Lowrie’s injury may open door for an old friend
So the Astros are lifeless on offense and now they are without their borderline all-star shortstop for quite some time. Reports of a ankle sprain don’t seem to tell the whole story, expect a long DL stint for Jed. The obivous choices to replace Lowrie are Brian Bixler and Marwin Gonzalez. Bixler is a journeyman and Gonzalez is a rule 5 kid, neither make me feel good about the situation. So the worst offense in baseball currently has been given another body blow and is down on one knee without a Mickey in their corner to inspire a miraculous rally. There, however, is still one man who might just serve the Astros well and you know him, Angel Sanchez.
Against my better judgement, I’d probably push for a Jonathan Villar call up. I know, bad move, the kid isn’t ready and still has severe holes in his swing but why not? Well, thanks to him punching a door, it’s not an option so we are left scrambling and then we scramble right into Angel Sanchez. The guy who was overplayed by Mills into the ground last season and became a punching bag for most Astros’ fans. He was awful last season given regular playing time but that just wasn’t who he was or is. Angel was never meant to be a regular but as a bat off the bench, he was decent. So far this season in OKC he is hitting .300 with an excellent .376 OBP while walking almost twice as much as striking out. We all know his limitations at short but why not stick him there in a platoon with Gonzalez or Bixler? Again, in limited play, he has done well and against lefities over that time, his numbers are respectable with a .275 avg and a .345 obp. Those numbers shouldn’t blow you away but you really don’t want to see what his stats against a RH pitcher look like, trust me.
The Astros’ options are limited because they simply don’t have anyone who could compensate for Lowrie’s potential, if nothing else. He was struggling but teams still needed to fear his ability. No one will fear Brian Bixler, Marwin Gonzalez or Angel Sanchez but at least we know what we have in Angel. Bixler looks okay and has had his moments but is no better than a utility guy who has never been given the job full-time. Gonzalez is a kid, he did well early in the year which creates hope that maybe the Stros found something. Sanchez has done the regular thing and failed but in a shorter time frame has shown something. Really Bixler and Sanchez are very similar but there is just something morbid about seeing Angel back in an Astros uniform playing shortstop for your hometown nine. I get an odd pleasure out of it and maybe sprinkle a little torturous humor to an already torturous season.