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NL Central Injury Update

In Around The League on March 31, 2010 at 7:45 pm

With less than five days before opening day, there are a few key injuries fans should take note of.

Chicago Cubs

Right now the Chicago Cubs have three players listed in their DL. Pitcher Angel Guzman has a torn ligament in his throwing shoulder and has undergone  surgery. The Cubs haven’t confirmed when Guzman will be ready to start pitching again but like most injuries to a throwing shoulder, rehab will be a must. Guzman will probably start pitching in the minors before being called up to the Majors.

One of the Cubs big arms, Ted Lilly, is still recovering from arthroscopic left shoulder surgery. He is project to be back mid April and will begin pitching again in the minors.

Houston Astros

Right now Houston have six players on the DL and four of them are starters. Pitcher Alberto Arias is down with a rotator cuff injury and should be back in the bullpen by late April. Yorman Bazardo has been put on the 15 day DL and his time of return has not been confirmed yet. Starting pitchers Roy Oswalt and Brett Myers are both hurt too but luckily their injuries are not severe and will be ready by opening day. Lance Berkman will have to be ready to play immediately as he will not be ready to being the season. He has missed much of spring training due to the left knee surgery. He has been able to swing the bat as of lately and could be ready to start in mid April too. New short stop Tommy Manzella is nursing a strained quad but should be healthy by March 5.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Red Birds have three players on the DL, two of them catchers and one pitcher. Backup catcher Jason LaRue injured his hand in the Tuesday’s game vs the Mets. St. Louis hasn’t announced when LaRue will return but expect him to be healthy by opening day. Starting catcher Yadier Molina has a strained right oblique but like LaRue, Molina is expected to be starting and ready by the first day. Pitcher Blake Hawksworth will miss the first few days of the season but will return back to the bullpen when he is 100% recovered.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Two injuries, both pitchers. Jose Ascanio had right shoulder surgery and still slowly recovering. Jose wont be back till mid June . Joel Hanrahan is expected to be back the second week into the season according to the Pirates origination which will help booster their already weak pen.

Cincinnati Reds

Just like the Pirates, Reds have all pitchers on their DL. Cuban sensation Aroldis Chapman who is projected to be the Reds fifth starter will now be starting in the season in the minors due to his back spasms. Edison Volquez is still rehabing from his Tommy John Surgery but luckily has started throwing off the mound. Time table for return isnt certain but estimated to be in August. Carlos Fisher has a sore elbow still and hasn’t seen action since March 12.

Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers have three players hurt and two of them won’t see the field until mid summer. Starting pitcher Jeff Suppan appears to be starting the year on the DL but could be ready after the first week of play. Mat Gamel and David Riske both have injuries a lot more severe. David won’t be back until June after tearing a tendon in his elbow while Gamel tor his latimssimus dorsi and won’t be back until mid May.

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Final Fantasy Draft Results

In Random Rants on March 29, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Yesterday was my MLB draft and I was slotted with the six pick. Overall I am very pleased with my selections though there are things I wish I gained more of but still should be contender to win the league.

Batting

C- Kurt Suzuki

(OAK)

74 R      –     15 HR     –     88 RBI      –       8 SB       –     .274 avg

1B- Ryan Howard

( PHI)

105 R    –    45 HR      –    141 RBI      –       8 SB      –      .279 avg

2B,SS, OF- Ben Zobrist

(TBR)

91 R     –      27 HR     –     91 RBI       –      17 SB      –      .297 avg

3B- Chone Figgins

( SEA)

114 R    –     5 HR     –       54 RBI       –      42 SB     –     .298 avg

SS- Elvis Andrus

(TEX)

72 R    –      6 HR     –      40 RBI       –       33 SB      –     .267 avg

OF- Jacoby Ellsbury

(BOS)


94 R     –      8 HR      –     60 RBI       –       70 SB      –     .301 avg

OF- Jason Bay

( NYM)


103 R    –    36 HR     –     119 RBI      –      3 SB      –     .267 avg

OF- Brad Hawpe

( COL)


82 R     –     23 HR     –     86 RBI       –       1 SB     –     .285 avg

Util/2B- Dan Uggla

( FLA)



84 R    –     31 HR     –      90 RBI       –       2 SB       –     .243 avg

Util/ 1B/OF- Michael Cuddyer

(MIN)


93 R     –     32 HR      –     94 RBI       –       6 SB       –       .276 avg

BN/ OF- Nyjer Morgan

(WAS)

74 R     –     3 HR      –       39 RBI      –        42 SB       –      .307 avg.

BN/ OF/ 1B- Nick Swisher

( NYY)

84 R     –     29 HR     –      82 RBI      –        0 SB       –       .248 avg

OF- Juan Pierre

(CWS)

57 R    –      0 HR      –       31 RBI       –        30 SB      –      .308 avg

My main focus going into this draft was consistency throughout my whole lineup. I wanted guys that either had high power numbers along with tons of runs or rbis and guys that stole a lot of bases. I was able to accomplish both despite majority of the guys do not having the highest batting avg. That was okay with me considering I have five guys that stole over 30 bases and 6 guys that hit over 20 HR. Both my RBI and Run range between all the players panned out to average around 80. My favorite draftee was Jacoby Ellsbury due to the batting avg. above. 300 and the 70 SB. One person that people may notice that seems to have low numbers is Juan Pierre. Remember that he replaced Manny Ramirez mid way through last season and then when Manny return, Juan was placed on the bench. I really love his numbers  for the amount of playing time he received and I expect this runs to increase by 30 and RBIs to go up by at least 20. Maybe a HR or two would be nice but I would really be pleased if that batting avg. hovered around .310 all season. One player that I will be watching closely is Kurt Suzuki. He had really good numbers for a catcher but I am not sure if this trend will translate into the 2010 season. I was able to pick up Cuddyer pretty late into the draft which was kind of shocking. He doesn’t have the highest batting avg but his numbers are good. By the point I drafted Cuddyer, I already had speed and adding him just added more power. Overall, I think i have a very solid team top to bottom. It isn’t heavy in one category which I think is great, because consistency  is one of the main keys to win ball games.

