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Q & A With Astros County

Posted on September 26, 2011 at 2:52 PM
Filed Under: Baseball Bloggers Alliance | Houston Astros | St. Louis Cardinals
One of the great aspects of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance is getting to know other bloggers that follow other teams.  One of those is James from Astros County.  Long-time readers of this blog recognize the name and the site, as James has participated in pre-season UCB Radio Hour roundtables as well as different projects when the Cardinals and Astros have gotten together.

James and I haven't worked together much since Opening Day, so he was gracious enough to take the time and answer a few questions in advance of the biggest Cards/Astros series in quite some time.  I answered some for him as well, so head over to his site soon and see what I had to say.

After the jump, we'll talk about his expectations about this series and whether someone could detour Wandy Rodriguez from the ballpark tonight.

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1) What are your expectations for this series? I want the Astros to put up a fight. These are honestly the first meaningful games the Astros have played since April (opening series, Philadelphia). It would make me feel better going forward that the Astros who got beat 19-3 on Fan Appreciation Day yesterday didn't mail it in, and actually had some respect for themselves, the organization, and the game. I feel strongly about this.

2) Will there be any subtle or not-so-subtle joy about knocking the Cardinals out of the playoffs, if it happens? It will be not-so-subtle joy. I'll be pretty happy that the Astros affected somebody's playoff run, and there's a healthy rivalry with the Cardinals. Given the two teams' history, if the roles were reversed, I would expect the same thing from Cardinals Nation. If the Astros were fighting for a playoff spot, and the Cardinals were the worst team in baseball, and still swept the Astros, I would hate everybody, but that would be okay. 

3) What has been the biggest problem for this year's Astro team? Even in a limitless platform, I don't know that there's anyway to fit it all in. This is the first year that it was flat-out evident that there hasn't been an organizational plan for quite some time. In hindsight we can look back and think, "They should have blown this up a long time ago." But the Astros almost made the playoffs in 2008, and obviously traded Oswalt and Berkman in 2010. That said, the Astros promoted three players from Double-A Corpus Christi straight to the Majors (Altuve, Martinez, and Paredes) in July. I don't think that's how it's supposed to work. Whether that comes from ownership, or the front office, I'm not sure, but we're seeing the rotting fruits of neglect from the Tim Purpura administration come up this season. Still, I do believe that this is the part of the morning that is darkest before the sun rises, to turn a phrase. I don't expect the Astros to be this bad (it's hard to be historically bad all the time) in 2012. If I did think that, I would probably shut the blog down and start drinking. 

4) I see where is Brett Wallace is "not thinking as much".  Is that working for him?  And is it working the difference between "knowing your limits" and "not actually trying enough" when that phrase is used? Who knows if it's working for him? Yesterday was his first start since September 4 (and he hit the 4th-longest homer in Minute Maid Park's history). Brad Mills hasn't done Wallace many favors, sitting him against lefties - even when the team was clearly planning for 2012 - and sending him back down to Triple-A in August. And I would prefer that a 25-year old player in his first full season not think of things like "limits." If we're sitting here next season, and he's still hitting homers every 75 plate appearances, I'll begin thinking about moving on from Brett Wallace. He, and J.A. Happ, were the centerpieces of the Oswalt trade (I know they got Wallace from Toronto). Depending on 2012, we're on the cusp of a pretty terrible result for that trade. 

5) Any thoughts on saving Wandy Rodriguez for next year?  I mean, there's no reason for him to strain himself tonight..... If Wandy missed all of 2012 because his arm fell off following a 318-pitch complete game shutout tonight, it would be fine with me. 

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