With Houston’s 8-2 victorious business over Washington this evening, they now sit just 4 games away from finishing the season at .500. This is the closest they’ve been to that goal all season. Bud Norris was kicking more ass than his long lost brother Chuck. Bud struck out 6 over 6 innings and lowered his ERA to 4.85 while picking up his 9th win. He also added a run and an RBI. My boyfriend Brian Bogusevic raised his average to .286 by going 2-4 with 2 runs. And Carlos Lee went 2-5 with a run. As horrible as it seems Lee’s season has been, he’s still going to finish the year hitting .250+ with 25 HRs and 90+ RBIs which is nothing to sneeze at.
Today ESPN.com featured an article by Steve Berthiaume where he predicts the Houston Astros will win the NL Central next year. I was excited to see someone other than myself and the city of Houston acknowledging how well the Astros have been playing lately but I’m going to have to disagree with my pal Steve-O and ask Astros fans to temper that excitement a bit. I think the Astros easily have the deepest starting rotation in the division next year and one of the top two bullpens with Cincinnati (depending where Aroldis ends up next season). However, Berthiaume sites Chris Johnson as a major reason the Astros will compete for a divisional title next season which is my main point of disagreement. I love Chris Johnson as a third baseman who can hit .270 with 20+ homeruns. I even make a case for him for RoY. But his .321 average is the definition of unsustainable as long as his 5.8:1 SO:BB ratio doesn’t improve. And will he be ready to take the next step next season? Are he and Brett Wallace ready to be middle of the lineup producers a contending team can count on night-in and night-out? I hope so but I hate to say they probably aren’t….yet. 2012? Sure. Norris and Happ will have another year under their belts, Myers and Wandy will still be in Houston, Jordan Lyles will be ready to join the rotation, and Wallace and Johnson will be in their second full seasons. They’ll also be joined by J.D. Martinez who will be taking over for Carlos Lee in the outfield. That is a team I’d be afraid to see on my schedule if I was another team in the NL Central. But the 2011 Houston Astros? Let’s just hope for steady progress and see what happens.