The Archives

April 1, 2002--

So it's the end of spring training and it's time to get excited about Jimy Williams(?) and the Astros. Couldn't help notice that the Yankess picked up Jason Giambi. The Astros let Moises Alou  and Vinny Castilla go, and picked up Brian L Hunter. 'Nuff said. Still, with all the young GOOD pitching, and your standard Bagwell/Biggio years, the Astros should win the NL Central again, leaving the crucial tests of manager Williams and GM Gerry Hunsicker for October.
One day, (and I am so sure of this) there will be a party in downtown Houston like you ain't never seen. Will it be this October?

April 8, 2002 --

Well, 4 - 3 might not have been what I'd hoped for, and we lost a series to the Cards, but only the Pirates are in front of us, and Biggio got his cycle. Always figured he might. Have only seen Brian L Hunter bat 3 times, but he's got two hits and two runs. So far so good. And I'm sure Wade Miller will get a win at some point. . .

April 15, 2002--

Still a losing record, and Astrofans are still waiting to see the supposedly-dominant pitching manifest itself. Carlos Hernandez has been lit up repeatedly, and Wade Miller DOES NOT look like an Opening Day starter. Now they tell us he's hurt . . .On the bright side, Oswalt has looked good, and Shaner has managed to win twice, despite looking ordinary. Biggio has seen the short sharp brightness of his cycle punctuate his long and dreary slump; four of his twelve hits came in one game. Mistah Jimmah using Ausmus in the two slot has resulted in Brad scoring 10 runs--and his .341 OBP. Two questions: Was Hidalgo's 2000 season an incredible fluke? Who WILL be this year's Chris Truby: Adam Everett or Morgan Ensberg?

April 22, 2002--

Lance Berkman's power explosion has me worried. The average stands at .261 or some such as I write. I'm glad the Giants didn't sweep, but pissed we couldn't sweep the Reds. Thursday's businessman's special was winable; once again the bullpen failed Roy Oswalt. It's worrisome, I tell ya. Maybe Brad Lidge can restore a semblance of quality to the beleaguered relievers; at any rate, bringing him up from Round Rock gave us the excuse we needed to demote Adam Everett. Kudos to Ensberg for his first major league homer. . .

April 29, 2002--

I'm really liking the last two games of the Braves series. Mlicki and Hernandez and Dotel all pitched well. Had the opportunity to catch the 'Stros in person when they had the three game vs. The Marlins. Several things impressed themselves upon me: 1) Morgan Ensberg will be gooood. 2)Not for the first time I ws amazed how in the zone Hidalgo can sometimes be at the plate, while at other times he looks like he has no clue at all. 3)Our bullpen does not look good compared to the Marlins'. And that's a bit scary, since going into the series I thought surely no-one could be worse off in the pen than Florida. But yikes! The Marlins beat us late, when they got us, but we couldn't get them. Double Yikes! Wagner and Dotel will be fine I'm sure, and TJ Mathews should work out, but everyone else. . .I don't know. Most of these guys belong at New Orleans it seems to me. . .Linebrink? Stone? Puffer? "Quality Middle Reliever" is an oxymoron with this team.

May 6, 2002--

Lots of reasons for optimism after Sunday's trashing of Al Leiter and his precious 0.92 ERA. Berkman's got the average over .300 again, and Julio Lugo is coming off his best series of the year. Morgan Ensberg continues to hit; the Astros' website is saying something about how he went to his old, wide stance. Whatever, he's hitting, and I'm pretty much sold on the guy. Everyone with one at bat had a hit on Sunday vs. New York, and everyone with more than one at bat scored a run. On the down side, Dotel remains up and down, and TJ Mathews, one of the few relievers I had some measure of faith in, is on the DL. Wade Miller, where are you?

May 13, 2002--

Horrible Week. Until Sunday, when Shane Reynolds stopped the five game slide, no-one had played well the entire week. Names like Josh Fogg, Jimmy Anderson, and Cliff Politte dominated the Astros' hitters, while Hipolito Pichardo exemplified the Houston pitching staff. He was so bad on Tuesday, he retired on Wednesday. The good news is that the 'Stros are only 6 back of the Reds, and only one back of their real competition, the Cardinals. It's good to know Houston isn't the only club underachieving. On other fronts, Berkman continues to lead the league in RBI's, and Reynolds ties Don Wilson for sixth place in career victories for the 'Stros with his next win. So there's always some good news.

