ENFORCED ERRORS

Ken Hoffman calls a strike on Fox Sports' coverage of the Astros

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Note to Fox Sports: Next time you cover an Astros game, leave your announcers at home. They're awful. Just let the Astros broadcast crew handle the game. We've got it covered.

On June 22, the Astros were in New York to face the Yankees. It was a national game on Fox Sports (Channel 26 here), and the Fox announcers were Aaron Goldsmith, who normally does Seattle Mariners games on radio, A.J. Pierzynski, who played 19 years in the big leagues, and Ken Rosenthal, who wears a bowtie.

It was like they had never seen a baseball game before. Truly amazing and painful and annoying all at once. And I'm not one of those homers who thinks announcers and umpires are against Houston teams.

Kemp, not Sipp

For example: They announced that Tony Sipp was coming to the plate to bat for Jake Marisnick. Tony Sipp, while a former Astro, is now a pitcher with the Washington Nationals. They meant to say Tony Kemp. But I guess any Tony would do in a pinch … hit.

At one point, Astros catcher Max Stassi interfered with Aaron Judge's swing and Judge was awarded first base. The announcers went on for several minutes how Stassi would get an error for the play and poor Judge would be assessed an at bat, which would hurt his batting average. They said how unlucky it would be if Judge hit .299 for the season. If not for Stassi's interference, he would have hit .300.

Wrong! Judge was not assessed an at bat — his batting average would not be affected, now or the end of the season. The weird part, Pierzynski was a catcher for all those years in Major League Baseball. He didn't know the rule about catcher's interference?

Bad math

The Fox announcers said the Astros were leading their division by 4 1/2 games. No, try 7 1/2 games.

Then, the cruelest cut of all. Because the Yankees would be playing the Red Sox next week in England, the announcers brought Henry the Eighth into the conversation. That was a reach. I guess they were stretching for some English references. How about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Brexit, England's undefeated women's soccer team in the World Cup, Mick Jagger back on tour, or fish 'n' chips next time? England's fish 'n' chips are incredible. It's because they fry the fish in beef fat. Disgusting and dangerous, yet delicious.

One of the Fox announcers said that Big Hank No. 8 was beheaded, and they went on and on about the 16th-century monarch who gave Larry King a run for his money on number of wives. According to lore, Henry had six wives. King has been married eight times, though he's had only seven wives. He married one of them twice. I'll let Elias Sports Bureau decide King's total.

An F in history

The point is, Henry the Eighth was not…

Continue reading on CultureMap to hear Ken Hoffman's advice for Fox announcers.


Astros get back on track with lopsided win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 11-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With two of their worst pitching performances behind them from Monday and Tuesday nights, the Astros had Gerrit Cole on the mound on Wednesday to try and right the ship. Here is a recap of the third of four games in this series:

Final Score: Astros 11, Angels 2.

Record: 60-37, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (10-5, 3.12 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Felix Pena (7-3, 4.92 ERA).

1) Overpowering offense makes it easy for Houston's pitchers

Houston's openers and primary pitchers put up disappointing numbers the offense could not overcome the previous two nights. Houston's bats flipped the script on that, taking control of the game on Tuesday night to make it less stressful for Gerrit Cole and the bullpen.

They started with a three-run first inning, getting a one-out single by Jose Altuve who would score on an RBI-double by Alex Bregman before a two-run homer by Michael Brantley in the next at-bat. They continued scoring in the next two innings, getting a run in each. Jose Altuve notched an RBI-double in the second, then Yuli Gurriel led the third inning off with a double before scoring on a wild pitch later in the inning.

They nearly doubled that 6-0 lead in the top of the fifth, getting four straight two-out hits. It started with a single by Robinson Chirinos to move Michael Brantley, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, over to second. Tyler White was next with another RBI in this series, getting a single to score Brantley. Jake Marisnick was next, and he came through with an RBI-double before George Springer would clear the bases with a three-run dinger to make it an 11-0 game.

2) Cole gives fans a breath of fresh air

As mentioned, Astros fans were desperate for an efficient pitching performance after the woes of the last two nights. Gerrit Cole delivered, rebounding from his previous start, which was a drop-off from his usual numbers and having a more typical night.

Cole allowed only a handful of hits and a walk over the first four innings, keeping the Angels off the board until the fifth. They would tag him with his near-daily home run in that inning, a solo shot to make it an 11-1 game, the only run he would allow on the night.

Even with his pitch count in the 90s after six innings, the Astros trusted him to come back out and eat another inning. He did so, getting a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh on three strikeouts, bringing his total on the night to eleven. Cole's final line: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HR.

Cole's excellent performance meant only two innings of relief needed from Houston' bullpen. Joe Smith provided a scoreless eighth, then Ryan Pressly wrapped things up despite allowing a run in the bottom of the ninth to make it 11-2.

Up Next: The Astros and Angels will conclude this series tomorrow with the finale of the four-game set starting an hour earlier at 8:07 PM. The expected pitching matchup is Wade Miley (7-4, 3.32 ERA) for Houston going up against Matt Harvey (3-4, 6.88 ERA) for Los Angeles.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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