The Houston Astros racked up three losses to open the season faster than I had a chance to look at a boxscore and ask, “They have Geoff Blum hitting 5th?”
Sorry bout cha, Hunter Pence. Buena suertes, Carlos Lee. With Lance Berkman on the shelf until at least April 10th (but probably much later) after surgeons went back in to clean up his aching knee, you get a journey-man first-basemen Geoff Blum, with his career 162-game average of .250 and 12 homers, to protect your two only real power threats in Pence and Lee.
That’s not to leave out your table setters, OF Michael Bourn and 2B Kaz Matsui, who have respective career OBPs of .326 and .302 respectively.
Oh, and then there is the pitching staff….
The starter rotation goes Wandy Rodriguez, Roy Oswalt, and pray for rain. Granted, Rodriguez is solid and I believe Oswalt to be one of the most underrated pitchers in the last ten years, this staff as a whole is miserable. Bud Norris is a young, promising prospect, but is going to need to keep the ball in the yard better in his first full MLB year to help out – he gave up 9 long balls only 55.2 innings in his MLB debut at the end of last season. Of course they have Brett Myers this year, an overpaid mediocre player, even at just $5 million. The pen is a virtual who’s, who? Except for Brandon Lyon, a rare pitch-to-contact reliever that will have a tough time playing with a career 5.8 K/9 ratio in Minute Maid.