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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Vortex Focuses on the Important Things

Are you getting excited?

I sure am.

After all, we're only two games under .500, and an exciting four games behind the Padres in the "race" for the dubious distinction of being rewarded with a postseason berth for finishing with slightly more wins than losses.

And just who wouldn't get excited about that, I ask you?

Whom do we have to thank for last night's thrilling victory over the plummeting ever-competitive Milwaukee Brewers? Well, one of our big heroes was Morgan "The Vortex" Ensberg.

Smell the Glove dubbed Morgan "The Vortex" because of his amazing ability to drag down the entire lineup whenever he's in it. Pretty much unimpressive the whole darn year, Morgan--who's batting a muscular .231--finally got yanked from the starting lineup. And, with a microphone in front of him for the first time in quite awhile, the Vortex decided to focus on the important parts of last night's win:

"I've lost my job and the manager, Phil, has lost confidence, and it's been difficult."

Well, that just puts it all in perspective, doesn't it? It's refreshing to see a major leaguer own up to having underperformed for pretty much the entire year.

... Except that Morgan didn't really do that, did he? By all accounts, Morgan's a pretty nice fellow, a team-first guy, and a pretty unassuming postgame interview subject. Perhaps, then, that quote was only a small snippet of a larger discussion of how important this road series is, how nice it was to get a win under our belts to start this series, etc., etc.

Let's just hope. In the interim, though--lest there be some suggestion that Ensberg's opposite-field dinger last night erased a season's worth of misery and should lead to a starting spot in the lineup--let's list all of the semi-regular Astros players who are currently sporting higher batting averages than Mr. Ensberg:

Luke Scott (obviously)
Lance Berkman
Mike Lamb
Chris Burke
Willy Taveras
Eric Bruntlett (whose offensive shortcomings were rewarded with a trip to AAA)
Craig Biggio (despite his complete free-fall of late)
Aubrey Huff
Adam Everett (whose offense has been much-maligned this year)
Brad Ausmus (see Everett, Adam)
So, in short, Morgan's out-hitting Orlando Palmeiro (the ever-important left-handed pinch-hitting specialist), Jason Lane, and our pitching staff.

Whoo! That's production!

And before I hear some comment about "hey, but OBP is more important than batting average," let me respond:

OBP is very important. But those who bat in RBI spots--as does Ensberg--are expected to hit, not take two pitches down the middle and end up with a freaking walk, thereby leaving the task of driving in the runners to those behind them in the lineup, whose only reason for being included in the lineup is their defensive abilities.
I have another rant about our offense, which concerns future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio... but that will wait until after tonight, when I have fresh evidence of his striking out or popping up with runners in scoring position and fewer than two outs, with which to buttress my arguments.