What they're saying about the Roy Oswalt trade


Reaction from around the blogosphere about the Phillies landing Roy Oswalt:

  • Jerry Manuel: “A move like that, it gets your attention. He’s one of the top guys out there. To have that piece in your rotation is quite an improvement.”
  • Charlie Manuel:
    “Gee, fellas, that’s just swell. That kid’s got moxie. Now let’s go out
    and give Atlanta the business, get me?” (note: my notes were a bit
    garbled so that quote may not be 100% accurate)
  • Crashburn Alley:
    The Phillies absolutely 100% swindled Astros GM Ed Wade . . . As much
    as GM Ruben Amaro has been criticized, he deserves some praise for this
    highway robbery.
  • Rob Neyer: “It’s hard to believe the Astros couldn’t have done better than this . . . But then again, if they could have done appreciably better, wouldn’t
    they have?”
  • The 700 Level: “Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt. I just keep saying it over and over.”
  • The Crawfish Boxes: “Is this a great return for Oswalt?  No.  But it’s not terrible.  The
    Astros get a piece to help them now, and some pieces with huge
    potential.  Give these players a chance and let’s see how it goes.”
  • FanGraphs: “Trading Oswalt was one of the team’s few opportunities to find its next
    star, and they didn’t do it. This is a team mining for role players when
    they don’t have the budget to find their foundation pieces through free
    agency. It’s terribly misguided management.”
  • Richard Justice: “The Astros didn’t get lousy overnight, and they’re not going to be fixed
    overnight. But they made a significant step in the right direction on
  • Paul Hagen: “no matter how they try to spin it, it’s a tacit admission that well, er,
    gee, they probably should have just held onto Lee in the first place.”

I guess that covers the bases. I agree with most of that stuff, though really guys, the Cliff Lee ship left the harbor months ago. Probably time to give up that line of reasoning, no?

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.