Articles are all over the place quoting the Astros' "management" team all in the same general vein. "It's too early to give up, we are traditionally a second half team, we can still make a run at it, etc.." ad nauseum. The facts are that the Astros are in need of a major rehab, and as one prominent rehab organization promotes: "You can't solve the problem, until you get out of denial and admit there is a problem."
If the Astros were to come to the sudden realization that there is indeed a problem, here's my list of goals for the balance of the season. Please don't laugh out loud, I know as well as you do that none of these will happen - after all, I am the AntiDrayton.
1. Set a modest but attainable goal for team performance. Shoot for winning 8 of the remaining 12 home series, and 4 of the remaining 9 road series. Set a goal of 81-81 as a minimum for year end. Along with this, try to push Mathematical Elimination Night (the date we are eliminated from any playoff hopes) beyond September 10, which is when it currently seems destined to occur.
2. Work with the young players. The future for the Astros is best served by this strategy, even if the players are developed only to become trade bait, which seems to be the current modus operandi of the "management". This probably means sending Bourn down to AAA for some development (apparently all of the coaching in the organization happens at Round Rock and Corpus Christi). Stay the course with J. R. Towles; he is all we have at the moment, so let's make him the best he can be. Bring up as many players (one or two at a time) from the minors to give them some experience and see what they may be able to offer in the way of longer term potential.
3. Keep the veteran core. No trading of Pence, Berkman, Lee, Tejada, and Oswalt. The same probably applies for Matsui. Only Berkman and Pence would really bring anything of value, now that Roy may be damaged goods. And our trading history is a hideous failure.
4. Play Erstad and Loretta a lot. We need them to reach goal #1 and they are steady, dependable, and former All-Stars. Why should they sit?
5. Quit stealing so many &^%$#!! bases and stop playing small ball. Did we really load up the lineup with all that (supposed) power only to bunt and steal Michael Bourn every time he gets on base? Here's the handwriting on the wall, in simplest terms: Over the past 5 years there has been a negative team correlation (both NL and AL) between total runs scored and total stolen bases. There are are mounds of other data to support this - small ball yields small results!
6. Sharpen up some fundamentals. Base running, fielding, and hitting the right cutoff man would be great places to start.
7. Examine Cooper's contract with a microscope. There must be some way to get rid of him before his two years are up without bringing the wrath of the Commissioner and prominent activist groups down upon the team. Cooper seems like a genuinely good guy, but he may also be genuinely the worst manager I've ever seen.
Please feel free to add any of your own and reject any or all of mine - it doesn't matter, because as I mentioned above these don't have a snowball's chance anyway.