The 2007 Opening Day starter will be Roy Oswalt for the 3rd year in a row. That may be the only comforting thought for Astros fans as they eagerly await April 2nd. Jason Jennings will be solid as Roy O’s Second. Woody Williams will provide a stabilizing veteran influence in the 3 spot. It’s the spots after that that are likely to give me conniption fits.
I took a peek at the Astros Official Depth Chart earlier today. It lists Wandy Rodriguez and Matt Albers in the 4 and 5 spots at Pitcher. Now, I have nothing against Matt Albers being listed as one of the most likely starters–his placement as the #5 starter is just fine by me.
What made me explode–to the point that I choked on my cup of coffee and had some of it land on my crisp, clean shirt–was seeing Wandy penciled in at #4 and NO MENTION OF CHRIS SAMPSON!!
What is it going to take for the Astros Brass from Tim Purpura and Tal Smith down to Phil Garner to realize that Chris Sampson is a better pitcher than Wandy and deserves the starting spot more?
I would love someone to explain to me this love-affair that Garner (and to be fair, other managers too) has with a lefty in the starting rotation…last I heard, there are more right-handed hitters in MLB than left-handed ones…so, wouldn’t it make more sense to stack your starting rotation with right-handed pitchers? You know, the ones that have better stats against the majority of the hitters in MLB?
Besides, it’s not like Wandy Rodriguez is the second coming of The Big Unit in his prime. He is just the latest "Jeroime Robertson" and like Robertson, needs to move on out…at this point in time, I don’t even care if the Astros don’t get anything in return for him.
If a southpaw is a must, then I hope the Astros seriously consider giving that starting rotation slot to either Phillip Barzilla or Mark McLemore, both of whom started for The Round Rock Express in 2006 and posted very respectable ERAs and WHIP. Granted, McLemore is more suited to the bullpen as the 2nd lefty, but, hey, at least give the man a fair shot in spring training.
I shall pray every night until the end of spring training that Phil Garner comes to his senses and replaces Wandy with Sampson, Barzilla or McLemore.