We sit here on April 18th, and the Astros are 4-8. Not exactly the start I anticipated, but what can you do? The fact that the team has won 4 games while getting nothing out of Lance Berkman is remarkable enough. So here are a few Astros quick hits for you on an exhausted Sunday evening.
*Speaking of Berkman, he's hitting a sparkling .189 on the year with a couple of homers and no stolen bases. I think he'll be alright. Considering how low his average is, his 189/362/405 line is actually pretty respectable. it should be noted though that he is 33 and his home run total has dropped for 3 consecutive years. It may just be coincidental, but it's worth noting.
* Mike Hampton. I just don't know what to say about him. He hasn't been useful since 2004. I don't know how he ever got that truckload of money from the Rockies with his mediocre k rate and WHIP, but thats beside the point. He's thrown 2 more productive starts than I expected already. His seasons worth of production to this point is significantly better than his career production. At 36 and having pitched less than 80 innings every year since 2004 (when he was able to pitch of course) I can't imagine him sustaining this.
* Felipe “I need to stop calling him Ronny” Paulino might have something. He has a pretty live arm and outdueled 2008 all star Edinson Volquez through 6 innings issuing only 2 walks versus 6 strikeouts. He missed most of 2008, but in 2 starts for AAA Round Rock he was dealing. Keep an eye on him. He's only 25.
The Astros meet up with Bronson Arroyo tomorrow to conclude the series with the Reds then have 3 and 3 versus the Dodgers and Brewers to finish the homestand. I would've said they might want to get on track so Cecil Cooper doesn't get fired, but since they randomly picked up his option that point is moot. This is a pretty critical week. May brings a lot of road games and some tough home matchups. If they piss this week away they could get burried early.
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Written by Josh Lile