Pitching

SP- Justin Verlander

(DET)

19 W          –          269 K         –         3.45 ERA         –        0 SV

SP- Cole Hamels

(PHI)

10 W         –          168 K        –          4.32 ERA       –           0 SV

RP/CL- Carlos Marmol

( CHC)

2 W          –            93 K          –          3.42 ERA        –          15 SV

RP- J.A Happ

( PHI)

12 W          –           119 K         –         2.93 ERA         –          0 SV

P- A.J. Burnett

( NYY)

13 W          –           195 K         –         4.04 ERA          –         0 SV

P/CL- David Aardsma

(SEA)

3 W          –            80 K        –          2.52 ERA         –          38 SV

P- Roy Oswalt

(HOU)

8 W           –           138 K          –        4.12 ERA         –          0 SV

P- Daisuke Matsuzaka

(BOS)

4 W            –           54K         –           5.76 ERA         –          0 SV

BN- Phil Hughes

( NYY)

8 W            –           96 K          –          3.03 ERA          –         8 SV

BN- Scott Feldman

(TEX)

17 W          –            113 K         –          4.08 ERA        –          0 SV

I started on my pitchers later than I would have liked in the draft but I was able to acquire Justin Verlander. He will basically become my go to guy in my pitching staff. I have a few pitchers who I think will have a better season than people predict; Oswalt, Burnett, Hamels, and Feldman. The Yankees are a lot better this year and I do expect A.J to have more than 13 W and for his ERA to drop to around 3.85. Oswalt has pitched a great spring and seems to be back to his usual self. ESPN and most websites have Roy around 13 wins, but I think he can reach between 15-17. Feldman is an interesting and risky pickup for me. 17 win season was very impressive but I am not sure if he can produce those numbers again. The AL West is tougher but Feldman is just another year experience. I see a rise in strikeouts but only around 14-15 wins. Dice-K most people have written off. Though in my MLB preview for Boston, I do mention Dice-K seems to be figured out. I do believe that he can still win around 12 games along with 170 K. I have two closers in Marmol and Aardsma. Marmol is projected to have a huge season this year and people seem to over look drafting him due to his low 2009 numbers. I expect the same results from Aardsma which is all I ask for. Overall this staff is decent but not great. I think my hitting will carry this staff and my team majority of the season though people might be surprised how well they end up producing.

Fantasy Baseball

In Random Rants on March 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm

This year I will be again doing fantasy baseball with a group of friends from all over the state of Texas. Though it is one of the harder fantasy sports to keep up with, head to head match up will be a lot more convenient. The official draft is March 28, 2010 at 8:00 PM Central and I will post my draft results once the draft has been completed. I have been able to do two mock drafts and both times I have been the first pick.

1st Mock Draft Results:

1.) Albert Pujols (StL- 1B)

2.) Victor Martinez (Bos-C/1B)

3.) Ben Zobrist (TB-2B, SS, OF)

4.) Jason Bay (NYM-OF)

5.) Chris Carpenter ( StL-SP)

6.) Marco Scutaro (BOS-SS)

7.) Hunter Pence (Hou-OF)

8.) Jorge Cantu (Fla- 1B, 3B)

9.) Matt Cain (SF- SP)

10.) A.J. Burnett ( NYY- SP)

11.) Francisco Rodriguez ( NYM-RP)

12.) Brad Hawpe ( Col- OF)

13.) Juan Pierre (CWS-OF)

14.) Brian Fuentes ( LAA- RP)

15.) Frank Francisco ( Tex- RP)

16.) Nick Swisher ( NYY-1B/OF)

17.) Scott Kazmir ( LAA- SP)

18.) Placido Polanco ( Phi-2B)

19.) Ervin Santana ( LAA- SP)

20.) David DeJesus ( KC-OF)

21.) Mark Teahen ( CWS- 1B, 3B, OF)

22.) J.J. Hardy ( Min-SS)

23.) Lyle Overbay (Tor-1B)

2nd Mock Draft Results:

1.) Albert Pujols ( StL-1B)

2.) Victor Martinez (Bos- C, 1B)

3.) C.C. Sabathia ( NYY-SP)

4.) Jason Bay (NYM- OF)

5.) Adam Wainwright ( StL-SP)

6.) Jason Bartlett ( TB-SS)

7.) Skip Schumaker (StL-2B, OF)

8.) Jorge Cantu (Fla-1B,3B)

9.) Alfonso Soriano ( ChC-OF)

10.) Brad Hawpe (Col-OF)

11.) Francisco Rodriguez (NYM- RP)

12.) Roy Oswalt ( Hou-SP)

13.) Carlos Beltran ( NYM-OF)

14.) J.D. Drew ( Bos-OF)

15.) Carlos Zambrano- (ChC-SP)

16.) David Price (TB-SP)

17.) Scott Kazmir ( LAA- SP)

18.) Tyler Clippard ( Was- RP)

19.) Nick Swisher( NYY- 1B,OF)

20.) Juan Pierre ( CWS- OF)

21.) Scott Rolen (CIN-3B)

22.) John Maine- (NYM- SP)

23.) J.A Happ (Phi- SP, RP)

Lake House 2010

In Random Rants on March 26, 2010 at 10:12 am

“The Journey”

Potentially the greatest four days of my life ended up better than watching the Aggies lose at everything. Spring Break at Kerri’s lake house off Lake Leon began Saturday afternoon. A convoy of four vehicles exited Lubbock around 12:30 pm with Kerri leading the charge. Prior to the expedition, all of us were told by Kerri that she would not exceed 75 mphs. This was obviously a lie when Bawo was left miles behind the lead car and Pace called to confirm Ben’s speed limit (85mph). Another disadvantage of having a woman leading the pack was the lack of warning prior to exiting. Kerri chose to exit off the freeway doing 80 mph in front of an 18-wheeler while we all had to dodge the behemoth vehicle  just to squeak onto the feeder.

Day 1 – “The Arrival”

After driving 3 1/2 hours, we finally arrived at our destination and headed right to the coolers full of beer. After unloading everything, we were greeted by the parentals and a ladder that led up to the second floor. Repeat, a ladder not stairs on a spring break trip that involved numerous amount of alcoholic beverages. We all went out to the back to explore the lake and to wait on Will Knox & Derek Cox to arrive. After hitting a few golf balls into the lake, the rest of the crew arrived fully prepared for an exponential time. At least that is what one of them thought.

