The Astros Have Been Forsaken

Luke Scott singled early in yesterday’s game. As he stepped on first base, he signaled to the sky, thanking God for his base hit. Now, while God was busy guiding Luke Scott to first base, three people were being killed in

a Missouri church shooting

. Two people were being killed in a shootout

on a Dallas freeway

. The lives of 1.2 million people were being affected by

flooding in Southern China


I’m glad that God had the time to help out Luke Scott. But it seems to me that there might have been better ways for Him to make use of His time.

Can we all stop with this “God is my co-pilot” b.s.? If God really exists, don’t you think that He/She has more important things to do than worrying about Luke Scott getting a single?

Nolan Ryan never gave a shout-out to God after every strike out. Jeff Bagwell didn’t cross himself after a home run. I know Scott doesn’t have the talent these guys do, but really, Luke, give it a break. Jason Lane plays more than you do. Do you really think Lane would be getting more playing time than you if God was really taking an interest in your every move? Hell, it appears God’s not even there for Lance Berkman as much anymore, and if God’s not around for Lance, I doubt he’s there for you – or else you need to stop hogging Him because Berkman is really more important to the team than you are.

But enough of the theological debate.

Now, I hate to say that I told you so, but I told you so. While Jesus Ortiz was writing about the Astros getting back into the pennant chase, I gave a little reality check. Starting a seven-game road trip, the Astros have fallen to 9.5 games behind the Brewers. The Astros also lost ground to the Cubs, and to the Cardinals while moving closer to last place. And the Astros have the worst road record in the NL Central, and are now playing the Dodgers and Padres, teams with two of the best pitching staffs in the National League. And when Jason Lane is in your starting lineup every day, facing those two teams is not a good thing.

Speaking of Jason Lane, I’ve finally figured out why Phil Garner keeps running him out there every game: it’s to make us all long for the offensive juggernaut that is Adam Everett.

The Astros were able to win one game of the weekend series with the Brewers, that game being the Craig Biggio-celebration game on Sunday. And that game saw the Astros take a 6-2 game into the ninth inning before bullpen ace Trever Miller gave up a long double to Bill Hall and a monster home run to J.J. Hardy to make the score 6-4. Brad Lidge, who got beat up on Saturday night, was able to get the save on Sunday.

During the Sunday game, I heard Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies talking about how Phil Garner and the coaching staff worked with Hunter Pence before the game on base running and sliding. Two questions: how could they work with him before the game? I turned on the game and there was some kind of Craig Biggio tribute going on – but a nice touch of class from Biggio saying nice things about Ken Caminiti and Darryl Kile (and you guys know how I feel Biggio, so it takes a lot for me to compliment him). The second question is this: why are they just now working with Hunter Pence on base running techniques? Shouldn’t this be something’s that handled in spring training, or in the minor leagues? Forget about the calls to make Biggio or Brad Ausmus a coach upon retirement, the Astros should be talking to Jeff Bagwell – Bagwell was the best, and smartest, base runner the Astros had from 1991-2005. This is the guy who should be speaking to Pence, not Garner. And having watched the rest of this team run the bases from time to time, they should have Bagwell talk to the entire team.

Speaking of Brad Lidge: why is it that whenever Lidge blows a save Jesus Ortiz starts talking about him being injured? And further speaking of Brad Lidge, when did Albert Pujols join the Brewers? What, that was Ryan Braun who took Lidge to deep left field to win the game on Saturday night? Damn, it sure looked like Pujols. Richard Justice just says that it’s not Lidge’s fault and that we should all give Lidge a break.

Just how many freakin’ breaks does Brad Lidge get?

And Brian McTaggart continues to be my favorite writer with the Chron. Notice McTaggart’s “defense” of Lidge: while saying that Lidge shouldn’t be faulted for the home run to Braun, he sneaks in Lidge giving up two singles before that. I also like that McTaggart continues to blast the MMP folks for the loud and obnoxious noise, music and sound effects. This is perhaps my biggest complaint about attending games at MMP and this nonsense makes it impossible for a baseball fan to enjoy a game there.

Then again, the Astros are on a pace to draw more people to games than there were last season. Just what are you people thinking? If Drayton’s drawing 40,000 people to watch an awful baseball team, what reason does he have for trying to improve the team? I might understand if this was some ballpark like Wrigley or Fenway – with historical importance – or Camden Yards or Coors Field, where it’s just a great place to watch baseball, but MMP is an ugly, tacky place that makes Tropicana Field look like a premier baseball facility.

And I don’t understand how the Astros could lose the Saturday game. That was faith-and-family night. Wasn’t God supposed to be on the team’s side that night, or did the Brewers pray a little harder? Or maybe God’s just pissed off at Brad Lidge. That makes more since than the injury thing, because the only time I hear of Lidge being injured is if he blows a game.

The Astros also blew the game on Friday night before losing 5-4 in the 11th inning.

The Brewers are now 9-3 versus the Astros this season. And the Brewers have to be thankful for the Astros. The Brewers had lost six straight road series before this one.

Going into tonight’s game in Los Angeles, the Astros are 53-65. And if there’s any person out there, other than a member of the Astros, who still thinks that this team can win the pennant, please let me know upon what basis you have reached this conclusion. – John Royal

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