The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will be on national T.V. on Sunday. The game will be on ESPN as part of Sunday Night Baseball with the broadcast team of Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone, Jessica Mendoza, and Buster Olney. Former Astros and current ESPN broadcaster Aaron Boone was kind enough to talk with The Crawfish Boxes about the upcoming series, his time with the Astros, and he career in broadcasting:
RD: What do you make of the Astros' slow start to the season. Is it more difficult for a younger team with high expectations to right the ship?
AB: I think it's really early and a great team can still turn it around. Which I think (the Astros) still potentially are. Outside of Keuchel, they haven't gotten real good starting pitching.
They really miss McCullers obviously. They're missing the consistency right now that they're are capable of getting from McHugh, Fister, and Fiers. They need to be a little better at keeping them in the game.
Even though they have some guys that are struggling at the plate, they still five or six guys in their lineup that are off to good starts.
Once they get more consistent outings from their rotation, this is a team that runs off a really long, powerful stretch of games.
RD: What did you think of the Astros move to get Ken Giles? Did Houston overpay?
AB: I think you have a classic case of a team that believes that they are a World Series championship contender. One of the areas that they were lacking was a power arm at the back end of their bullpen. I think over time, Giles will work out just fine.
He is going to be a huge factor in the late innings. Like the other guys off to a slow start, I completely expect him to right the ship and be a major factor going forward.
That being said, on value, (the Astros) gave up a lot to get him. This Astros organization that is very into the analytics and was very aggressive in their rebuilding style. (The Astros) recognized this team as a legitimate chance to win and win it all, and they made an aggressive move. Those moves could come back and bite them when you consider the upside of a couple of the players in the deal.
It's foolish to think Ken Giles is not going to be a really good player, an important player for this team in the future but this year as well.
RD: What are your thoughts on Tyler White?
AB: It's awesome. It's not surprising because I picked (Tyler White) to be the American League Rookie of the Year before the season. I'm on record. I picked him and (Rockies shortstop) Trevor Story. So I'm off to a good start in my Rookie of the Year picks.
From what little I've seen from him in Spring Training, he screams consistent major league hitter. He may not have the crazy upside of some major league first baseman but I think he's going be a really good hitter in this league for a while. Because of hIs bat path and the way he swings, I like a lot of things about it.
It's always a good story when a guy is a low-round pick and they kick their way into the prospect door, kick their way onto the major league roster, and fight their way into the lineup.
A lot of times when a guy can raise from that type of situation, they are very battled-tested, a level of maturity, and a work ethic to them. He is certainly shown that in the early going.
RD: Does Carlos Correa compare to any player that you played with or against?
AB: I think A-Rod is the first person everyone goes to right away. It's probably a good comparison. When you think of the size of them and the ability to play shortstop. I think that is the best comparison. I think (Correa) is a guy that will compete for MVPs at times and maybe throughout his career.
All the things you see from him as a leader. He is a guy who is very conscious of his surroundings and his image. He is one of the headliners in a game full of great under-25-year old players. He is one of the first names you mention.
RD: What players or matchups are you focusing on for Sunday Night Baseball this week between the Astros and Red Sox?
AB: It's one of those matchups where you don't have (David) Price, Keuchel, (Lance) McCullers, or (Clay) Buckholtz. Those guys in the middle of the rotation that have to reliable and have to be counted on if these two teams want to win their respective divisions.
This is a game where you could see a lot of offense on both sides.
RD: Boone joined the Astros in 2009, leaving the team to have open-heart surgery in March of that year. He returned to the field in September - six months after the successful operation.
What do you remember of your time with the Astros?
AB: It was a little frustrating to not get to experience the full season as a player. It was obviously related to my health, heart and surgery issues. But, I came away with some lasting relationships -- getting to play with Lance Berkman, Darin Erstad, Pudge Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, El Caballo (Carlos Lee), and the people within the organization.
I spent a lot of time in Houston as a Cincinnati Red. I was familiar with people. But to get to know them as a home player, I really enjoyed my time there. I enjoyed the team a lot, all be it being in and out intermittently.
The one thing that stands out was how classy the organization with handling my situation and how they supported me. It was something that being a new player to the organization, they went above and beyond in caring about me as a person. Something that I was grateful for.
RD: What is your preparation process like for getting for a Sunday Night Baseball broadcast?
AB: I haven't seen Feldman's last start for example. Usually, if I don't watch it live, I'll watch on (Wednesday or Thursday). I'll watch the games leading up to Sunday of both the Red Sox and the Astros -- following the story lines. We have a big conference call (on Thursday) were we discuss storylines, things we're thinking about, what's going on with both teams, and we dive into both pitcher if we know who'll be seeing.
I'll get in Saturday morning, go over to the field. I'll be around the cage and around the teams a little bit on Saturday. This where all my prep work of leaning on the cage and what not.
On Sunday, we'll have another production meeting in the morning. Then it just goes over to the field and we have different responsibilities with SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight. Then it's just watching baseball and convey to the audience what we're seeing.