” Trail of Tears “

The first night Coach Watson cooked burgers and hot dogs which seemed to satisfy all the participants. The rest of the night was spent around the bonfire near the lake sharing stories, completely epic burns and the beginning of the Derek heckling. It just started off simple, typical collegiate banter. Everyone that came attends Texas Tech or graduated from TTU. Derek was the one lone wolf and should have worn Kerri’s wolf shirt or came up with a speech like Alan’s from the Hangover. Regardless, Derek was the one person that didn’t attend Tech and thus the insulting commenced. Soon it started to become worse when the negativity of smoking was brought upon and then driving of a Porsche. Coach Watson even got into the game by bluntly calling Derek gay, especially with the sly comments of  wearing a scarf and sipping wine. Derek further dug a deeper hole into hell when he than try to correct the pronunciation of Porsche to PorschA. I am not sure if this was him trying to defend himself with some class but being in Ranger, class doesn’t win you any style points. Of course we couldn’t bring Derek to tears too early. With the help of Will’s lackluster burn and Bawo falling out of the chair, the burning changed direction. Close to mid-night Will try to make a sly comment to Coach Watson by subtly hinting that Kerri, Coach Watson’s daughter, was a ho. The place went silent as we watch Will quiver in fear when C. Watson sternly responded ” Yeah, that was pretty damn funny!” Will turned white, they crowd gasp but as a true champ Will went back to his comfort zone and asked C. Watson, “I heard you coach football.” Burn complete, recover  epic, first night in already edged into our memories. We headed back into the house to get settled for the rest of the night. Some of the girls were already passed out up stairs leaving three unoccupied mattresses on the first floor. Ben and I quickly called our mattresses and then proceeding to giggle for twenty plus minutes about random things. We tormented Pace about his ability not to turn off lights and laughed at him even more as he failed miserably in catching the she devil dog named Lexi. As Pace, Ben and I were trying to fall asleep, we were interrupted by a loud snore. At first I thought it was Pace and Pace believed it was me. Than once we confirmed it was neither of us three, we assumed it was Will. Come to find out, it was the “gay-boy” Derek.

Day 2- ” Unlawful Beatings”

We all eventually woke up Sunday morning and were  greeted with a delicious breakfast provided by Mrs. Watson. Of course as we all were sitting there conversing, Kerri jumps into the shower and then the girls follow in line. Soon as it gets to the guys, there is inadequate amount of hot water and a shower full of female products. Once we all get dressed, we wander out to the back to further our binge drinking until C. Watson was prepared to take us out towards their deer lease. During the time down by the lake we watched Lexi and Quincy attempt to make a bastard puppy and continued our prolific rant on Derek. Then we had to make a trip to Wal-Mart because Ben’s IPhone died and he had to buy a cheap replacement. With minimal choices, Ben chose a phone that would be popular back in the 80’s. Despite being small and handy, the ringtone sounded like an SOS call with a mix of Rumba. We return back to camp and after a little while we all packed into two vehicles and headed out toward the lease. On the way there we stopped at a drive through liquor store, where we all order numerous amounts of beer, along with plethora amount of bags of ice. Roughly twenty minutes later we arrived at the lease and was given a quick over view. The place had around 10 beds and multiple vintage posters. Then we went out back to take a quick snap shot of our journey there and headed towards the pond. At the pond, we were given a rock skipping show by Will. Next we all went to gather fire wood throughout the woods and eventually filled up the truck. Once we got back, this is when the hell gates opened up for Derek. We were told that we were having ribs for dinner. I was especially stoked by this choice and everyone else was too. But we were wrong. Along comes dinner and we scrambled toward the counter to fill up our plates with a very popular American Cuisine. As we all were munching our way through, we all hear that Derek doesn’t like nor eat ribs. All shocked by this, we question Derek’s distaste for the food and then heckle him for the next 48 hours. Coach Watson mentions creating a salad bar and then request some wine to be bought for the non american rib eater. It is known by majority of us that the Texas State kid likes to dish out the fire but can’t handle being served. Derek tries some witty comebacks further in the night but like always just digs himself a bigger hole. We all go back toward the newly rebuilt camp fire and all became very alcohol induced. So much that Derek believed walking through a fire would be a brilliant move. Students that attend A.C.C. wouldn’t be this delusional. Derek was having such a bad run at this time, that he believed talking about trees with C. Watson was idealistic. I brought up in my preview of the trip that I might go “Burt” or not. I became “Burt” and was even recording by Will mentioning my dominance of Pearl Harbor. We were presented with unfortunate news that Michelle was struck down by the gods with an illness. As the fire simmered so did the drinking. Once again we stumbled back up to the house but this time the bottom mattresses were occupied by Michelle and Derek. I in my horrible state, was forced to climb the ladder with Will spotting me. We all got to our sleeping quarters and didn’t take too long to pass out.

Day 3 ” Loneliness”

Waking up again roughly around the same hour, we were once again fed a great breakfast but unfortunately the skies were not near as pleasant and we had to see the exit of Michelle. This time, the guys were able to hit the showers first, with Pace leading the charge. After the showers, we took what seemed two hours to decide what board/card game we wanted to play. One of the groups favorite boards game to play, Monopoly, was brought by Ben. We decided to play some “monops” and as usual the hating and arguing began amongst everyone. Unfair trades, cheating accusations and crying seemed to be the norm. Eventually in the end, Kerri was able to win out with Pace following in second. As the day went on, we furthered bashed Derek to a point where he would just walk outside to collect his tears. The next game that was chosen was a card game new to me, Phase 10. There are ten objectives in the game and the player is supposed to secure each phase to be able to move onto the next one. Situated perfectly at the table, to my right was Will. During the game, Will and I masterfully handed each other cards under the table that we needed to complete a phase. Numerous times we believed Derek noticed the cheating but I assumed he didn’t have great vision do to the water works in his eyes from the harassments. I was victorious with Will coming in a close third. Bawo then accused us of cheating and we responded by saying, cheaters do not end up in third. Then Bawo exclaimed that her and Kerri were cheating as well and both Will and I said, ” You cheat and still end up last, congratulations.” Majority of the time playing these games, Kristina some how passed out on the couch what seemed about four hours. Didn’t roll over or even make a sound. DEAD. Derek bashing pt. III soon evolved when once again C. Watson took his time out of his day to make us chicken wings. By this time, we knew Derek wasn’t fan of manly food,  so Mrs. Watson proceeded again to join in the burns and offered to make Mr. Cox a salad to go along with his baked potato and coleslaw. Laughter broke out once again and Derek proceeded to make an exit out the back door. After dinner, we drank some more and played trivial pursuit which turned into an epic failure. Bawo then lowered down on the basket, Outbust. Outbust is a game that consists of two groups where they are each given categories. Each group has to name things related toward that categories to gain points and to move up in the leader board. This game lasted  much of the night and the groups turned into battle of the sexes. Sadly to say for the females, they didn’t win very often and the men once again showed their dominance in the world. Some of the crew went to bed after the game but the real champs stayed up and played Presidents and Assholes. There were multiple times where Ben and Will were president but then immediately dropped to asshole. Everyone had their chance to be beer boy and to gain fame in their punishments. Soon bed was calling our names where Will and I slept upstairs again while Ben and Pace took the downstairs. While upstairs, there was plenty of chatter and video taping. Along with this ruckus, I threw a pen at Kerri and she kindly threw a shoe which plastered me in the face. She laughed and rolled all over the floor. Instead of normally retaliating to the shoe, I farted which turned into more laughter in the room.

Day 4- “Sad Goodbye”

The final day arrived and it is time to say goodbye. We all sat around the room going over our memories we just made and finished off the Derek heckling. After we packed and loaded everything up, we sat around for a good hour and half doing nothing. We could have left but it seemed that we didn’t want to due to the length of the drive some of us had to make or the shear fact that we loved the lake house. Eventually we all made a move toward our vehicles, gave each other hugs and called it epic. No matter what happened and went down, the overall enjoyment each of us had will be told for years to come.

