Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/9/12

It's hard to take stock at the halfway point of the Astros' season when there were not really any clear

goals. This team was never expected to contend for anything, and sitting 33-53, that's been justified. With

a rebuilding club under new management, one of the goals has certainly been met.

"We've had a chance to give our young players who could be here for a while a chance to play every day,"

first-year general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

But as the Astros closed the first half of the season with a 5-3 loss to the Brewers in 10 innings,

there have been mixed signals about whether this can ultimately be the core of the next great Astros teams.

The middle infield has done well with Jose Altuve an All-Star. The pitching staff has struggled, while the

outfield has been last for most of the season in collective offensive production.

"We've seen that the challenge with a young team is really inconsistency," Luhnow said. "There are times

when they all play at a high level and there are times when they each individually struggle and

collectively obviously they're struggling here toward the break."

The second half will be about more of the same as the National League's youngest team to open the season

could get even younger. Carlos Lee is already gone and Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers are rumored to be

potentially on the way out via trade by July 31.

Trading Lee opens a spot for first baseman Brett Wallace if the Astros choose to call him up after the

break. Doing so would allow them to see if he fits in the mix for first base and designated hitter openings

next year as the Astros move to the American League.

But at virtually every position, the second half will be mostly about taking inventory for the future,

which is becoming a familiar, and at times frustrating, refrain in Houston.


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