May 21, 2002--

Astros played their best ball of the year so far last week. Even the bullpen looked good. The Astros won close games (mostly) and they won blowouts. They won with pitching, hitting, and defense. While I'm still not sold on the middle section of the bullpen,and I'm beginning to really wonder about Biggio, last week showed me enough where I know we won't be looking at another 2000. This team should compete. Biggio, despite having a span of five at bats in the middle of the week that included four doubles, could not build on that game, and continues to hover around .200. My posts on the ESPN Astro boards were like 'Do NOT count Biggio out,' and I won't, but it's getting late. Wade Miller, soon.

May 27, 2002--

Kinda hard to figure this club. Down and up and down, you know? A six game losing streak followed by a six game win streak followed by a six game losing streak is whatcha call consistently inconsistent. I think Jimmah is losing confidence in his ability to manage the club. In Monday's nationally-televised loss to the Cardinals, it was time to remove Roy Oswalt (there. I said it.), yet Jimmah couldn't pull the trigger coz he'd been burned so many times before when he did. Of course, Oz then gave up a massive two run bomb to Tino Martinez that iced it for the visitors. A couple times I thought it would have been a good idea to get the runners going, and Jimmah did nothing. And we thought Dierker was laid back? Good news is Biggio's average seems to be rising. Bad news is that everyone else's is dropping. This excepts Lugo, however. The kid looks solid. Two more thoughts:

2)Miller Time Wednesday night.

June 4, 2002--

Didn't really mind so much that Curt Schilling beat us Monday, to tell you the truth. The Astros may be going in the tank, and how often does a guy have a chance to be a thirty game winner? If Schilling gets it done, never let it be said the Astros didn't do their part. Sending down Ensberg was a MISTAKE. Write it down. Sure, he was in a slump, but who wasn't/isn't? Hidalgo may just be attempting to change his philosophy, in other words, he may be trying to slap the ball safely every now and then. He had a single to short right in that 4-hit, two homer game he had last week. Everyone was freaking out about the two homers; I was freaking out about the single. Shaner wasn't a stopper, and I'm beginning to wonder about him. Seems like lately, he's never horrible, but he's never any good, either. So damn close to the top five in career wins, too. Men on base, game on the line for Bagwell. Whoops: popped to second. Better news next week?

June 10, 2002--

Nine back now, and 3-1/2 behind surging Pittsburgh of all people. The Astros website has been reduced to telling us how Houston ALMOST won Sunday vs. the A's. Lugo's hurt, everyone on the team is under .300--Biggio down to .230, Berkman at .274, and Ward's low extra base totals doesn't look quite as irrelevant at .299. Eye-Yi-Yi. Derick Grigsby, right hand pitcher, first round draft pick. Say it three times slowly. It's almost impossible to figure out whether or not Grigsby'll contribute at the major league level, but Houston's picks HAVE been good recently. And which twenty--somethingth pick will become the next Roy Oz? Boy my prose gets choppy when the Astros are going bad. . .

June 17, 2002--

Ah Shaner, ah Baseball. Out for the year with a back injury with a two-million per contract like a hump made of lead on his back that runs out at the end of the season. Looks to me as if Reynolds won't pitch another game for Houston, and that's a shame. If I'm right, he'll finish with 103 wins, good for seventh on the all-time club list, and only 8 victories from sole possession of third place. Most likely, that won't happen now. Kirk Saarloos, regardless of how he's dominated at Round Rock, is probably not ready: that, too, is baseball these days. Feel good story would be Alan Zinter scheduled to start on the 17th vs. Milwaukee. Fourteen years in the minors after being a hotshit prospect who never made it, and he finally reaches the show. Good for him. Maybe we can get Raul Chavez an at-bat or two in Houston this year, too. Pretty good week considering. Took two series from teams we, um, just don't like: the Cubs and the Rangers. If the Astros can make a miracle run, it'll be by stringing a whole bunch of series wins together, NOT by winning sixteen straight. So, good start. Now dis the Brewers. . .It's the thing to do these days.

June 24, 2002--

Astros are lousy, but I can talk more about that next week. This week, I wanna talk about Darryl Kile.
Kile's death early Saturday chilled me to the core of my soul. Literally: Yesterday I wrote a John Hudek page for this website, had an excellent Thai dinner, and saw Attack of the Clones (finally). But at no point during an otherwise fine day did the cruel reality of Darryl Kile's shocking death leave my mind.
A common phrase these days is that someone "has issues," something that they hold within them unresolved. Well, then; Ken Caminiti has issues with the introduction of chemicals into his body. Barry Bonds has issues with the role of the media in his life. And I have an issue with death. I am not much older than Darryl Kile was, yet some choices I have made in my system of faiths have left me terrified of what is of course inevitable: my own passing from this Earth. So I need Kile's sudden and unexpected death like I need a hole in the head. I, for one, can think of no reason why someone like Darryl Kile, supremely talented, loved, even good looking for Chrissakes, should be dead on this windy Monday eve. It confuses me. It has, quite simply, made me more frightened. But I have time (I think), and I'll work it out (I hope).

