New dad Berkman out of lineup; Drayton stays optimistic
Lance Berkman, who had started 63 of the team’s first 67 games, was out of the starting lineup Tuesday against the Royals after his wife, Cara, gave birth to their couple’s fourth daugther on Monday. An off day might come to a good time for Berkman, too, considering he hit .167 (5-for-30) on the team’s nine-game road trip.
With Berkman out of the lineup, Hunter Pence was batting third with the 18th time this year.
Back to Berkman. He now has four girls, putting him on par with Geoff Blum (four girls) but one shy of Doug Brocail (five girls). Interestingly, Jeff Bagwell and Brad Ausmus had nothing but girls, too. Craig Biggio (two boys) was certainly an exception.
Astros owner Drayton McLane (two boys, if you’re wondering) made his way around the clubhouse as he typically does before games, stopping to shake hands with the players. He also took a few moments to discuss the state of the team with reporters.
McLane is enthused the Astros have won six of seven series entering this week’s series against Kansas City.
“If you go back to 2004, we’re making the move awfully early,” McLane said. “If you remember in 2004 we were way, way down at the All-Star break and we made the playoffs and went within one game of going to the World Series, and in 2005 we were down at the break. The team is grudaally improving and has won a lot of series and wer’e going to do that against the Kansas City Royals.”
Royals owner David Glass, who was the CEO of Wal-Mart for 27 years and is a close friend of McLane, sat with McLane in his seats behind home plate.
“We have Whataburgers bet on who wins the series,” McLane said.
McLane is optimisitc because ace Roy Oswalt (3-4) hasn’t gotten on the track, and the pitching staff has been slowed by injuries but appears to be getting healthier.
“If you asked me back in spring training, would Roy Oswalt have [three] wins at this stage and I’d say, ‘No, he’d have 8 to 10 wins at this stage,’” McLane said. “So we need Roy and his pitching and he needs run support and I think he will pitch much, much better going forward.
“Mike Hampton has had some injuries and I think he can pitch better going forward and Wandy will be more consistent. If we can get the pitching in there, the hitting will definitely be there, too. We need to get a number of the others that have been injured in there, too.
“That’s the bright light. Some of our star players haven’ t played exceptionally well and they will. It always worries you until they start clicking, but in the last two weeks you see them playing with more confidence.”