Entering Tuesday night, the Astros’ losing streak was at seven games. They already boast the worst record in baseball this year, and were getting hammered again by the equally lowly Chicago Cubs, a division rival who also is playing for nothing but pride. Alyson Footer, Astros blogger and social media director, tweeted during the game that Houston broadcaster Jim Deshaies’ catch in the booth would probably be the play of the game. On most days, she’d probably be right. Last night, the Astros surprised both the fans and Footer alike by proving otherwise.
Trailing 5-2 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Brian Bogusevic, whose playing time has increased greatly since the trade deadline, stepped up to the plate and launched a grand slam to win the game. The streak was over. The Astros are still dead last in baseball, but for a season that’s been difficult to muster, it was a quick gasp of air for Astros fans.
While Bogusevic’s homer gave Astros fans something to cheer about, the real victory had taken place the night before, off the field. According to media reports, with literally minutes to spare, the Astros signed their first and third-round picks, OF George Springer and RP Jack Armstrong, from the 2011 First Year Player Draft. For a franchise that is at the lowest point in its history, this moment could turn out to be monumental.
The Astros, by many accounts, didn’t get equal value for the players they parted with at the trade deadline. This is primarily regarding the Michael Bourn trade. Over the last two years, GM Ed Wade has seemingly been constructing a double-A, All-Star team, but Houston fans have yet to see the results from having to say goodbye to their favorite players. Instead, they’re on track to lose 100 games for the first time in franchise history. They’ve demoted two of last year’s most promising players, Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace. And most of all, fans are skeptical the current regime will right the ship anytime soon.
But in a hopeless season, there’s now an iota of hope on the horizon with these two signings. In particular, Springer looks to be a catalyst for good things to come in the future. In his last year at Connecticut, he hit .343 with 12 HR, 77 RBI, and added 31 SB to the mix. With speed and power, and a wide open outfield, Springer could be sporting an Astros uniform much quicker than most would presume. Whether the moves Wade is making in these last few months of the season will pay off or not, only time will tell. But going into spring training next year, it should be a fascinating battle for basically every starting position on the Astros roster. All I have to say is: Make sure you buy a program. Without it, you’ll be left wondering, “Who are these guys?”