2010 Lake House Crew

Kerri Watson

Michelle Mendez

Kristina Corella

Bawo Omamogho

Burt Thompson

Will Knox

Ben Veazey

Derek Cox

Jason Pace

Coach Watson

Mrs. Watson

Lexi

Quincy

You’re Effin’ Out!

In You're Effin' Out! on March 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm

You’re Effin’ Out! vs Legit

Preview

Lubbock, Tx – – After two weeks off due to the All-Star game, You’re Effin’ Out will finish its last game of the season at home versus Legit. Already win less through the last two seasons, a possible victory tonight would place them third in their respected division. Last game performances vs Low Priced Talent was memorable but not historic. YEF was able to continue their offensive production but still lacks in consistent defensive play. Late errors in-game 2 cost YEF a victory and a decent seeding in the playoffs. Legit who is also win less came close to winning, only to lose by three runs to team America. If you look back at the beginning of the schedule, YEF lost to America by ten runs and but Legit lost to Low Price Talent by 21. As sports fans know, you cannot look at previous losses to judge a future game, I.E. Kansas vs A&M, Tech vs Kansas and A&M vs Tech.

Jessica Hinz will again take the mound while other positions are still being discussed. Hinz last outing started off rocky giving up one home run in the first inning along with two doubles. Eventually  she settled down to strike out four batters due to a combined devastating curve ball and slider. The two main offensive machines in game 2, Lee & Cole, need to once again carry the load on both offense and defense. All the female batters combined for zero hits in a total of 8 at bats along with terrible strike-outs. Luckily for this ball club, Legit is a team of absence. A roster of eleven players, only five players have shown up for both games while one player has been absent for all two.

If a victory is to take place for the home squad, improved consistent play must be seen and Hinz will need to enforce ground balls rather than deep fly balls. Also, a .158 batting average isn’t going to be suffice to win any ball game. A game thats ball isnt traveling more than 7 mph, solid contact with the ball should be a given. Smart base running and timely hitting will benefit any club. Vegas has the over under at 14 and the line is -3 YEF.

3/25/2010 Game Information

Game Time – 11:o0 P.M.

Location- Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech University Softball Rec. Fields

Predicted Game Time Temperature: 48 F

Where Are They Now?

In Houston Astros 2010 Season on March 24, 2010 at 7:29 pm

There have been a lot of talented players that have gone through Houston, loved or hated. With so many players being traded around or dropped to free agency, we tend to forget a few key players that have helped shape what the Astros are now.

Wade Miller ( Pitcher)

Houston was lucky to have Miller through his few dominant years in the bigs. During the six with the Astros, Miller posted a 58 – 39 record. 2001 and 2002 were Millers most productive years as a starter as he was able to win 15 + games while keeping his losses under 10. Wade was also able to strike out a total of 488 batters from 01-03′. Then in 2004, Miller spent most of the year on the DL which then he became a free agent. The Boston Red Sox signed Wade in 2005 but only spent one year there. Free agent again, Miller then went on to play two seasons with the Chicago Cubs but never established himself as a starter. Released after 2007, Miller went two years without a ball club until the Blue Jays signed him in 2009 where he has been playing in the minors.

Brandon Backe ( Pitcher)

Born and raised in Houston, Backe signed with the Astros in 2003. Originally an outfielder, Backe transitioned into a pitcher in 2001. 2004 Backe saw his first appearance in an Astros uniform. Mainly pitching out of the bullpen, Brandon got his chance as a starter vs the Cubs where he then claimed a spot in the rotation. Backe soon gained national attention during the last game of the season where the Astros needed to win to get in the postseason. Roger Clemens was slated to start but came down with a virus, Backe was then chosen to pitch the final game. The Astros won and made the post season where Brandon’s fame escalated even more. Against the St. Louis Cardinals, an eight inning one hit performance helped the Astros stay alive in October where they eventually were eliminated by the Red Birds. The following year as a full-time starter saw average numbers but once again Backe performed well in the playoffs. Then for the next two seasons, the injury bugged followed. Making a few appearances here and there, Brandon was never able to maintain healthy. This began his downfall in the majors even though he became  fully healthy in 08′ but performed poorly. Then in 09 in which Felipe Paulino returned from the DL, Backe was replaced and eventually released by the Astros. Now Brandon is a free agent hoping to get signed to pitch in the minors.

Billy Wagner ( Pitcher)

Houston has never had a closer as efficient and dominating since Billy Wagner. Drafted by Houston in 1993, Wagner was able to rise up to majors rather quickly. During his nine-year stint with the Astros, Wagner accumulated over 225 saves while only blowing 38. Wagner’s fastball has been clocked over 100 mph with a slider that reached between 85-90 mph. After contract issues with the Astros at the end of 2003, Billy played two season in Philadelphia before becoming the star closer for the Mets from 2006-2008. 09′ became his last year with the Mets and missed majority of the season due to Tommy John Surgery. While with the Mets, Billy saved 101 games and struck out 230 batters in 189 innings. Due to the injury, Wagner  became part of the Chris Carter and Eddie Lora  trade that landed him with the Boston Red Sox. Despite the limited amount of playing time, Wagner was able to put up decent numbers. Going into this season, Wagner is again with a new ball club, Atlanta Braves. The Braves signed a one year contract though there is an option for 2011.

Richard Hidalgo ( Outfielder)

A player that seem to have all the talent to become a successful big leaguer, Hidalgo’s career in Houston was rather rocky. Just like Wagner, Hidalgo began his baseball career with the Astros and became injury riddled. Richard played seven full seasons in Houston and split 2004 between the Astros and Mets. During those years, Hidalgo was able to hit over. 300, have over 80 RBI, score over 70 runs in three seasons. His best season was in 2000 with a batting avg. of .314, 122 RBI and 44 home runs. After leaving the Astros, he played for multiple organizations from the Orioles even to playing in Japan. 2007 the Astros signed Hidalgo again but due to disputes in minor league ball, he was released. Richard played his last major league ball in 2005 with the Texas Rangers and is now playing for a Venezuela Independent League.

