Posts Tagged ‘Geoff Blum’

Astros beat 8/7

August 8, 2010 Comments off

Mills thinks Hart was out on game-winner

MILWAUKEE — While the Brewers were celebrating a thrilling walk-off victory Friday night, the Astros and manager Brad Mills weren’t so sure about the game’s final run.

As right fielder Corey Hart scored the winning run Friday night, Mills was convinced he was out. His opinion remained the same Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the ensuing celebration made it tough for Mills to voice his opinion.

“That is the toughest way to argue a call,” Mills said. “To go out there when everybody is running around — the umpires want to leave, they’re trying to get off the field, and I’m trying to state my case as he’s walking off. It’s a bad place to be.

“They were picking Hart up off the ground as I was running around trying to get to the umpire. That’s a tough situation.”

A closer look at Hart’s slide shows his left leg was several inches off the ground as Astros catcher Jason Castro turned to tag the All-Star right fielder. From the camera angle behind the plate, however, it’s difficult to see whether Hart scores before the tag is applied.

Mills said his catcher could have been better positioned on the play, though he understands the difficulty of catching the throw from right fielder Hunter Pence and making the tag at the plate.

“The ball is always going to travel quicker than the guy is able to get the ball and reach back,” Mills said. “We try to get the guys to straddle the bag and let the ball travel.

“When the ball’s coming from right field, it’s the worst for the catcher. His eyes are on the ball, and he can’t even see the runner out of his periphery. It makes it really difficult.”

Astros like Wallace’s approach at the plate

MILWAUKEE — Like the rest of the National League, the Astros are still learning just what kind of hitter rookie first baseman Brett Wallace could be.

Through five starts and 17 at-bats, early indications have been good.

Wallace showed off one part of his skill set Friday night as he drove a double into the gap in left-center field in the fifth, scoring shortstop Geoff Blum from first base. Hits to left-center field were a common theme for Wallace in the Minors.

In particular, manager Brad Mills also likes the calm approach Wallace seems to have in the batter’s box, regardless of the outcome.

“Isn’t that nice to see?” Mills said. “As a young kid, that sure looks nice.”

Bourn has green light when he feels right

MILWAUKEE — When it comes to stealing bases, it’s up to Michael Bourn to decide when he thinks it’s the right situation to go for it.

When Bourn reached base twice on Friday night, manager Brad Mills reminded his center fielder of that fact more often than usual. With Brewers catcher George Kottaras having thrown out just 16 percent of basestealers this season, the Astros knew they could have an easy time on the bases.

But Mills didn’t want to force Bourn to steal.

“I tried to emphasize him running, but you don’t want to force him to run,” Mills said. “He has to be able to feel it.

“He tried to go a couple times and just didn’t feel it. You can’t force a guy to run when he doesn’t feel comfortable, especially a guy like Michael.”

He finished the night with a pair of stolen bases, but Bourn might have had more if his right foot was feeling 100 percent

Bourn has been slowed since his foot was hit with a pitch Wednesday in St. Louis, though he has not missed any time. Although he was left out of the starting lineup Saturday, it had more to do with Bourn’s numbers against left-handed pitching than his right foot.

“It was sore last night. As he was coming off the field, I think you could [see that],” Mills said. “He said it hurts him more to jog than to run.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros beat 8/6

August 6, 2010 Comments off

Mills feels for injured righty Moehler

MILWAUKEE — After hearing the news that Brian Moehler had torn the tendon off the bone in his left groin area, Astros manager Brad Mills’ first thought had nothing to do with the impact it might have on his team.

Instead, he was more concerned with the effect on Moehler.

“The first thing you think of when you hear something like that is you kind of feel bad for him, it really hurts for him,” Mills said. “You kind of hurt for him a little bit.”

Moehler has been on the disabled list since July 8 with a right groin strain. He is 1-4 with a 4.92 ERA in 20 games, including eight starts for the Astros.

Despite the injury, Moehler told on Thursday that he was not in any pain and even threw a baseball off flat ground without pain. He also said that he plans to work out Friday at Minute Maid Park and rejoin the team on Monday in Houston.

“You’d like to get a chance for him to help out this club because he’s helped us out so much during this year, so you’d like him to be able to continue it,” Mills said. “You think of what he has done for us as a spot starter, as a long man, a middle guy — he is valuable because he can do so many things.”

But while Mills said he and the club would miss Moehler, the Astros manager was not ready to rule out a return for the 38-year-old right-hander just yet.

“We’re going to wait and see when more tests are done,” Mills said. “It’s really too early to speculate on whether he’ll be back this year or whatever.”

Blum makes first start since stint on DL

MILWAUKEE — Making his first start since returning from the disabled list on Tuesday, veteran infielder Geoff Blum was at shortstop on Friday as the Astros opened a three-game series with the Brewers.

As manager Brad Mills noted earlier this week, he expects Blum to share time at shortstop with rookie Angel Sanchez.

“He played there on his rehab assignment and he played there a few games before he was hurt,” Mills said. “We want to get him in there against some of the right-handed pitching. I don’t know if it’s going to be all of them. I don’t know how many games he’s going to be able to sustain playing out there in a row or in a week.”

Blum started 10 games this season at shortstop before he underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in early July.

He began seeing more time at the position following an injury to rookie shortstop Tommy Manzella, but since Blum also went on the DL, the starting shortstop duties fell to Sanchez, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox on July 1.

Sanchez has performed well in his time with Houston, batting .301 with 14 RBIs in 25 games since the trade.

