H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Astros Lineup Idea

Much has been made of the fact that the Astros are tied with Pittsburgh for last-place in the National League in stolen bases (12) so far this season. Phil Garner has admitted on the record that Wily Taveras (3 for 6 in stolen base attempts) is being prevented by the coaching staff from running as much because the Astros' braintrust does not want Berkman coming to the plate with first base open for fear that the opposing team will choose to pitch around Berkman, who is unquestionably Houston's most dangerous hitter. The result is that the Astros #2 spot in the lineup is being manned by their sixth-best OBP guy, whose only true offensive asset is his speed, which is beingly openly ignored in the event that he reaches base because of his spot in the order. This is clearly an ignorant decision, and here's the easy fix: Brad "The Family Man" Ausmus.

The Family Man is currently leading the NL with a .451 OBP but has scored only six runs. With one of the worst offensive SS in MLB, Adam Everett, hitting behind Ausmus in the order, pitchers are likely letting Ausmus swing away knowing that effectively two pitchers are slated to hit behind him in the order. One would think Ausmus might get considerably less to hit in front of Berkman, but why not try it? According to MLB.com, Berkman has grounded into only four DP so far in 2006 and has a 22:48 ground out:air out ratio, which alleviates my biggest concern - that Ausmus would clog up the basepaths. Meanwhile, Taveras in the #7 spot would be free to run wild in front of Everett, whose speed may also then become somewhat more of a factor as well. Ausmus has 725 career AB's in the 2nd spot and sported a .343 OBP there, which is quite respectable. At some point Garner & Co. are going to have to think outside the box to spark this offense because it is quite clear that there is no budding batting champ knocking down the door from Round Rock, and Miggy Tejada's window to Houston likely closed this winter.

(Note: The picture included in this post is dedicated to Tuffy.)


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