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Monday, June 05, 2006

Astros Look to Bolster Lineup vs. Cubs, Zambrano

Tonight the Astros look to rid themselves of their losing ways against everybody's favorite slump remedy, the Chicago Cubs. (Apparently there is a more proven slumpbuster, but remember that I described it not as the "most effective slumpbuster" but, rather, that which most ballplayers would prefer in a head-to-head competition.

The local boys are certainly in need of a boost, as they now have roughly a 1-in-25 shot of making the playoffs. Clearly, they've already given up on trying to chase the Cardinals, as I've seen more than a few quotes already in which they attempted damage control by pointing out that they're only X games out of the wild card. Way to shoot for the stars, boys.

The Astros Renaissance begins tonight against the psychotic-and-always-entertaining Carlos Zambrano who--given Dusty Baker's penchant for overworking his pitchers--should be expected to join Prior and Woods on the official "When Healthy" disabled list. Given our relative inability to hit Zambrano, the Astros should have sprung for a nice, fast laptop with a great capacity for downloading por... err, "e-mailing relatives."

Opposing Zambrano is Taylor Buchholz, who sports a muscular 3-4 record and 5.55 ERA. Game Two expected starters are Kerry Wood vs. "Magic" Wandy, who--like Cletus--is slated to start on short rest after having been bombed in his last outing. The Astros' starter for Game Three is still listed as TBA vs. the Cubbies' Sean Marshall. I'm supposing that Garner is still holding out hope that Oswalt will be ready to go on Wednesday. It says here, though, that we'll have to get a spot start out of Chris Sampson or a AAA call-up.

Perhaps we need Oswalt to pitch, if only for the expected confrontation with Michael "Marty" Barrett such as the one that propelled the 2004 Astros into a twelve-game winning streak, wild card, and a seven-game NLCS appearance. (Rumors that Barrett was voted a playoff share by the Astros were unconfirmed.)

Eric Bruntlett will start at shortstop agains tonight, as Adam "Mendoza" Everett will miss his fifth game in the row. This layoff had first been described as Everett's simply getting a day off, but has blossomed into what may be a roster battle or platoon situation:
"I have not made a decision that it was anything permanent or semi-permanent or what have you," Garner said. "If Bruntlett did get 10 hits, I would probably continue to play him on a day-by-day basis.

"But just because a guy goes into a slump, it doesn't mean he has to lose his job right away. We do need to win some ballgames, and if that coincides with us slumping as a team, then I'm going to try to find a combination to get something going."

Showing once again that he's really just guessing at a lineup, and only a few losses away from simply drawing the lineup out of a hat, Gar had this to say about moving Biggio back to the leadoff spot:
"We won a bunch of games with Biggio leading off, and maybe it's time to try that back," Garner said.
How about this, Gar: batting guys where they belong in the lineup, and keeping a consistent lineup with the best-producing players, rather than moving everybody around every game? I suggest something like this:

  • CF Taveras
  • 2B Biggio
  • RF Berkman
  • 3B Ensberg
  • 1B Lamb
  • LF Burke
  • C Ausmus
  • SS Bruntlett
In this lineup, Preston Wilson rides the pine, as does Jason Lane. Speaking of Special K, he could learn a thing or two about discipline at the plate from Pan-Kun, the Monkey/Rightfielder:

I've heard that the Astros are in talks with Pan-Kun's representatives about bringing on the diminuitive right-fielder as a "special hitting instructor" to the Astros.


Blogger Phat-C said...

That is without a doubt one of the funniest things I've EVER seen.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:09 AM  

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