August 7, 2020

Are the Astros Really This Bad?

June 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Anyone who saw the first two games of the Cincinnati series last week and the Washington game on Monday would obviously answer yes. The Astros are on a pace to lose 108 games this year after never having lost 100 in their 48-year history. After getting in a hole with an 8-14 record in April, the team dug it considerably deeper with a 9-20 record in May.

There were some bright spots in May. Hunter Pence batted .302 in May with 6 home runs and started hitting like he did in spring training. Lance Berkman has shown some signs of life but hasn’t yet developed consistency. Jeff Keppinger continued to play well and has taken over the starting position at second base. Felipe Paulino still hasn’t posted a win but turned in eight shutout innings against the hard-hitting Reds last week. Roy Oswalt recorded quality starts in his first 10 outings before his meltdown in start No. 11 when he couldn’t deal with Umpire Bill Hohn’s postage stamp-size strike zone. Bret Myers has been consistent, pitching at least 6 innings in each of his 10 starts. Closer Matt Lindstrom converted 5 of 6 saves in May.

The Club obviously has some issues. The biggest is the Carlos Lee dilemma. In his 10 full seasons in the major leagues, he has been a model of consistency (.291-29-101) with little deviation from year to year. In 2010, he is at .206-5-21. Some decline is likely at his age (33) but not like this. With his no-trade clause and a bloated contract signed before the market correction in 2009, a trade does not seem likely. If the Astros are to regain respectability, a return to form by Lee and Berkman is essential.

Another major issue is the lack of depth in starting pitching. Through the first 9 trips through the rotation, no starter missed a start but when Bud Norris went down before his 10th start, the Astros did not bring up a starter from the minors but turned to Brian Moehler, who may not have enough left to retire major league hitters.

An issue, similar to the Lee situation, involves third baseman, Pedro Feliz. A .254 hitter with some power over a 10 year career, Feliz is hitting .213 with 2 home runs. It may be time to give a chance to Chris Johnson, hitting well at Round Rock after leading all major leaguers with 8 home runs in spring training.

The Astros pitching was around the League average until the 3 blowout losses in the last week. They now rank 13th of 16 with an ERA of 4.60. The Astros have allowed an average of 5.02 runs per game while scoring an average of only 3.04 runs per game.

The Astros offensive futility is beginning to reach historic proportions. They are last in the major leagues in runs, hits, home runs, RBIs, total bases, walks, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average. Particularly embarrassing is the on-base percentage (OBP) of .282, the only team below .300. The last time the Astros had a team OBP below .300 was in 1968, the year of the pitcher.

One inescapable conclusion is that the Astros currently do not have the talent to compete. A recent issue of the Sporting news contained a listing of the top 50 players today as chosen by a large panel and the Astros were one of the few teams that did not have a player represented.

Unless the Astros turn it around pretty quickly, it appears that the Pittsburgh Pirates long time hold on last place in the National League Central Division is in serious jeopardy.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!