For the first time since this blog has been in operation, and the first time since they were an American League team, the Astros are in the playoffs and have won a game, sending the Yankees home with a 3-0 win at Yankee Stadium. This loss comes a day after CC Sabathia announced he was entering a treatment facility for alcohol addiction. While distractions in baseball are often overblown, you have to wonder if this didn’t play a role in the Yankees coming out a bit flat.
Houston collected just five hits, two of them home runs from Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez. Another an RBI single by Jose Altuve. And now they’ll move on to continue their season in Kansas City against the reigning American League Champions.
It’s a pretty great story that this group of kids have risen from the ashes of a near 100-loss team to become one of the finest Cinderella stories in the game a year later. Phenomenal job by the Astros front office to put the pieces in place to get this done.
Well, Miguel Cabrera is back. And since he doesn’t have the thrill of a pennant race to entertain him, he’ll need to finds other means of amusement. Like untucking Jose Altuve’s jersey on first base. Look at how pissed that little Altuve gets at him, complaining to the ump like it’s his mother! Miggy always gets away with this!
I know what you are thinking, this post is about the Astros, so let’s get to the jokes already, right? Sadly, there will not be that many jokes at the expense of the Astros here thanks to a contract that my buddy MJ made me sign this past winter. Yes, the contract was written out on a cocktail napkin. Yes, I did sign said contract in mustard. No, I will not tell you how much alcohol was consumed. Yes, I should have a lawyer on standby so I stop doing stupid stuff like that. Don’t worry, MJ, if your buddy, Kevin Goldstein, gets upset, it won’t be because of this article.
Interestingly enough, however, the joke may be on all of us in a couple of years. Why is that, you say? That is because the future is bright in south-eastern Texas. Now, pipe down, no questions until the very end.
The Houston Astro embark on a new journey in the AL. Many years ago (not that many, but more than some) the Milwaukee Brewers left the AL Central and ventured into the NL Central giving the NL 16 teams to the AL’s 14. In order to rectify this great inequity, the Astros are being moved to the AL. It’s not too tragic. They were an expansion team, have never won the World Series for the NL, and will get a great regional rival with Texas. Unfortunately, the rivalry won’t be much to speak of for the next few season. While the Rangers have plenty of talent, the Astros are trying desperately to acquire it. They have a minuscule payroll and their highest paid player makes $3M. Felix Hernandez now makes $25M.
Let’s take a closer look at the Astros.
Major Off-Season Moves:
Signed SP Erik Bedard.
Signed 1B Carlos Pena.
Acquired OF/DH Chris Carter from Oakland.
The Astros traded away what they could to acquire prospects. It’s tough to evaluate an off season like this except that it was necessary. The Astros have been going down hill for several years and it’s time to flip the switch. They had nothing at the major league level that they could build around. Carter is a good pickup but Pena and Bedard are stopgaps until they can get some newer players there.
Now on to who is going to take the field this year.
Don’t get us wrong, we love Jose Altuve. We’ll be forever indebted to the little guy (and the other 11 owners who didn’t pick him up when we had to drop him due to roster constraints before again adding him for a stretch run) for helping deliver yet another fantasy baseball championship with his average, steals, and runs on a bad team.
But shouldn’t Opening Night belong to a couple of teams that have a bit more pizazz? A little more sparkle? Those new threads are not sparkle. They’re a cross between the Detroit Tigers and a well-sponsored Pony League team. Not a fan.
Welcome to the year 2013. A year in which the Astros will donate some 90-something wins to teams of the American League, beginning with Opening Night.