I still haven’t figured out how to root for this year’s Astros team. Unlike the sniveling masses, I refuse to throw in the towel on this season and bide my time until the Texans season starts, grumbling about delusional owners and Baseball Prospectus grades for our farm system. But what’s the alternative? There ain’t no sunshine when my baby’s gone, and there ain’t no soaring bright hope to focus on this year. Bourn is still thrilling, and the young pitcher are showing some signs of maturity, but hell, if that’s all you can hang your hat on, what do you do during the other eight batters?
In the previous franchise doldrums in the early nineties, I was a fan hooked on the adventures of Gonzo and Baggy and Bidge, with little regard for the fact that the latter two would someday form the nucleus of a playoff (and World Series) team. If they won, great. If they lost, oh well. Besides, at that point in my life, I was more concerned with figuring out whether Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Starburst were the best path to a young girl’s heart. I never quite figured that answer out, and by the time the Astros were good again, that girl was gone to New York to become a ballerina, and I had a less candy-centric view of romance.
Obviously, it would be treasonous to root against my hometown team. But even as it regards the players on this team who infuriate me (Pence and Lee), I can’t even bring myself to root against them. When Pence hits a walk-off double, I’m happy for the dopey little guy. I even allow myself the hope that he’s turned some sort of corner, that’s he’s finally figured it out and will finally live up to the potential that’s been thrust upon him.
As has sometimes been mentioned here, the root word of fan is fanatic. I love the city of Houston (kiss my humid ass, Alkie), and I love the Astros. I’ll be a fan through thick and thin. But during this thin time, I just don’t know if I can muster enough gusto to be a true fanatic.
Tuesday, May 11th, 7:15 CST
Brett Myers (1-2, 3.60) v. Brad Penny (3-2, 1.99)
Eliza Dushku is an actress whose most recent show, Dollhouse, occasionally featured her getting punched (though not in the way that Limey is currently punching himself). Up until recently, Dushku dated Brad Penny, because she has either bad vision or bad taste. So I guess what I’m getting at is that both starting pitchers know a thing or two about women who’ve been hit.
Penny’s been impressive this year, having hooked himself up to the John Smoltz Memorial Rejuvenation Machine that’s kept in the basement of Busch Stadium. Or it could just be that being in Missouri, without all the distractions and moderately attractive people in California, he’s had more time to focus on his craft. One of those two, to be sure. Against the Astros of years past, Penny has been formidable, with a .217 BA against him; however, Bourn, Blum and Lee all hit him well.
As much as I’m still queasy about Myers as a person, Myers as a pitcher has been a hoss, staying on the mound deep into games and relieving the burden on the ‘pen. The Co-ards do hit him rather well, with Skippy Schumacher, Ryan Ludwick and Matt “Oww My Balls” Holliday as the most common offenders.
Wednesday, May 12th, 7:15 CT
Yellow Piss Field
Wandy Rodriguez (1-4, 4.59) v. Kyle Lohse (0-2, 5.45)
Paging Brad Arnsberg! Brad Arnsberg, please pick up the white courtesy phone! In our heart of hearts, we all kinda hoped that 2009 wasn’t a fluke for Wandy. I don’t think it’s fair to say that it is at this point, but it’s starting to look like an outlier at least. Roller Coaster Wandy is back, y’all. Overall, he’s had success against St. Louie, with only Ryan Ludwick and Skip Schumacher batting over .300 against him; even mighty Prince Albert hits just .212 against him.
Kyle Lohse is so boring, his name is Kyle Lohse. His last name sounds like it was going to be something long and Germanic or Scandinavian, but it just gave up five letters in. He’s still looking for his first win, and if Hunter and Caballo hit him the way they have in the past, he’s probably going to have to keep looking.
Thursday, May 13th, 12:45 CST
Dear God It Just Tastes Like Mineral Water Ballpark
Bud Norris (1-3, 7.52) v. Chris Carpenter (4-0, 2.80)
Bud’s struggling, and working with Arnsberg to fix a hitch in his mechanics. He’s faced the Cards twice, and has been hit well by David Freese, Zeppo Molina, and the ever-annoying Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick: I hope you get lost in East Saint Louis while searching for hookers, and someone goes all Wire on you.
Carpenter is disgustingly good and apparently a decent human being. Fuck that noise. Let’s remind him what it’s like to lose.
Alberto Arias – out for season, strained potential
Tim Byrdak – 15-day DL, horrible Lasik reversion injury
Matt Holliday – Sore Groin. Really. I totally didn’t even know about this before the “Oww, My Balls” joke earlier. Sometimes things just come together.
Felipe Lopez – 15-day DL, Sore elbow from meeting Eliza Dushku, aka BIMBS (Be In My Bunk Syndrome)
Wednesday: Ice Mountain Autograph Night! Get player autographs, sponsored by a bottled water company. So basically all the Cards corporate sponsors make tasteless, low-alcohol content beverages.
What To Watch For
– Bud’s mechanics. Are you a four starter in a third starter’s body, or a fifth starter/long reliever in a fourth starter’s?
– Bourn’s possible suspension if his appeal doesn’t go through. Myers says that sometimes umps just need a little bump to keep them in line.
– Hell if I know: I’m going to be watching with my hands half-covering my face, since this one is probably going to be ugly. Fucking Cardinals.