Sounds Like Drayton's Gonna Fire Someone. Or Not.

Wow. The Astros won a game. A game played on the road. I guess that means that Drayton’s surge is starting to work.

Drayton’s in D.C. visiting his Astros. And he’s not happy: "It's been disappointing," McLane told the Chron. "I still feel we have a much better team than we've been playing for the last month. I'm still hopeful that we can have another surge as we've had in the last three years."

Hey, Drayton, I’m not quite sure how to tell you this, but last season, that surge, it didn’t work. I don’t know if any of your minions have told you this, but the Astros didn’t make the playoffs last season.

Drayton flew in from Poland to see his team play. And he arrived in time to see the Astros win a game. He arrived in time to see Brad Lidge save his first game of the season – yep, you read that right, Lidge actually saved a game. (Can we trade him now? Let’s not let his value fall because he blows another save.) Maybe there is some hope for this season. After all, the Astros did just win game number 40. Sure, that’s 40 wins versus 54 losses. Drayton’s team only needs to win 14 straight games to get to the five hundred mark. Who knows, if that happens, maybe the Astros can climb into third or fourth place in the NL Central.

I shouldn’t pick on Drayton, but I will because I can. For instance, Drayton also said: "I felt when Tim and his staff were putting together the team in November and December, I felt it would be a better team than in 2006. I thought the team addressed some of the issues, and we just have not played well. We played on and off and within the last several weeks we have not played well at all."

Drayton, did you really think this was a better team? Really? After you’d traded Willie Tavares and Jason Hirsch to Colorado for Jason Jennings? After the brain trust decided to force Chris Burke, an infielder, to play in center because the team didn’t have a centerfielder – maybe because the previous centerfielder had just been traded to the Rockies? You really thought that this was a better team after you replaced Andy Pettitte with Woody Williams? You really thought that this team was better than the one in 2006 when it was going into 2007 hoping that Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane would return to once in a lifetime forms from 2005? That Luke Scott would turn in a complete season? That Adam Everett would, for once in his life, hit higher than his weight? When you hoped that Brad Lidge would return to his 2005 regular season form? When you hoped that Wandy Rodriguez could be a steady starter?

Drayton, did you really think that this was going to be a better team than the one in 2006? If you did think this, then you must not have read what I wrote coming into the season. Then you might have seen some truth.

Now, it should also be noted that Drayton handed down the “full confidence” statement in Phil Garner and Tim Purpura. Normally, this would mean that those two were about to fired. But we are talking about Drayton McLane here. So I’m thinking these two will still be around screwing things up come this time next season.

And if Phil Garner is fired, the leading contender for his job is supposedly bench coach Cecil Cooper. And I have to ask why. Cooper’s the bench coach. His job is to advise Garner on moves during the game. And as someone who’s watched lots of Astros games this season, I’ve got to say that I’m not too damn impressed by Cooper’s work. Like having Lance Berkman bunt with a runner in scoring position. Like Roy Oswalt pitching in relief last night.

And Drayton further says that Brad Lidge will not be traded.

Why not?

I don’t get Drayton’s fascination with Brad Lidge. It’s not like Lidge went to Baylor. Or that he’s from Texas. Or that he owns cattle. But if Lidge isn’t traded, and if he’s not traded because Drayton doesn’t want him traded, then Tim Purpura should just hand his resignation. If there are so many teams out there that really want Lidge, then let one of them have Lidge. The talent in the Astros farm system is pretty empty. Let’s use Lidge to stock the system.

The Astros end the series with the Nationals today at noon. Be there, or get a life. – John Royal


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