The Astros Got Better Yesterday
The MLB winter meetings are in full swing, and yesterday brought some good news for Astros fans. The team went out and did exactly what they needed to do, they got better in the bullpen. They signed free agent Joe Smith to a two-year deal.
The 33 year-old right-hander has bounced around a bit in the majors but he’s been consistently good (not great, but very good) for his career. In 10 seasons he has a career 2.97 era, a solid 1.185 WHIP, is striking out 7.9 batters per 9 innings. Last year between Toronto and Cleveland he put up a 3.33 era and a 1.037 whip. He’s a side-arm pitcher that can be down right filthy versus right handed batters.
But let’s be clear, Joe Smith isn’t a closer. There was a year where he picked up 15 saves, but that’s not his role, and never really has been. He’s a quality arm that provides depth to a bullpen that badly needed it. He will most likely be the 7th or 8th inning guy. He’s also know as a very good high leverage arm, so you might see him a bit earlier if there is more on the line in game situations..
So are the Astros really better because of this?
You bet. When you think about it in terms of arms in the pen, the Astros swapped out Gregerson (signed with the Cardinals) for Smith. It’s crazy (and exciting) to think that the team that won the World Series last year just got a little bit better.
Ho-Hum, Rockets Win Again
Last night at Toyota Center the Houston Rockets beat up on the Charlotte Hornets 108-86 (but it really wasn’t even that close).
That makes 11 in a row now for the Rockets. They hold the best record in the NBA at 22 and 4 (an .846 winning percentage if you’re scoring at home…or not good at math). If you’re curious, second in the NBA is Boston with an .800 winning percentage.
The Rockets seem to be doing everything well. They have a +11 point differential, scoring 114.8 points a game and giving up 103.7 per game. The only other team that’s close to them in point differential is the Golden State Warriors, also +11 – though they’re scoring more (117 pts/g) but also giving up more (106 pts/6).
The Rockets jumped out to a big lead after going on a 25 to nothing run in the first half. Chris Paul took over the game and finished with 31 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds, and added 2 steals. It’s seems strange for me to write this, but I have to admit that one of the things that has been the consistent for this team night in and night out is how good they have been defensively. Granted, they have had a few games where it was a shoot out, but they won those games because when it mattered their defense got a big stop (or2). Often when this team goes on a big run it’s their defense that will spark said run, not their offense (as it should be – and is – on good teams in the NBA).
A bit of bad news for the Rockets as Luc Mbah a Moute left the game with what looked to me to be a shoulder injury. Expect an official diagnosis (from an actual doctor, not some idiot pretending like he is one while he writes an article on the internet) sometime later this week.
Up next for the Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs head to town on Friday which also happens to be black-out night. The Rockets are asking all their fans to wear black…which doesn’t make sense to me since the Spurs main color is black. My best guess is that perhaps since the game is on ESPN, the Rockets think if fans wear black the people at home watching the game won’t be able to tell just how many Spurs fans showed up?
- Look, I know you THINK you don’t give a shit about things and that you’re a bad ass. Just know you’ll never be Denver Fenton Allen bad ass. Go read this and then question everything you ever thought you knew about not giving a single shit.
- This toddler wasn’t having any of that Santa bullshit, so he signaled “help” to his parents.
- It’s bad enough this dude tried to have sex with a 15 year old boy, but the fact that he tried to trade chicken alfredo and some Sprite for said sex only makes it worse.
- Apparently a lot of smart people think this comet might actually be an alien spaceship.
HOTTIE OF THE DAY