JJO lends some insight as to how Chris Johnson and Tommy Manzella will be utilized in the final twenty five games of the season. Like their being called up, Cecil Cooper's thoughts concerning how much they'll be played is not all that surprising. Soaking up the professionalism of guys like Miguel Tejada, Geoff Blum and Lance Berkman seems to be objective number one. Seemingly in an effort to continue to improve the lines of communication on the club, Coop has reached out to his veteran players:
I talked to Tejada just a little bit today about it, and I'm going to talk some more to him and Blum and also with Booney tomorrow and just explain to them that these kids need some exposure and it might cost a little bit of playing time. It won't be a lot, but they will get a chance to get their feet wet.
I understand that Cooper has been criticized by the local media for not being the greatest communicator in the world, and maybe his making a special point to mention this was to give the impression that he is working on that skill. When it comes to Tejada, Boone and Blum though, it shouldn't be a major shock that they are going to lose some innings here and there to younger guys. It's how baseball has worked for a hundred years+, and it will continue to be that way. It's not like these three have been mainstays in the organization who deserve to play out the string of games without interruption. Rather, they're rental players who are filling the gaps in an otherwise nondescript period in Astro-history. While each has had their moment(s) in the sun, Manzella and Johnson have shown their potential in the minors, and it's time for them to get more than just "their feet wet".
Occasionally, if I'm having a bad day, I like to think to myself, "At least you're not___________, then life would really be bad." It's a nice way to put things in my life into perspective and to stop feeling sorry for myself. Well, I imagine that if you're the Astros, or Reds or Diamondbacks, you can do the same thing, but instead of naming a person you can fill the blank with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Buccos struck out into history yesterday, becoming the first team in the history of any of the big four sports to have sustained 17 consecutive losing seasons. They made a ton of trades this season, and for their sake, I hope some of them pan out in their favor. Not a lot has panned out in their favor since 1993, so I wouldn't bet on it. Still, the Astros are on a mission to avoid their third losing season since 1993. It's going to take at least a run of 14-11 to reach 81 wins, but with a nice streak of home games coming up, and games against teams with losing records in our future, it's a possibility.
We've been called out ladies and gentlemen. Tom Tango's defensive player survey is lacking in responses by Astro fans. Before the masses over at his site get ornery and start saying not nice things about us, get over there and evaluate our Astro defenders. How else will people know that Mike Bourn is sooooo good, and Carlos is sooooo bad? Well, everybody already knows about Carlos, but the point holds that we need to step up to the plate.
As the minor league seasons come to a close, our Astro affiliates will not be playing post season baseball, but that doesn't mean there weren't success stories to talk about. In Lexington, Robert Bono closed out the season with a complete game win against Bowling Green. Staying with the Legends, Matt Nevarez was nearly perfect in his 8.1 innings with the team. He allowed a scant three hits, while striking out thirteen and walking no one. 22 years old, he has battled injury in his brief professional career, but his stint with Lexington should provide the organization with a glimpse of the potential he has flashed while in the Rangers' system.
Danny Meszaros, Chia Jen Lo, Jonathan Gaston, Andrew Locke, Polin Trinidad, Bud Norris, Tommy Manzella, Sammy Gervacio and Wilton Lopez have all had varying levels of success in 2009, amid disappointing team performances.
In the lowest levels of the organization, Jiovanni Mier and Jose Altuve excelled for the Greeneville Astros. J.D. Martinez, the Astros 20th round selection in this June's draft, won the batting title in the New York-Penn League. Dallas Keuchel impressed as well in his 56.2 innings of work for Tri City, striking out 44 batters and totaling a tidy 2.70 ERA.