Couple of things before the game today. One, according to the Houston Chronicle, Biggio's going to miss a few games with a badly bruised forearm. This is a good chance to get Burke some playing time, and hopefully he'll play well, so that Biggio can get more rest in the first half of the year and not decline in the 2nd half. I only hope that I don't see Jose Vizcaino's name penciled in as the 2nd baseman today. However, I would like to see Mike Lamb get the start. 1st, Victor Zambrano, the opposing pitcher, is much tougher on righties than on lefties (3 year splits: 729 OPS for righties, 792 OPS for lefties, in a pretty large sample size). 2nd, Backe is our most extreme flyball pitcher, so it should minimize Lamb's defensive liabilities.
The Astros have scored 23 runs in 7 games, or 3.28 runs / game. Should we expect more of the same? Well....probably. We can't expect any offensive improvement from last year at any position except maybe 3rd (Ensberg, although Lamb might regress a bit), and we had BIG offensive losses in Beltran, Kent, possibly Berkman (unless he comes back at 100%), and possibly Bagwell / Biggio / Ausmus (they're all a year closer to 40 than 30). We did have a pretty rough pitching staff for much of last year, with a horrific mix of Redding / Duckworth / Darren Oliver / Pete Munro at 4th and 5th starter, so we should expect some improvement, but not nearly enough to offset the loss of so much offense. The longer we think we're going to contend this year, the more it's going to hurt our chances to be a strong team in the next few years.