Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Art of the Backhanded Compliment

Ken Rosenthal has mastered it. Check the opening:

Sometimes these things aren’t so complicated. The Astros are playing better in part because they couldn’t play worse.

Okay. Let's get to some objective analysis?

On the offense:
Some of the Astros’ offensive problems were attributable to poor luck. The Astros batted only .268 on balls in play during their 17-34 start, and still rank last in the NL at .286. For Lee, in particular, the hits just were not falling — his BABIP for the first two months was just .215.

Of course, BABIP works both ways: Rookie third baseman Chris Johnson’s .415 average on balls in play is a strong indication that he has been awfully lucky.

But don't undersell the impact of The Roy Situation. Wade:
“Roy’s situation had hung over our club for an extended period of time. In all candor, once he made people aware he wanted out, it hung there for a while. Until we made a move, there was a negative drag with all that stuff going on.”

Wade on Mills:
“I’ve got to give them a ton of credit. They’re so consistent in their approach. I talked about how happy I was when we hired Mills as manager, how happy I was with how he ran spring training. My feelings have only grown stronger that he is the right guy. He got us through the storm of the first half. The guys appreciated his approach.”

The team needs more power in the middle infield positions, another starting pitcher, bullpen help and a deep bench to support the youngsters...But finally, the Astros are on their way.