Great win for Houston last night over a great San Diego club. Given Houston’s performance against the first-place Yankees and Rangers last month (1-8), I wasn’t too optimistic going into this series, but with Roy pitching tonight, they’ve got a chance to take the first two. That is, if they can solve San Diego ace Mat Latos; the Astros haven’t done so great against opposing aces this year. Regardless, if they can pull off a split of this four-game set, I’ll be pleased.
The Astros just spent the weekend getting swept by another first place team (Texas), immediately after dropping two of three in Kansas City (really??), to finish their nine-game interleague jaunt at 1-8. And I begin to doubt myself that maybe this IS a basement-bad baseball team. But then the news following yesterday’s bitterly disappointing loss suddenly instills hope – the Astros may not necessarily be a better team when they open against San Francisco on Tuesday, but they’ll certainly be more interesting.
Kevin Cash, Cory Sullivan and Casey Daigle have all been designated for assignment, and Houston is calling up Chris Johnson, Jason Castro and Jason Bourgeois to fill their spots. Castro and Johnson will now be the primary starters at their positions, too, and suddenly Jeff Keppinger becomes one of Houston’s oldest regulars at age 30. Perhaps watching Justin Smoak burn the Astros all weekend provided the impetus; Smoak was selected by Texas with the #11 pick immediately after Houston drafted Castro #10 back in 2008. Chris Johnson will get the shot to take over 3B for Houston that perhaps he should have been given over the winter, when the club christened Tommy Manzella a starter untested but gave a vote of no confidence in CJ by signing Pedro Feliz. The Bourgeois move is interesting, seemingly in defiance of the “don’t let young guys languish on the bench” rule, but I suppose that at age 28, Bourgeois is too old to be considered a “real” prospect, so it’s considered justifiable if he’s asked to fill a bench role. Interesting too is the loss of a left-handed bat by swapping Bourgeois for Sullivan, but looking at Sullivan’s stats this season, I suppose it would be hard to convince anyone that a righty like Bourgeois couldn’t have done at least as well. So why not give it a shot.