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Game Hero, 86 - 71

Roy Oswalt
  • W, 19 - 12; 20 is still there for him
  • 7.0 IP, scattered 8 hits, 1 ER, 7K
  • Gave up something only once he could afford to
  • Pitching, pitching, pitching: you will hear this phrase again

Props to Jason Lane, and Craig Biggio, but as it gets tougher, it is pitching like Roy showed last night that will be the Astros' main advantage come playoff time. And if you hadn't noticed, playoff time is here, now. The 'Stros have got to win, and they're playing the Cardinals in the fall: what else do you need?

Thanks to last night's win, and the Phillies' loss, the team has reached the point where it WILL be a disappointment if they don't reach the playoffs. It's been two months since the team turned its season around with that great July, and it has not collapsed since then: the Astros deserve a lot of praise for turning what had started disastrously into a successful and winning season.

But now they've gone past that, and you need to judge them as any other playoff team, like one that might have actually had a decent April. The fact is, 2-1/2 up with five games to go NEEDS to get in, no matter how many games below .500 it was in late May.

The point here is not to say that I think the team won't get in; it's just to say that the way you regard the Astros over the small remainder of the season has changed just a bit. Houston is no longer primarily a team that was once 15 - 30; it has, through persistence and just plain cussedness in the face of its frequent offensive struggles, transformed itself into a team that we now have a right to expect to reach the playoffs.