Thursday, April 15, 2010

Series #4: The Crappiest team in the Major Leagues

This weekend the Cubs go up against the Astros...who currently have the worst record in all of baseball.

The Houston roster basically contains Roy Oswalt, an overweight Carlos Lee and a bunch of crap. 

Ok, that's over-simplifying the issue.

 It's a good thing manager Brad Mills already lost his hair.

Besides Oswalt, the 'Stros have Wandy Rodriguez...who I have felt has been over-rated the last couple years.  So far this year, Rodriquez has pitched twice and has an ERA over 6.  Oswalt has been somewhat effective, but has an 0-2 record to start the season.

The rest of the Astros rotation consists of Brett Meyers, Felipe Paulino, and Bud Norris.  Meyers has been around for a while and is a serviceable pitcher who has pitched 190+ innings in a season 4 times with the Phillies.  Paulino and Norris are relatively inexperienced.  Paulino did pitch as a starter for them for most of last season, posting a 3-11 record with an ERA well over 6.00.

 Oswalt is the Violet Beauregarde of the National League.

As much as we complain about the Cubs bullpen, Houston has an even bigger problem out there.  I'm not even sure they have an actual closer right now. Considering they've won only one game so far this year, I guess they really don't have a need for one.  But on the chance they have the lead in a close game, Brandon Lyon would probably close out the game.  Matt Lindstrom could also close for them (he had 15 saves with the Marlins last year).  The rest of the pen is nothing much to talk about.

But as bad as the Astros pitching staff is, their offense is even worse right now.  Going into today, the Astros had only scored 14 runs in 8 games.  That's right...less than 2 runs per game.  Now they did score 5 runs hopefully they are all scored out by the time they enter Wrigley tomorrow.  

One of the biggest problems for the Astros right now is the fact the their best hitter, Lance Berkman, is on the DL...he had knee surgery in the middle of spring training.  I believe the Astros are hoping to have him back before the end of the month.

The biggest remaining offensive threat is notorious Cubs killer, Carlos Lee. He's fat.  Listed at 265 right now, he might be pushing 280.  But regardless of weight, he's probably still going to kick our ass this weekend.  Lee is almost the equivalent of Soriano defensively in left field.

 Carlos Lee really doesn't run around the bases anymore...he just walks.

The truth is, the rest of the Astros outfield isn't horrible.  Michael Bourn is the center fielder, and he tends to throw out 8 to 10 base runners from the outfield per game when he plays the Cubs.  Bourn is also one of the best base stealers in the National League.  Hunter Pence plays out in right field, and he was (believe it or not) an All-Star last year. 

The infield is a bit of a mess.  And aging Pedro Feliz is playing third base.  He's really never been more than a .250 hitter. At shortstop, Tommy Manzella will get a majority of the playing time...he's a rookie.  Second base, Japanese flop, Kaz Matsui continues his career of mediocrity.  In place of Berkman at first, Geoff Blum is getting most of the playing time right now.  He wasn't good enough to get the starting job at 3rd base, so him being at first really is a problem.

Look, in the end, the Astros are just not going to be very good.  Two of their better players from last season, shortstop Miguel Tejada and closer Jose Valverde were replaced by considerably worse players, and the really didn't upgrade in any other positions. Last year this team won 74 games and got their manager, Cecil Cooper, fired. 

The Astros are not going to be good this year.  It's as simple as that.


The matchups the weekend.

Friday, Carlos Silva will go up against Filipe Paulino.  Silva pitched extremely well in his first start, but hasn't pitched in a week.  Paulino started once against the Cubs last season, and pitched fairly well only giving up two runs.  Silva has only started once against the Astros...back in 2006 when he was still with Minnesota.  He won that game. 

Saturday, Roy Oswalt and Sloth.  The Cubs have actually not done too poorly against Oswalt over his career.  Oswalt has a 13-12 record with a 3.81 ERA...which considering the fact he has a .656 winning percentage over his career with a 3.23 ERA, that's pretty good.  Gorzelanny has not been very effective against the Astros in his short career.  Hopefully that will change. 

Sunday, Wandy Rodriguez against Ryan Dempster.  Wandy is 4-4 over his career against the Cubs, and his ERA is better against the Cubs than his career mark by almost a half a run.  Dempster also has had problems against the Astros during his career.