The Astros: Even Worse Than We Thought?
|Photo by William Holtkamp|
They were swept by the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time since the 2005 season. At one point in Sunday's game, Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse had retired 24 straight Astros on his way to a complete game shutout -- Kaz Matsui led off with a single, then the Astros had nothing until the ninth inning. That process was essentially repeated yesterday as Zach Duke pitched a complete game shutout for the Pirates.
Sure, the Astros have won one game, which is more than the winless Washington Nationals can say. Then again, the Astros have the oldest everyday lineup in baseball, as well as the oldest starting rotation, to go along with a farm system that is virtually devoid of talent. So I guess that maybe bragging about having a better record than the Nationals isn't actually anything to be bragging about.
Cecil Cooper is already trying to shake up the lineup. Pudge Rodriguez has been dropped from second in the batting order to seventh. Hunter Pence was moved from seventh to second, and yesterday he hit fifth. Miguel Tejada's not hitting from either the fifth or the second spot. Michael Bourn is actually getting some hits, so he's batting in the eighth slot. Neither Lance Berkman nor Carlos Lee are hitting. Berkman has only two RBIs this season. Carlos Lee has only one RBI. Tejada doesn't have a RBI.
Wandy Rodriguez has been the Astros's best starter. So the pitching staff is definitely in trouble. Doug Brocail is already on the disabled list. Brian Moehler developed an injury from nowhere yesterday while the Pirates were slapping him around in the third inning. Roy Oswalt is getting killed by the home run ball.
Then there's Mr. Tact and Class. I'm speaking of Tejada, of course. Tejada got a double in the first inning yesterday, and he stood on second base celebrating like he had just won the World Series. The problem being that he had gotten the double because Pittsburgh centerfielder Nate McLouth had crashed into the wall trying to catch the ball and was lying on the grass in pain.
Luckily for the Astros, there is no game today. Which is perfect because Kaz Matsui's lower back is, guess what, bothering him and he is now officially day-to-day. But the day off is not going to stop the Astros from being in last place of the NL Central.
Sure, it's only been one week. Only seven games. But damn, this team looks even worse than I thought they would look. And I definitely thought this team was going to suck. So that should give you some idea of just how bad this team has been.
On an unrelated note, Philadelphia Phillies play-by-play man Harry Kalas died yesterday in
Washington, D.C. He collapsed in the broadcast booth at Nationals Stadium before yesterday's Phillies/Nationals game, and he died at the hospital. Kalas was also known as the voice of NFL Films. And he had a Houston connection as he, along with Gene Elston and Loel Passe were the first radio and television voices of the Houston Astros, as he worked with the Astros from 1965 through 1970.