The cold days of winter are wearing on and the Hot Stove market is burning out – it’s been all but frozen in Houston since the Bill Hall signing – while Spring Training games remain a few weeks away yet, so there’s not been much to talk about in Astroland. Jeff Bagwell HOF talk has died down until next winter at least, and no significant news has emerged on the Astros’ “For Sale” front. This makes it a great time to look back, and while I’ve also got thoughts to share about Bagwell and about Houston’s moderate moves this off-season, a bit of research on another topic motivated this post.
Woe and agony! Darkness and despair! The team that Cecil Cooper predicted would win at least 90 games has dug itself a hole and is on the verge of missing that mark, if they drop but 72 more. Of course, we started the spring with a win, then took 19 consecutive non-wins to follow, so maybe the guys are onto something here. The ’05 World Series team started the season with a loss, too, and Zachary Levine points out that this is actually the most offense the Astros have mustered on Opening Day in at least the last five years. Oswalt didn’t pitch poorly, the team didn’t play poorly, so there’s really not much to complain about after last night, aside from the failure to pick up a “W.”
At least it wasn’t a collapse on the scale of C.C. Sabathia, who needed to pitch a perfect game with 27 strikeouts on 81 pitches and hit five home runs as his own DH to live up to expectations. It’s only one game.
Busyness at work and craziness of life outside of work have conspired to limit my time here, and the week I spent in Philadelphia threw off my groove. I had been meaning to post a nice tribute to ex-Astro Curt Schilling, who announced his retirement while I was in Philly, but I never found the time to write it. Unless Luis Gonzalez catches on with another team, Schilling was the last of the 1991 Houston Astros, who are still one of my favorite Astros teams in spite of sporting the worst record in Houston history. Schilling had a lot to figure out early in his career, which is why he never caught on in Baltimore or Houston, but once he found himself, he developed into a modern baseball legend. Even with “only” 216 career wins, I strongly believe he should be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He played the game the right way. We’ll miss you, Curt.
I’ll still be around here as I can. Wandy tonight, and I smell a win.