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Tank Still Full

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2010 at 12:01 am

Houston has quietly been playing some really good baseball the past two weeks going 10-3. They are still 15 games out of first place but are only 12 games under the .500 mark. The Astros are currently riding a four game winning streak and looking to sweep the Phillies tomorrow afternoon as Wandy Rodriguez will be taking the mound. What may be shocking as Houston has seem to find a way to win is that they are not giving up many runs. They are not scoring many either but the starting rotation looks like they may have found their niche. This being said, all this could unravel come tomorrow but Houston fans will take it. Starting pitching Brett Myers has really impressed me with his consistency. He has the ability to last 7 innings and only gives up 2 or 3 runs per outing. Usually this is strong enough for the offense to supply enough run support to help notch the W. Though usually the bullpen would find a way to falter but not as of lately. J.A. Happ has had  5 quality starts out of six appearances. I would like to see Happ go into deeper innings but as of now I pleased with his overall performance. With his current victory over ex teammate Roy Halladay, Happ has shown that he can compete with the elite. I am honestly excited to see the starting rotation for next season because I think if the top three are Happ, Myers and Rodriguez, Houston would have a very solid 1-3. The back end still hasnt been decided yet but Figueroa is making a very strong statement to make the rotation. Than there is AAA player Jordan Lyles who might be called up next season and as of now, he has a great shot to make the ball club.

Hitting hasn’t changed too much as Chris Johnson, Angel Sanchez and Jeff Keppinger are still producing. Hunter Pence has seemed to turn it on a bit as he is batting .337 in the month of August. His 17 RBIs are only second to Carlos Lee’s 19 this month. The team seems to hitting well together but their scoring rampage has slowed down a bit. They have the ability to score a lot of runs but expect an average of 3-5 a game. I would like to see Houston find some more power but hopefully Brett Wallace will soon find his stride as the season comes to a close. I really like the players now but still wouldn’t mind seeing Carlos Lee shipped off for some younger talent.

Houston has played better ball than I predicted but there is still awhile to go. If they can manage to get within 5 games of .500, I think their record would look better than they have shown all season. I find this team really fun to watch when I can because they tend to have this spark about them. The younger players seem to respond really well to tough situations and I believe if they can continue to get better that head coach Brad Mills has the ability to lead this team back to NL champions.

Out with the old in with the new

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Houston’s long time ace Roy Oswalt has finally been traded as he will be packing his bags heading to Philadelphia. Houston in turn got a great deal as they were handed pitcher J.A. Happ, OF Anthony Gose and SS Jonathan Villar. The Astros then immediately traded Gose to the Blue Jays to receive top hitting prospect Brett Wallace. Despite one of my favorite players leaving, the trade was much-needed as this was definitely a huge boost as the Astros are now in the rebuilding phase of their organization. J.A. Happ has been in the majors for four years but has been hurt majority of this season. Last year he finished with a 12-4 record and an ERA of 2.93. He is still young and should become of the new faces of this team. There are obviously much more that is needed in the rotation but this is a great start. Houston doesn’t have a deep pool in the farm system as far as pitchers so there will be much more trading in the future. Jonathan Villar is a fast short stop and is pretty decent at hitting. He would be a top of the line up guy for his ability to get on base. The only knock on this kid is he makes a lot of fielding errors. In fact this season he has made already 42 which is way unacceptable to claim any starting job in the majors. The biggest thing Houston may of gotten out of this was the trade to the Blue Jays. Brett Wallace may have been the best hitting prospect in the Jays organization. Wallace has the ability to hit for power which is much needed and he also has the ability to knock in a lot of runs. Throughout his whole career in the minors, he has had a batting average over .280. Right now Lance Berkman is Houston’s first baseman. There have been rumors though that he may be traded for more pitching. In this case, Wallace will be Berkman’s next replacement and will be one of the main pieces of this team. Overall I am really pleased with this trade and even though we lost a hero we gained so much more. I am excited to see what happens down the road and if bigger trades will become more prevalent.

