Wandy pulled too early?

I realize hindsight is 20-20 and it all ended well, but I can’t help but be bothered that Cecil Cooper didn’t leave Wandy Rodriguez in for one more inning on Sunday in Atlanta.

Rodriguez has been the Astros best pitcher this year — by a landslide. He either has truly turned a corner and is finally living up to expectations — at the age of 30 — or, he’s just on a really, really hot streak that could end at anytime. Whatever the case may be, had Cooper sent him out for a sixth inning — and there was no reason not to, considering Wandy had only thrown 86 pitches and had logged more than 100 in two of his last three starts — it would have sent a strong signal to his left-hander: I trust you, I believe in you, and even though you haven’t been at your best today, I need one more inning from you and I know you’ll come through.

Instead, Coop yanked him after five, turned to a taxed bullpen that was without the services of Chris Sampson and Tim Byrdak, and ended up with the win. But at what cost?

_________________

Look for Doug Brocail to officially go on the disabled list today. Coop played it conservatively yesterday for reasons I can’t figure out, saying they’ll just have to wait and see how Doug feels today. See how he feels? The man needed a cart to exit the field yesterday. We know how he feels. He feels like he can’t walk.

Brian Moehler will be activated from the disabled list in time to start today in Washington, so it would seem logical that the Astros would simply DL Brocail to make room for Moehler on the 25-man roster. That’s the short-term solution, but the bullpen is hurting and needs help. The Moehler-Brocail transaction might not be their last. We’ll see.

Alyson Footer is on Facebook and Twitter 

23 Comments

I was also puzzled over pulling Wandy, and even wondered if there was some injury that the Braves broadcasters I was stuck with didn’t report. But then I saw your game report afterwards saying that Wandy WANTED to go back out. And then the way he zipped through the rest of the pen – if it had gone into extras, who was going to pitch. I know – Oswalt! (Some of us were on Twitter during the game yesterday, running through our memories of the times that Roy O has pitched in relief.)

Since I’m here in the Washington area, hoping for Astros wins tonight and tomorrow in the only games of the season here, I’d like to think that there’s going to be a strong bullpen. Especially for Moehler, who isn’t really going to be a complete-game candidate tonight. I almost hope that the game is rained out tonight to give them a rest. it’s been nonstop for a couple of days and the weather report says more of the same…

I?m with you Alyson?not sending Wandy back in the 6th was a big mistake in my opinion?I hope Wandy didn?t take it too personally; I know if I was in his shoes I?d be upset! Rodriguez was not dominant, but his pitch count allowed for at least one more inning. On top of that, given all those games he pitched really well and got nothing to show for it, last night was a great opportunity to make up for them? A lot of people have been screaming for Cooper?s head on a platter lately, and I have not been one of them; but when he does something stupid (IMO) like that, it makes me wonder?

I think Coop pulled him because Wandy looked like he was having a hard time concentrating. His bunt attempt in the 3rd inning resulted in a double play, with him not even running on the play. It was a funky play so I could give him the benefit of the doubt, but then he balked a run home with the bases loaded in the 5th inning. He just didn’t have it mentally and it was a good move to pull him.

I have long since quit trying to make sense of the majority of Coop’s managerial decisions. I was not happy to hear the grocer decided to tender Coop an extension. I guess more years of bad baseball are on the menu for us Astros’ fans…

I generally defend the manager in most situations, but even I must admit that I’ve been unhappy with Cooper’s handling of the bullpen. He’s going to destroy everyone out there if he doesn’t let the starters go a little more; Astros starters have only gone more than six innings four times this season (two each by Wandy and Oswalt). Coop needs to ask a little more of them, especially with the bullpen basically falling apart.

timmy1sc is right in that there were signs that Wandy was struggling, but in lieu of the short bullpen, you gotta run Wandy out there and let him try. But it was a hot day, and Wandy did balk, and its one of those things where it could of easily turned on him.

Lets not forget that Wandy has had struggles on the road and the last thing we want to do is remind Wandy of that. Sure he has been the best pitcher for the Astros this year, but he is only a few games away from being the old Wandy of good at home bad on the road. So maybe Coop was trying to protect Wandy as much as the game.

Wandy wasn’t struggling THAT bad and who cares about the balk – it was a lame call anyway.The thing about this issue is, it’s not really second-guessing, at least on my part. There have been several decisions made this year, and last, by Cooper where I think, “Why is he doing that?!”, and it does turn out to be a bad decision. (In contrast, if I thought he made a bad decision and I was WRONG my reaction would be, “Boy was I an idiot. Good thing I’m not the manager!”.) But it just kills me when even my wife knows better (I’m an ex-ballplayer, she’s not – I didn’t mean that in the sexist sense, honest!). She is starting to regularly freak at Cooper pulling the starters too early, pinch hitting with Erstad and Smith instead of Keppinger, etc. And now we have Moehler coming up who probably WON’T be able to last more than 5!

