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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 60 vs. Cubs

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Sean Marshall Chris Sampson
3 - 3, 4.80 0 - 0, 5.06

So the transition from the most feared rotation in the majors to a Triple-A caliber staff continues. No offense to Chris Sampson or to Philip Barzilla, who of course are realizing the dreams of their lifetimes this week, but either through personnel or merely performance, the Astros roster seems to be unduly populated by those who should be plying their trade in the Pacific Coast League.

Andy Pettite ===> 6.03 ERA in 2006
Wandy Rodriguez ====> 5.53 major league ERA entering 2006
Taylor Buchholz ===> 6.25 major league ERA in 2006
Fernando Nieve ===> Pitched at AA in 2005
Chris Sampson ===> 28 years old, pitched at AA in 2005

As far as Barzilla, he's done well enough for himself in the minors since being drafted out of Rice in 2001, but at no point has he been on anyone's hotlist.

There was a lot of talk about Astacio being the Astros' "sixth starter" last year. If that was so, the team is down to number nine or ten by now.

Kind of ironic that as we await the return of the greatest pitcher of the live ball era, the rotation he'll be joining is composed of duct tape, baling wire, and chewing gum.

If the game today might be characterized as Chris Sampson's wing and our prayers, let there be no doubt that I will be pulling as hard for Sampson today as I would for Roy or Andy on any other day.

But you've got to be realistic about things, no?