The Astros, post-All-Star break, have been much like the Astros pre-All-Star break. They're still losing -- they were swept by the San Francisco Giants over the weekend. The offense is still awful. They're decimated by injuries. And management is still making tons of head-scratching decisions. So you're probably wondering why you should pay attention to the team. Don't worry, I have a few reasons why you should still be watching.
10. There's the philosophical stylings of resident PED abuser, pothead, lackadaisical outfielder, no-hit strike-out machine, leadoff batter Jordan Schafer. Take Friday, for instance, when Schafer decided to come to the defense of Joe Paterno. Apparently, donating millions of dollars to a school and winning football games means more than covering up the actions of a child rapist. (And people wonder why the Braves were so willing to give up on Schafer.)
9. What happens first: The Rockets win a playoff series or the Astros finally reach double digits in road wins?
8. Are you a young player trying to learn the fundamentals of baseball? Then you definitely want to watch the Astros because this team couldn't spell fundamental if you spotted them the "undamental." Block pitches in the dirt? Nope. Throw to the right base? Nope. Run the bases correctly? Nope. Just watch what the Astros do and then do the exact opposite when you play.
7. Watching the death march of Brad Mills. No person with any intelligence thinks that Mills is returning as manager next season. But Jim Crane said on Friday that Jeff Luhnow won't make a decision regarding Mills until the off-season. So, if you want to continue watching a manager use six pitchers an inning and push the wrong button every time a button needs to be pushed, then this may be your last, best chance to watch.
6. The Astros had never lost 100 games in their history until last season. This year, they're on the verge of doing it again, so pull up a chair and see if they can beat last season's mark of ineptitude. 5. Jeff Luhnow has been able to pull off some surprisingly good trades. Hell, he was even able to trade Carlos Lee twice in one week. So with the trade deadline quick approaching, pay attention and discover what, if anything, he's able to get for the likes of Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon and Wandy Rodriguez.
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4. Who wouldn't want to watch games featuring the likes of Matt Downs and Carlos Corporan in the lineup? Seriously, just how bad are the Astros if Matt Downs is getting consistent at bats and Carlos Corporan is once again starting games at catcher?
3. You can finally determine if Brett Wallace is actually capable of hitting major league pitching on a consistent basis. But I can't tell you to do this because, for some reason, the Astros have decided that it's more important to evaluate career minor leaguer Scott Moore than it is to figure out what, if anything, Wallace can contribute to the big league club.
2. If things keep up, the Astros will have the number one draft pick again next season. And who knows, those of you upset by the Astros not drafting Stanford pitcher Mark Appel might get your wish as he didn't sign with the Pirates and is returning to Stanford for his final season of college eligibility.
1. And if you really want some fun, buy tickets to sit in the outfield seats or the Crawford Boxes on a night that J.A. Happ's pitching. The odds are that you'll get a souvenir baseball.