Found May 13, 2012 on Fox Sports Houston:
When Astro manager elected to replace starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez after eight innings of three hit ball to go with his closer, Brett Myers to close the game in Pittsburgh on Sunday he was doing what most major league managers would do. He followed the "Book" or the recognized strategic move used in modern baseball. Then he got the pages slammed on his fingers. Myers was not as automatic has he had been for the first nine save opportunities he had worked and a one run lead was lost. The question that many Astro fans had even before the Pirates scored a run off Myers to tie the game that the Astros would ultimately lose in twelve innings was why was Mills so determined to lift his starting pitcher who was showing no signs of fatigue or decline and had only thrown 94 pitches? Mills made a mistake in blindly following "the Book." Rodriguez should have at least been given a hitter by hitter chance to work the ninth inning. If he had allowed the first hitter he faced to reach base then summoning Myers would have made more sense. The way Rodriguez had been pitching odds were not so great that any hitters would have reached base against him. He had retired the last 14 in a row and 21 of the last 22 he had faced. He had not been under stress. The problem is that most managers these days want their relievers to start with clean innings if at all possible. They dont want to have to bring them in after a hitter has reached base unless a match up is being sought. But a match up situation in the twelfth inning finally ended the contest. Mills removed lefty reliever Wesley Wright with two out in the bottom of the inning after he has struck out all three hitters he had faced. But the "Book" says he must be relieved to get a proper match up with right handed hitting Clint Barmes. Barmes led the ultimate Pirate win when he hit a pitch from right hander Fernando Rodriguez into left field despite being jammed. It was a lucky hit but wound up getting Barmes with the winning run into scoring position. An ensuing single by Harrison brought home Barmes and the game was over. Two right handed hitters getting hits against a right handed pitcher. Brad Mills followed the "Book" but Barmes and Harrison didnt bother to read it. Had Wandy Rodriguez been spent in the 9th and Myers had failed there would be no room from criticism. But Wandy was not weakening. As Jim Deshaies put it on television, "If Wandy cant get a complete game out of his effort today, there wont be any on the Astros this year." As any baseball fans knows the "Book" has reasons for its existence. Years and years of baseball have proven what are the best percentages. Yet, it is not infallible. Some of the best managers of all time knew when to ignore some of the adages because no percentage is 100 in baseball. Sometimes you have to play em by gut instinct. Sunday afternoon would have been a good time for Brad Mills to consider that. The Astros might have won 2-1 in nine instead of losing 3-2 in twelve.

The most exciting team in the NL Central: The Houston Astros?

Ahh, the NL Central.  Home of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.  Home of Superstars Ryan Braun, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.  Mancave for upcoming stars Starlin Castro and  Andrew McCutchen.  Lots of intrigue here, but perhaps the most exciting team in the division is the one no one talks about; the team everyone wrote off for 100 losses, last place in the division...

Harrell, Astros frustrated in loss to Phillies

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Lucas Harrell felt as though he had his best stuff. It just wasn't good enough to defeat Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies. Blanton pitched seven-plus strong innings and Placido Polanco homered for his 2,000th career hit to lead the Phillies to a 5-1 win over the Houston Astros on Monday night. Harrell left after allowing three runs -- two earned...

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Houston Astros – Game 34

That took a bit of the sting off of the previous loss.  Pirates need the rubber game though.  Do the Pirates even have a Sunday lineup? First Pitch:  1:35 PM EST Where to Watch:  Root Sports, MLB.TV, FS-H   Wandy Rodriguez, LHP (33) Can we please make something very clear right off the top. Wandy [...]

Gameday: Astros (15-19) at Phillies (16-19)

Houston Astros (15-19) at Philadelphia Phillies (16-19)Lucas Harrell (2-2, 4.58) vs. Joe Blanton (3-3, 3.24)Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park TV: CSN Weather: Showers, 68 Media: Twitter and Facebook2012 hasn’t started the way fans had hoped, but the Phillies’ schedule seems to be in their favor this week. The Phillies were able to win the series against the Padres, who currently...

Phillies (16-19) v. Houston Astros (15-19)Pitching Matchups:Monday, 7:00 - Joe Blanton v. Lucas HarrellTuesday, 1:05 - Cliff Lee v. TBDSpace Cadets Batting:Runs - 143 (13th)Avg - .249 (14th)Slug - .365 (26th)Space Cadets Pitching:ERA - 3.65 (13th)WHIP - 1.26 (12th)BAA - .244 (14th)Lucas Harrell will be making his first appearance against the Phils. So far this season he's 2-2...

The whole homestand comes down to this

The Pirates are 4-4 over the first eight games of their nine-game homestand, so the final result of the homestand lies on this afternoon's game against the Astros. It'll be AJ Burnett that gets the start today to try and get the win for the series and the homestand, going up against Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez has been pretty good thus far in 2012, though his 2.14 ERA is backed...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.