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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

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2
   101. Padraic Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4400460)
Hey, 100 comments for the Rangers-Astros opener! Very impressed.
   102. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:12 PM (#4400461)
Bo, you're a manager now, you need to buy yourself a better wristwatch.
   103. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:16 PM (#4400463)
Bigger upset of the day: Louisville women beating Baylor women or the fact that the Houston freaking Astros are the home team for the first game of the season?
   104. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:17 PM (#4400465)
They have an attributed quote from the current manager painted on the clubhouse wall? That's just weird, isn't it?
   105. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:18 PM (#4400466)
They have an attributed quote from the current manager painted on the clubhouse wall? That's just weird, isn't it?

Yes it is. Especially since the current manager had never managed before.
   106. staring out the window and waiting for fenderbelly Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:20 PM (#4400467)

Bigger upset than Lassus starting this thread and not you?
   107. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:21 PM (#4400469)
Bigger upset of the day:

Pena getting a hit off a lefty.
   108. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:22 PM (#4400472)
Will they send that to review?
   109. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:23 PM (#4400473)
Oh nevermind that definitely wasn't out, the spin just made it bounce strangely.
   110. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:23 PM (#4400474)

Bigger upset than Lassus starting this thread and not you?



Well played, sir.
   111. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:24 PM (#4400475)
HOW CAN THE UMPIRES NOT KNOW WHAT THE GROUND RULES ARE?

Oh good god.

This is embarrassing.

Tom Leppard, umpire supervisor, I'm talking to you.

   112. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4400478)
That was certainly some crappy baserunning, I hope Bo has a word with that guy.

Also, way to jinx your fantasy pitcher, idiot.
   113. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4400479)
Pierzynski seems like he's losing low strikes by catching them with his glove moving down and then trying to bring it back up. The 0-1 pitch to Castro looked like another example.
   114. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4400480)
Okay, so if the Astros win today, they will have sole possession of best record in baseball. When was the last time that happened?
   115. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4400481)
Hey, 100 comments for the Rangers-Astros opener! Very impressed.

A starving man doesn't question what he's served. It's baseball.
   116. PeteF3 Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:28 PM (#4400483)
They have an attributed quote from the current manager painted on the clubhouse wall? That's just weird, isn't it?

Yes it is. Especially since the current manager had never managed before.


Assuming this is referring to "ignore the noise," that was attributed to Bill Parcells, not Porter.
   117. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:30 PM (#4400485)
Pena getting a hit off a lefty.


Pena's first at-bat last season resulted in a grand slam off Sabathia. His final at-bat of the game was a walk-off single against Rivera; he would have had a much better season if he had torn his ACL in the post-game celebration.
   118. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:30 PM (#4400487)
That baserunning was inadequate, but it was the way major leaguers run the bases all the time, dammit. They do not go all out in situations like that. He figured it was probably either a homer or an out.

For a young player the first day of the season< i am more disappointed, but the commentators are over analyzing it. Most wouldn't mention it.
   119. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:30 PM (#4400488)
Assuming this is referring to "ignore the noise," that was attributed to Bill Parcells, not Porter.


No, they showed another quote there later on. Something about construction on the road to championships.
   120. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4400490)
I think the Rangers are going to miss Hamilton a lot more than Ron Washington is willing to admit.
   121. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:39 PM (#4400493)
Was that Orel Hershiser saying he'd never been to Safeco?
   122. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:39 PM (#4400494)
A taco made out of a cool ranch Dorito sounds like a legitimately horrifying experience.
   123. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:39 PM (#4400495)
If I had done a checklist, there would be like 290 Xs next to "Michael Young reference".
   124. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4400496)
Playing a little fast and loose with the baseball there, Rangers.
   125. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4400497)
Quality defense.
   126. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4400498)
What an ugly play. Egads.
   127. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4400499)
Was that Orel Hershiser saying he'd never been to Safeco?


Kruk.

