Astro All Stars: They Have To Have One, Right?

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Today is your last chance to cast your vote for Kazuo Matsui to start in the MLB All Star Game. And the voting ends at 10:59 p.m., so get to it while you still can.

But no matter what happens, no matter how many times you vote today, no Houston Astros are going to be elected to the starting team.

Not that any of the Astros deserve to be starting in the game.

The problem is that, starting lineup aside, each major league team must be represented by one player on the roster.

This means that at least one Astro player has to be on that roster. And if you've been watching the Astros this season, then it's pretty damn obvious that there really aren't any Astros worthy of being named to the squad.

Still, one player has to go. Which begs the question: who?

Of the full time players, outfielders Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence are having the best statistical seasons, and their numbers are pretty awful when it comes down to the All Star numbers.

Bourn got off to a hot start and carried the team offensively for the first month of the season. But now he's only hitting .265 with a .342 on-base percentage and a .343 slugging percentage. He's got 75 hits, 47 runs, 17 doubles, a homer, 18 RBI, and 25 steals.

Pence was in a huge slump for the first month-and-a-half of the season, but he's been on fire the past month, and he's gotten his average up to .260 with a .306 on-base and a .427 slugging percentage. He's got 75 hits and he's scored 45 runs. He's hit 13 doubles, 11 homers, and he's knocked in 37 runs while stealing 13 bases.

Both players play above-average defense, especially Bourn who seemingly makes highlight-reel plays every night. But that aside, there's just nothing to indicate that either of these guys is deserving of a spot on the NL team, especially over more deserving players.

Forget about Carlos Lee, who has yet to hit his weight. Tommy Manzella's not doing much, and now he's on the disabled list. You can go with Geoff Blum, who has had the privilege of sucking at first, second, third, and shortstop this season.

Jeff Keppinger's having an okay season, but it's nothing worthy of a being on an All Star team. And Lance Berkman definitely doesn't have the stats.

How about the pitching staff? Brett Myers leads the team in so-called quality starts, but he's got a rather mediocre ERA for a starting pitcher - then again, if need be, Myers can always pitch in the home run derby.

There was an argument earlier in the year that Roy Oswalt should go to the game under the Nolan Ryan Rule - forget the record and check the ERA and other stats. But his other numbers really aren't that great, not when compared to other NL starting pitchers.

By process of elimination then, the best option appears to be either set-up man Brandon Lyon or closer Matt Lindstrom.

Despite being one of the more bizarre free agent signings of the off-season - no set-up guy deserves the money that Lyon is getting - and despite a poor start, Lyon has been very good in his role, thought his numbers are nowhere near those of Cincinnati's Arthur Rhodes.

By default, we're arrived at Lindstrom. Sure, he's not exactly the most trustworthy of closers. And sure he likes to keep games closer than he should be. But he's among the league leader in saves, which makes him a rarity on the Astros.

So I guess that makes him the most obvious, and really only choice to be the Astros representative to this year's All Star game.

But don't forget, you still have the chance to cast a vote for Kazuo Matsui before the voting ends tonight.

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