I go on a trip for a few days (thanks Thomas for keeping the fort), and what do I find on my way back? The Astros are in such a compromising position that even the ever-optimistic Phil Garner recognizes that if this week goes the wrong way for them, they will have to kiss any postseason hopes goodbye.
Due to a negative series against the Padres, a sweep courtesy of Carlos Zambrano, rookie Ryan O’Malley and the Chicago Cubs, and a split series with the Brewers, what seemed to be a positive recovery became nothing but an illusion. (Roger Clemens had a great outing today, by the way, and the Astros won 3-1).
So, the bad news keep on piling up: Brandon Backe goes on the DL again, Brad Lidge is unable to rediscover himself, and that’s why Garner has decided to go for the infamous "closer-by-committee" situation.
When I heard that, I tried myself to NOT consider this season dead, by any means. How hard it is, though.
The recipe for a National League championship last year was not the stuff of rocket scientists: keeping opposing bats quiet, and in the ninth, Lidge taking care of business for a quick and painless closing job. That’s why the anemic hitting we saw wasn’t trouble at all.
This year, things are quite different. Lidge goes back and forth and gets stripped of his closing title TWICE already. And despite all the efforts in trying to get the bats swinging, it has been impossible, apart from the notable exceptions of Mike Lamb, Luke Scott and Lance Berkman. A recipe for disaster, no doubt.
I have never liked to be a naysayer and a prophet of doom. But I can’t deny this week (despite the allegedly weak rivals they would face) is of reserved prognosis for the ‘Stros. Any slip, and we must start thinking about 2007.
I will confess you, this is not easy to digest for yours truly. Despite I try to keep my objectivity at all times, I consider this moment a very hard one and tough to deal with. We’ll wait and see.