Also, the Rangers don't look so good. Good thing for them they have 161 games to become good and then blow it again.
   128. Padraic Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4400500)
The Altuve box on MLB gamecast is just hilariously small.
   129. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:43 PM (#4400501)
What a terrible pitch choice. Even if Altuve doesn't get a single n that, it was perfectly set up on a tee to let him at least hit a sac fly.
   130. Lassus Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4400502)
John Kruk - "I'm runnin'"

No John, you're not.
   131. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4400504)
Dempster was pretty good in that little bit, but everyone else was terrible.
   132. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:51 PM (#4400508)
Great idea to take a bit that's strength is the impeccable timing and have an assortment of people with no sense of said timing recreate it!
   133. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4400510)
Quick quiz: how can you give up 4 runs to the Astros when you walk 1 and strike out 8? When you're on my fantasy team (and for good measure, the league counts wins and deducts for losses . . .)
   134. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:53 PM (#4400511)
Dempster was pretty good in that little bit, but everyone else was terrible.


Not surprising.
   135. Padraic Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4400512)
More fun facts about the Astros from the radio broadcast:

Each minor league team will have 4 "two-man starter tandems." The first will throw 75 pitches or five innings, the second 60 pitches. This will be reversed for the second start for each "tandem."
   136. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4400513)
Huh, so this is where Bedard wound up.
   137. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4400518)
I think I'd get Norris out of this game while its still a positive result.

Wow, lucky as hell that he caught that.
   138. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:59 PM (#4400519)
Actually, that home plate camera angle was great. Altuve looked like he was perfectly positioned to turn a double play on that if it had goe past Norris. Early returns on the Astros' defensive positioning look good.
   139. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4400521)
Each minor league team will have 4 "two-man starter tandems." The first will throw 75 pitches or five innings, the second 60 pitches. This will be reversed for the second start for each "tandem."


Also, each reliever will have to work on their quadratic equations while in the bullpen, but only on days that start with T.
   140. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:03 PM (#4400522)
He should've been ge three batters ago. He's not fooling anybody.
   141. Padraic Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:12 PM (#4400531)
Singleton mentioned that the 'Stros are concerned with a pitcher going through the lineup for a third time. Possibly why they're trying the tandem thing.
   142. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM (#4400533)
A few other clubs use tandems - the Cards did with Luhnow, the O's will this year... never heard of it being used in the high minors, though.
   143. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:23 PM (#4400535)
Derek Lowe in a two run game on Opening Day? Rn Washington knows there isn't a game tomorrow right? He can use his front line bullpen guys since there's a day off...
   144. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4400537)
Nice move, Ron!
   145. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4400538)
Ah, I remember that Derek Lowe!
   146. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:25 PM (#4400539)
The former Nationals doing some serious damage in this one!
   147. Dale Sams Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4400540)
I was going to say, is Derek Lowe really even the third best reliever? I mean he may be, I don't know. But it seems to me that your second or third should come into that situation. That also applied to Bedard. Was he better than every Astro reliever? I guess he could have been.

Yes, I'm starting the "bad reliever into high leverage" situation complaining early.
   148. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:28 PM (#4400543)
Rick Ankiel had the first HR of the 2013 Season. Because of course he did.
   149. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:28 PM (#4400544)
I would like to thank Ron Washington for making me look smart and/or prescient with post 143.
   150. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:29 PM (#4400547)
Rangy play by Cedeno.
   151. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:30 PM (#4400548)
How depressing is it that the Astros OF is better than the Mets?
   152. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:33 PM (#4400553)
Yes, I'm starting the "bad reliever into high leverage" situation complaining early.

