It was nice to see the Astros offense get going today, as we pounded out 13 runs and 16 hits. Roy Oswalt got the win with the following line:
7 IP 9 H 3 ER 1 BB 6 K 94 pitches
It seems like he's ready for the season to start. A few recent Astros articles in the Chronicle have focused on the battle for the 5th spot in the rotation - supposedly it's down to Zeke Astacio, Taylor Bucholz, and Carlos Hernandez (although Fernando Nieve was also mentioned as a possibility). I'll cast my vote for Astacio right now - he gave up a crapload of home runs last year (23 in 81 IP), but his BB / K ratio was excellent and his minor league numbers the past few years are much better than either Bucholz or Hernandez. Everyone is hot for Bucholz because he did well in the Arizona Fall League and everyone remembers how good Carlos Hernandez was for a few starts a couple of years ago...but they're wrong. Astacio is the better pitcher of the three right now and has by far the most potential of the three. He should be the 5th starter, and I would be surprised if he doesn't put up better numbers than Wandy Rodriguez.
I dropped my rental car off today and ran into a bunch of 'ski hippies' in downtown Flagstaff. We finally got our first few inches of snow and have since been overrun by ski bums. Actually, I love it - it's good for the economy, and they're fun to be around. Except when they 'accidentally' hit me with a snowball.