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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cheer up, Astros fans

Greetings from Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston, where the Astros tonight will take on the Florida Marlins.

It's a gorgeous evening and fans are streaming in.

The Astros are off to a 3-8 start, their worst in 25 years, but I see a LOT of reasons for fans to be optimistic about this season.

The Astros' offense, off to its typical slow start, is going to explode sooner rather than later. The team's 3-4-5 hitters (Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada) are All-Stars capable of doing bad things to opposing pitchers.

Hunter Pence is off to a slow start, but he has excelled at every level and there's no reason to think he won't have another outstanding season. Remember, he hit .322, smacked 17 homers and drove in 69 runs last season - as a rookie.

Center fielder Michael Bourn, who's tied for the Major League lead in steals (6), closer Jose Valverde and a starting rotation that has collected five quality starts should also give Astros fans reason to smile this season.


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