says Tim Purpura is working the phones and trying to make a deal before Tuesday's trading deadline. All that I've got to say is, Tim, don't to it. Don't tear up this juggernaut that you've created.
Juggernaut? Surely I can't be serious. Yes, I am. And don't call me Shirley. (Isn't it sad that I can still do Airplane jokes? Hopefully I'm not the only one who still quotes that movie.)
Okay, I'm not really serious (and I'm still not Shirley). Primarily because, even though the Astros are actually one game over .500 for this month, and even the Astros have won four of the last five games, the team's still 12 games under .500 and still trail the Brewers by 11 games with 60 games left to play in the season. If the Astros play .500 ball for the rest of the season, which is possible, the team still finishes with only 75 wins. If the team wins 40 out of the remaining 60, which is possible, it finishes with 85 wins. The Brewers could go 29-31 and still tie the Astros. And currently, the hottest team in baseball is the Chicago Cubs, who are 53-47 and only two games behind the Brewers.
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I know everyone likes to point to the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and those great comebacks. But there are a couple of differences. Primarily, the 2004-2005 Astros pitching rotation consisted of Roger Clemens (a sure Hall of Famer), Andy Pettitte (a clutch pitcher) and Roy Oswalt (one of the best pitchers in the NL). The current rotation consists of a disappointing and injured Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez (who's 1-7 on the road), Jason Jennings (who for some reason the Seattle Mariners are interested in), and Woody Williams. Yeah, it's not quite the same. Lance Berkman's not hitting like he did during those years. Morgan Ensberg's not hitting like he did in 2005. Hunter Pence is injured, replaced by Jason Lane who's not even hitting like it's 2006.
And for the Astros to reach the playoffs, the team's either got to win the division, which means catching the Cardinals, the Cubs and the Brewers (and, despite the team's recent surge, it's still closer to last place Pittsburgh in the standings than it is the third place Cards), or the Astros need to get the Wild Card. And to get that Wild Card, the team's currently got to catch the Marlins, the Cards, the Cubs, the Rockies, the Diamondbacks, the Padres, the Phillies and the Braves. It's possible, and they've done it before, but it's not likely.
But the Astros did win last night, defeating the San Diego Padres 7-1. Morgan Ensberg even contributed last night. And Wandy Rodriguez won again. It's becoming kind of given that Wandy can win at MMP. However, he can't win games on the road. And a pitcher's got to be able to win at home and on the road for his team to have a good chance at success.
Tonight, it's Woody Williams, who's gotten his ERA down to 5.03, versus Jake Peavy, who's one of the best in the game at the moment. – John Royal