We’re into September and the Astros are all but eliminated. That’s pretty much unchartered territory around these parts. We’re used to seeing the Astros play meaningful games up until the last week of the regular season, even if they fell short the past few years. It’s been pretty rare that the Astros have played meaningless games in terms of the standings, but we have plenty of those coming up.
So what’s on tap for the rest of the season?
Well, the Astros owe it to their veteran players to try to win as many games as they can and avoid a losing season (they’d have to 18-11 to finish .500), but perhaps it’s time to give some of the young players a look. I know, it’s not like the Astros have a wealth of young talent at the upper levels of the Minor Leagues, but there some interesting players.
Shortstop Tommy Manzella, a Major League-ready defensive player, could be among the next wave of Minor League call-ups, and if so I’d play him as much as possible. That wouldn’t sit well with Miguel Tejada, but he’s slumped terribly in the second half and likely isn’t coming back. Let’s see what Manzella has got. He might be the starting shortstop next year.
Same is true with Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino. No matter how poorly they pitch, I’d tell them they’re taking the ball every five days and don’t worry about results. Rack up some innings and learn as much as you can and be ready to win a job in spring training.
I’d like to see what catcher Jason Castro can do, too, but he’s headed off overseas to be a part of Team USA in the Baseball World Cup.
I don’t anticipate the Astros calling up any more pitchers. They’re already sitting at 14 pitchers, which means veterans Geoff Geary and Chris Sampson will have some free time in September. That will undoubtedly be difficult for them.
Other than that, I think we’ll see pretty much the same club the rest of the season. I think it’s important for Wandy Rodriguez and Michael Bourn to cap off their fine seasons in style, along with younger guys like Wesley Wright re-establishing themselves.
The Astros’ .247 team batting average in August was third-worst in the National League, ahead of only Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Pittsburgh was the only NL team to score fewer runs.
And there were some woeful individual numbers in August. Hunter Pence hit .232, Jeff Keppinger .226, Miguel Tejada .212 and Kaz Matsui .202.
Michael Bourn had reached base in 25 consecutive games via a hit or a walk prior to going 0-for-1 on Wednesday in Chicago. Bourn didn’t start and was used as a pinch-hitter late in the game, so that’s a tough way for a streak to end. The streak was the longest current streak of its kind in the Majors and a career-long for Bourn
Roy Oswalt’s new website launched on Tuesday, and it’s very sharp.
The website features a link to his restaurant, Home Plate Fish and Steakhouse, which will open later his year in his hometown of Weir, Miss. There are also links to his ranch - Double 4 Ranch – as well as pictures, headlines featuring Oswalt (some of which undoubtedly written by a certain MLB.com writer) as well as an online store.
Oswalt said the sale of merchandise will help him raise money for the Ronald McDonald House in Mississippi.
“I just thought it would help out with some of the stuff as far as adding money,” he said. “Instead of golf tournaments and stuff like that, people can buy merchandise and I can raise money that way. When you do a golf event, you tie up a lot of people.
“This will be a little quicker and easier and a lot more people can access it from all over the United States instead of one place. I’ve some shirts on there you can buy that say ‘Home Plate Steakhouse’ and my ranch, ‘Double 4 Ranch.’”
And as a reader pointed out, you can follow Roy on Twitter and Facebook.There are some pretty candid photos of Roy while hunting and fishing, and some cool photos taken during the construction of his restaurant, which I’m sure will have a McTaggart Burger on the menu (hold the mustard).
There’s even a place where you download photos of Roy and color them and hang them on your fridge. True story.