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Astros Sunday Roundup: Altuve Steals Hats, Winning Streaks And Bobby Heck's Departure

It's actually been a good week for the Astros, or at least how weeks go these days...

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Oh dear Milwaukee. You just lost two games in a row to the Houston Astros. Surely your manager is in the hot-seat now. And not just two losses, two walk-off losses, although the second only came after Wilton Lopez blew a ninth-inning save. Brian Bogusevic did the job on Friday, followed by Scott Moore Saturday, after which second-baseman Jose Altuve celebrated by attempting to pull off all his teammates hats.

Two wins in a row. And we had gone 4-34 in the 38 games before that. Shame the Astros couldn't make it three, dropping the finale to the Brew Crew tonight.

I see people calling the Astros team basically an expansion team. With Scott Moore, Steve Pearce, Justin Maxwell, Ben Francisco, Tyler Greene and Chris Snyder, you can hardly argue. Marwin Gonzalez and Fernando Martinez are both young, but their future probably lies on the bench. Maxwell has had a tidy season, and our starting catcher and shortstop are still on the DL, as is our front-line (barf) center fielder Jordan Schafer.

Jason Castro is currently mashing PCL pitching and will return on Monday. Meanwhile former third baseman Chris Johnson is on a tear in Arizona, smashing five home runs in his first dozen games for the snakes. Still not walking much though.

We're still waiting for that influx of high-end bona-fide talent to stop us looking like an expansion team, which will probably start when Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart arrive at the major leagues at some point in 2013. Nice to see August promotions, George Springer heading to Corpus Christi, Delino DeShields Jr to Lancaster, and Lance McCullers Jr, Rio Ruiz and Carlos Correa to Greeneville.

It's interesting that Jonathan Mayo wrote a gushing piece about Bobby Heck and the changes underway a week before the Scouting Director effectively got the axe, replaced by Mike Elias, another former colleague of Jeff Luhnow's in St. Louis.

Looking back to October 2007 when Heck was given the job:

Bobby Heck, who helped rebuild the Milwaukee Brewers' farm system into one of the best in baseball, has been hired by the Astros to help turn around their hobbled minor league system as the club's new director of amateur scouting.

Heck will probably be disappointed not to see the rebuilding project through to fruition, but considering the wasteland he inherited and the restrictions he had to play through, from Drayton McLane's absurd toeing the line on slot money, to Tal Smith forcing guys like Mike Kvasnicka on him, on balance we should probably be applauding him. The ghost of Mike Trout will likely haunt the other scouting directors, while that of Justin Smoak a year earlier seems to have receded since his move to Seattle.

Now Tim and David on the TCB podcast were talking about Brad Mills. There are few still on the Mills bandwagon, as it is hard to judge whether he makes an abysmal team god-awful, or visa-versa. And there was a mention that Joe Pettini might be taking over, currently serving as the Astros bench coach after a long spell under Tony LaRussa.

While I'm au fait about Mike Barnett, I would like to see Doug Brocail replaced, either with someone who has a track record, or a gem out of the bag. I'm being greedy. I want Roger Clemens. Crane still has the 10-year personal services contract in his back pocket, but Clemens proved as a veteran pitcher he could bring out the best in his teammates with minor adjustments. I remember Roy Oswalt, pretty darned good at this point, in 2004 talking about how Clemens had shown him how to hide the ball from the batter's view in his windup.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.