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Friday, March 31, 2006

Houston Astros--2006 Campaign

As I think I have sufficiently recovered from the massive stroke I suffered after reading Scott's prediction that the Reds will finish at .500, I will endeavor to write my own prediction column on the Astros' chances for the upcoming season. In short, I'm calling 87 wins, a narrow loss of the NL Central crown to the Cards, and yet another wild card berth for the good guys. This crowning of the Cards pains me greatly, as I am loathe to predict good things for any team that features a starting pitcher known more for his love of booze, pastries, and fighting than his productivity on the field. That said, here's the answer key:

1. Cards 89-73
2. 'Stros 87-75
3. Brewers 80-82
4. Cubs 75-87
5. Reds 74-88
6. Pirates 73-89

The Cards shouldn't be as good as they were last year; losing Morris will hurt more than people think. As I stated in a comment to one of CincinScotti's posts yesterday, I foresee a meltdown of epic proportions for Brandon Backe. I'm hoping there's some way for Garner to trick him into thinking every start is in the heat of the playoffs. Perhaps some form of hypnotism will work. I do think the Katy Rocket will return in June; the 'Stros should be right around .500 and close enough that he'll be able to rationalize doing it. My final big prediction is that we see Chris Burke making the majority of the starts at SS in the second half. Or he's traded. One or the other, anyway.

With regard to the rest of MLB, my crystal ball says the Braves win the NL East (picking against them is sheer lunacy despite the seeming improvement of the Mets) and the Padres win the NL West. The AL West will go to Oakland, the AL Central to Chicago, the AL East to the Red Sawx, and the wild card to Cleveland. The World Series will feature redemption for the 'Stros as they beat Boston in seven games.

I fully realize this playoff scenario is a bit far-fetched, but I have decided I want to be the idiot they interview on the local news trumpeting "I told you so!" when the 'Stros win the World Series. There has to be one such face-painted moron who "never stopped believing," and I'll be damned if it's not gonna be this guy.


Blogger Scott said...

Put down the Kool-Aid, Tim. The Rocket is either going to be a Yankee or a member of AARP. The 2006 Astros have great potential to possess less dominant pitching and more pitiful offense than the 2005 version, which does not bode well for the Rocket's return.

Adam Everett's clearly got pictures of someone of great importance in the Astros' front office; therefore, Chris Burke will be dealt before the deadline in a deal that the Astros will regret for years. I agree that the Cards are due to break down a bit, and because of that, I think that at least 5 teams in the Central will be within 10 games of 1st at the end of the season. The 2006 NL Central race will be much like the NFL wildcard race - competitive and wide-open among several very mediocre teams.

Mon Apr 03, 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I agree with much of what you said, but there's no way this year's offense will be more anemic than last year's. I think it is statistically impossible. We've added Wilson and have Berkman for a full season. Unless you think the loss of Jose Vizcaino is really the death knell for the franchise, of course...

Mon Apr 03, 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

You've still got 3 automatic outs in the everday lineup at 7-8-9. Biggio cannot be expected to have a better season than he had in 2005. Taveras is a complete unknown who, to me, is a prime candidate for a sophomore slump. Berkman 100% healty all year is obviously a major boon. Ensberg has a lot to prove after a miserable NLCS/WS and 2006 spring. Wilson and Lane, to me, are the keys to the offense. If they each go .270/.330/.480 with 25+ HR and 80+ RBI, then the Astros can compete. The biggest concern is that there is zero positional talent in the high majors in the event that Ensberg/Lane/Wilson/Taveras falter. Oh wait, they just acquired Joe McEwing...never mind.

Mon Apr 03, 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Joe McEwing will be a postseason hero. He'll be the new Sid Bream. Just you wait.

Mon Apr 03, 01:04:00 PM  

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