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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Astros: The Coming of Spring (Vol. 2) 

TD Sanchez might have dropped its opener, 10-7, on the chilly dirt of Krieg Complex, but all it takes are four words to make me forget that loss:

"Pitchers and catchers report."

For the Astros, the pitching staff looks to be the birght spot in the upcoming season. Roger Clemens is back, Andy Pettite is hopefully healthy, and Roy Oswalt is... well, Roy Oswalt.

Are there questions? Sure. Can Brandon Back show the reliability all season long that he showed last September and October? Will a fifth starter emerge in the next month? Can John Franco, Dan Wheeler and Chad Qualls hold leads long enough to let Brad Lidge turn out the lights? Will someone please take Tim Redding off of our hands?

Everyone has questions at this point, and of course Houston is no different. But how many pitching staffs have two potential Cy Young winners and an elite closer? Not many. So nevermind that the offense leans toward lackluster right now. You need a good pitching staff when that's the case and Houston's fits the bill.

Manager Phil Garner says:

"Some say we're going to score fewer runs. That won't be a problem if we give up a whole lot less runs. We might score fewer runs but score them at the right time, and be a better ballclub. You don't know."
No, you don't know. Who knew in August of last year knew that Houston would rocket past everyone (pun semi-intended) in the wild card race and fall just short of the World Series? Nobody. As pitchers and catchers report today, we don't know what's in store for the club in 2005? We do know, however, that this team has character and damn good group of arms. That's enough for now.


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