Well, as long as we’re puzzling over Coop’s decisions, what about the confusion over whether our players are Clydesdales or sacrificial lambs? I have a hard time imagining a Clydesale bunting. Yesterday it worked out for him (7 sac moves!), but it hasn’t been working out most of the time this season. I don’t object to small ball in its place, but geez, I hate to waste a precious out for negligible gain.

I have a question for you Alyson if you don’t mind:
With our bullpen working so much, and question marks in the rotation, Bud Norris is obviously a name that comes to mind; yet his name is not on the 40 men roster, and he’s mentioned nowhere. I recently asked a fellow Astros fan what it takes to move someone on the 40 men roster, but I?m still a little confused.
Could you clarify that, and maybe explain how come Norris doesn?t seem to be on top of the list when it comes to call someone up?
Thank you

Last week against the Brewers, Ian Snell had a pitch count of 131. You would have to hog tie Coop in the dugout to let an Astros pitcher reach a pitch count like that. 130+ is excessive, but it’s time to let Wandy have a chance to go deep in a game. Loosen the reins Cooper.

http://stonebutch99.mlblogs.com/
Twitter: AGAME_

Coop is nuts. Jim Deshaies was also puzzled when Wandy didn’t take the mound in the 6th.

So have you asked Cooper what he was thinking?

Found it

?He was at 85 or 86 (pitches), and I just thought it looked like it was kind of getting away from him a little bit,? Cooper said. ?We had some fresh guys to use there.?

how in the %#@$ does that make any senses?

He had a few bad breaks, but wasn’t pitching bad.

What also blows my mind is once Wandy was pulled (too early) I was under the impression that the idea was to have Russ Ortiz come in for long relief. Instead he came in for 1/3 of an inning!?!? Seems to me if Wandy would have been allowed into the 6th, Russ could’ve handled the 7th and 8th and then Hawkins closes it out in the 9th, and our bullpen would be looking a lot more fresh right now.

So we have the answer to the question “at what cost?” – at the cost of Monday night’s game in DC. Moehler had a solid start, but as soon as he came out, things fell apart. The bullpen is tired and injured (and probably mildewed by now). The weather was awful – it was coming down pretty good during the 6th inning of Monday’s game, when the Nats took the lead. (I know – I was at the game, sitting right over the Astros dugout.) I’d guess that factors in to the lack of control by the pitchers in that inning. I’m really hoping to see Oswalt pitch a complete game in game 2 – I bet his buds in the bullpen are hoping the same thing!

astrosfaninexile, There is no way Oswalt will pitch a complete game, not as long as Cooper is the coach. If he goes 7 innings I’ll be amazed. I agree though, we could sure use a complete game from the starting pitcher.

Hey wfbro – this is probably the last game I’ll get to see in person this year, and the only time I’ll see Oswalt – he was at WBC when I was at Spring Training. Let me enjoy my fantasy that this will be the day he throws a no hitter for just a little longer! :-)

astrosfan, gotcha. And you are right, that IS one situation where, hopefully, Cooper would not pull Roy O out, if he had a no no going. Enjoy the game!!

Wfbro – Oh good grief – that was NOT at ALL what I wanted!!! What a mess! And not even a win to take out of it – for Roy O or for the team.

astrosfan, what a bummer! That must have been a very frustrating game to watch. I missed the whole thing because I was very busy at work and then went to my sons’ regional high school playoff game (in Florida). Then my wife told on the phone that Roy O was injured and the game tied in extra innings. I was amazed – who would have guessed!? THis was about the worst thing that could happen to the ‘Stros, except ofcourse they could still get a win in July when they finish the game.

SUSAN ~looks like you made it~ Yep, she was on TV. At the top of the 3rd inning during the Astros promo for Mother’s Day. Awww…;)

What is the AstrosFanInExile star doing when she gets her 5 seconds of fame? She’s not drinking a beer or a swirly thing, she’s taking pictures. Big shocker there. ;)

http://stonebutch99.mlblogs.com/
Twitter: AGAME_

Alyson…..the opinion of many who are Astros fans, is Cooper is the worst manager this team has ever had.
His over use of the pitchers, in the bull pen is horrible!
I don’t know what it’s going to take to get this team going…
but I believe the first step should be getting a new manager. Cooper has lost his clubhouse, and you and I
know this is a death sentence. Cooper is NOT the manager
the Astros need. Thanks.

This is why I do not like Coop as the Astros Head Coach. He makes stupid choices as when to sit or start players, he pulls guys out of games too early. Can’t really believe the Astros decided to renew his contract for next year. Bad moves Astros. This year is going to be a long long boring and painful year for the Astros and Astros fans. Boring…..boring. Wake me up whenever football season begins.

It happened on April 18th. I was sitting in Minute Maid Park enjoying the game, relaxing with some friends and family, when the signing of Cooper was announced. What a buzzkill that was.

http://stonebutch99.mlblogs.com/
Twitter: AGAME_

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