Leading up to the start of the 2009 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Houston Astros. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
Every person who follows sports has that one team in which they hate and love to root against. A lot of my peers choose for that team to be the Michigan Wolverines. Since I began dating a Jersey Girl who is a Giants fan I’ve met some folks who are that way about the Philadelphia Eagles. For me, that one team who I’d like to own a Voodoo doll in representation of is the Houston Astros.
Last year the Astros were the league’s most silent good team, finishing 86-75 and in third place in the NL Central. They were in the race until the last week of the season. Their manager Cecil Cooper took over with 31 games to go in 2007, and in his first full year as skipper he won 86 ballgames with a team that dealt with a lot of adversity.
The headliner is Lance Berkman. For years he has been the biggest Reds killer and all things in the NL Central for that matter. Berkman inherited this trait from Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio; they were known as the Killer B’s. That’s a nickname I got real sick of hearing.
Other then Berkman, the Astros have a stable of fine players that make this team go. Carlos Lee, Miguel Tejada, Michael Bourn, Wandy Rodriguez, Brandon Backe, Kazuo Matsui, Jose Valverde, and Hunter Pence are all core guys that will be depended upon heavily to make this team a winner in 2009. Pence is the young gun in the outfield whom after a huge rookie season took a step back in the all too familiar sophomore slump last season.
Lets not forget the biggest ass kicker of them all. Roy O. He simply doesn’t lose to the Cincinnati Reds. Like, ever. If you ever have the urge to bet your life on something, liquidate everything you own the night before Oswalt faces the Redlegs. Bet it all the next day on the righthander wearing #44. Thank me later. Honestly they’re saying Oswalt took a step back last season because why? He went 17-10 and and his ERA climbed to a whole 3.54 while allowing 199 hits in 207 innings. He might be 31 but I think he has a shot at getting to 250 wins in his career. He is a legend and will continue to be the staff ace for the next few seasons including the upcoming.
My honest opinion of this group is they lack the firepower to hang with the likes of the Cubs and the winning nature of the Cardinals and Tony LaRusa; but they’ll be right there as always because thats what the Astros do. They overachieve. If Cecil Cooper doesn’t keep these guys winning he’ll be replaced just as Phil Garner was after taking them to the World Series just several years earlier. Drayton McLane owns the Houston Astros. He’s #301 on the Forbes 400 list. You don’t get there by accepting a losing attitude.
Which is why I’ll probably continue hating the Astros with a passion.