Well that was a nightmarish seven-game losing streak. We were starting to look like the Cubs. It started with the Dogers series then continued with that bamboozling double header against the Rockies and finished with two losses against the Reds.
All that came to an end with a well-pitched game by 21-year-old Jordan Lyles. The Astros got three runs on the board and Justin Maxwell cranked his third pinch hit home run with the club this season.
Now we move onto the draft, and a tantalising choice for the front office tomorrow. They will seemingly pick from a list of Appel, Zunino, Buxton, Correa and Gausman. Perhaps Lucas Giolito or Kyle Zimmer will still be in there. There are none in that group that I would be shocked to hell with taking.
Mark Appel and Kevin Gausman are solid college arms that have the stuff to be close to the front of a major league rotation. Byron Buxton is the hottest thing since sliced bread according to some, and I still cannot make up my mind about his bat since he has faced such weak competition as a high schooler in Georgia. But he does have a cannon, great defense and plus speed. Already you have some comparing Carlos Correa to Alex Rodriguez, leaving Mike Zunino, who should make a solid catcher and profiles as one of the top college bats this year.
It is a doozy, but it is a choice you hope the Astros have the conviction to make for the right reasons. Hindsight will probably prove this pick wrong, but we can probably dispense with the usual gnashing of teeth when it is announced. It could take a decade to see if the Astros made the right call. We need to hold in that gut reaction tomorrow and avoid spraying the front office with vitriol e, at least for now, whoever they take with the first overall selection.
I hated the Delino DeShields Jr. pick, but he is finally doing enough things well to have me excited about his development. He stole four more bases today, bringing his tally to 36 on the season in just 53 games.
Of course, there are people out there who are trying to take all the fun out of tomorrow's big announcement:
According to source the Houston Astros are expected to select Stanford RHP Mark Appel with the first over all selection in tomorrows draft.
Boo Jim Bowden. That's like telling us what our Christmas presents are the night before. Extremely poor form. I want some suspense. Some drama. Peter Gammons praising the character of a plethora of college players on MLB Network, Bud Selig's scrawny figure wandering up on stage to say the Houston Astros are on the clock. It's theatre, man.
Still, that the Astros front office would let any of their employees leak a final decision, let alone have made one at this stage, does sort of raise a few eyebrows. Still, Bowden's job is to appear an expert, and this sort of tweet gives that impression.
I would feel much better about our recent drafts if we had both Vincent Velasquez and Jack Armstrong Jr actually pitching and pitching well, but the minor league story of the season for me has to be Michael Foltynewicz and Nicholas Tropeano, the two groundballers at Lexington, are having storming starts to the year. They are the sort of fortifications our rotation should need in a year or two down the line, and they're powering the Legends to a winning record.
You wonder with Carlos Lee on the DL and Fernando Martinez called up to the big time how much time Brian Bogusevic will continue to get in right field. This would have been simpler had they batted from opposite sides of the plate, but since both are lefties, Bogusevic may be riding the bench, unless Brad Mills will give him playing time at first base (he has forty minor league appearances there).
Now, at 23-31, all they have is a three-game homestand against the Cardinals before a nine-game roadtrip. After 54 games last year they were 20-34. Small improvements.
I'll be joining in on TCB's live podcast tomorrow night, so make sure you tune into that 15 minutes before the big announcement at 5:45pm CT.