Here's one for you: beat Dan Runzler tomorrow and the major league worst Houston Astros will sweep the defending World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. Who is Dan Runzler? Who knows? The Astros throw out Henry Sosa, and to win today would be a real kick in the teeth considering we acquired him from the Giants. A win might not seem too significant, as any team in baseball can beat another on any given day, but it would only be the Astros second swept series of the entire season. Entering this series the Giants had 27 more wins than the Astros in 2011.
The four game winning streak the team is on equals their high for the season, achieved over May 30-June 2, just before the Astros season went from being a tail spin to a full on nose dive.
This series has the feel of last year's four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Astros won four close games against a team that was struggling to score runs in late August, only to see them respond by going 27-8 the rest of the way. How Giants fans wish something similar would happen to them. The only thing that has made this weekend bearable for them is that the Braves have cooled off the D-backs, who now lead the NL West.
Don't you just love playing spoiler? In a season where you have to savor the small victories, this is certainly one of them. Considering too that the Giants have stomped all over us the past few years, the last two victories have been all the sweeter. Apart from 2008 where the Astros went 7-1 over the Giants, they have managed seven wins in the other years 2006-2010.
Hey, perhaps with all these young players we won't be as bad as people think next year. We certainly will not be competing for the NL Central, and .500 is probably out of the question too, but we might just reach respectability. Good lord, I'm starting to sound like Chip Bailey. A lot of that will depend on our pitching staff, a staff still 15th in ERA in the NL. Will Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez and J.A. Happ even be here next season?
J.D. Martinez has had his ups and downs already in 20 major league games, but he has flashed some serious power already, and would be on pace for 40 HR, 40 doubles, and 155 RBI over a full season (not that that tells you an awful lot). He's proving the doubters, who said that he had too level a swing to hit for real power, totally wrong. Put him in a lineup with Jose Altuve, Jimmy Paredes, Jason Castro, Jordan Schafer and Brian Bogusevic and we might have something fun to watch in 2012.
Castro remains a question mark coming back from injury, and there is also some doubt as to whether Lee will return at first base or left field next season. Paredes may also have leap frogged Chris Johnson in the organization's eyes. Schafer too remains somewhat of an enigma. I did not like having him as part of the trade that sent Michael Bourn to the Braves, but as long as we have him we might make use of him, as he is only 24. Schafer went 5-5 last night for the Oklahoma City Redhawks, notching two doubles and stealing two bases. He may be called up to Houston within days.
If only we had a manager who does not say and do stupid things. Giving playing time to Angel Sanchez and Jason Michaels, check. Benching Brian Bogusevic against lefties, even though he has three major league at bats against them, check. Oh Brad Mills, when will you learn.
And I know what you are probably thinking. I want that number one pick for 2012. We are only five games behind the Orioles, 10 behind the Royals and 11 behind the Mariners. First, second or third pick there will be something very tasty for the Astros to pick.
Meanwhile we wait to see if anyone has claimed Myers, Rodriguez or Clint Barmes off waivers, and when Bud Selig will finally get around to approving Jim Crane as owner of this franchise.