Astros ready for life after Lincecum
Here is the ultimate silver lining: the Astros won’t have to face Tim Lincecum on Tuesday night. It was evident from the first inning on Monday’s opener they had little chance against the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, who puzzled Houston for seven scoreless innings.
Lincecum is the best in the game, and the Astros weren’t up to the challenge. Still, Astros manager Brad Mills had to have liked what he saw from shortstop Tommy Manzella, who made every play at his position and even added a hit. J.R. Towles had an RBI double in the ninth, and were there two bigger question marks on offense than Manzella and Towles?
That being said, Tuesday’s game is huge. Not in the grand scheme of things, but for Wandy Rodriguez, who will make his first start of the season. Rodriguez had an awful spring and was roughed up mightily in his regular-season finale, so alarm bells could be warranted if he has a poor start. But a good start would pretty much wipe the slate clean.
The Astros will face lefty Barry Zito on Tuesday, so we could see Chris Johnson make his first start at third base. Johnson, as you know, had eight homers in the spring, so I think everyone is anxious to see him out there in the regular season and not rotting on the bench like he did last September.