The Astros offense sank to a new low last night when they failed to score in a 12-inning 1-0 loss, which included leadoff doubles in the 9th and 10th innings, and a bases loaded-0 out situation in the 10th when a single run wins the game. Roger Clemens has now allowed 0 runs in his last 14 innings over 2 starts and has 0 wins to show for it. There's a lot of blame to go around - Biggio and Bagwell were a combined 0-for-10, and Luke Scott and Willy Taveras both looked awful at the plate. I think everyone knew we'd struggle to score runs before Berkman came back, but even when he does come back, he won't be replacing Everett, Taveras, or Ausmus.
Peter Gammons believes the Astros will end up trading Roger Clemens to the Yankees around the All-Star Break. I think it's pretty darn likely, too - I don't think we'll still be in the race, and the Yankees sure look like they need pitching and Steinbrenner is one owner who won't balk at Clemens' 18.5 million dollar salary. What should we try and get in return? Well, looking at our current team and minor league prospects, we should have Lane, Berkman, and Scott on the OF corners, Ensberg at 3B, Biggio / Burke / Conrad at 2B, Bagwell / Self at 1B, and Quintero at C. Our biggest weaknesses on offense are at CF, SS, C, and perhaps 1B if Self never hits for power. At pitching, we've got a pretty good young group (Oswalt / Backe / Astacio / Nieve / Rodriguez / Albers / Patton, but you can never have too many pitching prospects.
I'm not sure who the Yankees best prospects are, but I can guarantee there aren't many - they've traded all the good ones (Navarro, Duncan, Nick Johnson) away in past years. So I think we might want to get a 3rd team involved somehow. A team like the Phillies, with Ryan Howard, Marlon Byrd, Placido Polanco, etc., would be a good fit. I would rank our offensive weaknesses in the following order: CF (worst - I just don't see Taveras as anything other than a pinch runner/5th OF) SS (see above comment, only not quite as strong, since SS is a slightly weaker offensive position, C (although Quintero looks pretty good now), and 1B (Self may never be a decent MLB regular).
Our intramural softball team is shaping up pretty nicely - yours truly is a David Wells (minus 50 pounds or so) on the mound - very hittable, but no walks. We've got a few former baseball players, and a few beginners who we'll stick at C and RF. All in all, should be....well, fun.