
   22. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:19 PM (#4400346)
Ravich just said Verlander was clearly the best pitcher in baseball, do people agree with that?

Yes

Absolutely, albeit with a 60-minute break for Game of Thrones.

I watched Game of Thrones until the dragons hatched and then I was out. I'm not doing that. The only truly compelling character was the midget anyway.
   23. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:22 PM (#4400348)
I watched Game of Thrones until the dragons hatched and then I was out.

You possess unique midwife qualities.
   24. base ball chick Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:23 PM (#4400349)
like i told the kidz, i'm just watching some wannabe baseball game
   25. Dale Sams Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4400350)
I find it funny that the kinda-meme "ARod makes more money than the entire Astro roster" is taken more as an idictment of ARod and the excess of the Yankees, rather than an accusation of cheapness towards the Astros.
   26. base ball chick Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4400352)
harvey

the astros REAL payroll is 18.5 mill - seeing as how the other 5.5 mill being paid to wandy to pitch for the pirates

so there are a LOT of guys being paid more than the astros payroll
   27. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:41 PM (#4400359)
The Astros are going to be terrible but I think people are forgetting just how bad the Marlins might be when they consider Houston to be a slam-dunk as the worst team in the league. They only had 14 more wins than the Astros last year and traded away nearly every player but Stanton that got them even to that low number. Houston is in the drivers seat due to not having that one big star on the roster but Miami could easily give them a run for their money.
   28. JJ1986 Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4400361)
They only had 14 more wins than the Astros last year and traded away nearly every player but Stanton that got them even to that low number.


And they just put their 2nd and 4th starters on the DL. Kevin Slowey is now their #3 pitcher.
   29. frannyzoo Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4400362)
I kinda pay attention to these things, but I just realized this game "counts." Am I the only one who thought the season started tomorrow until, say, three minutes ago?

Are there games in Japan this year? I'll probably have other stupid questions, but can't think of any right now.

   30. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4400365)
I had to mute this pre-game. Just a lot of blah.

As far as Game of Thrones, I'll be torrenting as soon as it makes a tubes appearance.
   31. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4400369)
Are there games in Japan this year?

No, thank goodness. I think that asinine idea is finally done with.
   32. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:55 PM (#4400371)
I kinda pay attention to these things, but I just realized this game "counts." Am I the only one who thought the season started tomorrow until, say, three minutes ago?

Are there games in Japan this year? I'll probably have other stupid questions, but can't think of any right now. I


I thought the season started tomorrow until this morning, when I went to check tomorrow's probable pitchers and found today's game listed. Even then I thought it was a late spring training game until I read who the pitchers were.

No games in Japan this year. I believe that the next official foreign MLB games are the ones set for the Netherlands in 2014 or 2015.
   33. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:57 PM (#4400372)
I am in great favor of this viola arrangement.
   34. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4400374)
Speaking of blah, I don't care much for those new Astros unis.
   35. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:01 PM (#4400375)
I like the new Astros unis...
   36. staring out the window and waiting for fenderbelly Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4400376)
I am very, very happy right now. LET'S GET IT OOOOON!
   37. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:04 PM (#4400377)
They've been having this Sunday night "Opening Night" game for like a decade now. It's not exactly new.

Though it usually involves the World Series-winning team from the previous season.
   38. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:05 PM (#4400379)
Wouldn't it have been cool if Lyle Lovett had sung the Rains of Castamere instead of the Star-Spangled Banner?
   39. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:05 PM (#4400380)
Ah, ####, John Kruk?

Sigh ...
   40. rr Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:06 PM (#4400381)
Baseball rules.
   41. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:07 PM (#4400382)

No games in Japan this year. I believe that the next official foreign MLB games are the ones set for the Netherlands in 2014 or 2015.


I'd heard some rumors that the Dodgers could play a game in Sydney or Melbourne sometime in the future as well.
   42. staring out the window and waiting for fenderbelly Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:07 PM (#4400383)
"No team has ever taken the use of statistics this far (the Astros)."

That is a bold statement. I know that they are rebuilding, and apparently smartly, but are they actually sabr heavy in the front office? Anyone have an opinion?
   43. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4400384)
Kruk is terrible, but at least they didn't put Sutcliffe in there.
   44. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4400385)
Woo! Something to watch for an hour before Game of Thrones!
   45. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:09 PM (#4400386)
"Triplicate"?
   46. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:09 PM (#4400387)
Woo! Something to watch for an hour before Game of Thrones!


When you game of the diamonds you win or you lose. Or, if you are the Astros, you just lose.
   47. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4400388)
I have never heard of the Astros RFer.
   48. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4400389)
Schulman is terrific, Hershiser is usually good enough, hopefully Kruk doesn't talk too much.
   49. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:11 PM (#4400391)
I have never heard of the Astros RFer.


Neither have I.
   50. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:11 PM (#4400392)
First K!
   51. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:11 PM (#4400393)
I'm going to be very confused during some of the Tigers/Astros games.
   52. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:11 PM (#4400394)
Why are they booing Berkman?
   53. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:12 PM (#4400395)
Booing Berkman? Astros fans are terrible.
   54. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:12 PM (#4400397)
Why on earth is anyone booing Berkman? I can understand a guy leaving getting booed but Berkman went to the (then) other league and it made a ton of sense for the Astros. This wasn't a mid-prime guy leaving for big money to an arch-rival or soemthing.
   55. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:13 PM (#4400398)
I will be rooting for the Astros here.

