MIAMI, FL - APRIL 14: Justin Maxwell #22 of the Houston Astros is congratulated after scoring the go ahead run in the ninth inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on April 14, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Oof, it's been a hard couple of days for Astros baseball. Let's hit the high points and cheer up a bit...
1) Lineup changes coming - Brad Mills told Zachary Levine before Monday's game that some changes will be in the offing Tuesday as the Astros face Gio Gonzalez. That means Matt Down and Justin Maxwell will probably get a start.
The question is where?
I know we'll see in a few hours, but I wouldn't be surprised if Chris Johnson gets a day off with Downs starting at third. It'll probably be Jose Altuve, but the difference between the two is that Johnson hasn't been hitting for extra bases, while Altuve has.
It's also safe to say that Brian Bogusevic will be sitting against the lefty, with Maxwell starting in right. I guess there's a chance that Schafer sits with Maxwell starting in center, but I don't have that much faith in the guy filling out the lineup NOT to make the move for the platoon advantage with Bogey.
The problem for Bogey is that he's struggling at the wrong time. As much as people want him to get time, Travis Buck has been producing quite a bit more in this young season. He might not have the raw power of Bogey or the defensive ability, but he does have skills that could be an asset to this lineup. If Mills fills out his Tuesday lineup with Maxwell in center and Buck in right, how surprised would you be?
2) Chris' fantastic catch on Altuve - It's such a short, simple post, I don't want to steal anything from it, but go check out Chris' FanPost on Jose Altuve. It's worth the read to marvel at the Little Second Baseman That Could.
3) The schedule giveth... - One thing I haven't touched on with this particular Astros start is the schedule itself. Not the relative strength of opponents, mind you, but the actual home/road schedule.
Houston is in the midst of a 13-game road trip in the next 16 total games. That's a seven-gamer and a six-gamer broken up with three games against a hot L.A. Dodgers team at MMP. Houston is 4-6 through its first 10 games. If they finish up this stretch two or three games below .500? I think that'd be a very encouraging sign if we're hoping this team doesn't completely suck this season.
Washington won't be easy, nor will the Brewers or Cincinnati be any easier. All I ask for is no blowouts. That hasn't happened yet, and I've come to like the team being in every game so far this season. I've come to like it very much.
(I know...the last two were kind of cop-outs. You win some, you lose some with these posts...)