Archive for NL Central

It’s Official Astros Fans: Never Gonna Happen 2010

Posted in Astros rivals, Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2010 by Astropolithecus

Folks,

Though our fair broadcasters on both radio and television might gloss over  a very ugly season by not saying anything very negative or critical, I want to make an announcement. Houston is done as of today, June 19th. This is from an eternal Astros optimist.

We are a crap team this year, and for the first time since I can remember I’m questioning the effort team wide, which bothers me deeply. Oswalt wants to leave, and rightly so.

I say blow it up and start all over.  Youth movement in Houston helmed by new hitting coach Bagwell is about the best we can hope for in the next two years.   Buckle down, ladies and gentlemen, judging by the listless nature of this mediocre squad, your fandom will be tested Pittsburgh Pirates style until the blessed day in early October when this train wreck(Wooo!Wooo! my ass) is over.

I knew the playoffs would be a miracle, but I never imagined what I’ve been watching these last 3 months. Only up from here, I hope.

Onward and Upward,

Berkmaniac

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Astros Sweep Cardinals!

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca
Okay, so, I pretty much use this blog as a place to voice my frustration with the club.  My love for the Astros comes accross mostly as love-hate, with the latter half of that relationship predominating.  Mostly, though, I’ve been frustrated with the way this team has been run.  My rants on player performance are normally limited to the context of how it should affect Ed Wade’s decision-making and Drayton’s long-term strategy.

Today, though, I’m just freakin’ excited that the Astros swept the Cardinals.  I honestly did not expect to have this much fun at any time this season.  My only concern comes when I think about how much this series sweep helped the Cubs.  I hate the Cubs.  I like the Cardinals.  I like LaRussa, Pujols, and the remaining Duncan.  I like the moustaches. I like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriters, and I like knowledgeable baseball fans. If any team other than Houston has to win the NL Central, I want it to be the Cards.  As teams who have finished 1-2 in the standings so often in recent years, I hope they can continue to be each other’s well-respected adversary.

Still, there was something so satisfying about sweeping a first place St. Louis team.   Let me say it again: the Astros swept the Cardinals!!  It helped that the club’s three best starters lined up for the three game series, but I still can’t believe it.  The team couldn’t believe it either.  They were jumping around like they just made it to the World Series.  You take the excitement wherever you can get it, and to lots of us who have been underwhelmed so far this year, there was a playoff atmosphere to this series.

As an Astros fan, I have been conditioned to believe that come-from-behind victories simply do not go in our favor.  I have been conditioned to expect opposing teams to get out of late-inning, bases loaded, no-out jams.  Prior to one of the Geoff Blum walk-off singles against the Cubs, it had been months since the team had won a game it trailed after the sixth inning.  To come back in the bottom of the ninth against a closer who has looked fantastic this year is remarkable.  Miguel Tejada has been a spark plug that ignites this team’s confidence and enthusiasm night after night.

Keppinger gives Miggy the rare double-spotlight.

Keppinger gives Miggy the rare double-spotlight.

In all honesty, I still think this team’s pitching is too weak, and I’m worried that the injury bug will continue to strike the… uh… less-than-youthful members of the team.  But for now, who cares? While I’m not jumping aboard the bandwagon just yet, at times like these, even a website called “Disastros” can be downright gleeful.

One Game Under

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

Here we are again. One game from returning to .500. Not since being 1-1 on April 7th, have the Astros been winners, err… I mean, non-losers. Actually, with an extra game to be finished up, the Stros have a chance to be winners tonight for the first time all season. First, the Astros and Nationals will pick up where they left off, albeit 1,500 miles southwest. With an extra-inning win to start the night off, the Astros can either go on to be winners, or quickly follow a step forward with another step back.

During Spring training, my brother and I talked about how we thought the season would play out. I predicted that it would look pretty ugly throughout, but that somehow the old never-say-die attitude would land the team at (an over-performing) 80-82 – with scattered winning streaks to justify management’s claims that we’re still in it. My brother predicted that through the course of the season, the Stros would have great runs to get them to 2 games below .500, slipping back down each time. It appears he was one game off. Here we are again with a third chance in a week. Each time they approach the plateau, they roll back down like a car in neutral that couldn’t build up quite enough momentum along the way.

Who’s gonna stumble this time? In San Francisco, the offense was characteristically baffled by their first view of a rookie, Ryan Sadowski (who?), and against Pittsburgh, the defense faltered. Odds are, this time it’s the pitching. Lately you have no idea what’s gonna happen with Russ Ortiz, so it’s anyone’s guess. Hopefully, though, Lance and Hunter finally teach the rest of the boys that in Texas we take two steps forward before taking another step back.

Pudgy Sun Shines on the Big Puma!

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2009 by Astropolithecus

My goal was to sit down tonight and drop a few doses of optimism on this dismal Astros spring. 

Well, Astros fans, we just got a bucket of complimentary rose colored glasses, so pass ’em out!

The veteran and sparky IVAN “PUDGE” RODRIGUEZ has just signed with the Stros! 

   There are definitely criticisms due Rodriguez, but they are outweighed, big time, by what he brings to the “Juice Box” come opening day. 

   First, though he’s older, he can still rake, and is clearly a better hitter come crunch time than any of the catchers we currently have on staff. Sorry, Q, it’s true.  He brings an enhancement to the line-up, batting sixth or seventh, that makes it that much harder to pitch around Lee, Pence, and Tejada. His mere presence should also give Bourn more incentive to get on board the basepaths, assuming he’s batting in front of Pudge, and in perfect symbiosis, Pudge marked in on the batting order will give Bourn better pitches to hit.  Pudge takes a very good line-up and makes it better. 

Monetarily, the Puerto Rican legend is a steal, possibly the only steal credited to his name this year.  He doesn’t bust the budget, and this deal should give Wade critics  a pause. I’m not saying Wade deserves no verbal bludgeoning, but  credit is due here for a smooth and tight under the radar signing.

Psychologically, Rodriguez gives the other Astro veterans(and Cooper) a boost I’m sure, because management just gave them a clear signal that “we’re in it to win it”. I also have a feeling Tejada and Rodriguez will be freakin’ clubhouse magic together.

One of the most important elements of Pudge’s signing that I don’t want fellow fans to overlook is the effect he’ll have on the pitching staff.  He’s a real veteran, not in the style of Milton Bradley attitude wise, who is known around the leagues in his ability to call a good game.  His ability to help a Moehler stay in the game longer is matched by his ability to help newer starters, like Capellan, work out of trouble.  I know in my gut that young pitchers will benefit huge with Pudge behind the plate.  One of the few guys who can call a better game is Ausmus, but think of Pudge as an almost Ausmus with a real sweet bat.  

Certain fellow bloggers may freak out that certain catchers may get less playing time, hmm, but I hope they and all of our fine readers see the bigger picture.  Lou could use another season at Round Rock, and Rodriguez’s signing only solidifies Quintero’s job as the official backup catcher.  Q will still get a start every five days, two many weeks, and I think a seasoned fellow catcher can provide him unique bits of wisdom on how to approach hitting.

So there you have it, my take on this great signing.  I just read an article in which Berkman said basically to ‘relax and look ahead, we’ve got the real season ahead of us’.  His only major criticism of the team is he wished a few more proven free agents had been signed. Puma, your wish is Wade’s command.

 

 Yes, of COURSE we still need better starting pitching.   But if you look closely, you’ll see Pudge is a start.

                    Berkmaniac

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3985628