Despite a slow start to this 2008 season, the Houston Astros look to come out strong after the All-Star break. The Astros currently hold a 35-41 record, putting them in 4th place in the National League Central division and 11th in the league overall. The Astros' offense is led by shortstop Miguel Tejada and first baseman Lance Berkman. Tejada, himself, has had a slow start to this season, and fans look for him to make a turnaround to his decent, but not expectedly amazing performance thus far this season of 5 home runs and 26 RBIs. On the other hand, Lance Berkman has had an All-Star start to this season with a solid 12 home runs, 35 RBIs, and a league-leading 66 runs. At the mound on defense, Olympic Gold medal winner Roy Oswalt leads the way with a solid 27 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched. The Astros look to turn around this slow start to the season towards a playoff run towards bringing back the pennant and World Series title. Tickets are selling slow due to the slow start to the season, but they'll be hard to find as the season draws to a close.
The Houston Astros have a long tradition
of winning baseball dating back to the days of Hall of Fame pitcher
Nolan Ryan. The Astros have seen the post season seven times
in their history and always seem to be in the mix for the NL
Central crown. The last time the Astros made the playoffs came
in 2001. The Astros had just come off of a 93-69 record and a
National League Central divisional crown. The team was matched
up against the Atlanta Braves in the first round who had eliminated
them two of the past three times the Astros had made it to the
This off-season was one of the more memorable for
the Astros as they acquired two Yankee pitching legends Roger
Clemens and Andy Pettitte. The two both pitched in high school
and junior college in East Texas and wanted to finish out their
careers closer to their families. Clemens actually did “retire,” but
was coaxed out of retirement by good friend Pettitte, his family and the town
of Houston. As a gift for retiring “the Boss” George Steinbrenner
gave Clemens a new H2 and while in Houston a local radio show walked up to Clemens’ door
and offered him a H2 to play for the Astros. The city was bursting with excitement
and wouldn’t take no for an answer from Clemens. The other big off-season
move was the trade of All-Star closer Billy Wagner for Brandon Duckworth and
two minor league prospects.
The Astros also made an incredibly huge move during
the season. The front office worked out a deal that landed
them the most coveted player in all of baseball Kansas City
center fielder Carlos Beltran. Beltran is what they call a
five tool player, or a guy that can hit for average, power,
steal bases, field, and has an amazing arm.
The Houston team looks primed for a post-season push
this year in the uber-competitive NL Central. They have the
same All-Star core of left fielder Lance Berkman, center fielder
Craig Biggio, first baseman Jeff Bagwell and former MVP second
baseman Jeff Kent. Fellow sluggers include veteran right fielder
Richard Hidalgo and Brad Ausmus.
The pitching staff also isn’t anything to sneeze at this year either. Pettitte
and Clemens join a talented young cast of pitchers like Roy Oswalt, Wade Miller,
and Tim Redding. The Astros’ bullpen is stocked with flamethrowers. Former
setup man Brad Lidge and is out to prove that losing Billy Wagner and Octavio
Dotel won’t cause the team to lose many games.
Minute Maid Park, a.k.a. the “Juice Box,” plays home to the Houston
Astros. It’s one of the most architecturally unique parks in the majors.
With a retractable roof, a fully working locomotive in left field and a 50,000
square foot glass western wall. The quirks are also put into the field as well
as in the stadium around it. Center field showcases Tal’s Hill, a 30 degree
incline against the center field wall and on the hill is a flag pole displaying
the American flag and making a fly ball to center field very interesting.
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