Holy crap Oswalt is good. His line: Nine innings, four walks, seven punchouts, one run, zero walks. Money. If Clemens and Pettitte hold up and Backe continues to impress, there's no doubt in my mind that we'll contend. That rotation is simply too strong.
Everett finally snapped out of his early season funk, going 3-for-4 with a leadoff homer and a stolen base. He's still only batting .216, so he's got to keep up the hitting if he wants to stay in the leadoff spot. Otherwise I say we hand over the position to Lil' Willy, who has done everything in his power to earn it. He's 13-for-48 with five walks and five swipes so far (That's .286, .354, .429 in 50 PAs). I hope Garner values his OBP and speed over his inexperience. Unfortunately, I can definitely see Garner reinserting Biggio in the leadoff spot sometime soon. I say, So what if Taveras has little experience... he's good.
Speaking of speed, what's with all the stolen bases? The Stros had four more steals last night. And it's not just Willy T doing all the running. JASON LANE has FIVE!!! WHAT'S GOING ON?!? Oh yeah, and Lane leads the team in every single offensive category. He's batting .368 with 5 homers, 12 RBI and 8 runs. Looks like he and Brian Roberts will go 40-40 this season.
Nomar hurt his groin today. It looked painful. I can't say I'm not a little glad that the Cubs' playoff chances took a hit, but you never applaud an opponent's injury. Unless it's Sox-Yankees.
I also saw that Berkman took batting practice with the team before Wednesday night's game. That's good news: we need him back, and soon. After our series with Milwaukee, eight of our next 10 series are against contending teams (Two against Chicago and one each against St. Louis, Atlanta, Florida, San Fran, Zona and Texas). Our only easy series come against Pittsburgh.
I've been thinking about the Chris Burke situation for some time now. I really don't think it's all that bad that he's not getting playing time. Unless we trade him, he's not going anywhere. Look at Lane: He's been riding pine for years, and he's crushing the ball now. So maybe warming the bench and getting 200 ABs isn't a travesty.
But then I though, Why have Burke sit when Adam Everett's out there putting up an 0-fer every night? Burke used to be a shortstop in college! Put him in! At least see what he can do there. Then we can platoon Scott, Biggio, Everett and Burke between LF, 2B and SS. get 450 ABs for each of them.
I went to the Sox-Twins game on Monday. The renovations to The Cell are pretty nice, although they're obviously copying Wrigley with the new ivy in center. Saw Carl Everett crush a pair of homers and point to the sky about five time each time he rounded the bases. I met Everett five years ago in Anaheim — The BoSox were staying at the same Marriot as our newspaper class was during a Journalism convention. He was a really nice guy; at least he stopped and talked with us for 15 minutes or so. He said he enjoyed his time as an Astro but he didn't feel slighted that he got traded.
I'm going to get tickets to a BoSox-Cubs game in June at Wrigley. I don't know how (or how much!), but I'll get them. The Wades are all coming to Chicago for graduation and a memorial service for our grandmother, Toni Cobb. She'll be missed, but she led an incredibly full life. And even in her final days she was able to bring friends and family together.