Ankiel's AB had a leverage score of 0.91. (That's not to say Lowe was a good choice or anything.)
   153. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4400554)
.91 is high enough leverage to be using your 2nd or 3rd best reliever ,especially considering that it's the first game of the season and there's a day off tomorrow. It was still a very winnable game at that point, but even an RBI single or double torpedoes the Rangers' odds at winning there. The home run was really just gilding the lily.
   154. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:38 PM (#4400558)
Derek Lowe is pitching meaningful innings for a contender with the entire bullpen at 100% rest?
   155. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:39 PM (#4400559)
Oh but Frasor can come in with a 5 run deficit to start the next inning. Brilliant.
   156. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:55 PM (#4400571)
Good glove, pop, some speed - it's nice to see Maxwell getting a little love tonight.
   157. Dale Sams Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4400575)
Must be awhile since we've seen the 3 inning save on opening day
   158. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:00 PM (#4400576)
Waiting to see the team jumping around and smiling around a stoic Bedard after he notches the save.
   159. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:03 PM (#4400577)
Maxwell's certainly showing off tonight.
   160. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:09 PM (#4400579)
Well, good for the Astros. I'd love to be surprised by them this year.
   161. Bourbon Samurai Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4400580)
Nice win Houston!
   162. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:11 PM (#4400581)
The Astros can still lose 161 games this season.
   163. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4400582)
Break up the Astros!
   164. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:13 PM (#4400584)
Erik Bedard with a 3.1 inning save.
   165. bobm Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:16 PM (#4400585)
[157] Must be awhile since we've seen the 3 inning save on opening day

EDIT: From 1916 to 2012, Recorded Save, Finished Game (non-CG), In team's first 1 games, (requiring IPouts>=9), sorted by most recent date

