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Astros Things I Think I Think

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HOUSTON,TX - JULY 18: Pitcher Jordan Lyles #41 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals on July 18, 2011 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
HOUSTON,TX - JULY 18: Pitcher Jordan Lyles #41 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals on July 18, 2011 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
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First of all, I'm sorry everyone. I totally dropped the ball on the game thread both Saturday and Monday. Just flat out forgot them. Really bummed me out that I did it, too, but I have somewhat of an excuse. See, I started moving on Friday and have just been out of sorts since. I've had sporadic internet access over the next few days, but my internet at my new place won't be turned on until Wednesday, so I've been mooching where I can. It's led to...lapses...they won't happen again (for a while).

With that out of the way, let's get to some random thoughts I've had on the team (with apologies to Peter King)...

...Why on earth did Jordan Lyles throw into the ninth inning Monday? Does Brad Mills just hate his bullpen that much? Or, was this his sneaky way of effing up the innings cap, by throwing all 60 of his remaining innings in one game?

...There was once a time that Wilton Lopez was effective. Clack even mentioned him as a possible closer candidate and I bought the case without question. That hasn't been the case this season. I haven't seen a bullpen this barren since the 2000 season, when Joe Slusarski was one of the most dependable guys on the staff.

...If Jim Crane wants to make a good impression on fans, letting word leak that he wants to trim the budget down to $60 million is a pretty terrible way to do it.

...I was shocked at how well Clint Barmes rated in FanGraphs' WAR stats. Do you know he's got a 1.8 fWAR right now? That's obscenely high, which means this awful team could be much, much worse if they hadn't made that Felipe Paulino trade. The Astros will still never get nearly his $9.8 million projected value in a trade, but they do appear to have bought low on a guy having a career year so far.

...Is every national reporter going to check in with an opinion on what Houston should do? You've got guys like Jon Heyman and Nick Cafardo basically ripping this team apart with trades, but the local guys keep plugging away, writing solid content about the worst team in the majors. Of course everyone on the team is available! They're awful right now. That doesn't mean the team will get gutted, either. At least, it won't unless Crane decides he wants payroll reduced in a big way.

...Was talking to a guy who runs an Internet radio show the other day and he asked about the Pittsburgh Pirates. Am I rooting for them to stay above .500 at all? I told him, 'Not really,' because I'm not. I could care less about the Pirates. I just want the Astros to beat them, like I do every other team in the NL Central. I don't care that they've lost a bunch, because they're still playing Houston. That's my biggest problem with realignment. I wouldn't care about the rivalries as much (at first, anyway).

...Looking through Houston's system for pitching prospects, I was also a little shocked at how few there are right now. With Tanner Bushue's struggles and Mike Foltynewicz' low K/high BB season, things aren't looking so hot. I think both of them could bounce back, but this is not a system blessed with pitching. I'd expect Houston to go after two or three high-level pitching prospects in any deals this July.

...Is it August yet? Wait, what am I saying? At least the July deadline talk is giving us something to discuss about this team. What happens after that goes away? Wait until Crane takes over?

...In case you didn't see last night, bring me your best "Jordan Lyles still lost" story and win a $75 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods. I'll take entries through Jordan's next start and my favorite will get the card.