Next Monday brings the Opening Day of baseball season, and while Astro hopes aren't high, as announced previously we've decided to take a sunny -- some would say Panglossian -- attitude towards the whole thing.
That may be tough to do, given what were told is a reliable guess at that the Opening Day lineup will be.
Injuries have hit some key players, age has hit others, and still others have been afflicted with a lack of talent. Let's take a look at who will be on the field for your Stros Monday against the Giants:
Blum -- 1B
Manzella -- SS
Feliz -- 3B
Lee -- LF
Bourn -- CF
Pence -- RF
Towles -- C
And this is the improved lineup, with Manzella actually assumed to be getting back from an injury that might have kept him out.
How many first names can you attach to those eight players? (Roy-O -- assuming he returns from his own injury -- will of course be the starting pitcher.) It's a mere five for us. To be sure, we haven't been keeping up with spring training, but still, that's a whole lot of newness.
Not to mention a) Matsui will no doubt hit the DL within a couple of weeks; and b) Carlos Lee is still somehow playing in the outfield. It's as if the Astros don't realize playing the outfield requires a person to run.
You've got Geoff Blum in a new position, filling in for an injured Lance Berkman, and you've got guys named Towles, Feliz and Manzella.
Towles (first name J.R., by the way; nickname "Soggy." Maybe.) is the catcher, which is supposed to be the quarterback of the team. He's been up to the bigs for the proverbial cup of coffee for each of the last three years, and his next RBI will put him in double-digits for his career.
Tommy Manzella is a shortstop, who's supposed to be the quarterback of the infield. He has played in a total of seven major league games and is still looking for his second career hit.
Pedro Feliz has managed to be in the bigs for a decade without hitting the radar of the casual fan, as far as we can tell.
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On the one hand, it's not like these guys are replacing All-Stars. On the other, who the hell are they?
1B -- 37-year-old guy playing out of position
2B -- About-to-be-injured guy
SS -- Unproven rookie with seven big-league games under his belt
3B -- Journeyman
C -- Unproven rookie equivalent
LF -- Guy who doesn't like to exert himself
CF -- Nice player
RF -- Nice player
We're trying hard to remain optimistic. Hopefully we can hold it at least last through the first week. Fingers crossed.