H-Town Sports

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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Calendar Changes Over, Garner Still an Idiot

Scrap Iron continued to defy logic, intelligence and rational thought by incorporating Wandy Rodriguez in the Astros' Opening Day rotation (at the #4 slot, no less). Jesus Ortiz, clearly excited by the inclusion of a non-white on the 25-man roster, determined that Wandy was "markedly better" on Saturday, allowing only ten hits over six innings to the mighty KC Royals. There is a shred of credibility in this statement, since Wandy allowed 22 hits in 17 innings in spring training and had more walks than strikeouts. Regardless, his numbers are consistently awful, and with the aging Woody Williams and unproven Chris Sampson in the rotation, mental case Brad Lidge in the closer's role and impotent Adam Everett, Brad Ausmus and Craig Biggio in the everyday lineup, Astros' fans should enjoy the Chase for 3000 because it is going to be the only reason to watch games after July 1 in Houston.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Season Over--We Lost Zeke!

Opening Day is still a week away, but Houston fans may as well fold up shop before the first pitch. The 2007 season is over. Ezequiel Astacio is no longer an Astro. And in the cruelest twist of irony, Tom Hicks has snatched him up. Our worst fears have been realized. Sure, Roger Clemens says he won't pitch for the Rangers, but so what? They got Zeke, man!

Zeke's numbers in the bigs--86 2/3 IP, 107 H, 63 R (58 Earned), 72 K, and 31 BB.

Talent like that doesn't just grow on trees. We'd better have a big trade in the works to replace what Astacio would have brought to to the club.

Seriously though, let's also note that all three (3) "young arms" acquired in the Wagner deal are now officially with other teams or pumping gas. I know that trading Wags was more of a salary dump/ridding the team of a malcontent, but it bears mention.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hidalgo Gone

In other news, the sky is blue and the Earth rotates around the sun. It ain't 2000 anymore, and hitting .136 is going to get you canned, regardless of how much Milo loves saying your name.

Too bad to see him go, but the 'Stros didn't have a choice. Scott and Lane are hitting far too well to justify Hidalgo's presence on the big league roster. Oh, and there's some kid in Round Rock who might merit consideration for a spot on the squad as well. Not now, of course; he only hit .571 in spring training, so he's clearly not ready.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Current Roster in Kissimmee

The 'Stros are starting to trim the roster in earnest; they are now down to 43 players in their major league camp. Once they get rid of that pesky, no-talent Hunter Pence, they can really kick off spring training.

I just threw up in my mouth.

Pence to Round Rock Already A Done Deal?

I guess hitting .652 just doesn't cut the mustard anymore. Today's Chronicle features an infuriating article that features Astros management more or less assuring the fans that Hunter Pence is bound for Round Rock, regardless of what the rest of the spring holds. Well, he isn't hitting 1.000, so I guess Pence should be demoted. Makes total sense, right?

What? I've said it once, and I'll say it again: How can you field your "best team" (as Garner says he intends to do) and not include the guy who is easily having the best spring? This is maddening.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Clemens--$4,000,000.00 Per Month?

That's what SI.com is reporting. As noted in the article, New York and Boston probably wouldn't even blink at that rate. Uncle Drayton, however, might get a bit of sticker shock.

Nevertheless, I cannot imagine that McLane would lose a bidding war over Clemens unless it got completely out of control. And for that matter, I don't think Houston would lose the Rocket over money. We'd lose him because of (a) not contending and/or (b) not having Pettitte. The latter can't be changed, and I think it may ultimately be the deciding factor in where Clemens pitches come June.

Battle Red Blog RSS Up and Running

Thanks to Kevin for pointing out that Battle Red Blog's RSS function wasn't working. We should have it resolved now, so be sure to sign up for all the latest unintelligible ranting about your Houston Texans over at Battle Red Blog now.

You Won't Get This In The Bronx, Rocket

I'm undecided as to whether this is charming, frightening, or embarrassing. I'm going to go with the first option.

Hey, whatever it takes to get the Katy Rocket to return to the Houston rotation. I for one am certainly willing to offer up our esteemed owner's noggin if it means Clemens laces 'em up for the 'Stros one more time. Given his appreciation for the bottom line and the revenue that Roger Clemens brings in, I'd bet that Uncle Drayton would sacrifice a broken rib or fractured skull for another "cha-ching" season of gate receipts for Clemens starts too.

Jason Lane: Rising From the Ashes?