It has done more than just frighten yours truly, the Astroman, of course. Unlike Craig Biggio, or Jeff Bagwell, I didn't know Kile personally. And unlike ESPN, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, or the Houston Chronicle, I would not try to paint a portrait of the beautiful person Darryl Kile was. The tears in Biggio's eyes Saturday night said more than any journalist or any webmaster could possibly hope to, anyway. If you're reading this, I can only say that grief--an understanding of a tragedy having occurred--grips us all, but no way around it: I'm a fan, and I don't know whether Darryl Kile was a beautiful person or not.

Last night there was a post on the SABR boards suggesting that steroids may have played a role in DK's death. At first I was very angry having read this, and I began composing a heated reply in my head. But I stopped midway through, because it occurred to me that I would look pretty stupid if I fired off an angry reply defending Kile's abstention from the 'roids if in two weeks, the full autopsy found that Kile was in fact using. Hunter Thompson said that "history is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit." Well, so are people.

But if I can't talk about Kile's beauty as a person, I can talk about the beauty of his curveball. The fact that Kile isn't around to throw that overhand yacker of his makes the world an inferior place. I'll say it again, 'coz this is the essay boiled down, reduced: Daryl Kile's curveball made the world a better place. Beauty is a hard thing to find, so you should latch onto it wherever you find it. I've missed some opportunities, but not with Kile's 12 to 6 bender: his curveball made you laugh, not because there was anything inately funny about it, but rather because it seemed so unfair that the hitter's job was to hit this thing, and all they could do was get all buckly-kneed, and walk away, shaking their heads. DK had the best curveball of his generation. He and it will be missed.

I was at an Astro spring training game in '93. Kile's no-hitter was five months away, but I had no way of knowing that, and neither did the kind and matronly lady sitting next to me at Osceola County Stadium, a peroxide blonde with a permanent wave as I remember. Anyway, she was wearing a white cloth visor over her machined curls, and scribbled in black sharpie across the tops, sides, and back of the thing were a gaggle of signatures affixed by the Astro spring-training invitees. I remember seeing Al Osuna's name, and also remember asking the woman whether Mark Portugal's name was anywhere signed. Not sure why I was all over Portugal, because his 18 - 4 season, too, was in the future. But the mother said, no, she didn't like Portugal, he was a meanie or something, and he was the only major-leaguer from the year before she hadn't asked to sign. And by the way, could I guess her favorite Astro? As a matter of fact, I could, for Daryle Kile's was the largest signature of them all, emblazoned across the front of the thing in the largest possible letters: "Darryl Kile # 57." Boy, that woman loved the Astros, and loved Darryl Kile, and he was kind enough to nurture that.

I never forgot that woman, and thought of her again, in 1997 when Darryl took the money and run. You see, baseball is a business, and its practicioners are not heroes, right? Darryl Kile was a good person, I'm assuming, yet he turned his back on the organization that nurtured his talent, that let him develop his gift. It had developed, and he sold himself to the highest bidder, which of course is the system. This most certainly was not Darryl Kile's fault, but I remember thinking about that peroxide blonde woman, and what must have her reaction have been? I kept in mind that the Astros would not have hesitated to release Kile if he had never gained the ability to throw strikes in the majors, but I still could not get past DK's arrogance. Yes, arrogance is what it was when he signed with the Rockies. Conventional wisdom is sometimes common knowledge, and conventional wisdom said that Kile and his amazing curveball would not fare very well in the thin, mile-high air. In retrospect, we know they did not, and I found myself asking why Kile did not heed those who tried to warn him. A major leaguer has handlers, and usually they're well-paid, and usually they know what they're doing. I find it hard to believe that no-one had given Kile advice that basically said: stay away from Colorado, dude.

