Hey Astros, Here's a Thought: Bench Carlos Lee
The Astros Twitter feed was rather shocked that Carlos Lee couldn't bend over and make a play on a ground ball in left field last night. It's as if the Astros writers thought there was either a legitimate outfielder in left field, or that Carlos Lee actually gave a damn about anything that happens away from the post-game buffet. It's almost as if they've never before seen Lee play baseball, so shocked were they. Maybe Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith show up after every game and wipe their minds of anything to do with Lee.
In all fairness, Lee's fielding isn't the only reason the Astros lost 5-1 to the Marlins last night...but that helped. As did his once again going hitless. Then again, most of the team couldn't get a hit when it mattered. Thank goodness Michael Bourn has yet to get the memo that Astros batters aren't allowed to actually hit the ball for base hits that score runs. Speaking of Bourn, a quick aside: how great was that base running play of his at third base on Wednesday night? He turned a sure out into standing on third base in great position to score.
Another aside: just what in the hell were Lee and Lance Berkman doing on the bases Wednesday night? Thurman Munson could throw them out, and he's been dead since 1978, so should anybody be surprised that they were easy outs on the base paths (especially Berkman with his bad knee)?
Now, amazing as it may seem from looking at his stats, there's only one Astro who's played every game this season: Carlos Lee. Alyson Footer tweeted yesterday that manager Brad Mills wants to give Lee a rest, but Lee is convinced he's about to break out of his slump, and Mills is supposedly convinced of that as well. When you've got only two players who are consistently hitting (Michael Bourn and Jeff Keppinger), then changes have to be made. It's nice to have Berkman back, but Geoff Blum is out-hitting the Big Puma so far, and that's not a good thing.
Mills has made one big change, mostly sitting Kazuo Matsui in favor of Keppinger. Now it's time for another: sit Carlos Lee.
I know, I know; the only real option out there is Jason Michaels. But could Michaels really do any worse than Lee? He's the leading home run hitter on the team, and I don't think anyone doubts that Michaels would have been able to bend over and field that ground ball in left field, or make any of the other plays that Lee has botched out there this season (or last season, or the season before).
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in town for the next three games. While they looked semi-decent coming into this week, anyone who saw any of their games against the Brewers (especially yesterday's 20-0 loss) knows that Pittsburgh might be actually be at that same level of suckitude as the Astros. So playing Michaels won't kill the Astros, and his ability to actually field the ball and hit for power might actually help.
Then again, maybe the Astros should play Carlos Lee tonight. Roy Oswalt's starting, and I'd really like to see his reaction if Lee half-asses a play like that with him on the mound. I can't help thinking that it might be on par with Nolan Ryan kicking Robin Ventura's ass or Whitey Herzog physically yanking Garry Templeton off the field after Templeton flipped off the crowd.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:
On the bright side, the Astros won two of three from the Marlins, but their 5-10 record is still the worst record in the National League. With the Pirates this weekend, and the Cincinnati Reds coming in for three games next week, the Astros might still be able to win a few games....I mock Kazuo Matsui for being injury-prone, but I salute him for playing on after that ball he fouled off of his knee last night...Brad Mills fears that Matt Lindstrom is tired and needs some time off. If Lindstrom was to actually pitch more than one inning a game, I might understand that, but that's his job. We're not talking a Cecil Cooper destroy Chris Sampson scenario here: Lindstron's supposedly only around to lock down games the Astros are winning. Which means he doesn't really work that much.