Here's some stuff to talk about as we go into extra innings again...
1) Homestand approaching - The Astros are still in need of a break for this current funk they're in, but maybe this eight-game homestand will do the trick. It's not going to be easy, as they have to play Milwaukee and Texas for five of those games, but they get the Cubs to finish things out.
Houston is 10-8 in home games this season, scoring 80 runs in that stretch. It'll be tough to win at that clip this time around, but still possible. Given the teams they'll be playing, how many wins do you think will make a successful homestand? If they split with the Brewers, take one of three from the Rangers and two of three from the Cubs, they'll finish 4-4.
Are you expecting a .500 finish? Do you think they can slow down the red-hot Rangers now that Josh Hamilton lost his lucky bat?
2) Jeff Bagwell's in the news - The Brown Hand Center trial gets more and more personal for Jeff Bagwell, as we learn, almost as an aside, that Bagwell has been treated at an alcohol rehab center, but that he didn't finish the course of treatment.
I'm not interested in moralizing here or making any grand statements. What I do find interesting is that this may be a very sound reason why Bagwell did not stay on as hitting coach with the team.
Given the availability of alcohol in clubhouses around baseball over the past 20 years and given that Bagwell spent time in the clubhouse with guys like Ken Caminiti, who had some anecdote related to him about drinking a six-pack after games by himself, is it surprising that Bagwell didn't want to hang around that environment? That could have been a big reason why he developed a problem in the first place and returning to a clubhouse could have brought back too many bad habits.
There's plenty of assumption in that paragraph and it could all be wrong. But, given baseball's very public problems with alcohol, maybe it's a good thing Bagwell isn't coaching for this team right now.
3) Trades haunting Astros - Zachary Levine talks about how Hunter Pence and Lance Berkman have come back to haunt the Astros in the past two seasons. Pence, of course, hit two home runs and pretty much led the Phillies to the victory Tuesday.
The question it brings up is should the Astros be upset that players they traded away are hurting them like this?
Well, I guess it's all in how the players they got in trade turn out, right? Houston wasn't upset they let Larry Andersen go, getting back Jeff Bagwell. They didn't regret trading Glenn Davis with the haul they got in return. But, Roy Oswalt? Even if he hasn't haunted them, that trade looks more and more like a bad deal.
So, we've got to wait to evaluate the Pence and Berkman deals. At least with the Berkman trade, we can add Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland to his haul, since those players were picked up for Mark Melancon. Oh, and all the damage Berkman did last season could have been avoided if he'd been re-signed like he wanted. Even if that wasn't a good fit with the youth movement.
Are you haunted by the Astros that have been given away?