Thanks to dominant starting pitching by Clemens and Oswalt (Roy O had a 16 inning scoreless streak snapped by a Terrence Long RBI single in the 8th), the Astros took the first 2 games of their series against the Royals, only to be dominated by Runelvys Hernandez in the 3rd. The Rockies are next.
My brother is finally through with all his graduation ceremonies, he's got his diploma, so we'll be heading out of Evanston in a little while. At my grandmother's memorial service yesterday I met a man named Gregg Howard who is good friends with Jerome Holtzmann, a long-time baseball writer and statistician who lives in Evanston! He's going to put me in touch with him sometime in the next few days; maybe I can pick his brain for a little while.
'Interesting' stat of the day:
Brandon Backe, home, 2005: 36.2 IP, 2.95 ERA, 12 / 28 BB / K
Brandon Backe, away, 2005: 52.1 IP, 6.54 ERA, 24 / 26 BB / K.
I guess he really likes fan support.
BProspectus has a short note on the Astros recent moves in their "Transaction Analysis" column from a day or two ago. They say it looks like we're making some good 'small' moves, from releasing Raul Chavez (who has since returned, due to Quintero's appendectomy) to calling up Chris Burke and handing him a starting job. Unfortunately, they maintain it is absolutely the WRONG starting job, as Craig Biggio has been terrible defensively at 2nd base and has seen his hot start in April and May drop to his current .264 / .322 / .450 line, good for a 772 OPS, although that is still ahead of all his teammates except Ensberg (908) and Lane (777).
There is also a report on Ken Rosenthal's Inside Dish column that Biggio fully intends to go for 3,000 hits:
"Two, I owe it to the people in Houston and the community. They're on board. They're always saying, 'Keep going. Keep going." - Biggio
First of all, Biggio is still a productive player, should be a Hall-of-Famer, and has every right to try (and I believe that he will get to) 3,000 hits. But should it be with the Astros? He is no longer an asset defensively at any position - one way or another, he'll block Chris Burke, Jason Lane, Lance Berkman, Todd Self, or Mike Lamb. I'm not sure what the Astros should do. It's an unfortunate situation - do you hold on to past glory, and play Biggio until he gets to 3,000 hits (probably early in the 2007 season), or start the rebuilding right away? I honestly don't think a middle-ground approach will work. We need to go one way or another.