#44 Roy Oswalt - SP
With a 3.55 ERA as of June, Roy hasn't really been himself this year. Maybe the pressure of living up to a 73-million-dollar contract is weighing heavily on his shoulders, or maybe it's the pressure of being the LONE ace on the team that has him trying perhaps a little too hard, being more aggressive than usual. One game about a week ago against an AL team, his pitch count in the first 2 innings was around 24 strikes, 8 balls. That's what some might call "pounding the strike zone". He's been the victim of four (4) no-decisions so far this year, 3 of those coming in his first 3 starts in June. Though Roy's record is 7-5, the Astros are 8-8 in his starts. I guess we'll have to wait another year for that Cy Young.
#43 Chris Sampson - SP
Sampson was great last year in the few starts he got, and was misused in the bullpen. His place on any team should be as starter. As a former shortstop, he helps his own cause in the field and at the plate. As far as I'm concerned, Sampson is our #2 starter. Keep him pitching the day after Roy, and we have a potential bang-bang rotation. Considering he has the potential to be our next Oswalt (if he wants to stick around that long), it is only fitting that he wears #43. A prime Rookie of the Year candidate. He won't win, but should get some votes...if Pence doesn't win them all.
#23 Jason Jennings - SP
Saying goodbye to Willy, Hirsh, and Taylor was particularly hard, especially since their fanbases were beginning to develop in Houston. And I can't say Jennings received a particularly warm welcome here. Especially since we lost three potential favorites in exchange for a pitching "prospect" and one mediocre pitcher for ONE YEAR, who turned out to be "damaged goods." Granted, Jennings hasn't allowed more than 4 earned runs in any of his 8 starts this season, the fact of the matter is, of those 8 starts, he's had 3 decisions. Meaning, he's the lucky pitcher not getting run support this season. Unlike Clemens, though, he's not coping. If he's not going to get run support, he's really going to have to keep the ERA down.
#51 Wandy Rodriguez - SP
Much improved over last year. He's still a losing pitcher, but once again, probably the victim of little run support. He's kept the runs way down this year, never reaching a 5.00 ERA so far this year. The only reason he ended up with 19 wins over the last 2 years was because he was the pitcher getting most of the run support...probably because the team felt he needed it to win games. As much as I screamed and yelled "at" him last year that the Astros needed to rid of him, I still like him better than this Woody character.
#29 Woody Williams - SP
Lately, Woody's been taking the heat for the team's losses when he starts, but lately it's been the bullpen giving up. Then again, the Wood-man is up to a 5.75 ERA. Then again, in half of his 10 losses, he allowed 3 earned runs or less. So maybe it's another run support issue. Either way, I don't know and don't care what we paid for this guy. Whatever we paid, it was too much.
#58 Dave Borkowski - RP
Not much to update on Bork because he doesn't really get to play much. Lately he's been victim to Garner's new, unorthodox method of bullpen-ology. Note to Phil: If you start the season allowing a guy to only pitch in large losses or large wins, don't expect him to deliver with a marginal lead or in a tie game. It takes time to get back to being "clutch".
#36 Brian Moehler - RP
Ah, the former Tampa Bay starter who only gets to pitch if the team is losing. Badly.
#47 Trever Miller - RP
"IIIIT'S MILLER TIME!" Boys, don't leave anybody on base for this guy. He'll make certain they score! And he'll also make sure YOU get the loss for it!! MWAHAHA!
#63 Stephen Randolph - RP
Sparkling numbers in AAA does NOT equal sparkling numbers in MLB. Go away Randolph, and take your 17.36 ERA with you.
#21 Rick White - RP
Okay, Tricky Ricky was brilliant before his first stint on the DL. Then he came back and tried to play through another injury--not so brilliant. Now, well...let's just say it's too early to tell.
#50 Chad Qualls - RP
Right now, sans Lidge, he's the most reliable, dependable guy in the BP. So, naturally, Phil decides to stop using him so often. Enter, Dan "HR" Wheeler.
#35 Dan Wheeler - CP
And the 6.55 ERA dude was pissed about "losing" the closer's role to 2.34 ERA Lidge? I don't think even Lidge has given up 3 homeruns in the span of 6 batters in the same game, Dan.
#54 Brad Lidge - CP (DL)
Before being placed gently on the DL, he managed to post the lowest ERA of the Astros' pitchers at 2.34...which remains the lowest. He had recently regained his closer's role and was just getting back to form, and away he goes again. I guess we're stuck with Loose Wheels for the rest of the month.
#11 Brad Ausmus
Well, he definitely didn't replicate last year's April totals, but this month, along with Lamb, he's been on fire...well, on fire for Brad Ausmus. Batting .347 in June, he just recently snapped a 7-game hitting streak when Phil made him bat in the 9-hole for interleague play. The Lamb-7/Ausmus-8 team was really gettin-er-dun. So, only to be fair, Phil breaks them up.