Shane Reynolds ( Pitcher)

One of Houston’s great pitchers in the 1990’s, Reynolds help lead the Astros to multiple NL Central titles. Shane had five season where he won more than ten games and eventually ended up with 103 career victories while wearing the Star. From 1995 to 1999, Reynolds was also able to strike out over 150 batters in each season and started over 30 games. One of Shanes most prominent  moments is when he struck out 20 batters while giving up only one hit vs the Even though Shane had good overall numbers, he did give up a lot of home runs and tended to have a high ERA. After a disappointing 2002 season, Shane spent a year with the Braves and ended his career in 2004 with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Gonzalez ( Outfielder)

Fan favorite of the early nineties, Gonzales has solidified himself as one of the great outfielders in baseball. Five time selected for the All-Star game, Gonzalez has won a Silver Slugger Award, Home Run Derby challenge and a World Series ring with the Diamondbacks. Drafted in 1988, Luis became part of the big three in Houston and help lead the Astros from the basement to contenders. Luis was an immediate impact player during his first five seasons. He never had phenomenal numbers but was a consistent contributor. Gonzalez left Houston mid way through 95′ and played the rest of the season with the Chicago Cubs and all of 1996. Then in 1997, Gonzalez came back to Houston to only play one year where he then left for Detroit. After Detroit and 9 years into the majors, Luis went to Arizona where his career sky rocketed. His first five seasons with the Diamondbacks, Luis was able to knock in over 100 runs and hit over 20 home runs. Than in 2001 vs the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series. Luis faced all time great closer Mariano Rivera and hit the game winning single that crowned the Diamondbacks the 2001 World Series Champions. After his last season in Arizona in 2006, Luis played a season with the Dodgers and then retired in 2008 after playing with the Marlins. Now Luis runs his own networking company and has been a colored commentator for ESPN.

Jeff Bagwell ( 1st Base)


Bagwell is probably the second most famous Houston Astros in the history of the organization. One of the most idolized players in all of baseball, Bagwell has been through it all. Jeff was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and was one of their top prospects in their organization. With the Red Sox trying to make a playoff run, they traded Jeff to Houston for relief pitcher Mike Anderson. Bagwell is known best for his unorthodox stance as he squats really low to the ground making it difficult for pitchers to control the strike zone. Jeff played his whole career with the Astros and compiled 449 home runs, 1,529 RBIs and finished with a .297 batting avg. Bags achieved the 1991 Rookie of the year award and was able to win other numerous awards multiple times. He has been selected to four All-Star games and made it to the World Series in 2005. Him, Craig Biggio and Derek Bell were the original “Killer B’s” due to all their last names beginning in the letter B. Jeff’s career was cut a couple years short due to health issues and was forced to retired in 2006. Bagwell’s # 5 jersey has been retired by the Astros and he will become eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2011. Now Jeff works for the Astros organization and co-owns a restaurant with Craig Biggio in Minute Maid Park called FiveSeven Grille.

Craig Biggio ( 2nd base)


Biggio defines how the game of baseball should be played. One of the most respected players of all time, Biggio has been one of the main heart beats of Houston. Like Bagwell, Biggio played he entire career with the Astros. What most people tend to forget is that Craig started off as a catcher before being convinced to play 2nd base. He has also played outfield due to the 2004 signing of Jeff Kent. He was the first Astros to ever reach 3,000 hits and celebrated the accomplishment with longtime teammate and friend Jeff Bagwell. Craig has been to seven All-Star games, has won the Golden Glove award four times and is a five time Silver Slugger Award Winner. When Craig retired in 2007, he finished his career with 3,060 career hits, 668 doubles, 291 home runs, 1175 RBI, 414 stolen bases, a .281 batting average and plunked over 260 times. # 7 Jersey was soon retired in 2008 right after Bagwell. Despite retiring Biggio has maintain a baseball focused life and now is coaching his son’s high school baseball team at St. Thomas High School. He is also extremely involved with community work and is one of the lead spokesperson for the Sunshines Kids Foundation.

Around The League

In Around The League on March 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Texas Rangers

Last week a report was announced that Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted to the use of cocaine in 2009. Being able to speak to a few Ranger fans, a lot of them were shocked by this and wanted Ron out of Texas.  Going into his fourth year, Ron has compiled a 241-251 record and has finished second twice in the AL West. Most ball clubs and fans would be elated to end up in second but the Rangers have struggled for over 11 years and haven’t made it to the post season since 1999. Ron has apologized since then and said that he only did cocaine once and feels embarrased by his actions. It will be interesting if the upper management fines or suspends Washington before opening day. I don’t think any firing will take place considering that he has improved the ball club from fourth or third in a matter of threes years and with a great farm system to work with, his reputation as a young and upcoming manager will grow.

Washington Nationals

It is hard to label a player the face of the organization when they haven’t even pitched in the majors. Most anticipated prospects do not make a face for themselves until their third or fourth year. This is obviously not the case for the National’s number one draft pick, Stephen Strasburg. Coming out of San Diego State University, Strasburgh started two season with the Aztecs. In 2008, he finished 8-3 with a 1.57 ERA. In a little over 97 innings pitched, Strasburg struck out 133 batters which equates roughly to 1.37 per inning or 12.3 K/9 innings. 2009 posted even better numbers as Strasburg lowered his era to 1.32 and finished with a 13-1 record. Strikeouts increased to 195 over 109 innings which also increased his K/9 to 16.01.

The Nationals wisely used their first pick in the first round of the 2009 draft and signed what many consider the best pitching prospect ever to a $15.1 million contract. For the next few months to follow, there have been debates whether the right-handed hurler should start his first season in the big leagues or play in the minors. Strasburg’s fast ball is usually clocked around 98mph though he has clipped the 100 mark before. When he has the batters dazed by the heat, Strasburg will usually follow with a mix between a slider and curveball that can hit 86 mph. Now in spring training Strasburg has made three appearances and in a total of 9 innings of work. He’s been able to strikeout 12 batters while giving up only two runs.

Washington has decided to send Stephen down to Double-A ball in Harrisburgh to work on his delivery time. Nat’s fans seem to be upset by this and I understand their frustration. I also understand what the Nationals did was a great move. Other than starting pitcher Jason Marquis, Washington has no one to support Stephen. He will basically feel like he will have to carry the load of the entire organization to win every ball game. He is too young despite his talent level to have this much pressure brought upon him. A year or two with a couple of call ups will be a great way to further develop the prospect and also get other prospect more seasoned as a stronger supporting cast.

Minnesota Twins

Joe Mauer is officially a Twin for another eight more years. A new $ 184 million dollar contract was inked today with much relief for the entire organization and fans. It is hard to imagine a catcher getting a deal for this much money but Mauer has proven that he is worth every penny. What does this mean for the Twins in the long run? If you look at their line up and the years some of the impact players have left on their contracts. I expect Minnesota to be carrying The Commissioners Trophy in the next couple of years.

On the down note that might prevent the Twins from making the postseason this year was the injury of all-star closer Joe Nathan. A torn ulnar collateral ligament has sent Nathan to the DL and then undergo season ending Tommy John Surgery. This will now enable Jon Rauch to be the closer. While with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Rauch had 18 saves in 24 opportunities. He won’t put up Nathan type of numbers but the Twins are becoming good enough that he won’t have to close over 50 plus games.

