Brad Mills would have benched me for the slump I've been in this week. Here's some stuff to talk about on a Friday morning...
1) Keuchel down, Dominguez up, Gonzalez on Monday - The Astros made a whole mess of roster moves on Thursday, demoting Dallas Keuchel to Triple-A and calling up third baseman Matt Dominguez. The move for another bat was made because, with all the injuries, Houston's bench has been awful short this week. Tony D just needed a new bat, and by plugging Dominguez in there at third, he moves Scott Moore back into that utility/bench role.
With Keuchel in the minors, though, Houston will need to call up a starter for Monday's game, which is made easier after rosters expand. The question is now, "Who do they call up?"
The smart money is on Edgar Gonzalez, who we discussed on the podcast last week. Gonzalez was signed out of the Mexican League this summer. He was pitching there after being released by the Colorado Rockies' Triple-A team. Gonzalez has also basically pitched in Triple-A since 2003, with two stops in the Mexican League and one in the Korean Baseball Organization mixed in for good measure.
He's never been particularly outstanding, though. He's put up good, but not great, numbers in the minors, which is why it's not surprising his major league numbers haven't been better. Of course, his time in the majors was primarily with two teams in very good hitter's parks, Arizona and Colorado, so those numbers may be slightly inflated.
What Gonzalez also provides is what people talk about with Roger Clemens: a marketing opportunity. Gonzalez wsa born in Nuevo Leon and can "wear the Mexican flag" out there on the mound for Houston, as Jeff Luhnow put it to us at Blogger Night earlier this season. He was talking about Ruben Alaniz at the time, but it applies in some fashion to Gonzalez, too, I'd imagine.
These won't be the last moves of the weekend, as rosters expand tomorrow and Oklahoma City has three games left on the schedule. Who do you have as potential callups right now?
2) Radio interns on air - If you tuned into the radio broadcast last night, you might have heard the first of the four finalists in Houston's You Make The Call contest. The finalists are Crawford Jones, a backup quarterback at the University of Houston, Jake Atkinson, a recent Texas A&M graduate, Alex Del Barrio, who I know nothing else about and Nate Kurant, who is from Florida.
The contestants will each appear for a stretch during games this weekend in the final leg of the contest to see who will end up as next year's radio intern. Do you have a favorite yet? I gotta say, Crawford Jones has an awesome name and has to be a favorite at this point.
3) College football begins - Well, college football, high school football and in a short time, pro football will all be geared up. This Saturday, Houston will face its biggest challenge as football gets going and takes prominence in the city.
There's no denying Houston is football town. That doesn't mean it can't be a good baseball city when the team is doing well, but if the Astros are struggling, fans just don't show up. On one of the recent BS Report podcasts, they were talking about Washington as a football town, too. Even with a team that has had the best record in the National League for a while this season, the Nationals drew just 23,000 fans last night. A week ago Monday, they drew 21,000.
Now, that's not nearly as low as Houston's 12,385 last night, but it's still very low for a team in the playoff hunt. I can understand why fans stay away, too, because this team isn't winning. Who wants to pay money to go see a team that will probably be beaten?
So, my question to you is this: with the minor league season winding down and football starting up, what do you want to see for the rest of the season here on TCB? We're planning on some minor league season reviews, but is there anything else that could make the end of the season more tolerable for you?