Found July 16, 2012 on
Fox Sports Houston:
San Diego Padres
Much is being made of the Astros thirteen game road losing streak. That is only natural. It IS a long streak. But the current road trip still has seven games to play. Not only will that streak end, but the Astros may have a chance to actually split or win the series opening in San Diego Monday night.
For one thing the Padres record is only slightly better than the Astros'. The Padres are a sub .500 team at home...ten games under .500 in fact. But perhaps mostly important are field dimensions and pitching match ups.
In San Francisco no matter who the Astros pitched the Giants had a better starter. The Giants had a stronger middle of the batting order and frankly just had a better club. Hey, they won the World Series only two years ago and are holding down first place in the NL West now. That was a good team that took all three from the Astros over the weekend. And don't forget, they needed extra innings to take one of them and then closed the series with a one run win on Sunday. The Astros may have been beaten, but they were certainly not humbled.
As for the Padre series Petco Park is a pitcher's park. Dimensions in the outfield are not conducive for many home runs. The Astros don't hit many so that won't put their offensive game at a disadvantage. And while the four Padre starters are serviceable they cannot be compared with what the Giants offered. Kip Wells, Ross Ohlendorf, Clayton Richards and Edinson Volquez will face J.A. Happ, Jordan Lyles, Wandy Rodriguez and Lucas Harrell in that order. That does not give the Padres any sort of guaranteed advantage. It most definitely does not at spacious Petco Park.
With no pennant hopes on the line and a club struggling why should you--Astros Fan-- pay much attention to what the team is doing now? If you want to know what the Astros have and whether there is reasonable hope for improvement from the current players you need to watch them play. You can't make reasonable decisions just by checking the box score. You have to SEE what players do at bat, on defense and on the mound.
For awhile you will have a chance to see more from shortstop Marwin Gonzalez. In his sporadic playing time he has looked good. The switch hitting shortstop may have wider range than the currently injured incumbent, Jed Lowrie. And he may be a better hitter than expected entering the season.
You, like Astro management, can evaluate players like Scott Moore, and Brian Bixler who are on the club based on merit while playing at Oklahoma City. They may not be in long term plans, but are trying to take advantage of the chances offered. Add Justin Maxwell to the "intriguing, but unproven" list, too. He has good power, but will he be able to get enough other hits?
You can evaluate players like Chris Johnson, Brian Bogusevic, J.D. Martinez, Jordan Schafer and even Jose Altuve to decide if they are going to be able to earn the right to be long time major leaguers and maybe even stars--or if they simply fall into that large pool of players who hang around for awhile, but never really develop to help a team become a big winner.
Many games must be played to properly evaluate. To do it right every player needs to be given a lot of time. Judging an offensive player only after he has faced the Giants pitching staff is hardly any more fair than making a final decision on a pitcher after he has only faced the Yankees or Rangers.
All of this is why continuing to pay attention to the Astros in this series with the Padres is important for fans. It will be a fairer test to see if there IS any progress being made with the current group of players. For the Astros to re-build to success as soon as possible some of this group has to be part of that foundation.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Houston Astros entered tonight having lost 13 of their last 14 games as well as their last 13 road games. To say that a win was unexpected is something of an understatement, even though they were playing the slightly less lowly Padres.
One certainly wouldn't blame an Astros fan for having some fun at the expense of their struggling team, especially on Twitter where...
The Houston Astros will find out more about the extent of Jed Lowrie's ankle injury Tuesday, and at that point, they will go about determining whether the job belongs to Marwin Gonzalez or if a "help wanted" sign goes up. General manager Jeff Luhnow said Monday prior to the Astros' 2-0 win over the San Diego Padres that the club would consider an outside option...
The Astros lost two of their most productive hitters in one day. Before Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Giants, they placed both shortstop Jed Lowrie and catcher Jason Castro on the disabled list, taking two more key pieces out of a struggling lineup. Lowrie, injured in a collision at second base Saturday, was diagnosed with a right ankle sprain and damage to the peroneal nerve, which...
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Houston Astros placed infielder Jed Lowrie and catcher Jason Castro on the disabled list on Sunday.
Lowrie was injured during a collision at second base in the third inning of Houston's 12-inning 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. Lowrie suffered a sprained right ankle and damaged a nerve in his right leg.
Castro has been bothered by...
The Houston Astros have placed shortstop Jed Lowrie and catcher Jason Castro on the disabled list, the team announced Sunday. Lowrie suffered a sprained ankle and nerve damage in his lower leg after a collision with Giants OF Gregor Blanco at second base Saturday night. Lowrie's leg bent as he turned away when Blanco slid into his foot. Infielder Marwin Gonzalez, who returned...
SAN FRANCISCO—Astro’s number-three hitter Jed Lowrie left the clubhouse on crutches following Saturday’s second base smash-up with the Giants’ Gregor Blanco.
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Here’s what I’ll remember about the Houston Astros in the National League.
• Barry Bonds hitting home run #70 at Enron Field, and the fans booing the hell out of their pitcher and manager for refusing to pitch to him.
• Will Clark’s first at-bat.
• They played at AT&T Park on my birthday this year. Matt Cain pitched that game. I was in the bleachers.
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- J.A. Happ and the Houston bullpen ended a long road losing streak for the Astros.
Happ and three relievers combined on a five-hitter, Scott Moore drove in two runs and Houston beat the San Diego Padres 2-0 Monday night to snap a 13-game slide away from home.
Jose Altuve doubled and scored twice to help Houston stop its longest road skid since dropping 14 straight...
Yesterday, the Giants completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros at home to begin the second half. It’s no extraordinary feat — the Astros are now 9-35 on the road this season, which is shockingly terrible (especially considering that they have a winning record at home). But there’s something to be said for winning the games that are supposed to be won — and the Giants...
Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, isn't fast, but what he lacks in speed he makes up in LB's, and they come in handy when having to run through catcher Chris Snyder, trying to protect home plate.
The Houston Astros are on the verge of the longest single-season road losing streak in franchise history but might have a favorable matchup in their attempt to avoid that dubious feat.
The Astros defeated San Diego Padres right-hander Kip Wells in his return to the majors last month and will try to record another win over the Houston native on Monday night.
A 3-2 loss to San Francisco...