Do The Astros Really Care Anymore?

Does anybody on the Astros bench pay attention to anything? Last night, in the top of the fifth inning, Washington's Adam Dunn fouled a pitch off of the head of Pudge Rodriguez. Pudge is clearly dazed, but continues on trying to catch. One would think the coaches or trainers would catch this detail, but they don't, and finally Dunn stepped out of the batter's box and motioned to the Astros dugout and suggested someone come out to take a look.

It's for reasons like this that I just don't think the Astros are a good team, or are worthy of making the playoffs. I know, the NL Central is awful. The Astros might be in fifth place, but if they can get on a winning streak they can run away with the division.

Then you get to yesterday and the conclusion of a game with the Washington Nationals that was suspended back in early May because of rain. The Nationals won that game -- once again denying the Astros a .500 record -- because Miguel Tejada air-mailed a throw to Lance Berkman that a healthy Yao Ming couldn't jump high enough to field, thus allowing the winning run to score. There was no excuse for the bad throw. Tejada was making the pivot throw from second on the double play, and the play at second wasn't close. Tejada just appeared to not concentrate and made an awful throw.

Cecil Cooper never seems to be aware of the injury status of his pitching staff. Third-base coach Dave Clark often seems to at a different game. Carlos Lee sees no need to chase after balls hit down the left field line. The guys are sloppy when running the bases and are often caught in rundowns that should have never existed.  

The thing is that this team, but for Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence, is a rather experienced team that shouldn't constantly be making the mistakes they make on a daily basis. But no one really seems to care. It's like they're going through the motions because it doesn't really matter. Mediocre in the NL Central is good enough, so why try and be any better than what's called for?

I'm sure that if the Astros find a way to sweep the rest of this weekend's games with the Nationals then the Chron and the sports-talk stations will be on about how the Astros are the team to beat in the NL Central. But to me, any team that needs an opposing batter to inform the dugout that their catcher is possibly injured just doesn't deserve to make the playoffs.

So maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just as clueless as Cooper and Clark and the rest of the team often appear to be.

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