#13 Eric Munson
His power at the bottom of the order every 3 days or so really helped the lineup last year. I assume he's been called up for his left-handed bat, because, as far as I know, "Q" was doing just fine at the plate AND he's a natural catcher, unlike converted Munson. So far, Munson has 1 homerun. Granted, he, too, was just on a 5-game hitting streak, it was like a hit per game. He's supposedly going to get a couple starts in a row every time through the rotation, catching for any pitcher but Oswalt (Brad being Roy's personal catcher). Allowing Brad the time off seems to be helping Brad's batting average.
#17 Lance Berkman - 1B/RF
Big Puma. Fat Elvis. The many personalities of Lance Berkman. You never know which one you're gonna get. He probably never knows which one you're gonna get. He's been lukewarm all season. Everyone's waiting for The Lance to break out of this slump. A .261 average is not 3-hole material.
#7 Craig Biggio - 2B
Biggio's quest for 3,000 is NOT hurting the team in the way everyone thinks. With this 9-game road trip, and the big number just within reach, the club has been hesitant to play the vet on the road to ensure his feat happens at home. Biggio has been on a tear lately, and resting him now might mean resting a very useful bat. I, like all other Astros fans, hope he gets #3,000 at MMP, but for heaven's sake, unless you're giving up the season, don't rest Bidge's hot bat for the sake of the fans. I suppose this message comes too late, though, with only 2 road games left... Besides, Biggio gets the call today, only 4 away. Bidge, if you're gonna get #3000 today, you better make it meaningful!
#4 Eric Bruntlett - SS
A very, very, very adequate interim shortstop for Adam Everett. Now if only he could get his bat going like Everett's was before Carlos Lee broke him.
#14 Morgan Ensberg - 3B/PH
Lately, Morgan has proved two things: One, When he starts, he likes to end rallies. And two, he's stellar off the bench (3 of his 7 home runs are pinch-homeruns). I think we found ourselves a right-handed pinch-hitter.
#26 Mike Lamb - 1B/3B
Lamb-o was hot...for like, a week. He just had a 10-game hitting streak in which he had 7 multi-hit games snapped last night (vs. MIL). Towards the end there, he was beginning to cool off, going 5 for 16 in the last 4 games of his "streak". He has always been very good off the bench, but like Loretta, began to heat up so much, that it became necessary to have his bat in the lineup every day.
#8 Mark Loretta - 1B/2B/3B/SS
I've only said good things about this guy since his acquisition. Hell, we get any former Red Sox, and I'll likely be saying good things about the guy. I'll dub this as THE smartest acquisition the Astros made in the off season. They should be paying THIS guy $100 million over 6 years for playing as many positions as he does, and playing as hard as he does. My only problem with him is his speed, rather, lack thereof. I can't understand how a guy so small could be so slow.
#28 Adam Everett - SS (DL)
Before Carlos ran over him, Adam had managed to get his .190 average up to .228, having his best month thus far. His glove will be missed. Luckily, we have Bruntlett to ease the pain.
#2 Chris Burke - CF/RF/2B
Burkie. Your 2006 bat is sorely missed.
#45 Carlos Lee - LF
4/13 Win: 3 HRs including a Grand Slam = $1 million
4/17 Win: 4 of the team's 6 RBI = $1 million
6/19 Win: The game difference of 4 RBI = $1 million
60 RBI by June = $1 million
4 Stolen Bases for the big man by June = $1 million
$5 million earned. $95 million to go. Good thing he has 6 years to pay it off. Note: I should subtract at least $1 million for running over Everett on the only play Lee's hustled to make all year...but $95 million in 5.5 years is a lot of ground to cover as it is.
#19 Orlando Palmeiro - LF/RF/PH
Actually, this year he's proven to be the exact opposite of Mo. EXACT opposite. He's batting .230 in 39 pinch-ABs and .363 in 5 starts (8 for 22).
#9 Hunter Pence - CF
The "kid" has more in common with Roy Hobbs than just the jersey number (Pence's favorite movie is The Natural). Since being called up in April (after spending less than 1 month in AAA) Pence leads all Major League rookies in just about every offensive category. His enthusiasm appears to be starting to rub off on his team mates. If only we had 8 more Hunter Pences to stick in the lineup every day, just think what a team we'd be! Dare I say shoe-in for Rookie of the Year, barring any season-ending injury?
#30 Luke Scott - RF
It looks like Pence is headed for a more eventful rookie year than Luke Scott put up last year...if that's possible. Luke may be falling into the "sophomore curse" notion this year. He had a rocky April, but a respectable May. Now in June, he is falling back into the depths of a sub-.200 average for the month. Granted, it would take quite a few goose eggs to get his season total so low, let's hope he finds his 2006 stride soon.