At Least Saturday Was Good for the 'Stros

So, I hear that some guy named Roger Clemens has decided to sign with the New York Yankees. Is this supposed to be big news? Has anyone else heard anything?

But, on with the Astros.

The team went 1-2 this weekend against the reeling, last place St. Louis Cardinals. Woody Williams got the loss on Friday, making him 0 for the season. Chris Sampson got the loss on Sunday.

But if you’re looking for a game-by-game analysis, this is the wrong place. I want to look at some other things.

Good news: the Astros won 13-0 on Saturday. Matt Albers got his first major league win. And Hunter Pence hit not only his first major league home run, but that same home run was a grand slam. Luke Scott had a good weekend. He seems to have rediscovered his hitting stroke. So, I know that I’ve said some nasty things about Scott. Maybe I was wrong.

Oh, and before I forget, it appears that Astros beat writer Jesus Ortiz has decided that because he’s named Jesus, he must really be Jesus, because he wrote in his blog on Friday that Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock would still be alive if the people of St. Louis had listened to Ortiz back in March, instead of sending him death threats.

I kid you not.

This makes all of those God-centered things that Ortiz has been writing suddenly make sense.

But, if Ortiz really is Jesus, is there any chance that he can go do something about Adam Everett? Back when the season was young, Ortiz raved about how Everett had suddenly learned how to hit like a major leaguer. After Sunday, Everett’s average is down to .196. Maybe it’s time for Ortiz to go down and bless Everett’s bat.

Or maybe it’s time for Phil Garner to come to his senses and bench Everett.

Speaking of senses, Garner hit Morgan Ensberg leadoff in the Saturday game. Mark Loretta hit second and started at second. That team scored 13 runs. Maybe having the leadoff guys getting on base had something to do with that. The radio guys said that Garner had Ensberg leading off because of his high on-base percentage. So, come Sunday, Biggio’s back to hitting leadoff. I must have missed something, because the last time that I checked, Biggio’s on-base percentage was lots worse than Ensberg’s. And, listening to the TV broadcast on Sunday, Jim Deshaies was talking about how Ensberg who was hitting second, was doing a leadoff guy’s job because he was taking lots of pitches and making the pitcher work, which is kind of strange because Biggio swings at everything.

Look, folks, I know that Biggio is a great Astro. That he’s closing in on 3,000 hits. That he’s probably going to the Hall of Fame. But that doesn’t mean that he’s got to bat leadoff to the detriment of the team.

The Astros record has dropped to 13-17, and the team is only a half game ahead of the last place Cardinals. More important, the Milwaukee Brewers not only continue to lead the NL Central, the Brewers also have the best record in baseball. Say what you will about 2004, 2005, and 2006, the Astros are never going to come back if they keep playing mediocre baseball and the Brewers keep playing exceptional baseball.

Then again, the Astros are playing like I predicted, as are the Brewers. (Oh, but don’t look at the rest of those predictions.)

The Astros are now in Cincinnati for four games, starting tonight, with Roy Oswalt taking the mound for the Astros. – John Royal

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