                                                                                      
Rk                Player          Date  Tm Opp   Rslt AppDec  IP H R ER BB SO HR   aLI
1            Terry Adams    2000-04-03 LAD MON W 10-4 7-9f S 3.0 2 1  1  1  1  1  .104
2           Kevin Jarvis    1997-04-01 CIN COL W 11-4 7-9f S 3.0 2 0  0  2  5  0  .280
3             Mike Perez    1995-04-26 CHC CIN W  7-1 7-9f S 3.0 2 1  1  0  1  1  .122
4            Terry Leach    1993-04-06 CHW MIN W 10-5 7-9f S 3.0 2 1  1  0  0  0  .256
5         Wilson Alvarez    1992-04-07 CHW CAL W 10-4 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  0  2  0  .122
6          Jeff Robinson    1988-04-05 PIT PHI W  5-3 6-9f S 3.2 2 1  1  0  4  1 1.255
7            Bill Dawley    1987-04-07 STL CHC W  9-3 6-9f S 4.0 1 0  0  0  3  0  .315
8             Mark Davis    1986-04-08 SFG HOU W  8-3 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  0  1  0  .347
9           Ron Robinson    1986-04-07 CIN PHI W  7-4 6-9f S 3.1 1 0  0  0  2  0  .825
10          Bruce Sutter    1984-04-03 STL LAD W 11-7 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  2  0  0 1.338
11       Roy Lee Jackson    1983-04-05 TOR BOS W  7-1 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  0  3  0  .108
12          Dave Stewart    1983-04-05 LAD HOU W 16-7 6-9f S 4.0 3 1  0  2  3  0  .068
13       John Candelaria    1982-04-10 PIT STL W 11-7 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  0  1  0  .394
14         Sammy Stewart    1981-04-10 BAL KCR W  5-3 6-9f S 4.0 2 0  0  3  4  0 2.092
15            Neil Allen    1981-04-09 NYM CHC W  2-0 7-9f S 3.0 1 0  0  0  3  0 1.307
16       Joaquin Andujar    1979-04-06 HOU ATL W  2-1 6-9f S 3.2 1 0  0  0  4  0 1.941
17         Steve Mingori    1979-04-05 KCR TOR W 11-2 7-9f S 3.0 1 0  0  1  2  0  .025
18           Mike Paxton    1978-04-08 CLE KCR W  8-5 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  0  1  0  .498
19        Rawly Eastwick    1977-04-06 CIN SDP W  5-3 7-9f S 3.0 1 0  0  1  0  0 1.426
20           John Hiller    1976-04-10 DET CLE W  3-1 7-9f S 3.0 2 0  0  2  2  0 2.231
21          Pedro Borbon    1976-04-08 CIN HOU W 11-5 6-9f S 3.2 5 1  1  1  0  0  .354
22            Tug McGraw    1972-04-15 NYM PIT W  4-0 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  0  3  0  .230
23           Ken Sanders    1972-04-15 MIL CLE W  5-1 7-9f S 3.0 1 0  0  0  1  0  .499
24          Vicente Romo 1971-04-07(1) CHW OAK W  6-5 7-9f S 3.0 1 0  0  1  4  0 3.310
25        Rollie Fingers    1970-04-07 OAK KCR W  6-4 6-9f S 4.0 1 0  0  0  1  0 1.281
Rk                Player          Date  Tm Opp   Rslt AppDec  IP H R ER BB SO HR   aLI
26              Bill Lee    1970-04-07 BOS NYY W  4-3 6-9f S 3.2 1 0  0  2  1  0 2.154
27           Bill Singer    1969-04-07 LAD CIN W  3-2 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  1  1  0 2.193
28         George Culver    1968-04-10 CIN CHC W  9-4 6-9f S 3.2 1 0  0  1  2  0 1.030
29          Larry Sherry    1965-04-12 DET KCA W  6-2 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  0  2  0  .718
30            Jim Roland    1964-04-14 MIN CLE W  7-6 6-9f S 4.0 0 0  0  1  4  0 1.697
31           Jack Fisher    1963-04-09 SFG HOU W  9-2 6-9f S 4.0 0 0  0  0  1  0  .319
32          Hoyt Wilhelm    1963-04-09 CHW DET W  7-5 7-9f S 3.0 0 0  0  0  3  0 1.411
33            Don Elston    1958-04-15 CHC STL W  4-0 7-9f S 3.0 1 0  0  1  2  0 1.703
34       Ewell Blackwell    1955-04-12 KCA DET W  6-2 7-9f S 3.0 2 0  0  3  0  0  .994
35         Mickey Harris    1950-04-18 WSH PHA W  8-7 6-9f S 3.2 2 2  2  1  2  0 1.888
36            Joe Haynes    1945-04-17 CHW CLE        W  5-2 3.0 1 0  0  2  0        0
37        Johnny Schmitz    1942-04-14 CHC STL        W  5-4 4.0 3 0  0  2  5        0
38          Dick Lanahan    1940-04-16 PIT STL        W  6-4 3.0 1 0  0  2  1        0
39           Clyde Shoun    1939-04-18 STL PIT        W  3-2 3.0 2 0  0  1  0        0
40         Archie McKain    1938-04-18 BOS NYY        W  8-4 3.0 1 0  0  0  2        0
41           Bill Walker    1931-04-14 NYG PHI        W  9-5 3.0 1 0  0  1  1        0
42           Jim Lindsey    1931-04-14 STL CIN        W  7-3 3.0 4 1  1  0  0        0
43            Whit Wyatt    1930-04-15 DET SLB        W  6-3 3.0 0 0  0  0  4        0
44          Fred Heimach    1929-04-18 NYY BOS        W  7-3 3.2 0 0  0  0  1        0
45   Freddie Fitzsimmons    1927-04-12 NYG PHI        W 15-7 3.0 3 2  2  1  3        0
46        Firpo Marberry    1927-04-12 WSH BOS        W  6-2 5.0 7 1  1  2  4        0
47         Allen Russell    1918-04-15 NYY WSH        W  6-3 5.1 1 0  0  5  2        0

   166. Gamingboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:35 PM (#4400588)
Opening Day omnichatter submitted.
   167. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4400606)
OK, it's been 13 years since we've seen a 3-inning save Opening Day. No surprise to me that 20+ years ago, long saves were more common.
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