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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I'd said before the Cincinnati series began that--to remain a viable wild-card contender--we would need to sweep the Reds. My rationale was that, at the start of the series, we were FIVE games back with 37 to go. Winning two of three picks up only ONE game on the Reds, leaving us FOUR back with only 34 to go. The number of teams ahead of us in the wild-card standings makes picking up that much ground--while holding off the other teams ahead of us--improbable at best. A sweep, however, puts us only TWO games back.

Well, hell. After last night's debacle, there go our chances for a sweep. I can still confidently predict, however, the following:

The Astros Will Be Playing Baseball in October.

Please allow me to expound on that statement slightly. I didn't say that we'll be playing "Playoff Baseball" in October. I noticed, however, that the Astros end the regular season in Atlanta on October 1st. Technically, then, we'll be playing baseball in October. Unless we forfeit.

I'd almost prefer a forfeit to crap like last night's game. Our offense once again blew chunks, managing three runs only because Huff and Berkman went yard three times. I could say that our offense was efficient, as we scored EVERYBODY who made it into scoring position. Unfortunately, zero Astros actually got into scoring position, so 0-for-0 isn't that impressive a statistic.

I could also blame the loss on Qualls for his wretched performance last night. But what's the point? This time flat-out sucks. The only reason we've even been mentioning the word "playoffs" this deep into the season is because the rest of the National League also sucks. We're seven games below .500. We just don't deserve to make the playoffs. This is precisely why I was wishing that we had treated the trade deadline as though we were sellers, not buyers.

I also don't hold out a lot of hope for offseason improvement, either. Clemens is probably gone, this time for good. Pettitte? Am I to get excited about the prospects of re-signing him? He pitches well only if his bosom buddy Fat Rog is also in pinstripes, so we could reasonably expect him to do next year what he did in the first half this year--SUCK.

The free agent class? Presumably, it includes not much more than Carlos Lee and Barry Bonds. While Lee would be a swell pickup and all, there will clearly be a lot of suitors for his services... and what makes us think that he'll want to come here?

Hey, on the bright side, I'm catching an unbelievably early-morning flight to Cincy tomorrow so that I can personally witness the end of the Astros' season in Great American Bandbox. WHEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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