Oswalt pitches, Astros win. A nice break from the norm.

Roy Oswalt leads the Major Leagues with 10 quality starts, having pitched at least six innings and held opponents to three or fewer runs in every outing. That’s all well and good and interesting to a degree, but quality starts don’t mean anything without quality wins, which as we know have eluded Oswalt, and the Astros, more often than not this year.

That’s why it was nice to see the Astros score runs early and often Wednesday night against the Brewers. Oswalt got comfortable immediately, in what turned out to be a typically dominant outing.

The best thing for Oswalt to do is continue to be dominant, which will make him that much more attractive for potential trade partners, should the Astros decide to deal Oswalt before the July 31 deadline. It’s still unclear if the Astros will find a team that fits all three very important criteria: a) can take on Oswalt’s hefty salary, b) has enough young talent to offer in return and c) is a team Oswalt would agree to go to. But the odds of the Astros getting value on their return, should they choose to trade him, increase exponentially the more dominant Oswalt is from here on out.

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Some upcoming events to mark on your calendar:

Praise in the Park

The Astros are bringing Gospel music to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, June 5, with their Praise in the Park event, with a portion of the ticket proceeds benefitting the United Negro College Fund.

The program begins at 2:30 and includes a special Gospel concert, featuring Houston native James Fortune, Vickie Winans and “Houston’s 100 Voices of Praise”. Fortune is a Stellar Award nominee and winner of two prestigious ASCAP Awards for Gospel Song of the Year. Winans is a Grammy-nominated, Stellar Award and NAACP Award Winning artist.

Immediately following the concert, fans will enjoy a Heritage Expo including displays from the Negro League Baseball Museum, the Buffalo Soldier’s Museum, The Ensemble Theatre and many more.

For more information about Praise in the Park, click here.

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National Moment of Remembrance

Major League Baseball will be observing a National Moment of Remembrance on Monday, for three reasons: 1) to remind all Americans on Memorial Day the importance of remembering those who sacrificed their lives in serving their country; 2) provide an opportunity to join this expression of gratitude in an act of unity; and 3) make Memorial Day more relevant, especially to younger Americans.

Games played Monday afternoon will pause precisely at 3 p.m. (local time) in order for the host teams to play a one minute video in observance of a Moment of Remembrance, to honor those Americans who have sacrificed their lives in serving their country. The Astros are hosting the Nationals that day at 1:05 p.m. CT, so assuming the game moves at a normal pace, the game will probably be in the sixth or seventh inning when the video runs.

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And finally, I received this note from Astros fan Sam Restivo when the Astros were in Los Angeles last week. It’s a moving tribute to his grandmother, who spent a large portion of her 94 years passing her love for the Astros on to her family:

I wanted to let the Astros know that one of their all-time biggest fans has passed away.  My grandmother, Clementine Schattel Barton, died on Sunday at home in Houston at the age of 94.  She took me to my very first game at the Astrodome in 1988 and she never, ever missed a game on TV (or an opportunity to yell at it when the boys weren’t playing well!).  She had been a fan since the very beginning, having lived in and around the Houston area her entire life.  Every morning after a game, we’d read through the box scores in the Chronicle together and talk about who was or wasn’t playing well.  She passed her love and passion for the game onto me as I never miss a game either, even though I live in Los Angeles.

My friends at DodgerVision in LA sent me the attached picture of the tribute they did for her at the stadium and I would be honored if you would consider reposting it on your blog.  She was the most loyal of fans and I’m so happy she had the opportunity to see them go the Series in ’05.  She rooted for everybody from Jimmy Wynn to Nolan Ryan to Biggio and Bagwell.  As her health deteriorated over the past decade, she could no longer attend any games but would still be up in arms if anybody tried to change the channel at home! She meant the world to us and the Astros meant the world to her.

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