My bet is, he received that advice, but chose to ignore it, assuming that the rules didn't apply to him, possessing an arrogance enough to believe that his talent was so overwhelming that it was not subject to physical laws, and that therefore the act of leaving the organization that nurtured him was nothing but an act of self-improvement. In fairness, it would have been nearly impossible for Kile to have done other than move on to Colorado; after all, there was one thing that Darryl Kile did better than anyone else on the planet. You or I cannot understand what that must be like, and how it must change the way you look at the world. No man is perfect, and we should certainly not expect--it is unfair to expect-- baseball players of all people to be so. But in the swath of warm press that surrounds the man and his legacy now, it is worth remembering that even the recently-passed can be served best by "less bullshit, more history." Kile's talent cut through the former, and will be remembered by the latter. Even the fact that we have to grapple with the cold and tragic reality of a life lived only halfway cannot change that.


July 4, 2002--

A little late because I've been working so hard on my new Brian L Hunter page (and go there now if you run Windows). But even though I leave on vacation tomorrow, I had to get this update in, cause who else is gonna talk about Greg Zaun's walk-off grand slam? GREG ZAUN. BYUNG-HYUN KIM. WALK OFF. GRAND SLAM. Who don't love baseball again? Maybe Zaun's salami will have the same effect Giles' did last year, setting the team on fire. Five of six since. Cool how Berkman homered on the first two pitches he saw vs. the Reds Wednesday. Still wish he was hitting .300, though. Next update will let you know how the Round Rock and New Orleans games I'm gonna see were. Respectability, baby...

July 22, 2002--

.400 road trip. Zephyrs lose one, while the Astros and the Express split a pair. Jared Fernandez' knuckle-voodoo a Sunday ago and Dave Mlicki's rehab start at Round Rock a few days later were reasonably interesting, if not quite highlights. Also saw Jason Lane have a horrible game for the Zephyrs, though I think a few days later he hit a grand slam. Was kind of fun watching the newly acquired Ryan Dempster get rocked in his debut for the Reds, though. Serves the Reds right for grave-robbing. . . .

July 30, 2002--

So, Rolen to the Cardinals. And you can hear the Astro faithful screaming where's Gerry? The Astros have a Bud Smith to give up, and a Placido Polanco, too. Why didn't the Hun make a move? Well, first reason would be money, of course. The Astros don't want to spend any of it. McLane seems pretty sick and tired, and I got the feeling he's told Hunsicker to rein things in, strike or no. But beyond that, you're not getting Al Leiter for Scott Linebrink. Tim Redding and a guy like Merced or Blum MINIMUM would be what it would take to bring in a free-agent-to-be third baseman or pitcher who could make a difference. Shit, they might even insist on Ensberg. Despite what Redding's done this year, there's still a lot of upside, and people know that. Remember, Redding wasn't even supposed to get called up last year. Regardless of his struggles, Redding is if anything, ahead of schedule. I wouldn't want to give him up to rent a player for two months to try and catch a team that it may not be possible to catch, anyway.
Yeah. There is that. St. Louis' six-run ninth Sunday got me down, you might say. Yes, Cubs suck, but games like that make you think--even if only briefly--"destiny." The Cards just look tough to beat right now. And despite the fact that the 'Stros are playing well, right now (have been actually, since Zaun's slam off Kim), only the most deluded 'Stros fan doesn't think this is a highly flawed team. So is it worth sacrificing a bit of the future for a questionable now?
And that doesn't even get into the idea of a strike. But really, I'd say that the fact that the Rolen deal was made at all (in addition to the Lofton deal, as well), means there is a new perception around baseball that maybe there won't be a strike. And NL Central title or no, that's good news. Off to see if the Marlins can get to Andy Benes, and count down the last few empty hours 'til the trade deadline

August 8, 2002--

Well well well, the Cardinals falling like an anvil dropped from a blimp, and the Astros in the midst of their best stretch of the year yields us a real live pennant race. Who'da thunk, one month ago, pre-Zaunslam? Even with the gutsy 4 -3 loss to the Marlins earlier today, the 'Stros have gotta be seen as the team with the momentum. 1-1/2 back of the Cardinals as I write, and in sole possession of second place. For all I know the Cards'll lose their eighth straight to Les Expos tonight, and the loss to the Fish will matter not at all. I guess that six-run ninth vs. the Cubs that Sunday night didn't mean s**t; and the Rolen deal may not be all it was cracked up to be. Not that I'm scared of the Braves or anything (and I'm not--at least in the regular season), but this upcoming weekend set with the Bravos may not even be that big, not if the Cardinals continue playing the way they have been. Sky falls and we go 1 - 2, we could be tied for first anyway. And with Glavine and Maddux not scheduled to pitch, we oughtta do better than that. Three cheers for each of three: 1)Kirk Saarloos, NL Rookie of the Month for July 2)Jeff Bagwell, tied with Ralph Kiner for 52nd on the all-time home run list 3)Jason Lane, at long last owner of a major league hit. I'll try to update Monday next time. As the Cro says, B-Y-E-

