In some ways, the Houston Astros 3-1 loss last night against the San Francisco Giants was business as usual.

Roy Oswalt pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out five. In other words, good enough for a win, but since he pitches for the punchless Astros, he fell to 5-9 on the season despite a 3.08 ERA.

I can’t help but wonder if Oswalt kept waiting for his cell phone to ring with news from his agent that the New York Yankees wanted to trade for him and throw in, as a bonus, controlling stock in the Caterpillar Tractor Company.

Yep, you guessed it, Houston faced off against Tim Lincecum and managed only one run and seven hits in eight innings.

One of those hits, however, came off the bat of rookie catcher Jason Castro in his first Major League at-bat.

It was a curveball on an 0-1 count, and Castro lined a clean single into center before scoring Houston’s only run.


Astros players, please take note. If a rookie can do something against the two-time Cy Young winner in his MLB unveiling, then there’s no reason why you can’t.

It would be Castro’s only hit in four at bats, but it was impressive. What also was impressive is that Castro didn’t strike out.

Defensively, Castro also looked good. The Giants attempted to steals and Castro threw them both out. The first time he tossed out a runner on what looked like either a slow curve or a changeup, normally a pitch that works to the runner’s advantage.

Since Castro’s battery mate was Oswalt, maybe the All-Star hurler saw some encouraging signs that might make him want to stick around.

Whether this first game will translate into a regular spot on the roster or a cup of coffee is anyone’s guess. Castro looked good last night, and I think he can be successful as long as he practices that philosophy of Tom Selleck’s Jack Elliot character from the movie Mr. Baseball : “Baseball’s a game, and games are supposed to be fun.”

Richard Zowie blogs about the Houston Astros on Bleacher Report and will soon be posting comments from an interview with a very popular former fireballing Astros righthanded pitcher (hint: it’s not Nolan Ryan, and it’s not Mike Scott). Post comments here or e-mail .

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