Astros-Cards preview

The Astros open their final series of the season Monday night at Minute Maid Park against the Cardinals, who come to town one game behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL Wild Card chase. The Braves are at the Phillies, which is who the Cards would play in the first round of the playoffs if they can edge the Braves for the final playoff spot. The Cardinals have 21 of their last 29 games.

Before we get to the lineup, here are some things you my find interesting:

  • The Astros currently have the youngest team in the NL at 27 years, 131 days old. Only the Royals are younger (26-4).
  • If you’re looking for a positive sign from the Astros, take note of this. The previous three times the club has lost at least 90 games, it came back and improved by at least 15 games the next season. They went from 64-97 in 1975 to 80-82 in 1976; 65-97 in 1991 to 81-81 in 1992; and 72-90 in 2000 to 93-69 and a division title in 2001. I’m just saying.
  • Carlos Lee, who enters Monday’s game with 94 RBIs, has the third-most RBIs in the NL since 2005. He trails only Ryan Howard (858) and Albert Pujuols (824).
  • Tonight’s pitching matchup features two pretty good left-handers in Jaime Garcia and Wandy Rodriguez. Of the lefties who will qualitfy for the ERA title, Garcia is fifth in the NL with a 3.45 ERA and Rodriguez is sixth at 3.51.

Here is the Astros’ lineup:

CF Jason Bourgeois

2B Angel Sanchez

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

RF Matt Downs

3B Chris Johnson

SS Clint Barmes

C J.R. Towles

LHP Wandy Rodriguez


Congrats Melancon! Thanks for win

From a Braves Fan.

I was fortunate enough to be given tickets to attend last night’s game. Fabulous game, very exciting. Also, I think this game highlights why the Astros should stay in the National League. Pitchers have to be well-rounded athletes in the NL as they have to pitch and hit (Wandy did get a double in addition to his excellent job on the mound). But two important pieces to last night’s win were two sac bunts. I think if the Astros are in the AL, then they are not nearly as likely to lay the bunt down. If they were in the AL, I suspect they would send in someone to try and get a hit instead of bunt. I’m sorry I’m an old-school guy but there is a beauty to baseball. There is an “art” to each of its elements: pitching, hitting, bunting, and fielding. Bunts are especially unique. They have to be laid down correctly by the batter to do its intended job but it also has to be defended cleanly which I think you see more of in the NL. In the end, it boiled down to a correctly executed bunt by Sanchez and Dotel could not field it. Kudos to the ‘Stros for a great win. Here’s hoping you stay in the NL!

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