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Preview/Matchup/Game Thread Game # 55 vs.Reds

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Aaron Harang Wandy Rodriguez
5 - 4, 3.70 6 - 2, 3.95
RC27 in May
RC27 in May Red Pos Astro RC27 in May
3.18 Jason Larue C1 Brad Ausmus 3.74 x
3.37 Javier Valentin C2 Eric Munson 11.95 x
x 5.52 Scott Hatteberg 1B Lance Berkman 5.37
x 5.02 Brandon Phillips 2B Craig Biggio 4.88
x 5.72 Felipe Lopez SS Adam Everett 1.99
4.81 Edwin Encarnacion 3B Morgan Ensberg 5.34 x
x 5.90 Adam Dunn OF1 Preston Wilson 4.46
x 5.58 Austin Kearns OF2 Willy Taveras 3.65
x 4.57 Ken Griffey, Jr. OF3 Chris Burke 0.71
x 4.09 Ryan Freel OF4 Jason Lane 2.26
4.10 Rich Aurilia Util/PH Mike Lamb 8.45 x

OK, so May perhaps wasn't the best month for the Astros. but plans are in motion. Lane has been benched, Roger has been signed, Gallo has been sent down, and T-Purp(!) is dropping hints that more changes might be on the horizon.

Bruntlett as everyday shortstop?

Luke Scott up from Round Rock?

Maybe even Hunter Pence gets a callup?

Time will tell. But I wouldn't panic, yet. We're not the only team in the division that's had a rough month. For example, only Kansas City in all the majors had a worse ERA for the month than Milwaukee. Their ace Ben Sheets is on the DL for at least another month, and Doug Davis posted a 4.89 for May. Oh, and Derrick "The Steroids Kid" Turnbow just blew his third save in his last six opportunities.

I don't even want to dive into the cesspool that is the Cubs, but you could take a look at our opponent tonight, the Cincinnati Reds. Cincy, with their vaunted offense, was 27th in the majors for the month of May in runs scored. The problem wasn't the power game, it doesn't seem, as the Reds did hit 34 homers in May, which is well into the upper half for the league over that timespan. But they've been having problems getting onbase, and only managed to compile a .325 OBP to go with those 34 jacks.

But there still appears to be something of a voodoo component to what ails the Reds, as even the pathetic Houston offense--despite hitting 12 fewer homers, and OBPing nine points lower--still outscored the Reds for the month of May by nine runs.

So, anyway, my point is that while the Astros had a crappy month, they DO have an idea of what's been going wrong, and they HAVE started taking steps to correct the problems.

Had Milwaukee and Cincinatti had good months, it's possible that the Astros--even at .500--could have found themselves buried. But as it is, the situation actually seems quite reasonable.

Although it might be a good time to start playing some winning baseball.

NL Central in May
Team Record in May Pct GB
St. Louis 17 - 11 .607 ---
Pittsburgh 12 - 15 .444 4.5
Cincinnati 12 - 16 .429 5  
Milwaukee 12 - 16 .429 5  
Houston 11 - 19 .367 7  
Chicago 7 - 22 .241 10.5