Thursday, July 30, 2009

Justice: One down, one to go

Justice:

(Ortiz) didn't make it, and the Astros released him Thursday afternoon after the Cubs lit him up for 9 runs in 2.1 innings. He didn't win a start after April 26 and was 0-3 with a 12.23 ERA in five July starts. Reliever Sammy Gervacio was summoned from Round Rock to help an exhausted bullpen, but there are larger questions.

For instance, what about Mike Hampton? Hampton and Ortiz have both been lousy this month, going 2-6 with a 9.89 ERA. With the Astros desperate for a quality start, both were lit up by the Cubs this week...

...They were nice gambles for an off-season when Ed Wade had very little money to spend, but it's tough to argue for the Astros to keep giving them the ball.

Neither Ortiz nor Hampton has killer stuff anymore, but killer stuff is overrated. If both can get better command of the strike zone, their stuff will become plenty good enough.

As for options, Bud Norris is an easy one. His time has arrived. Yorman Bazardo deserves an opportunity as well. He's 9-4 with a 2.76 ERA and has allowed two earned runs in 15 innings in his last two starts.

He's only 25 years old, but has been with the Marlins, Mariners and Tigers, having made just two major league starts. The Astros have been impressed by what he has done at Round Rock, and are curious to find out how he performs at the big league level.

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