Let bloggers of other teams crticise, and let fans of other ballclubs complain, 'cause the moves made yesterday by the Astros were about as unassailable as you can get.
It had become obvious that Luke Scott was not going to hit major league pitching, at least in this incarnation, and that Brandon Duckworth's fine spring training was not going to carry over into the regular season. They couldn't send Duckworth down 'coz he's out of options and would have to clear wavers, but they sure could replace him in the rotation.
They could and they did, pegging Ezequiel Astacio to get the callup. Astacio, you recall, had a spring training to hang with Duckworth's but--maybe becuase the Astro brass WANTED so very BADLY for Duckworth to prove himself useful this year--found himself the odd man out, or at least the odd man out after Carlos Hernandez. That having been said, it certainly appears that the club had made the decision on WHO to bring up first before they made the decision WHEN to bring him up, simply because Astacio does not have the best numbers, all told, at Round Rock. That honor would go to Wandy Rodriguez, who has got an ERA nearly two points lower than Astacio's, is 3 - 0 instead of Zeke's 0 - 3 and has just as many strikeouts as Astacio with 24.
I'm not quibbling here, just making notations, you understand. Astacio certainly has a higher ceiling right now than Rodriguez, whose chief advantage it must be said is outstanding command. If I were Tim Purpura, I'd have probably brought up Astacio--who has quite a bit of movement--too. Hell, if they went entirely by the stats, Dave Burba could make a convincing case for being called up, and I've posted elsewhere that watching that man pitch is deleterious to my mental health.
The one question this move unavoidably raises is with Taylor Buchholz. When the Billy Wagner deal was made, curveball-meister Buchholz was considered the key to the deal; 16 months later, he sits at Round Rock with a 5.40 ERA, and Astacio, the second-tier guy in the trade as it was expressed then, the guy who was a year behind Buchholz, is making his major league debut. What's up with that?
My guess here is that Astacio will basically handle the Pirates, but will give up a long ball or two, as he has been wont to do in AAA, and that we'll win or lose it with the bullpen, my guess is win it.