Top Ten Favorite MLB Stadiums

In Random Rants on March 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I believe baseball parks are the greatest places to watch a sporting event. I might  catch a lot of heat from this but to me nothing beats sitting in a ballpark during summer afternoons. The moment you walk out from the tunnel to your seat to see the field, players, fans and all the amenities of the park, it just becomes breathtaking. I remember as a kid living in Houston, my first baseball game was at the Astrodome. I have never been in such awe when I walked from the concession stands to my seats. I felt at home. From the first pitch to the last, all the sights and sounds where incredible. No matter how many times I go to a game, regardless of where it is or who is playing, the one thing that just consumes me is aesthetic of the ball park. Every park has some type of signature that it is known for. Examples would be: Wrigley field since 1937 has been known for the ivy on the brick wall, Fenway obviously has the Green Monster, Miller Park for the home-run slide, AT&T Park has McCovey Cove and Minute Maid Park for Tal’s Hill.  This leads me to listing my top ten favorite modern ball parks.

1.) Busch Stadium ( St. Louis Cardinals) Despite my distaste for the Cardinals, Busch Stadium has the best backdrop in baseball. With the St. Louis skyline and the Arch, it is really something to see. I love the color red and when that stadium is full, it becomes mesmerizing. When you walk into the park, you just feel engulfed in the game. You just become baseball. Though the stadium doesn’t have some of goofy signature parts, the color of the stadium inside and out is just so stunning that you cannot enjoy yourself there.

Busch Stadium- St. Louis Cardinals

Capacity- 46, 861

Construction Cost – $365 Million

Opened – April 10, 2006

2.) PNC Park ( Pittsburgh Pirates) The city of Pittsburgh seems to have it all correct when it comes to the ultimate sports venues. Pittsburgh Steelers play in one of the most premier football stadiums in America, Heinz Field,  while the Penguins are about to have one of the top-notch hockey arenas, Consol Energy Center. Even though the Pirates have been struggling for past few years, their stadium rivals any other stadium to date. Just like Busch Stadium, PNC Park has a great back drop that includes a massive downtown skyline along with the Roberto Clemente Bridge that stretches over the Alleghney River. The stadium isn’t the prettiest from the outside but baseball games at night defines perfect.

PNC Park- Pittsburgh Pirates

Capacity- 38,496

Construction Cost- $216

Opened- March 31, 2001

3.) Citi Field ( New York Mets) One of two new parks introduced in 2009, Citi Field I believe one of the most underrated ballparks to come watch a game in. The stadium has one of the most unique entrances you will see. The front entrance of Citi Field features a rotunda named after Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson and honors his life and accomplishments. Engraved into the rotunda’s 160-foot diameter floor and etched into the archways are words and larger-than-life images that defined Robinson’s nine values: Courage, Excellence, Persistence, Justice, Teamwork, Commitment, Citizenship, Determination and Integrity. Another feature that transitioned over from Shea Stadium was the home-run apple. Located dead center, every time a Mets player homers the apple rises up.

Citi Field- New York Mets

Capacity – 41,800

Construction Cost- $900 Million

Opened- April 13, 2009


4.) Chase Field ( Arizona Diamondbacks) – Finished in 1998, Chase Field is one of five stadiums that has a retractable roof.  It is one of two stadiums that has a dirt strip that stretches from the pitchers mound to home. Though the stadium has a very typical style to it, the enormous advertising signs in the outfield makes the stadium feel very gigantic. What I really like about this stadium is how close the fans are to the field. The deep far right and left foul lines are not more than 10 feet from the stands. As fans we all enjoy being as close to the field as possible, especially baseball where we can try to snatch foul balls. The stadium has a swimming pool in right center field. If you have $6,500 to spend for a ball game, than you can rent out the pool for a whole game.

Chase Field- Arizona Diamondbacks

Capacity- 49,033

Construction Cost- $354 Million

Opened- March 31, 1998


5.) AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants) This park isn’t very big and for that very reason is why I love this park. The ability to watch players hit home-runs out of the park and into McCovey Cove is just mind-boggling. Being able to go watch a game in this ball park seems to have a very fresh feeling. Being located right next to San Francisco Bay, fans have the ability to enjoy the sun and the beauty of the bay. There is a massive coca cola bottle in left field that has a slide in it. Every time a home-run is hit, it lights up and blows bubbles. Right next to the bottle is an old fashion 1927 baseball glove.

AT&T Park- San Francisco Giants

Capacity- 41,053

Construction Cost- $357 Million

Opened- March 31, 2000


6.) Rangers Ballpark in Arlington ( Texas Rangers)- This might be one of the prettiest parks in America. When fans show up and deck out the Rangers Red, White and Blue colors, it just screams America. The design of this park has been taken from other stadiums such as Fenway Park, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Comiskey Park. This stadium has a very old school feel to it, especially with the massive office buildings out behind centerfield. Rangers Ballpark has one of the best exterior structural designs. The Texas Sunset Granite on the outside makes it very attractive, especially when walking up to the stadium. The grass field with the big Rangers T logo is a nice asset and just adds that extra quality to the overall aesthetics.

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington- Texas Rangers

Capacity- 49,200

Construction Cost- $191 Million

Opened- April 1, 1994


7.) Yankee Stadium ( New York Yankees) What I really admire about the stadium is not that it is a year old but how they manage to keep the old Yankee style to it. Being able to transfer a lot of the same structural designs over from the old park to the new has really kept the tradition of playing in Yankee Stadium alive. Along with the old tradition, they did incorporate modern looks too. The massive scoreboard in centerfield is definitely a nice touch. Of course any stadium is going to look grand when you spend $1.5 billion on it. All the distances from home to walls are the same from the old field. Oddly my favorite feature is the entrance to gate 4 where in large letters, it reads Yankees Stadium. Something about the way it looks just proclaims greatness.

Yankees Stadium- New York Yankees

Yankee Stadium- New York Yankees

Capacity- 52,325

Construction Cost- $ 1.5 Billion

Opened – April 16, 2009


8.) Minute Maid Park ( Houston Astros) There is so much that could be said about my love for my team’s home field. There is a lot that I could say that I dislike too. I really like the fact that they decided to make the stadium roof retractable to help with the Texas heat during those long summer days. Most people do not like to sit way out in the outfield but the Crawford Boxes have to be one of my favorite sections in the park. The Crawford Boxes are so popular that they are actually the most expensive outfield seats in the major leagues. Tal’s Hill is a very unique feature and a lot of great catches have been made on this Hill. The one main thing that I dislike is the pole on top of the Hill. The idea was taken from numerous older baseball stadiums but I just don’t like the idea of an object that can hinders a player’s ability to make a play. Even if you are not an Astros fan, it is a very family oriented built park and a great place to take your kids.