August 13, 2002--

Love my new ZoomBox. Over the next week or two I'll try to take it apart and see what other cool things I can get it to do. As I write, the Astros have just taken the second game vs. the Drubs, so all seems OK, but Christ, the Braves series. . .I don't feel anywhere as bad about Sunday's shellacking vs. the resurgent Millwood, as I do about Wagner's incendiary performance Friday night when Houston couldn't get the win vs. that scrub Darian, Damon, Damien, whatever it is, Moss. The 'Stros should have won the Braves series, and the reason why they didn't was Billy Wagner. OK. Cards have sort of righted their ship, and the Reds have perplexingly continued to play steady, competent baseball. Houston does not sit quite as well as they did last Wednesday night, but they are still in the running. After all, I was reading ESPN today, and they say 88 wins should take the division. Just when Lugo was getting hot again, right?

August 21, 2002--

Both the idea of a strike and the St. Louis Cardinals are going strong right now, and Houston's chances seem as slim as they have in a month. Losing 14 - 12 to the Cubs doesn't help, either. Can someone tell me why Jimmah removed Saarloos before the end of the third? No, he wasn't pitching well, but given the overworked bullpen, Williams should have at least told Saarloos to take one for the team. And with the way Puffer and Cruz pitched, if Saarloos had stayed in, the 'Stros might have won. As I write, Carlos Hernandez is done for the evening after a 4 hit, 8 strikeout, no run performance through six. That's what I thought we were gonna get last Sunday before the rains came against the Reds. Getting a healthy, effective Hernandez back is even better than trading for a guy like Ryan Dempster, eh Mr. Bowden? And speaking of healthy, I don't think Mlicki is. He'll look awesome for an inning or two, then lose his release point. (For a change) I'm with Williams on this one. Spare use from the pen is probably just what Super Dave needs. And a couple Cards losses back to back would make me feel better.

August 30, 2002--

Well, they're back. The strike has been averted. I wonder whether maybe Don Fehr hasn't lost a little bit of sway during the proceedings. He really was in a no-win situation. The players knew they couldn't strike--at least not for long, not in this post-9/11 politico/economic climate--and there's no doubt that they didn't WANT to strike, but Fehr couldn't appear to be conciliatory, or else he appears soft, especially considering that the players weren't really asking for anything. But then in staking a hard line, he looks like a son of a bitch who doesn't care about the game. I don't know; I haven't read anything like this, other than that some of the conference calls got pretty heated, but I just don't see Fehr giving in before the deadline if he'd had a united constituency. I think maybe the players were so united in NOT wanting to strike, that Fehr was handcuffed. When the next contract comes up in four years, we may look back on this and see it for the beginning of the end for Don Fehr and his particularly cold-blooded brinksmanship.
This must be the giving-the-devil-his-due column, coz now I'm gonna give credit to the Cardinals. They're not particularly good, but they sure do respond to pressure. As I write, the Cardinals have won their first two games after the strike deadline. It seems each time the Astros get close, the Cardinals pick it up a notch. And that's to be commended, no question. I still think the 'Stros will take the division, but the '02 Cards aren't the '01 Cubs; they're not gonna roll over for anyone. They have the ability to answer a losing streak of any particular length with a winning streak of equal magnitude. It's an interesting capability they have, and I'm sure we'll see it played out over the next 30 games. I feel a little bad for them, though: with the end of the threat of a walkout, so too ends the Cards' best chance to finish atop the division. Is this what Kevin Brown's been reduced to?

9/14/02 -- Showdown Series With Cards Turns Nightmarish
Cardinals 2 Astros 1

Well, Central Division naysayers, it looks like 88 wins won't win the Central after all. The Cards have pulled off another 5+ win streak, The Astros have refused to tank despite some bad luck and 90 games maybe even 91 is gonna be what it takes. Now that would seem to eliminate the home team, but stay with me--you can't call it likely, but Houston can still win this thing. First off, the Cards, as noted in this space previously, are streaky as hell. The current 6-game roll--especially since it's come against weak sisters Chicago and Milwaukee--makes me think the Redbirds might still have a five-game losing streak in them, as well.

