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Astros-Brewers: Just What Will It Take for Cecil Cooper to Bench Miguel Tejada and Carlos Lee?

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Coming into last night’s game with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Astros had lost four straight series, and their record had dropped down to the five hundred mark. And things didn’t look promising when Brewers lead-off batter Corey Hart started off the game with a double, then advanced to third with one out on a ground ball when Miguel Tejada decided to goof off a bit. But Roy Oswalt battled out of the inning, and in the bottom of the first, Lance Berkman connected on a Seth McClung pitch with Miguel Tejada on base to put the Astros up 2-0.

And Roy Oswalt appeared to have stepped into the Wayback Machine because he pitched the game like it was 2003, when he was one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball. Except for a third inning home run to Ryan Braun which accounted for the Brewers only run, Oswalt dominated, striking out ten Milwaukee batters in seven innings.

But Oswalt’s pitching almost wasn’t enough because, after the first inning, McClung settled down, turning the game into a tight pitchers duel. Until the Brewers went to their bullpen in the form of one Julian Tavares. And thanks to bad defense, bad pitching, and bad official-scoring, the Astros found a way to put four runs up on the board to make the score 6-1, which would be the game’s final score, and the win would pull the Astros back over the five hundred mark with a 33-32 record.

Brandon Backe gets the start tonight versus Manny Parra as the Astros try to win their first series of the month.


Okay, really, I’m serious here. Just what is it going to take to get Cecil Cooper to sit the asses of Miguel Tejada and Carlos Lee down on the bench? Tejada took another 0-fer, while Lee managed to eek out one hit. Tejada’s batting a booming .184 for his last 20 games, and for this month, he’s hitting .115 with a .233 on-base percentage and a .269 slugging percentage. Since May 19, his average has dropped 45 points. His slugging percentage has dropped 253 points, and his on-base percentage has dropped 39 points. Carlos Lee is batting a booming .211 for his last 20 games, and for this month, he’s hitting .192 with a .276 on-base percentage and a .192 slugging percentage. His batting average has dropped 26 points in that time while his slugging percentage has dropped 47 points and his on-base percentage is down 22 points.

Yet Michael Bourn gets more bench time and J.R. Towles gets sent to the minors, but Lee and Tejada continue to start game after game after game. Even more shocking to me is that Miguel Tejada is currently the leading vote getter for starting NL shortstop in the All-Star Game, and Carlos Lee is somehow fourth in the voting to start in the outfield.

Aren’t you people paying any attention to what’s going on? It’s not enough that Tejada is juicer and a liar, but for the past months, his numbers are worse than Bourn and Towles, who people can’t stop bitching about. And don’t get me started on Lee. The next time he decides to hustle on defense will be the first. What really gets me is that whenever Darin Erstad gets a chance to play, he delivers a hit or a good play on defense. He definitely deserves playing time over Lee, and I would argue Mark Loretta deserves to start at shortstop over Tejada.

***************** I’ve got a friend who’s an official scorer for the Astros games. So I’m probably about to piss him off, but how could the official scorer give Lance Berkman a triple on his line shot to Mike Cameron in the seventh inning? That was definitely a play an average outfielder makes – okay, maybe not Carlos Lee who almost played a single into a triple last night.

That said, Astros fans owe another debt of thanks to Lance Berkman. Berkman accounted for five of the team’s six runs last night. Two coming on his first inning homer and three runs scoring on that questionable triple.

***************** Great game by Roy Oswalt last night. Great game. And one that’s been needed for awhile. The Astros won’t do anything unless Oswalt gets his game turned around. And getting ten strikeouts last night while giving up only one run is a great start.

However, that one run came off of a home run. That makes for 17 homers Oswalt’s surrendered this season in 89 innings. And Bill Brown was kind of enough to inform me last night that 43.5 percent of the runs surrendered by the Astros this season have been by way of the home run, which is the highest percentage in the majors.

And it’s been reported that the Astros had a closed door meeting before last night’s game. According to Bill Brown, one of the topics discussed was consistency. And it sure looks like the Astros are being consistent when it comes to surrendering runs on the home run. – John Royal

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