added 4/3/2007 by Scott Barzilla
So, the Astros lost the game in the end. You can hear the callers on talk radio now: "we shouldn't have wasted 100 million on the bum." Others will write on the message boards, "can we cut Brad Lidge already?" All of these points are magnified in a silly way in April. How many people would say the same thing if Carlos Lee took the collar on June 30th? How many people will say the same thing if Lidge blows his second save on the same date?
I always choose to be optimistic this time of year. I saw several things yesterday that make me optimistic. Of course, I saw some other things that bother me a lot. Still, it's only one game and no one needs to go around breaking any windshields because of the lackluster performances.
The primary positives came from the younger players in the lineup. Chris Burke responded to a weak spring with two doubles. In particular, his opposite field double was very promising. Taveras probably couldn't hit it that far if it were set up on a tee. Luke Scott and Adam Everett also chipped in offensively and defensively respectively. If Scott can hit lefties like that all year he should be an all-star.
More importantly, Roy Oswalt continues to be Roy Oswalt. You have to know he was in the lockerroom cursing after going through that scenario last year ad naseum. Dan Wheeler helped him out of a jam before Lidge did his handy work. Overall, the Astros deserved a lot better than what they got yesterday.
The negatives start with Lidge. Lidge has the most to lose from that performance. No, I don't think Garner will or should demote him to middle relief quite yet. However, Lidge might suffer some longterm effects from the blown save. No one knows what Lidge is really thinking at this point. His character will be tested.
The most pressing negative was the offense yet again. You shouldn't win too many games where you only score two runs. Similarly, you shouldn't score only two runs in a game where you have that many doubles (not to mention the home run.) It's only one game and we wouldn't think much of it if we hadn't seen this kind of ineffeciency the last two years.
I'm hopeful that the Everett in the two-hole experiment is only that. This is case where Garner is overthinking himself. Yes, it sounds good to break up the 7-8-9 logjam, but putting a .310ish OBP leadoff hitter with a .300ish OBP second hitter is a recipe for disaster. Put the best six hitters first and then just bite your lip at the bottom of the order.
Simply put, Garner deserves a chance to adjust. He deserves a chance to change the lineup. He deserves a chance to change closers if this nonsense continues. No one should call for his head or call him an idiot at this point. Yet, if we are looking at the same thing on June 30th it's time to start talking.