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Wow, Astro-Hatah givin' some love...

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by deepellumrocket, Sep 16, 2003.

  1. deepellumrocket

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    I couldn't believe this when I saw it. This guy never says anything nice about the Astros. Check out who he writes for at the bottom.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=rogers_phil&id=1617055

    Astros embrace team concept

    By Phil Rogers
    Special to ESPN.com

    Say this for Jimy Williams. The Houston Astros manager can improvise with the best of him.

    Nothing forces him to panic, including subpar performances from his top starters. Houston counted on 35 victories from Roy Oswalt and Wade Miller this season. It has gotten 21 so far, and we're running out of season.

    The Astros are hardly out of hope. After sweeping the Cardinals in a weekend series against St. Louis, they are 1½ games ahead of second-place Chicago. And for one of the few times all year, they also have both Oswalt and Miller clicking at the same time.

    Oswalt, who has been on the disabled list three different times with groin problems, returned Sept. 8 with a victory in Milwaukee and then seven shutout innings against the Cardinals on Saturday. Miller has been inconsistent, going 6-9 with a 4.66 ERA before the All-Star break, but has gone 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA in his last eight starts.

    Between them, Oswalt and Miller figure to start six of Houston's final 12 games. If they assert themselves as a 1-2 combination as formidable as the Cubs' Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano (a combined 14-2 since the All-Star break), the Astros should be in good shape to make their fifth trip to the playoffs in the last seven years.

    But under Williams, an everyman type who would rather hit fungos than entertain the press, Houston has emerged as a much more rounded team than it was in the Larry Dierker era. It is not as dependent on the likes of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, nor for that matter its top starters.

    Rookie left-hander Jeriome Robertson has won 14 games. Tim Redding has taken advantage of his last chance to give the Astros 13 quality starts. Ron Villone came off the scrap heap to compile a 3.69 ERA over 16 starts. The bullpen is not just Billy Wagner and Octavio Dotel but also Brad Lidge and the left-handed specialist du jour.

    Let other teams recyle the Jesse Oroscos and Graeme Lloyds. General manager Gerry Hunsicker has sent Williams a cast of left-handed relievers that includes Bruce Chen and rookies Nathan Bland and Mike Gallo.

    Gallo, 25, didn't have much of a portfolio when he was summoned from Triple-A New Orleans in July. But over 27 appearances, he has a 3.46 ERA.

    Credit Williams for throwing him in the fire.

    "He's really been good,'' Williams said of the least known member of the pitching staff. ``He's a breath of fresh air with his enthusiasm. He's got some bounce. It's not artificial either. That's who he is.''

    Gallo has a simple philosophy.

    "I go out there each time thinking it will be the last time I pitch in the big leagues,'' he told the Houston Chronicle. "When I got here, people told me to be myself. I think if I look confident out there, good things will happen. I'm thrilled about the opportunity, but I really think our system prepares you to pitch in the big leagues. By the time you get here, you're pretty confident you can get the job done.''

    Williams is the kind of manager who inspires confidence. He builds up players by giving them responsibility and not flinching the first time they fail to come through.

    He turned the versatile Geoff Blum into a major contributor after he floundered for three seasons in Montreal. He resuscitated the career of 35-year-old infielder Jose Vizcaino.

    Few managers would have done what Williams did last Wednesday night in Milwaukee. In a crucial game, he turned to 33-year-old retread Kirk Bullinger, a September callup from New Orleans, with a 3-1 lead and the tying runs on base.

    Bullinger retired Richie Sexson on a fly to right and Mark Smith on a fielder's choice grounder. Oh, yes, he was throwing to backup catcher Raul Chavez, who was only promoted in late August.

    "That's what makes this team so special,'' Wagner said. ``It's a whole team effort. We don't have one guy carrying us. We put Bullinger into a 3-1 game, and he got the job done. It doesn't get any better than that. For us to do anything, we've got to win like this.''

    Bullinger, who had a good year as New Orleans' closer, had made his Houston debut only four days earlier. Turns out he made the most of that chance.

    "I liked what I saw,'' Williams said. "He threw nine pitches. He threw strikes. I liked the way he carried himself.''

    Bullinger was surprised.

    "I didn't expect to be in that kind of spot so soon,'' he said. ``I thought I might have to pitch my way into it.''

    With Williams, it doesn't take long. If you've got the tools to help, he will give you a chance to use them. He's made enough of the right moves to keep Houston afloat while Oswalt and Miller were injured or ineffective. Now that the 1-2 combination is back on form, the Astros could be off to the races.

    Phil Rogers is the national baseball writer for the Chicago Tribune, which has a Web site at www.chicagosports.com
     
  2. countingcrow

    countingcrow Contributing Member

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  3. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    that's great. I've come to really appreciate big Jimy.
     
  4. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    Scary.

    But, go 'stros. It's worth it to be stuck with 'big Jimy'.
     
  5. PhiSlammaJamma

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    It hasn't been pretty if you ask me, but once we get in, we are as good as anyone in a short series. Oswalt, Miller, and Robertson should be awesome.

    Than again, we play the Bravos.
     
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    if i remember right, there are no short series any more...even the first round is a 7 game series. correct me if i'm wrong...but i think they changed that.
     
  7. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    no, that was the nba. mlb is still 5 games the first round i believe
     
  8. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    i may be confusing those...sorry.
     
  9. PhiSlammaJamma

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    I thought it was seven too. But that's what I meant by short.
     
  10. rrj_gamz

    rrj_gamz Contributing Member

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    Jimy can coach, bottom line...He also happens to have the best talent in the game and it's his job to ensure they gel and have a common goal...Less than two weeks will tell the tale...
     
  11. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    the best talent in the game??? by whose definition???

    are you even remotely serious?? the houston astros do not have the best talent in the game.
     
  12. Harrisment

    Harrisment Member

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    That is wacky. The Stros' are good, but they have nowhere near the best talent in the league.
     
  13. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
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    I also was under the impression that the 7 game first round series was a change made in the NBA, rather than the MLB. That's good for us, if true, because I think our 1-2 guys are better than the Braves 1-2 guys, when healthy.
     
  14. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    I could be wrong about the first round. I tried to look it up in google, but didn't find much info. However, on the astros website they will sell playoff ticket packages for the first round starting next week. Each package contains tickets for exactly two games, so because of that i assume that the series is still only five games.

    http://houston.astros.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/hou/ticketing/postseason_2003.jsp?frame=hou

    "National League Division Series (NLDS) tickets will be sold as Division Series Game 1, good for admission to the first game played at Minute Maid Park and Division Series Game 2, good for admission to the second Houston-based contest."
     
  15. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    On a related topic, did anyone else find it strange that Stern decided and announced that the nba's first round playoffs would be extended to best of seven, in the middle of last season? I would have thought that a decision like that would have to be made and announced during the summer, like rule changes are.
     
  16. PhiSlammaJamma

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    What kind of rotation did Jimmy use in Boston for the playoffs. Was it three or four pitchers?
     
  17. haven

    haven Member

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    Does he even realize that neither of these guys has been even close to league-average for their positions?
     
  18. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    Actually, it was one... Pedro, Pedro, Pedro.

    And the bullpen for game 5... Pedro.

    And we thought he doesn't let starters pitch.
     
  19. Roc Paint

    Roc Paint Contributing Member

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    That's alright because I gave the Cubs some pup last week.

    Go Stros!!
     
  20. don grahamleone

    don grahamleone Contributing Member

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    I'm starting to think that we might be in the playoffs with the cubs. We win the division, they win the wildcard.
     

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