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Series Preview #7: Talking Astros With The Crawfish Boxes


vs. Astros



9-9 (Tie-1st place, NL Central)
7-11 (6th place, NL Central)

GAME 1: April 22, 2011 @ 7:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

: April 23, 2011 @ 6:10 p.m. CDT

(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

GAME 3: April 24, 2011 @ 1:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin and Telemundo; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

Miller Park   Milwaukee, Wisconsin

SBN Coverage: Astros vs Brewers coverage

A View from the Other Dugout: The Crawfish Boxes

Game 1 Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 4.62) vs. Nelson Figueroa (0-2, 7.31)
vs. Astros (0-0, 0.00) vs. Brewers (0-0, 0.00)
Game 2 Shawn Marcum (2-1, 1.90) vs. Brett Myers (1-0, 2.39)
vs. Astros (0-0, 0.00) vs. Brewers (0-0, 0.00)
Game 3  Randy Wolf (2-2, 3.18) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (1-2, 5.48)
vs. Astros (0-0, 0.00) vs. Brewers (0-0, 0.00)

David Coleman of The Crawfish Boxes was kind enough to take a moment to share his thoughts on the 2011 Astros and this weekend's series:

KL: What are your expectations for the 2011 Astros? What would it take for you to call this season a success?

DC: I'm probably not the best fan to ask about expectations for this team, because I don't really have any. This isn't a good team. It's not terrible, but it's not nearly good enough to be interesting. However, it is a team with quite a bit of potential. The Astros will need to figure out what they have from guys like Brett Wallace, Chris Johnson and Bud Norris.

To that end, I'm not nearly as concerned with major league success as I am with the minor leagues. If Jordan Lyles, Delino DeShields, Jr. and J.D. Martinez continue to develop, this season will be a success.

Follow the jump for the rest!

KL: Wandy Rodriguez looks like he's had two good starts and two poor starts this season. Any idea what's going on with him, and which Wandy we should expect to see on Sunday?

DC: Well, Wandy is pitching on the road. His home/road splits have been pretty extreme in his career, so much so that it was almost shocking to see him pitch well against the Mets. His curve hasn't looked to be in vintage form yet, but it also doesn't seem like Wandy is fighting the plan pitching coach Brad Arnsberg has laid out for him.

The other sneaky part of Wandy's success has been J.R. Towles, who sort of became his personal catcher this season. Wandy never really clicked with Humberto Quintero, and seems to have a much better rapport with Towles.

KL: What makes Brett Myers so successful, and what will it take to get him to shave that awful facial hair?

DC: If I knew why Myers was so successful, I'd make a lot more money than I do. I never would have dreamed that a pitcher who actively seeks out contact as much as Myers could be effective for so long.

It's not that Myers gets a great ground ball rate, but he's had a knack in the past two seasons for getting timely outs when he needs them. He doesn't have any velocity, mainly throws his two-seamer/cutter with a slider working in and relies on his defense.

Did I mention that Myers has stranded 91 percent of his baserunners this season? Every advanced stat you can point to says Myers won't keep putting up these numbers. And yet he still does.

As for the facial hair, it reminds me too much of Jeff Bagwell to get on him too much. When he stops pitching like a Top 15 guy, that beard will fall under much greater scrutiny.

KL: The Astros are Bill Hall's third team since leaving the Brewers in 2009, and the first in quite some time to use him in a non-utility role. What're your early impressions of his performance?

DC: There are already Astros fans calling for Bill Hall's head. He actually hasn't looked that bad in the field, flashing range at second that Houston hasn't seen in years and years. But, his batting has been pretty awful. Houston signed Hall thinking that he would provide more power to a lackluster offense. So far, he's just provided strikeouts. He's not getting on base and he's not hitting for power or for average.

In about a month, Jeff Keppinger will come back from a broken foot. If Hall doesn't start turning things around at the plate, you might see Houston make a move to cut bait with him instead of sending down the better-performing Jason Bourgeois.

KL: Coming into play Wednesday Michael Bourn was 8-for-8 stealing bases, and led all Astro regulars with a .784 OPS. Is he just picking his spots well, or is this the Bourn we should expect to see all season?

DC: Bourn has been successful because of his walk rate. In his career, he's never had a season where that walk rate nudged over 9.8 percent. Right now, it's 11.7 percent and has been 13.8 percent in the past week. If Bourn is getting on base AND wreaking havoc, he's very dangerous. He won't hit for this kind of power, but he could sustain both his average and on-base percentage for the rest of the season.

Thanks to David for taking the time. For more on the Astros, be sure to check out The Crawfish Boxes.