Series Six Pack with Greg Thurston of Climbing Tal’s Hill
There’s really not much more I can say about the Milwaukee Brewers (45-56). Losing nine out of your last ten games…can it get any worse? Well it could, but we’ll try to stay positive for the time being. The Houston Astros (35-68) have just been battered all season and 2012 marks their last season in the NL before converting to the AL West. Both teams are on the fast track to nowhere, but regardless, NL Central ball is still competitive when it comes to rivalries. The loss of Zack Greinke is now here for the Brewers and they head into this series and more without him. Mark Rogers was called up to take his place. For the Astros, they’ll just try and focus on building their team up so they can compete in the AL West next year and for years to come.
For this preview, I asked Greg Thurston, a senior editor at Climbing Tal’s Hill a few questions about his Astros. Climbing Tal’s Hill is FanSided’s Houston Astros blog so be sure to check them out. Here’s what Greg had to say:
RtB: Every year seems like disappointment for Houston. What exactly is being done to prevent the heartbreak year after year?
Greg: The new ownership group headed by Jim Crane is committed to rebuilding this team the right way, through the draft and the farm system. New G.M. Jeff Luhnow has successfully dealt away all of his high salaried veterans for a multitude of prospects. The big league team is the worst in the league and last year so was the minor league system. This season the Astros minor league teams have the highest combined winning percentage in baseball, so help is on the way.
RtB: How devastating is the loss of Wandy Rodriguez?
Greg: Not at all – it was time for Wandy to go. Rodriguez was a nice player for the Astros but his trade value was at its peak, so the deal had to be done. It looks like the three prospects the Astros got for him could all be big leaguers in the near future.
RtB: Jose Altuve, in my mind, is one of the most underrated players on any team. How exactly will the Astros try to retain him in the future?
Greg: Altuve is under team control for five more years. At that time the Astros will have a decision to make. The second base position is stacked for the Astros with Jimmy Paredes currently at AAA and Delino DeShields Jr.at High-A. Any of those three players could become the second baseman of the future, so the decision on whether or not to keep Altuve will most likely hinge on the development of DeShields. It could be a nice “problem” to have in 2017.
RtB: Jed Lowrie seemed to do well in Houston before his injury. Do you think he’ll go back to the way he was when he returns?
Greg: Lowrie has the potential to be a tremendous player if only he could stay healthy. I have no doubt in his ability to hit and field. My only doubts are in his ability to stay off the disabled list. In all honesty, Jonathan Villar is the Astros shortstop of the future, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Lowrie is traded.
RtB: Any predictions about how being the AL West will be?
Greg: I think it will be tough for the first year. The team is still young and our best prospects are still a couple of years away. Plus, there will definitely be an adjustment period of getting used to the DH rule and becoming more familiar with the new opponents. We could be in store for another 100 loss season in 2013 but I look for things to get better after that.
Here are the projected pitching match-ups and start times for this series:
- Monday: Bud Norris (5-8, 5.08 ERA) vs Marco Estrada (0-4, 4.52 ERA) – 8:10 PM EST / 7:10 PM CST
- Tuesday: Dallas Keuchel (1-3, 4.63 ERA) vs Yovani Gallardo (8-8, 4.07 ERA) 8:10 PM EST / 7:10 PM CST
- Wednesday: Jordan Lyles (2-7, 5.54 ERA) vs Mike Fiers (4-4, 1.77 ERA) – 2:10 PM EST / 1:10 PM CST
Thank you again to Greg Thurston for taking the time to help out with this preview. Be sure to check out Climbing Tal’s Hill for everything anything Houston Astros related. To check out my answers for Greg’s preview, click here. Good luck to the Astros, but as always, go Brew Crew!