Astros happy to return home after long layoff
HOUSTON -- The Astros haven't forgotten what it was like to play at home, but one would forgive them given it's been half a month without baseball in Minute Maid Park.
Friday's contest against Seattle is Houston's first home game since a Fourth of July extra-inning loss to Tampa Bay.
Between the All-Star break, two off-days and an eight-game road stretch, it was approximately one week of game action spread over two weeks.
While players weren't exactly shunning home's advantages, they were quick to dismiss the lengthy time away from Minute Maid as a negative.
"As baseball players, you get used to just playing, no matter what," said reliever Wesley Wright. "It's good to be at home and be able to go home at night. But for the actual game itself, it only matters for whether you take the field first or not."
Outfielder Brandon Barnes had a different take, saying he loves being back at home despite having to traverse Tal's Hill in centerfield.
For Barnes, it's a matter of temperature control, as the retractable roof and air conditioning provides ideal playing conditions at all times, even during Houston's humid summer.
"It's always 72 degrees in here," Barnes said. "We take it for granted sometimes, but being in places like St. Louis or Dallas, you feel that heat out there. It's nice to be back home for that alone."
Manager Bo Porter said the All-Star break was nice because it allowed for time with family, but as for baseball purposes, the venue or days off don't particularly matter.
"You know me, and I don't get into scheduling," Porter said, chuckling. "Every day's a Monday. We go to the ballpark and play and that never changes, even if you're tucking yourself in in your own bed."