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Roy Oswalt Is Going To Be a Great Acquisition

Roy Oswalt has made it official.

He has asked the Houston Astros to find a new location for him to pitch. 

It will be a sad day for Astro fans when it happens.  Since the 2001 season when he joined the rotation on June 2 because of an injury to Jose Lima, he’s been almost an automatic quality start every five days.  In fact, it was more often than not a dominating performance. 

Roy’s march to being a day-one starter wasn’t expected.  The Astros drafted him in 1996 out of Holmes Community College.  They could have reached for him in the first or second round, but luckily he was still there in the 23rd.  It is doubtful many of the 683 players picked before him have had better careers.

If Roy had been bigger, he’d have been picked much earlier.  Most teams get worried about small, hard throwing, right handed pitchers.  The Astros decided to take a chance in a late round and it worked out very well for them.

In fact, looking back at that draft, the only player to have a career on Roy’s level is Jimmy Rollins who was taken  before Oswalt. Rollins was picked up in the second round of the draft.  Oswalt just had to wait for another 600 or so players to go before his name was called.

Once in the Astros minor league system he never struggled.  He was great and dominating at every level.  The only thing that slowed him down was some shoulder pain.

Luckily he cured himself of that while performing some work on his truck’s engine.  He gave himself a huge electrical shock when he touched a spark plug wire.  If his foot hadn’t slipped off the bumper, he may have died. 

But afterwards, he felt no more pain in his shoulder.  Sports Illustrated reported what he told his wife, “My truck done shocked the fire out of me, and my arm don’t hurt no more.”  Have I mentioned Roy is from Weir, Miss. Well now you know.

In 2000 Roy started off in Class A with the Kissimmee Cobras. Injury problems at AA Round Rock got him a start there.  He was supposed to pitch a game or two and then go back to Kissimmee.  The club had given him a round trip ticket.

In his first start for the Express, he struck out 15 batters.  Manager Jackie Moore tore the return ticket up.  Nolan Ryan, yes the Nolan Ryan who pitched seven no-hitters, struck out over 5,000 batters and was Robin Ventura’s nightmare, told the Astros that Roy should stay with them.  When Nolan talks people listen, and Roy stayed in Round Rock, Texas for a bit.

His success in Round Rock led to being selected for the United States 2000 Olympic team.  He and Ben Sheets helped Tommy Lasorda and the squad earn a gold medal.  Roy twice beat South Korea in big games.  This was a prelude to the type of mental toughness and big game ability he would show in the majors.

Once Roy made it to the big leagues he did what he always had done on the mound.  Throw strikes, win a lot of games and never, ever back down.  Roy isn’t afraid of anyone.

That mentality is what has made him great.  Well, add in the fact that he has very good control, changes speeds on his fastball, curve, and slider and can still hit 93-94 on the gun. 

The team that decides to make a move for him is picking up a first line No. 1 guy.  His record this season so far is 2-6, but his earned run average sits at a low 2.66.  That is below his lifetime ERA of 3.21.

With his pitching style and control, I believe Roy can pitch for another three seasons at a high level.  Age does increase the chance of injury, but he has proven to be very durable.

There is a smart GM out there who wants to win this year and will make the right move.  If they already have a starter better than Roy Oswalt, then nobody is going to want to face that 1-2 combination in a playoff series. 

Roy O., as he’s known in Houston, will deliver quality start after quality start.  On a team with an above average offense, he could easily have reversed his record this season.  The Astros are anemic on offense and have given him no run support.

Oswalt won’t come cheap.  He will cost in salary and most likely two very nice young prospects.  At the same time however, Roy O. will provide a great arm and a playoff/big game pitcher to their staff. 

He may not be traded right away, but someone is going to need an arm sooner or later.  Roy Oswalt might have the best one available.  He’s ready to work for a new company.  Now we just wait to see who wants or needs him the most.

Oh, and if you’re really interested Mr. GM, the Astros have a pretty decent switch hitting first baseman who is probably available.  He’ll come a bit cheaper in the trade department than Mr. Oswalt.

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Bud Beats the Cardinals at Busch Again

Nothing is better for a struggling Houston Astros team than a trip to St. Louis? That doesn’t make any sense. St. Louis is in first place in the NL Central. Houston? They aren’t in first place, or second, or third or fourth. Nope, they proudly reside in fifth place, one game back of the powerful Pittsburgh Pirates.

And this is after a three game sweep of the Cardinals.  

Astros baseball! After two eight game losing streaks, a third place finish isn’t impossible, just improbable! I think that would be a great slogan for the rest of the season.   

Now, don’t get too excited Astros fans, I don’t believe we are about to launch ourselves back in the division race.

But maybe, just maybe, we can compete for third or fourth place in the division. And truthfully, if we somehow finish ahead of the Cubs, then I consider this season a resounding success.

To move ahead of some other teams, we’ll need more games like Thursdays. Timely hitting against a good pitcher. Good defensive plays at the right time and starting pitching that dominates.

Lance Berkman and Hunter Pence provided the clutch hitting.  

Berkman made a great defensive play in the eighth inning to prevent a run.  

Bud Norris did what he always does to the Cards. Dominate them. He is now 4-0 against St. Louis, including 3-0 at Busch Stadium. He needs to pitch like this against everyone.

Heading into yesterdays game, his E.R.A. was closer to 10 than three. Both of his victories this season have come on the road against St. Louis.  

It must have something to do with his nickname. Bud. The relationship between the Cardinals and Budweiser must give him some type of special power.

Maybe he can also have some success against the Brewers.

Someone give Felipe Paulino a cool nickname. He could really use some wins.  And control. 

All kidding aside, it’s a good feeling to see the team starting to hit.  

I know Berkman and Pence care and want to win. When they produce like they did this weekend, the Astros will take a game or two, even the odd series from a better team.

If Norris can continue to improve the starting pitching wouldn’t seem that bad. Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriquez and a consistent Norris would be a decent 1-2-3 start to a rotation.  

Norris has the stuff of at least a no. two starter. His success like most pitchers depends on his command. Staying away from the one big inning has also been a problem.

Of course, if Bud continues to pitch well, it makes it even easier on the Astros to trade Oswalt near the deadline. If they can get one or two top prospects for Roy, they need to pull the trigger.  

The bats this season are never going to be great.  

Outside of Michael Bourn, Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee, the hitters are below average at every position. So more often than not, pitching is going to have to carry the team or at least nudge it towards victory.

Enjoy the sweep over the Cardinals in St. Louis.  It doesn’t happen often.  And after the start to this season, no one would have predicted it happening this year.



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10 Reasons to Still Attend 2010 Houston Astros Games

You can see great players like J.R. Towles when you come to Minute Maid Park for an Astros game! Wait. He’s now bent sent down to Double AA Corpus Christi. See what you miss when you don’t go. Double AA talent at Major League prices!

Sure the Astros are bad. Really bad. But there are still compelling reasons to head out to the old ball park. Can’t think of any? Luckily, I’m here to help.

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