England vs United States

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2010 at 12:03 am

The day has finally arrived. June 12, 2010, the United States and England will face off against each other for the tenth time in history. Unfortunately for the Americans, England holds a 2-7 lead but this game tomorrow could be the biggest in history. The United States enters this game as the clear underdogs but not hopeless. After a stunning performance in the Confederation Cup, the U.S. has shown the world that it can play with the big boys of the soccer world. That is all this squad needs is to get other teams back on its heals as their style of play is very typical American like, aggressive and fast pace. They Yanks will be looking to catch this English squad out-of-place to make their attacks. Unlike most opponents the Americans have faced recently, England comes loaded at all position except for the maybe the most important one the goalie. Even with that hole, England is much more talent and can handle the ball and pass the ball more efficiently than the American squad. The U.S. relies more on its stars rather than its overall depth per game. Overall though, their depth isn’t terrible if they can make it further into the tournament.

The main stars to watch for England’s Wayne Rooney and John Terry. Rooney, who many consider one of the top 3 players in the world will give this mediocre American defensive line fits all game. If the U.S. cannot maintain its defensive pressure and allows a single gap, Rooney will exploit it and most likely put the ball in the back of the net. John Terry is basically the backbone of the England’s defensive. One of the toughest players to maneuver around and seems to always be in the right place at the right time. The one knock on Terry is he is sometimes caught out of position from deep passes which would fit perfectly for the Americans two stars in Donovan and Dempsey. Donovan is basically Team USA. Without his presence, this squad wouldn’t have much to lean on. He can create chances, shoot and even is very

shifty off the ball. He has 42 international career goals for US which is the most out of any player and the most caps. Clint Dempsey, who is a mid fielder is also a scoring threat for the USA. As of lately, he has been one of the main stars on this squad with his smart play and ability to read and slice through defenses.

Sadly for the Americans, most of the action I believe will be down toward Tim Howard. He will definitely have his work cut out for him all day and will need be sharp from the starting whistle to the ending whistle. If the U.S. can steal a ball while England is not set, they have the speed and ball control to move down field in a hurry. The U.S. defense doesn’t need to try to do anything fancy and just get the ball out of their area as much as possible. Rooney will find holes regardless how many players are in the box. I honestly think the U.S. is well prepared for this battle and the final score will end in a draw, 2-2.

Armando Galarraga’s Perfect Game Ruined

In Uncategorized on June 2, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Trying to become the third pitcher in the 2010 season to toss a perfect game, Armando Galarraga was one out from tossing the 21st perfect game in history. Jason Donald, the number nine hitter in Cleveland’s lineup was the last man to stand in the way of Armando’s perfect game. On a 1-1 count, Donald hit the ball between first and second where 1st baseman Miguel Cabrera was able to snag the ball up and toss it to the covering Galarraga on first. On what looked to be a very close play wasn’t at all. Donald was a full stride behind as the ball reached Gallarga’s glove was called same by Jim Joyce. Boos started to rain down upon the ump and players started to express their feelings. Gallaraga was able to record the next out but 28 batters should have never been able to take stride in the box.

Now the question of instant replay should be used outside of home-run calls. Situations this big should be examined and not ignored. History in the making should never be tampered with despite how pure baseball has been able to maintained throughout the years. With all this being said, Gallaraga should end up with a rare positive asterix next to his name in the history books. As of now, Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay have made 2010 history but we shall not forget Armando Gallaraga.

Promising Future?

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2010 at 3:57 pm

With the Florida Marlins series over, Houston has been able to prove that they can contend with decent ball clubs. Sitting at 5-10, it isn’t what Houston fans would like to see but I don’t think majority of true Astros fans are shocked. This club isn’t good and on paper they line up can hit but they have to produce as one. Unlike teams such as the Yankees, Cardinals, and Phillies, Houston doesn’t really have two or three players that can just win the ball game by themselves.

With the middle of the lineup still cold, this has made Brad Mills turn to the bench. Luckily for the Astros, their bench has come through. Jason Michaels and Jeff Keppinger have contributed significantly, both batting over .280. Michaels who has stepped in for the struggling Carlos Lee and already has two home runs which leads the team. Lance Berkman is back and has looked good. Since his return, Houston has gone 2-1. My predicted record at this point is 6-9 which is obviously better. It is still early in the season but honestly this team doesn’t seem too different with new coach Brad Mills. Pitching is roughly the same only given up 71 runs compared to 69 at this point last year.