Good inning, NL!
   56. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:13 PM (#4400400)
The high-water mark of the 2013 Astros.
   57. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:13 PM (#4400401)
The Astros uniforms would fit very nicely in the original Bad News Bears.
   58. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:15 PM (#4400404)
Okay, how many AAA teams could do better over 162 games than the Astros?
   59. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:15 PM (#4400405)
I think Wichita State has a higher payroll than the Astros. And the higher seed.
   60. rr Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:17 PM (#4400406)
Well, Berkman did play great ball for the 2011 Cardinals. Some people in HOU may remember that.
   61. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:18 PM (#4400407)
I thought he was safe.
   62. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:18 PM (#4400408)
And it takes half an inning for the first blown call of the season.
   63. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:18 PM (#4400409)
First call is the wrong call. Awesome, dipshits.
   64. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:18 PM (#4400410)
That 0-2 pitch to Wallace looked pretty good, but Pierzynski caught it with a ton of movement. I bet he's already -1 strike on pitch framing with that.
   65. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:18 PM (#4400411)
I have also never heard of the Astros manager.
   66. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4400412)
I have also never heard of the Astros manager.


He's Bo Porter.
   67. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:21 PM (#4400414)
He's Bo Porter.

He'd fit in their lineup perfectly.
   68. Padraic Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:21 PM (#4400415)
So Chris Carter k'd 83 times in in 218 Abs last year? This could be a wild season for the 'Stros.
   69. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:23 PM (#4400418)
Of course, none of this matters, because Bud Norris is this season's Kyle Lohse.
   70. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:28 PM (#4400420)
Now THAT guy was out. Nice throw.
   71. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:28 PM (#4400421)
Now THAT guy was out. Nice throw.


Yes, now if only I knew who the catcher for the Astros was so I could congratulate him.
   72. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:37 PM (#4400423)
Is it true that Peter Gammons is actually Walder Frey? Or the other way around?
   73. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:39 PM (#4400424)

Is it true that Peter Gammons is actually Walder Frey? Or the other way around?


I thought Peter Gammons was Andrew Jackson.
   74. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:41 PM (#4400425)
You know you haven't exactly had a wildly successful history when two of your franchise's most notable moments are the team being sold to a new owner.
   75. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4400427)
I missed my fantasy draft and I ended up with this guy Harrison on my team. Doing ok.
   76. staring out the window and waiting for fenderbelly Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4400428)
You know you haven't exactly had a wildly successful history when two of your franchise's most notable moments are the team being sold to a new owner.


What if the moments were just Harper and Strasburg's childhood photos?

I kid, I kid.
   77. Dale Sams Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:45 PM (#4400429)
Carlos Pena vs lefties last year: .636 OPS.

I don't care how much you're paying him Stros...it's too much.
   78. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:48 PM (#4400430)
Yay, baseball.
   79. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:49 PM (#4400431)
Pena is a reasonable platoon DH. The fact that he's batting cleanup against a lefty is indefensible.
   80. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:50 PM (#4400433)
I don't know, Pena hit .342/.363 vs RHP last year. He's not really platoon-worthy at this point.
   81. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:51 PM (#4400435)
Ok, Astros fans... How old is Orbit as a mascot. Because I don't remember him, and he seems hella derivative.
   82. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4400436)
Another blown call.
   83. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4400437)
I have Jurickson Profar on my Fantasy Team so I can spring him upon my enemies mid-season.

Nice catch, assuming it wasn't a trap.
   84. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4400438)
That wasn't a catch.
   85. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4400439)
Great ... trap.
   86. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4400440)
Nice trap.
   87. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4400441)
Oh, another blown call. Big shocker, I know.
   88. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4400442)
Trapped.
   89. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4400443)
That was a trap.
   90. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4400444)
Jesus Fernandez Christos, the umps must really WANT to lose every ounce of power they have.
   91. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:54 PM (#4400445)
Wait, was that the same ump that screwed the SB?
   92. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:55 PM (#4400447)
That was obviously a trap on TV live. Don't see how an ump less than 50 feet away can't see it.
   93. Padraic Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:55 PM (#4400448)
So listening to the radio broadcast, and lots of talk about the extreme shifts the 'Stros are running. I'm guessing Bo Porter is positioning his players exactly where his stat guys tell him. I kinda like this team. Treating them like an expansion team, where it's just kind of neat to see a mash-up of has-beens, might-of-beens, never-weres, and never-will-bes.
   94. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4400449)
Hold on, I thought they were getting rid of that hill. Maybe that's next year.
   95. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:58 PM (#4400450)
Barnes doesn't look like he'd connect with a ball on a tee with that swing. Geeze .
   96. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:03 PM (#4400451)
Okay, how many AAA teams could do better over 162 games than the Astros?


None and it wouldn't be close. The Astros are really bad for the majors but hypotheticals like that seriously underestimate how bad a AAA team would be if placed in the majors for a season.
   97. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:03 PM (#4400452)
Treating them like an expansion team, where it's just kind of neat to see a mash-up of has-beens, might-of-beens, never-weres, and never-will-bes.


This guy here is dead!
   98. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4400454)
You know, I started reading Game of Thrones in January. Just finished Feast for Crows. The first 3 books were very compelling. But as far as I can tell, nothing at all happened during the entire 4th book. No battles, fine, I get it. But there were no real status changes between the start of the book and the end. Just really boring.
   99. Padraic Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4400455)
Cross him off, then!
   100. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:09 PM (#4400457)
Great AB by Murphy.
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