A fun part of interleague play is the matchups that we don’t see very often, though for whatever reason the Sox end up pulling the Dodgers and the Pirates on a pretty regular basis. This season, however, Houston comes into town. When White Sox fans think of the Astros, I’m pretty sure they smile. Smile and remember 2005. Somehow, I don’t think the feeling is mutual for Astros fans where the White Sox are concerned, but let’s find out, shall we? I chatted for a bit with James of Astros County to get the low down.
Southside Showdown: Naturally, the Astros coming into U.S. Cellular Field brings up memories of 2005. Are the Sox just the team you happened to lose the World Series to, or does the team automatically spark a little bit of bitterness? If the Astros should get a sweep of their own, will a slow triumphant smile spread across your face?
Astros County: Not a whole lot has gone right for the Astros since that World Series, so…there’s a little bit – maybe a lot bit – of bitterness towards the White Sox. Orlando Palmeiro was safe at the end of Game 4 (not that it mattered). I’ve never been an Ozzie Guillen fan, but he’s the kind of guy I would probably love to have managing my favorite team. A.J. Pierzynski and his frosted hair can go right to hell, though. Then there was That Fan who slapped Biggio’s wife – I hope he has penile rot. That said, if the Astros get a sweep this weekend, it’ll be nice…but I won’t feel like they have avenged what happened in 2005.
SS: The Astros landed Carlos Correa with the first pick. Crazy excited or tempering expectations until he shows you something?
AC: Anytime you can land a guy who has (preliminary) comparisons to Tulowitzki and A-Rod, it’s natural to get excited. But honestly what I’m most excited about with Correa is that he signed so far under slot that it frees up almost $2.5m to sign guys like Lance McCullers, Hunter Virant, and Rio Ruiz. There was something in the Houston paper this morning that said Correa could be in the majors within three years. If I’m crazy excited about anybody right now, it’s GM Jeff Luhnow.
SS: It’s a pretty raw deal in my opinion, and in time I’m sure it’ll be like it never happened, but how are you dealing with the impending move to the American League?
AC: Thanks for saying that. In theory I understand that Bud Selig is the Honey Badger, and he’s going to do what he wants. I don’t like that it seems as though Selig held up the approval until the new owner accepted the move to the AL. So I think we’re all mad as hell about it, but what can you do? I’m certainly not going to be a Rangers fan (a lot of whom have been fans since the Glory Days of Josh Hamilton hitting all them home runs in Yankee Stadium). So we sort of deal with it.
SS: That Jose Altuve guy, he’s pretty good. Any other bright spots appearing in the lineup we should be made aware of?
AC: No. Actually, that’s not true. Jed Lowrie is (fingers crossed) healthy, and hitting the way the Red Sox hoped he would – and, back to Luhnow for a second – y’all realize that Luhnow got Lowrie and the injured Kyle Weiland for Mark Melancon, right? The guy with the 40.50 ERA and who is currently in Triple-A? Just wanted to make sure. Lowrie and Altuve are the only starters on the team with an OPS over .800, but Jason Castro could be a solid catcher, and Brett Wallace has raked since his call-up a few days ago. They’re your typical, wildly inconsistent young team, equally capable of winning any game 5-1 or losing 14-2.
Tags: A.J. Pierzynski Astros Brett Wallace Carlos Correa Craig Biggio Hunter Virant Jason Castro Jed Lowrie Jeff Luhnow Jose Altuve Josh Hamilton Kyle Weiland Lance Mccullers Mark Melancon Orlando Palmiero Rio Ruiz