Two more home series against the Pirates and Reds maybe can help get the Astros to the .500 mark. The Pirates were playing well but have dropped three straight and the Reds look like the typical Reds. Despite all three of these clubs being terrible, it will be a good time to make moves within the division. I still think this club can win between 70-80 games but it would be nice to see some changes and improvements going into next season. Lee needs go to and I hate to say it but Oswalt will need to be traded so the Astros can get some young guns. Brandon Lyon has done nothing admirable this season and at this point, I wish he would go. These three players wouldn’t be a bad package to pick up some younger players to help boost Houston’s farm system. People say that Berkman needs to go but he isn’t declining at an astronomical rate and I believe he has three good more seasons left in him. Bourn and Pence shouldn’t have to worry about being traded anywhere but Pedro Feliz could be thrown into the Oswalt package. Five years from now, this team will look completely different top to bottom. What scares people is that we do not know if different means good.

Astros Win First Series

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Four series into the season and the Houston Astros have finally taken a series against the Chicago Cubs. After dropping the first game 7-2, Houston went to win the next two games bringing their season high winning streak to two. Houston is now 3-9 on the season and currently sitting 1.5 games back of the Reds and 4.5 games back of the first place Cardinals. During the series, Roy Oswalt finally notched his first win of the season as he pitched a solid 7 innings, giving up no runs and striking out six. During my April prediction, I had the Astros being 4-8 so far during the season and to my surprise I am only one game off.

One thing that bothers me so far about this team is when the lose, they get destroyed. They been shut out three times and four games they have lost by five runs or more. The three games they have won, two of them have been by one run. They starting pitching seems to be getting better. Surprisingly fourth man in the rotation Bud Norris was able to secure the first win for the Astros and he even struck out nine Red Birds for that “W.” Lance Berkman has been rumored to return this Tuesday as the Astros will be returning home to face the Marlins. With his eventual return and the bats having more life to them, Houston hopefully can win six of nine of the next three series at home.

Myers, Norris and Paulino will be pitching the Marlins series as they will face against Volstad, Johnson and Sanchez. Florida is 8-5 on the year and just recently took the series against the Phillies. If anything that could help Houston will be the twelve straight games the Marlins have played will maybe burn them out as they continue their road trips. Marlins SS Dan Uggla has been hot as of lately going 6 of 12, with two home-runs and six RBIs in the Phillies series. Lee and Pence are still struggling as their batting avg. are still hovering around the low .100. Bourn is the only consistent bat right now in the lineup though he has gone hitless the last two games.

With this being said, Houston is dead last in the accumulated batting category and only have three home-runs on the year. They have the least amount of runs scored with 28 and tied with the biggest differential with the 1-11 Orioles at -29. Some positive facts that can be taken out of this past few days will be that Houston is no longer the worst team in baseball. There are three other teams in the NL Central under .500 and Oswalt looks like he has returned to his younger form. I think the Stros’ can win the series against the Marlins going 2 of 3 but their bats cannot stay mediocre because their bullpen will be mentally gassed before the All-Star game.

Say It Ain’t So!

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Houston has finally notched their first win of their season to avoid a devastating 0-9 start. Going to Busch Stadium where winning is not part of their repertoire, the Astros started off the series terribly as they were shut out 5-0. I have been able to keep up with most of the games through ESPN Game Cast and Houston isn’t having trouble producing hits, just those timely hits are not coming. There were a few instances where they had men in scoring position and the pitcher against the rope but all they could do is induce a 6-4-3 double play or pop out. Michael Bourn had a very trip in St. Louis going 6 for 11 with three runs. Other than Wandy Rodriguez who was rouged up in his second appearances while only last 4 1/3 inning, Myers and Norris pitched admirably. The pen was extremely solid though the past three games giving up only one run. You can tell that this team knows it is early in the season and there is no reason to feel like their chances to be competitive is impossible. I didn’t think the Stros’ would win the series and I am very ecstatic they didn’t get swept. It is going to be nice when they can get Lance Berkman back in the lineup as there is no fear in the middle of the line up when Lee and Pence are still struggling. Pedro Feliz still is trying to find his stride but isn’t  disturbing bad. Now 1-8, Houston will be on the road again staying in the division when they face the Chicago Cubs April 16-18. If today’s win meant anything, it seems like the offense is slowly coming around. The Cubs are on a two game winning streak and finish their series against the Brewers today. Both teams need to win this upcoming series as their upcoming schedule’s are not easy. I think Houston can win two away with Roy and Wandy pitching the last two games of the series.