Minute Maid Park- Houston Astros

Minute Maid Park- Houston Astros

Capacity- 40,950

Construction Cost- $250 Million

Opened- April 7, 2000

9.) Citizens Bank Park ( Philadelphia Phillies) This park to me carries a true home field advantage. I know all parks are designed to feel comfortable to home team and fans but Citizens Bank Park exploits the City of Philadelphia. The park has a replica of the Liberty Bell in center field that lights up when balls exit the park. There are numerous food stations where you can experience the famous Philadelphia cheese steak sandwich along with pizza, bbq, and pubs. The stadium has rooftop seating which give fans a great view of the field and the city. There are ton of historic venues to view while touring the stadium. For opposing fans, the one thing to be cautious is how rowdy Phillie fans can become. Notoriously known for being the rudest fans in the big leagues, it is almost best to not wear your teams gear.

Citizens Bank Park- Philadelphia Phillies

Capacity- 43,647

Construction Cost- $458 Million

Opened- April 3, 2004

10.) Fenway Park ( Boston Red Sox) Known for the Green Monster, Fenway Park is one of the most historic parks in all of baseball. Built in 1912, this ball park has seen it all. This park has been host to hockey games, football games, and even soccer games. There are ton of famous elements from Pesky Poll, The Lone Red Seat, The Triangle and Duffy Cliff. Red Sox fans are also the most committed in all of baseball. From good times to bad, they always seem to be behind their team. It is a place that you have to just go to even if you don’t like baseball. I really admire this stadium due to the great of an atmosphere it conveys throughout the year. Never a dull moment and the crowd is always energetic.

Fenway Park- Boston Red Sox

Capacity- 37,402

Construction Cost- $ 14.8 Million

Opened- April 20, 1912

Astros 2010 Schedule Breakdown

In Houston Astros 2010 Season on March 19, 2010 at 7:20 pm

May

May 1-2 @ Atlanta Braves

The beginning of May will start with a road series to Atlanta. I have the Braves poised to finish second in the National League East. Their pitching is decent but not superb. Both Braves and Astros should match up well and I will actually give the Astros edge on hitting. They split the series between them last year but the Braves were able to outscore Houston by one run, 25-24. In fact Houston was able to win two at Turner Field and Atlanta won two at Minute Maid Park. Projected starting pitchers if the rotation goes unscathed will be Wandy, Myers and Norris. I do expect quite a few runs scored off both pitching staffs but the games will be close.

Braves wins series 2 of 3

Houston 12-13

May 3-7 vs Arizona Diamondbacks

This will be the first four game series of seven that the Astros will have this season. Luckily it will be at home against a team that isn’t very polished. They have a few studs that should make an impact but it is too early in the season right now to be able to win this series. The Astros will be able to have their top pitching too during the meat of this series. B.J. Upton’s brother ,Justin Upton, starts in right field for Arizona and could be one of the big factors throughout this series. He is fast, has power and is carries a good glove.  Hopefully by now Berkman will be in stride because he will need to be able to produce off Brandon Webb. Lance has a career .130 batting average off Webb with more strikeouts than hits.

Astros wins series 3 of 4

Houston 15-14

May 7-9 vs San Diego Padres

Astros own the Padres last season taking the series 6-1. This year shouldn’t changed much as the Astros should dominant a very weak ball club. I had Arizona finishing fifth and the Padres finishing fourth in the NL East. With this cupcake of a schedule, Houston will be able to establish consistent hitting and if there are any pitchers that a struggling, this will be an optimum time to regain control. Also this stretch could bring good opportunity for the bullpen to become comfortable in late innings and Matt Lindstrom to rack up saves. Hopefully will we be able to see the Padres wear their camo uniforms during their stint in Houston.

Astros sweep series 3-0

Houston 18-14

May 11-13 @ St. Louis Cardinals

The next three series will be all away and once again the Stros’ will be making a trip to Busch Stadium. If Houston wants to stay in the hunt, this will be a very important series because by now, I expect the Cardinals to have a three or four game lead. I once again see the red birds winning this and possibly knocking Houston to third or fourth place. This is also about the time of year that somehow the Astros bats get cold. From May 16-31 of 09, the Astros won an astonishing 4 games out of 14. That was against ball clubs that are not spectacular. Now about to face three teams that could be post season bound, Houston has a very good chance of sinking to dead last.

Cardinals win series 2 out of 3

Houston: 19-16

May 14-16 @ San Francisco Giants

One of my favorite ball parks in America, AT&T Park will host the Astros mid may. In the three games Houston played at AT&T in 09, two of the games the Astros were shut out 9-0 & 13-0. The dominance makes sense consider the Giants had the third best home record last season, 52-49.  Sadly the Astros had one of the worst road records, 30-51. I know the Stros’ bullpen will get tested here and I am okay with that. It will be a good measuring stick to see how prepared they really got during the Diamondbacks & Padres stretch. Wandy Rodriguez is schedule to pitch the third game and Astros fans know how winning on the road has been his downfall. With a 14-12 record last season, Wandy a 5-7 road record. He never pitched at San Francisco but I have a feeling will never want to again.

Giants win series 2 out of 3

Houston: 20-18

May 17-18 @ Los Angeles Dodgers

The Astros will stay in California and head south to Los Angeles to face the might Dodgers. Winners of the NL West the past two season, I expect them to take 2010. Luckily Houston will only be spending two days out west because L.A. will sweep the two games. Dodgers are too good one very side of the ball. Even their backup players could probably beat the Astros 7 out of 10 games. With Myers and Norris pitching, their ERAs will be shot along with their WHIP. One think I think fans should look at is hoping the Astros don’t just give up. Astros are not good enough to bounce back from any type of cold steaks. They could lose 6 in a row but then attempt to win 3  straights just go to go back to losing 4 more in a row.

Dodgers sweep series 2-0

Houston 20-20

May 19-21 vs Colorado Rockies

For a long time I consider the Rockies and Astros mirroring organizations. Both have solid organizations that tend to be kept under the spot light. Both are usually contenders in their respected division and both have been known for late season comebacks. Also the Rockies and Astros have been to the World Series once just to be swept in all four games. As of 2010, the Rockies are a better ball club with a top ten farm system. They are going to be very dangerous for the next four years and expect them to reach the World Series again. The Astros are not extremely overmatched here and being back at home after three away series will keep them just below the five hundred mark

Rockies win series 2 out of 3

Houston 21-22

May 23-24 vs Tampa Bay Rays

This will the sixth straight series facing a team that is could end up first or second in their division. Tampa Bay who two years ago shocked the nation making the playoffs once again will be making a run into late october. The Astros need to win this series to before falling deeper under .500 and going on the road again. The trip from NY to Texas will be tough on the Rays, especially since they will know that after Houston, they have to prepare for Boston. Myers will have the edge on Niemann while Norris won’t be able to handle Price.

