Jul 30, 1919 days ago

Hang It Up, Hampton

Sorry Mike, but you need to go now. Well, maybe you can stick around as a pinch hitter, because Houston needs any help they can get at the plate. But as a pitcher, you’re just not good anymore. And to be fair, you haven’t been very good since you took all that money to go to Colorado eight years ago. But this is just getting embarrassing now, isn’t it?

The start you just made on Wednesday in Chicago should be your last, at least for this club. Because if the Astros have any fantasies of making the playoffs this season, they can’t keep running you out to the mound every fifth day. The Astros can’t keep throwing away starts on you when they sit on the fringe of contention in the NL Central. Cecil Cooper did it last season with Brandon Backe when he was clearly in over his head, so hopefully history doesn’t repeat itself and you’ll find yourself out of the Astro rotation.

You pitched two nice games after coming off the disabled list on June 30th, but that’s not saying much considering the competition you were up against (Padres and Pirates). You’ve given the Astros almost zero chance to win in your last four starts, which has seen your ERA increase by over a run, ballooning all the way up to a pathetic 5.36. And Wednesday’s outing against the Cubs was absolutely atrocious. Giving up six runs in the first inning, well the game was over before most of the fans even showed up. By the end of your performance Wednesday, you had given up 19 runs in your last 16 innings pitched.

And yes, anyone can see that Brian Moehler and Russ Ortiz aren’t exactly throwing lights-out baseball for the Astros either. They’re terrible too. But Mike, you’re clearly the guy now. There’s no getting around the fact that you’re the worst starting pitcher for the Astros right now. So if they insist on playing for this season and making a run at the playoffs, they’re going to have to remove the weakest link from that rotation, especially now that they have a viable alternative. Bud Norris made his major league debut today, coming in to relieve you, and he was quite impressive. He’s your replacement in the rotation. And if it turns out that Roy Oswalt has to miss two or three starts, well then the Astros need to bring up Yorman Bazardo from AAA Round Rock. He can’t be any worse than you.

Even if the Astros do fall out of contention here in these next couple of weeks, you still don’t need to be pitching anymore. You’re obviously not in their plans for next season, so it’s time they take a look at some of their younger arms to see if they have anything. It doesn’t matter which angle you approach this thing from, there’s just no argument to be made on your behalf. You’ve made your last start for the Astros.

You had a very nice career, especially during your first stint with Houston in the ‘90’s. Along with guys like Darryl Kile and Shane Reynolds, you were a fixture in the Houston rotation for years. You were incredible in 1999, and if it wasn’t for Randy Johnson in the desert that year, you’d probably have a Cy Young to your credit. But it’s over. The Astros need to move forward without you now because they still find themselves in the playoff race. And at this point, you provide them with no chance of winning.

So long, Mike. It’s been fun.

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Written by Collin Atherton

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  1. July 31, 2009
    And to think if the humidor at Coors was in place in 2001 when Mike played here... Thanks for the welcome & I'll keep an eye on Mr. McBath. As for TTU, no one cares if it's 21-14 or 70-66, a win's a win. Besides, the Broncos can use anyone who knows how to tackle, and I get the feeling the secondary will be doing a lot of tackling. Keep up the good work, AC Reply

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