Look, I know the Astros have won three of four and people are moving from openly mocking them to indifference, but if there's one thing Astros fans should be doing, it's living in the past until this season is over. What better way to do that than with the help of our friends at Baseball Prospectus, who made all of their pre-2011 stuff free to the public yesterday in the spirit of...well, realizing capitalism has it's limits.
Lets see, the longest tenured Astro is Wandy Rodriguez, ergo, lets go back to Wandy's first appearance on BP. In 2005. You know, when the Astros had
a bunch of steroid users some pretty fun a good team.
Placed RHP Brandon Backe on the 15-day DL (strained ribcage), retroactive to 7/25; recalled RHP Ezequiel Astacio from Round Rock. [7/28]
I'm sure the Astros are as uncomfortable about this as I am. Not that Backe's been anything more than an adequate fourth or fifth starter type, but when the rotation has to rely upon both Astacio and Wandy Rodriguez to back up the creaky former Yankees and the perpetually nicked-up Roy Oswalt, I'd start worrying about my ability to recapture the wild-card "title." But I'm a worrier.
Happily, Rodriguez has looked pretty good in three of his four July starts, while Astacio shut down the Mets last night, giving hope that his minor-league performance is the true herald of what he might be able to do from here on out: a 3.02 ERA, 53 hits allowed in 65 2/3 innings, a 57/12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. It would be pretty cool if the Astros could use both down the stretch, because if they keep pitching this well, they'd belong, and they'd have both broken into the major leagues making significant contributions to a contender. It can't get better than that if you're either of them. That would allow them to bump Backe into the pen upon his return, because the staff could use someone to bounce Chad Harville or Russ Springer off of the roster
It's always a good day when I get you to think about Chad Harville. Remember Chad Harville? What about Jose Cabrera? Remember when Ezequiel Astacio was a better prospect than Rodriguez? Astacio pulled off one of the more memorable disappearances in baseball history: after he gave up the Geoff Blum home run that won the White Sox the third game of the World Series, he never pitched in the majors again.
Plus he had those really unfortunate acne scars.
Okay, so it's a slow day.