Series split 1-1

Houston 22-23

May 25-27 @ Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are a better team that most people will give them credit for. I have them finishing third in the Central due to a year or two of polishing up some talent. The Brew Crew have power and could send a few dingers out against this Astros staff. Milwaukee won four out of the five series last year and even swept Houston in the last. I don’t expect the games to be close this being said, the Brewers will win majority of the games this year. Houston does have a bullpen to maintain a lead but only in the late innings. If none of the starters are able to go 6 innings, than Chris Sampson could be seeing a lot of playing time.

Brewers win series 2 out of 3

Houston 23-25

May 28-30/31 @ Cincinnati Reds/ Washington Nationals

Like the end of April, Houston will have one more extra game against an opposing opponent before transitioning into the next month. These two teams will be much needed after going through a tough month. Great American Ballpark is a hitters friendly park and this definitely leans in the favor for Houston. Lee, Berkman and Pence have always played well here and with a big outfield, a lot of doubles could occur. Houston gets four straight home games against the Nationals and with the uncertainty of Stephen Strasburg playing in the majors, the Astros could very easily sweep all the games.


Houston wins series 2 out of 3/ take first game 1-1

Houston: 26-26

Astros 2010 Schedule Breakdown

In Houston Astros 2010 Season on March 18, 2010 at 10:37 pm

April

Baseball is one of the most streakiest  sports where teams can either benefit greatly or become stagnant. A team might win 6 games in a row and might not gain a game on a team. Then they could lose 4  in a row and go from first to third. One trend that separates good teams from mediocre is when these streaks occur. From 2004-2007, Houston was a team of streaks, especially with 25 games left in the season. Since then, they never had the ability to make substantial runs late in the season. In fact they have instead turned their late runs into losing streaks. The last 20 games last year, Houston produced a 4-16 record which help rocket them down into 5th place. Beginning of this season is not what you may consider tranquil. The first five series Houston will start at home versus the Giants and Phillies, then go on the road to face St. Louis and the Cubs. After that brutal stretch they will again face another team that finished above. 500, Florida Marlins. All these opponents ended up with a winning season and two of them made the post season in 09′.

April 5-7 vs  San Francisco Giants

Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers will be the first out of the gate vs the Giants Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Barry Zito. The match up of Roy and Tim will be really great to watch. Both carry the same type of arsenal of pitches while each possess a different punch-out pitch. This game will come down to the bullpen and the Giants are slightly better. They should take game one but I don’t see either team scoring more than 4 runs. Cain and Rodriguez both are trying to continue to build their reputations as a solid number 2. Both had good 2009 season though Cain put up better numbers. I don’t think Wandy can match Cain pitch for pitch and expect the Gaints to score at least 6 runs in-game 2. Myers will be making his first start in an Astros uniform versus the struggling Zito. So far during spring training, Zito hasn’t improved much while Myers has had good outings. If Myers can pitch a solid 6 innings while Houston’s offense can produce 4  or more runs, I expect the Astros to take the third game.

Giants win series 2 of 3

Houston: 1-2

April 9-11 vs Philadelphia Phillies

After facing the Giants, the Astros have to another home series this time against the NL Champs, Philadelphia Phillies. Bud Norris and Brian Moehler will start this series off against Happ and Moyer. The 3rd game will see both Roys facing each other. This could be another great pitchers duel but Phillies offense is just too good and will eventually be able to hit off Oswalt.  If there is any chance that Astros take a game in this series, it will have to be against 24 year veteran Moyer. Even if the Astros are able to rock Moyer, Philadelphia’s pen is strong enough to shut down any comebacks.

Phillies sweep series 3-0

Houston: 1-5

April 12-15 @ St. Louis Cardinals

Then come two straight road series against the NLC Champs Cardinals and finish with the Cubs. St. Louis has always been a tough environment for anyone especially for Houston. After a dismal 1-7 record in St. Louis last season, this year probably wont be any better. What is odd about this series is the one day gap between the firsts and second game. With this gap, Myers will have an extra day of rest and to study. Though he will be facing Kyle Lohse, I believe Brett will be notching his second win this season.

Cardinals win series 2 of 3

Houston: 2-7

April 16-18 @ Chicago Cubs

A trip to the windy city to face the Cubs will be next. Chicago who finished second in the NLC had what many would say a very disappointing season. Many predicted them to finish first last year but now healthy, the Cubs should win the Central in 2010. Just like when playing the Cardinals, Houston struggled at Chicago. Houston went to play at Chicago from July 27th to 30th in 2009 and were outscored 35-12. Despite being outscored majority of the time during last year, the Astros do tend to play Chicago tough. I am going to go out and say Houston will take the series.

Astros win series 2 of 3

Houston: 4-8

April 20-23 vs Florida Marlins

The Marlins will come strolling into town after playing the Phillies. Florida will have played in twelve straight games before taking a day off before playing Houston. Hopefully the long stretch will have hampered Florida and Houston can capitalize. The Marlins have a good team but playing away again, Houston will be able to out pitch and hit the Marlins. I do not expect a sweep for the Stros‘ but being able to win the last 4 out of six is always gratifying.

Astros win series 2 out of 3

Houston: 6-9

April 23-25 vs Pittsburgh Pirates

If Houston isn’t able to sweep this series against the horrendous Pirates, than Houston might as well pack their bags declare 2010 over. 1-3 in the rotation will be starting and should be able to dominant a poor hitting Pirates club. The Astros offense should be able to hit off a poor Pirates pitching. I expect the Stros to out score Pitts. by at least 10 runs. There shouldn’t be any excuse for Roy, Wandy or Myers to not last more than 7 innings. Even Houston’s bullpen shouldn’t give up runs.  If you have nothing to do and want to watch this series, both center fielders will be very entertaining offensively and defensively.

Astros sweep series 3-0

Houston 9-9

April 27-29/30 vs Cincinnati Reds/ @ Atlanta Braves

The end of April has Houston ending their stretch of home series against the Reds and then the beginning of the Braves series away. The Reds always come across as a feisty ball club that never gives up no matter how far back they are. They seem to play the spoiler role a lot and could be Houston’s top nemesis this season. With the back of the rotation starting for the Stros and Red’s 1-2 pitchers starting in the 2nd and third game, Cincinnati will have a good chance walking away with this. If Houston can stay hot and the bullpen doesn’t stumble, being able to win 2 of 3 will be rewarding. One player the Reds do not want to face is Roy Oswalt. He has been able to accumulate over 23 + wins while only losing 2 games during his career against Cincy. The last game of April, Houston will travel to Atlanta and will most likely descend under .500

Astros win series 2 out of 3/ Braves take first game

Houston: 11-11