Zuh? Jason Lane is hitting .400 with 3 HR this spring? Is there really a chance that Gerry Hunsicker's Can't Miss Kid could be in RF come Opening Day? I doubt it, yet you wonder if Luke Scott is starting to hear footsteps. Nevertheless, it says here that Scott has to get the nod in RF, purely based upon his numbers last year. Lane's spring stats are impressive, but it's not like he's facing Carpenter in September in Kissimmee.

Backe Returns

No, not to the rotation. Not yet anyway. But in a development that is nothing short of amazing, Brandon Backe will begin throwing off the mound today, a mere six (6) months after Tommy John surgery. Wow.

Tommy John recovery typically takes twelve to eighteen months, so I'm a bit wary that Backe might be pushing too hard. Still, the idea that there's even a 1% chance he could contribute this season has to be considered a boon to the 'Stros rotation. Call me a sucker, but I'll grasp at any straws that could keep Houston fans from having to see Wandy trot out to the hill every fifth day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

This Diamond is Awfully, Awfully Rough

T-Poo's nostalgic journey back to the Doggie Era has hit a bit of a snag, and in baseball terms, it's a rather substantial one. Richard Hidalgo cannot hit a baseball. Shocking, isn't it? I mean, he had such a stellar season last year...when...he...was...out...of...baseball. Oh - hmmm...well, maybe he'll rekindle the magic of 2004 when he...hit .228 for the Mets. [Blogger scratches head].

Doggie is getting plenty of ABs (13) but not exactly producing (zero hits). Of course, hitting is not necessarily a prerequisite for entrenching yourself in the everyday lineup (Adam Everett is 1-10), but the fact that Dave Borkowski is tied with Dickie in RBIs and he is tied with Zeke Astacio and Paul Estrada in the Hits category is certainly not encouarging. Eventually (read: today), Gar and T-Poo (at least on paper) will have to end this ridiculous dog-and-pony show and give some (read: all) of these ABs are to legitimate candidates for a starting OF position (Scott, Lane and Pence). In the meantime, tune into the Astros Radio Network on your lunch break today if you want to hear Milo trot out the "Doggie" call because it is not likely to be around much longer.

Battle Red Blog

Scott has mentioned this on a couple of occasions, but I can't imagine anyone reads or listens to him. Therefore, I'm going to say it again.

The minds behind H-Town Sports have begun a new blog that deals exclusively with your Houston Texans. We were asked to do so by the good people at SB Nation, who are undertaking the noble effort to have every major team or sport covered by fans. A couple of their NFL team writers saw our work here and decided a team as wretched as the Texans nevertheless deserved a whole site to be criticized (and occasionally praised) by a couple of emotionally-crippled smart alecks.

Hence, we give you Battle Red Blog! Same judgmental, angry Texans coverage, but with better management and links courtesy of the guys at SB Nation. And, of course, it's still free. The best part of it, in my opinion? It'll make it easier for you to read the thoughts of other fans from other teams. Specifically, we can't wait until we can get into it with the writers from our AFC South rivals. And the Cowboys. Oh, how we loathe the Cowboys...

What does this mean for H-Town Sports? Well, not a whole lot, really. We'll keep ranting about everything that tickles our collective fancy here, save the Texans. If you want to read about my ever-changing position on David Carr, head over to Battle Red Blog. If you want to read about how Scott will still defend Charley Casserly to his dying breath, head over to Battle Red Blog. If you want to read thoughtful analysis about the NFL Draft, head...somewhere else. But if you want to read about how I will down a bottle of Drano if the Texans draft Brady Quinn, take a gander at Battle Red Blog.

Hope to see everyone there. It's been a blast thus far, and it's only getting better.

That Pence Kid Does Not Suck

After a nice break, H-Town Sports is back. And what better time to return, now that the 'Stros have begun spring training in earnest? Seriously, we are less than a month away from Opening Day. I'm beginning to get giddy. Well, as giddy as I can get, anyway.

And the Astros seem to be doing everything they can to temper my excitement. By all indications, Hunter Pence will not be making the big league club. That's right, the same Hunter Pence who is hitting .750 in spring training. Now, I know spring training at-bats are not necessarily indicative of immediate major league success (see, e.g., Luke Scott tearing up Kissimmee in 2005), but wow.

Nevertheless, T-Poo & Co. want Pence to play everyday, which is something they don't think he can do with the 'Stros. I'll grant you that the starting outfield is probably set with Carlos Lee in LF, Chris Burke in CF, and (probably) Luke Scott in RF. But don't you want your best players on the major league roster? Can't Garner figure out a way to give Pence a couple of starts each week by keeping Burke and/or Scott fresh? Why sentence the kid to face minor league pitching if you don't have to? It doesn't make any sense to me.

Free Pence!