When the Astros don’t make the playoffs this season, the reason that will come down from on high – meaning Astros management and the Chron – will be that injuries decimated this team. Not that this was a mediocre team that played awful for the first four months of the season, or played over their head for the final two months. But injuries.
Roy Oswalt was injured the first half of the season, which hurt the pitching staff. Jose Valverde was injured in spring training which hurt him during the first couple of weeks of the season. Kaz Matsui was injured throughout the season. Michael Bourn was injured at various times. Carlos Lee missed the final two months. Ty Wigginton was injured to start the season.
Injury. Injury. Injury. I don’t know why the theme to MASH isn’t used as the Astros theme music. And perhaps the MASH title sequence can be converted to an Astros credits for the Astros starting lineups.
Like I said, it won’t be because the Astros are a bad team outperforming their stats. The official reason will be injuries. Like the injury that caused Wandy Rodriguez to come out after one inning yesterday. Or the injury that caused Ty Wigginton to leave Saturday’s game early and will keep him out for the next week. Or the injury that will cause Brandon Backe to miss tonight’s start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Or the injury that is still is keeping Kaz Matsui from playing even though he’s off of the disabled list.
The official reason will be injuries. Which will give the Astros a perfect reason to not upgrade the team over the winter because the thinking will be that this isn’t a mediocre team outperforming the stats but that it was an injured team that could have won the World Series.
SOME OTHER ASTROS NOTES:
Whatever problems Roy Oswalt had earlier this season have been tossed aside. Oswalt pitched his first career one-hitter Saturday night, tossing a complete game as the Astros got the win. Oswalt has gone two games without giving up a run, and he hasn’t surrendered a run since the first inning of the game against the Reds on August 27th.
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Oswalt’s Saturday win helped the Astros to win two of three games against the Rockies. But because the Brewers also won two of three games this weekend, the Astros did not make up any further ground on them, and still six games back. The Astros also have yet to catch the Cardinals, which is who the Astros must first past before going after next the Phillies and then Milwaukee for the wild card.
Things won’t be easy for the Astros this week as they have to play four games with the Pittsburgh Pirates. And the Pirates have treated the Astros this season as if the Astros are the Texans and the Pirates are the Steelers, having won seven of the nine games so far. Then after the Pirates the Astros have three weekend games with the Cubs here at Minute Maid – if Hurricane Ike doesn’t interfere; and if it does, I’m sure the Astros’ brass would love to be able to have another excuse to trot out for not making the playoffs.
****************** Sometime-Astros starter Runelvys Hernandez has been suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for amphetamine usage. This guy stunk up the joint when he was up with the Astros. So if anything should tell the young kids out there that greenies don’t work, this should. Maybe he should have talked to the Rocket and Miguel Tejada and got some information from them about proper baseball drug usage instead.
****************** Back to the injury meme for a moment. I suppose it won’t surprise you to find out that Carlos Lee couldn’t run at full speed last season because of a previously undisclosed injury – well, undisclosed to us the readers, though it appears that the Chron knew of it for a long time but they just chose not to tell us. What the Chron doesn’t tell us is the reason for Lee’s inability to run at full speed this season. – John Royal