“With Angel doing so well, it’s not just an absolute must that we need [Blum] to get out there four or five times a week,” Mills said. “Depending on the matchups, depending on the team that we’re playing, depending on the pitchers — a lot of those things are going to enter into it.

“I can’t see [Blum] playing over there more than two or three times a week.”

Prospect Lyles promoted to Triple-A

MILWAUKEE — Like many Astros fans, manager Brad Mills is looking forward to seeing right-handed pitching prospect Jordan Lyles in action. He may not have to wait much longer.

Lyles was promoted Thursday night from Double-A Corpus Christi to Triple-A Round Rock. His Triple-A debut is set for Aug. 10 as the Express host the Sacramento River Cats at the Dell Diamond.

“I haven’t really seen him,” Mills said. “All the reports have been good, though. So I’m kind of anxious to see him.”

Selected 38th overall in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, the 19-year-old Lyles owns a 3.12 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) this season for the Hooks. With the move up to Triple-A, the young right-hander could realistically make his Major League debut by the end of 2010.

If that does indeed happen, Lyles would be the first teenage pitcher to debut in the National League since Doc Gooden in 1984.

“That’s not out of the question,” Mills said. “You see guys who make those steps all the time. They get a couple starts in Triple-A then move up to the next level.

“If he’s as good as advertised, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move up.”

Manzella plays in first rehab game

MILWAUKEE — Rookie shortstop Tommy Manzella began his rehab assignment on Thursday night, going 1-for-2 with a single up the middle and a caught stealing at Double-A Corpus Christi.

Manzella played five innings and is scheduled to play five games with the Hooks before continuing his rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock.

Astros manager Brad Mills was happy for Manzella to be back in action.

“It was good to get him started on the rehab assignment,” Mills said. “I’m sure he was itching to get going. He took one day of BP and wanted to get out on a rehab assignment.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

No fun in the sun again for the Brewers

June 30, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Blame it on the shadows. Or the mistakes on the basepaths.

Whatever it was, the Brewers had another poor showing on Wednesday in a day game at Miller Park, which is starting to become a trend.

Offensive struggles in home day games continued for the Brewers, as Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez quieted Milwaukee, which lost, 5-1, to drop its first series of the homestand.

“We had just a couple chances to score,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha. “And we didn’t get it done. We had first and second, one out in the third inning, then we had a leadoff double in the sixth down by one and wound up having two outs on the bases there.”

Part of the problem offensively for Milwaukee was those outs on the basepaths. In the second, McGehee was caught off third on a grounder to third baseman Chris Johnson. As he returned, he tried to step over Johnson, but was called out.

Four innings later, McGehee doubled to lead off the sixth. Rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy followed by bouncing one to Rodriguez, who faked to first before getting McGehee at third. During the next at-bat, Lucroy compounded the problem, as he was caught stealing second.

As strong as the Brewers have been overall offensively this season, they have struggled to hit well at home during day games. Through 15 home day games, the Brewers have just a .236 (123-for-521) team batting average, with just 52 runs scored and 15 home runs.

The offense looked good early in the second and third, but the Brewers only scored the one run in the second, combining to leave four runners on base in the two innings. Over the final six innings, the Crew was unable to put much together.

Rodriguez (5-10) tossed seven strong innings, giving up just one run on seven hits as he walked one and recorded six strikeouts.

“I thought his curveball was real good,” Macha said of Rodriguez. “When he got some guys on he went to that curveball, Rodriguez did, and it was very good.”

The Astros’ lefty outdueled Brewers starter Dave Bush, who went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits while walking five with three strikeouts.

Just as the Brewers have struggled at Miller Park during the day, the Astros knew coming in what kind of effect the shadows could have in the late innings of afternoon contests. With that in mind, they were happy to plate a pair against Bush.

“Playing in this ballpark, and when the shadows creep in, it was kind of nice to get those hits early in the game,” Astros shortstop Geoff Blum said. “You’ve got to be patient with Bush. He’s got four quality pitches, and fortunately for myself, he left a couple up and I was able to find some holes.”

Blum went 2-for-3 on the day with three runs scored, a double and two walks. In the fourth, Blum’s double sparked a two-hit, two-walk inning for the Astros that led to Houston tying the game at 1 on a wild pitch.

In the sixth, Blum’s leadoff walk resulted in the eventual winning run, which he scored on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Rodriguez.

Despite his third straight quality start, Bush (3-6) took the loss.

“It’s a disappointing game to lose,” Bush said. “But Rodriguez pitched really well. And he pitched a little bit better than I did. So good job for him, and he earned it for sure.”

It was reliever Carlos Villanueva, though, who let the Astros take control of the ballgame. Villanueva surrendered three runs on three hits in just two-thirds of an inning.

After taking the lead in the sixth, the Astros plated three runs in the seventh on three doubles off Villanueva.

“My job there is to keep the game the same way it is when I come in,” Villanueva said. “They hit my mistakes. I thought I made a couple [of] good pitches, but when I needed an out pitch there, I left the ball up and they put pretty good swings on them.”

With the loss, the Brewers finished 3-3 over the final six games of the homestand after sweeping the first-place Minnesota Twins to open the nine-game stretch at Miller Park.

While the end result, a 6-3 homestand, was good for the Brewers, the way they got there — especially in losing two of three to the fifth-place Astros — was not.

“We’ve got to go to St. Louis, and we’re going to have to play a little better than this [losing] two out of the three here,” Macha said. “Six and three on the homestand. [You] just look at it and say, before the homestand, you’d have taken that. But after the start we had, it’s a little disappointing.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.