Now pinch-hitting for Evan...
Watch me make a liar out of good Mr. Hochschild. Unfortunately, I can't be writing about a victory in my first recap of the season. Roy Oswalt pitched a solid game, allowing three runs and eight hits in 7 innings. Manager Brad Mills let his ace stretch out a bit to finish the seventh, as Oswalt threw a season-high 119 pitches. Unfortunately, it was pitch 114 that Cincinnati's Joey Votto clubbed for a two-run home run, giving the Reds their victory margin.
Oswalt also reached a lofty milestone during the game, as he collected his 1,500th strikeout by fanning Bronson Arroyo in the fourth inning. Only Nolan Ryan has more strikeouts while wearing a Houston uniform than Oswalt's 1,500 and Roy passed J.R. Richard in his last start. At the rate Oswalt is going, he could catch Ryan in two and a half years.
Another 'milestone' was reached when Hunter Pence hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, his second of the season. It was Pence's fourth extra-base hit of the season and his first home run since April 10th. Pence had gone three games without an extra-base hit before the home run, dating back to his double on Saturday against the Pirates
The other troubling part about this game is the lack of communication between Roy Oswalt and J.R. Towles. It kinda reminds me of a similar situation with Mitch Melusky back in 2000. Melusky was one of the few people who couldn't get along with the Astros very laid-back clubhouse and even picked a fight with Jeff Bagwell around the batting cages. Not good times. Towles isn't that bad, but you'd think he would want to try and get with Roy's program since Oswalt is the team's best pitcher. We may see Castro sooner than we thought.
After being swept by the Reds, the Astros will go play another struggling team in the Atlanta Braves. Please note that Wandy Rodriguez had his scheduled start Friday bumped back a day because of back spasms. Brett Myers will start in his place. Nothing like kicking a dog when it's down, huh?
Now we return you to your regularly scheduled post by Evan...
I have bounced around the interwebs during a break in studying to find some pertinent subjects that can hold everyone over until we post again tomorrow morning.
- Koby Clemens got a little love from the Fangraphs people today. So I guess leading the Texas League in home runs the season after putting up video game numbers in 2009 has caused some prospect watchers to take notice. I can see how they wouldn't be all that ga ga over someone like Clemens playing tremendously in the Cal league, especially when he at the advanced (for that level) age of 22. We've all seen his potential during his short stint in Corpus Christi, but it's nice to hear from a somewhat objective voice that Roger's boy appears to be big league bound in the near future. So, OremLK, you haven't been taking note of his performances in vain. Speaking of OremLK....
- In case you haven't scrolled down to the bottom of the front page today, I wanted to formally introduce OremLK as a front page author. We all thought that after all the work he has done chronicling the minor leagues, writing excellent fan posts and being an intelligent, consistent commenter, that we would be remiss to not ask him to join as a regular contributor. So, welcome, good sir. Expect roughly a post per week from our newest writer
- Speaking of the minors, second baseman Jose Altuve, all 5'5" of him, is off to a nice start for low A Lexington, with a .304/.351/.757 line. The number of major leaguers who are 5'5" can be counted on one hand most likely, but Altuve is a name to watch in our minor league system. Could it be that the Lexington double play combo, Altuve and Jio Mier, will be the Astro double play combo in 2013? Expect to hear more about the minors as the summer goes on and the grind of the major league season greets us head on.
- Hey, guess what? The All Star Game is changing! Again! Rosters have been expanded by one player and both leagues will have a DH no matter the home stadium. I mean, these aren't tremendously monumental changes to the exhibition, but I find myself becoming less and less interested in the event with each passing season. The home run derby has fun moments, but it's not that compelling to me for some reason. Fans from the host city probably love the festivities, and the Yankees/Red Sox/Phillie fans get to watch multiple players from their clubs show off. For the rest of us, I just don't see the appeal.
- A look at the leaders/trailers in BABIP so far reveal something we probably knew already: Michael Bourn is prone to having a high BABIP, and Carlos Lee fits in well with other slow, corner infielders/outfielders. Frustrating as it may be for us to watch Lee look unmotivated/terrible/both, he isn't really helping himself by striking out as much as he is. Already tonight, he has two Ks and the one time he put the ball in play he got a hit.