Another series loss for the Astros yesterday. That makes four in a row after sweeping the Cardinals in late July. Our hometown nine will trudge on to play alternating home and home series with Milwaukee and Florida.
Always impressive with his insight, RJ believes that all the Astros need to right their ship is a little starting pitching. I think the most important thing to bear in mind right now is that the Astros are an average to slightly below average team. No more, no less. Do they have the potential to stay within shouting distance of first place this season. Sure. It would be difficult to continue pitching as bad as they have in the past four series. Once the pitching adjusts and the injury luck (hopefully) turns around, winning baseball is possible. Until then, we have to pray that Wandy continues to pitch like it's July, Bud Norris can navigate a tough schedule as a rookie, and that the combo of Hampton/Moehler/Whomever can win at least once in their three appearances.
To the injury point, Roy Oswalt is improving steadily and looks to be ready by Monday or Tuesday. Lance Berkman, however, seems destined to miss the weekend series vs. Milwaukee.
Michael Bourn, who missed Wednesday's game with a strained groin, says he expects to fine for Friday's series opener:
I felt it in the outfield, just pulled it a little, he said. But it's feeling better. I think I'll be fine by Friday.
On a personal note, with the summer ending I will heading back to law school for my third and (thankfully) final year of school. Thankfully, I won't be leaving town without seeing one David "Bud" Norris make a big league start. I'm excited to see my Astros play in person for possibly the last time this summer. Another interesting aspect of Norris starting is that he, like me, was born in 1985. I know a lot of bona fide major league stars were born in 1985 and later, but Norris is the first Astro farm hand to rise to the big league level who was my age. It may be a trivial point in the grand scheme of things, but for someone who loves the Astros as much as me, it's pretty cool.
As far as our weekend opponent is concerned, reliever Carlos Villanueva will moonlight as a starting pitcher against Mr. Norris on Friday night, says manager Ken Macha. Villanueva was tagged with a loss in his last appearnce against the Nationals after allowing five earned runs in just four innings of work.
The big news with Milwaukee is that Prince Fielder is now being investigated for his actions taken after Tuesday night's loss to the Dodgers. As I'm sure most everyone knows, Fielder attempted to enter the Dodgers' team clubhouse after the game, in order to confront pitcher Guillermo Mota who had beaned him in the ninth inning of a 17-4 game. Baseball is great. It may no longer hold the nation's interest as it once did, but baseball is still our country's defining pasttime. That being said, the game has so many unwritten rules that necessitate unnecessary and often times dangerous action/retribution. Listening to Rick Sutcliffe go on and on about how great it was that Fielder did this irked me a great deal. Maybe it's because I never played baseball beyond sandlot games or pitch/hit/catch games with friends (including DQ) in college, but a lot of this just seems silly. Fielder could have really jeopardized his team's chances at contending for the final third of this season if he had been successful at his intent to harm Mota. Pride is pride, but discretion is often t he better part of valor.