Astros-Rangers: Shawn Chacon Is Suspended, Carlos Lee Is Fat

There seems to be a pattern developing with this week’s games between the Rangers and Astros. Rangers lead-off batter Ian Kinsler starts things off with an extra-base hit, then scores the run to put the Rangers up 1-0. Then the Astros take the lead 2-1 on a home run – last night being Michael Bourn hitting a two-out homer with Roy Oswalt on base. Then the losing team comes within a run in the ninth inning, but come up just short.

The main difference between this week’s games is the outcome. The Astros won 4-3 Tuesday night, but last night, the Rangers won the game 3-2, the final two runs coming off of Rangers rookie Max Ramirez’ first major league home run in the fourth inning.

The Astros were able to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the game ended with Miguel Tejada grounding into a force out at second base, thus ending the Astros mini – and I really mean mini –winning streak at two games.

Wandy Rodriguez (2-3, 2.81) tries to pitch the Astros to only their second series win this month tonight. He’ll be matched up against Kevin Millwood (5-3, 4.61). And following tonight’s game, the Boston Red Sox are in town for a three game weekend series to close out interleague play for this season.

SOME MISCELLANEOUS GAME NOTES:

The Astros announced the indefinite suspension of pitcher Shawn Chacon just as last night’s game got underway. Chacon was pissed about being pulled from the starting rotation, and earlier yesterday he told Channel 26 that he wanted a trade. But the suspension came from Chacon grabbing general manager Ed Wade and throwing him to the floor about an hour before last night’s game.

And once again, I ask the question that I asked back when Chacon was signed: If the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team desperate for pitching, didn’t want the guy, , why should the Astros?

But I want to file a complaint to Fox Sports Houston. You had reporters at MMP. Greg Lucas and Neil Hohfeld were there to do the postgame show. I know that an Astros broadcast is supposed to be kind of a propaganda thing, but don’t you think it would have been useful to send them roaming the bowels of MMP to try and get some information about what really happened? And I know you had your studio guy discuss the matter during the seventh-inning stretch, but it felt strange to me, knowing that this had happened, that Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies seemed to go out of their way to avoid any kind of in-depth discussion of the matter.

***************** Milwaukee Brewers ace Ben Sheets has announced that he is going to pursue free agency at the end of this season. Richard Justice wrote a post about Sheets, and about how Drayton McLane will sign Sheets to big bucks this off-season (along with Andy Pettitte) in order to return the Astros to the playoffs.

I was all set to tear Justice a new one for this post, but upon rereading it, it’s obvious that Justice is being sarcastic. Let’s just hope that McLane sees the sarcasm and doesn’t decide to pursue Sheets because of a Justice recommendation.

I like Ben Sheets. He’s a hell of a pitcher. But the guy’s kind of turning into a Mark Prior-lite. He generally goes on the DL several times a year. And his ability to make it through a game is always questionable. I know Sheets is from Texas. And I know Drayton likes Texas boys. But I just really think the team needs to go in a different direction. It needs to acquire young talent. It needs to stay out of the major free agent market.

****************** Well, imagine my surprise yesterday to read Jose de Jesus Ortiz’s Internet chat and to discover that the reason Carlos Lee isn’t more respected in Houston is because the media’s not diverse enough, and because of this, they can’t truly understand what it’s like to be a Latino player.

Now, I feel that I must remind Ortiz that of the four writers who have covered the Astros on a consistent basis this season, two of them are Hispanic – Ortiz and Joseph Duarte – so maybe the problem doesn’t come from the lack of a diverse media.

And as a person who criticizes Carlos Lee on a fairly regular basis, I’ll be honest about my criticism. I think the guy’s fat. I don’t think he cares. I’ve never seen him hustle. And I’m really sick of watching double after double get hit down the left field line while Lee loafs over to the ball. So please don’t tell me that I don’t get Carlos Lee because the Houston media isn’t diverse enough.

***************** The Astros’ record for the season is now 36-42. They’re 6-15 for the month. And if they’re going to reach my predicted 10-16 record for the month, they’re going to have to win four of their last five games for the month. And seeing as how three of those games are against the Red Sox, I don’t quite see it as happening. – John Royal

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