Houston Astros: Next Year is Here

By: Garret Tupa Jr

Every year the Astros say next year, will its next year, and the Astros and the fans are ready. This year the Astros look ready to fight for it all. What will really happen this year? Injuries can be a key factor for them this year. Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio will have to step up to the challenge and have great year's. Bagwell is still putting up the power numbers as he hit 39 homers and batted in 100 RBI's last season, but the BA has slipped down to .278. As for Biggio, he's a fighter. Biggio led the league last season with 27 HBP(hit by pitch).

Look for Brad Ausmus to turn around last seasons horrible hitting(.229 BA) and have a good season at the plate, and behind the plate this season.

Jason Lane, Orlando Palmeiro, and Jose Vizciano will the the best trio off the bench in the National League this season. Berkman, Hildago, Kent and Ensberg will have great all-around seasons. Adam Everett will struggle but find his way this season. The bats will be very exciting, runs will be plentiful.

The astros will have two 20 game winners this year and could end up with the best staff in the league. Oswalt, Pettite, Clemens, Miller and Tim Redding will be the rotation for the 'Stros this season. Oswalt, if he can stay injury free is one of the top pitchers in the game and Andy Pettite won 21 games last season. Clemens is a future hall-of-famer and could put up 15+ wins. The relief pitching could struggle at first but will get there act together in time to make a run for the playoffs. Octavio Dotel will take over the closing role with Billy Wagner in Philly now. Dotel was one of the premier set-up men last season and he has to turn into one of the premier closers this season.

In all, fans should get there tickets early and often. The 2004 Houston Astros will fight for a World Series birth. I think the Astros will end up with 95 wins. The Astros will be in the World Series against the New York Yankees, and game seven will be a game for the ages. This is the year that every fan can be proud to say "The Astros are my team".

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