Obviously, the Astros are gonna have to take care of business. But the seven remaining games vs. St. Louis gives them the chance to do just that. I had been hoping that Houston could enter their swing of games vs. the Cards 3-1/2 back. That way, taking 5 of 7 from them (difficult but attainable) and staying even in all other games (plus watching the Cards lose the extra game they need to play) forces the playoff. But now unless Milwaukee shocks the baseball world by playing competent baseball tonight and tomorrow, that isn't gonna happen. The 'Stros are gonna either have to better than 5 of 7, or get some help. Or both.

But I'll say it again, it can happen. Houston has been in the crucible for three weeks now, while St. Louis has had the comfortable lead, playing chumps. Losing Friday night to the Dodgers made every game until the Cards lose two a must-win. I hate to count Tuesday's game a win, but it would be a reversal of form if Wade Miller did not get it done, and if he does, htat'll be four straight do or die the 'Stros will have taken. Look at Monday night's Rockies game. With Munro lifted for ineffectiveness after 2-2/3, and with Dotel unavailable, the team had every reason to throw in the towel down 4 - 0. But somehow they got it done. That's what you call training grounds. I think St. Louis will find Houston more than adequately prepared to face them. I gotta say the Cards may find that things have gotten serious quick once those games start. I can hardly wait.

Kudos to Jason Lane for his first major league homer (and boy was it big) and to Brad Lidge for his first major league win, both coming Monday night. Man, Hampton doesn't even get respect, anymore.

September 18, 2002 -- The dream is over. If splitting with the Cards didn't do it, last night's oh-so-close loss to the (gads!) Brewers finally put the knife in deep. Houston will be looking on as the playoffs commence. I swear I thought they were gonna get it done, but in the end, Alou and Castilla's bats could not be replaced. Not that keeping 'em would've done any good, if you've checked out the seasons they had for Chicago and Atlanta. So maybe the 'Stros were doomed from the get-go, and NOTHING Hunsicker might've done would have helped. But disappointment breeds questions:
What about the power we expected from Ward?
What about Ward's atrocious defense?
How can Hidalgo have been so good in 2000?
What about 3 4 and 5 starters to back up what might be the premier one-two starting tandem in the majors (if you don't overrate strikeouts)?
Why did they bring the woefully underequipped Kirk Saarloos to the major leagues this year again? Complete game mirages aside, young and underpowered is not gonna win you many games in the majors. A much craftier, 26-year-old version of Saarloos might have had a chance. Two years at New Orleans'll do him good, if we haven't ruined him.
Why did Williams overuse the bullpen so much? Two complete games over 150? That's a joke. I'm worried about Dotel for next year. Take a look at setup guys and closers over the last 4 or 5 years and what they did the year after pitching 100 innings or more.
And since I'm bitching about Jimmah; where's the running game, Mr. Williams? The Astros are not the fast kind of team that so many clubs in their history have been, and I don't expect them to be: Minute Maid doesn't reward that kind of stuff the way the Astrodome did. And the personnel is getting older. But Williams' managing style is elephantine. Start the runners, Jimy.
Anyway, this team is probably sitting exactly where it deserves to be. Some good stuff happened this year, and I am as optimistic about next year as I was last year, so I'll quit my bitching and save the good stuff for next week. Maybe I'll get to talk about Oswalt's 20th win. And yeah, try to get into a frame of mind that'll allow me to root for the Redbirds. If the 'Stros don't win it, they should.

September 27, 2002 -- Kinda playing out the streak here, just like the big club. Sorry to see that Oswalt hasn't won his twentieth by now. They're gonna give him another chance at it Sunday against San Fran. I'm thinking he might find it more difficult to get that win vs. the Giants than the Brewers. Now Carlos Hernandez has a "nerve impingement" and tendinitis. It's been one thing after another with that guy this year. Forget Ward's power outage. Forget Biggio's mediocre year. What would the Astros' record be if Carlos Hernandez had been healthy and effective this year? It says he's 7 - 5, but I can't remember 12 games he pitched in, let alone got a decision, honest. Well I'm all about second chances. Oswalt Miller Hernandez and whoever else for 2003. Question: does the outing Jeriome Robertson had against the Cardinals last weekend, what with three homers against him in four at-bats, totally remove him from consideration come spring training? Seriously, cause he did seem promising the last couple years at Round Rock and New Orleans. Like Wilfredo Rodriguez, he gives up Bonds' 70th homer last year--never seen again. Hopefully that won't happen to Jeriome. Anyone think it ironic that Ward homers twice in a meaningless game after the 'Stros are out of contention?

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