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Another sad Astros season in the books

Sports Reporter

Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 01:09

Once again, the Astros have lived up to the expectation as being one of the worst, if not the worst, team in baseball. With the 2013 schedule released, Houston’s hopes of having a 2005 repeat of postseason success will be delayed another two years as the ‘Stros move to the American League next season.

With a standing record of 50-105, not including the six remaining games on the road in Milwaukee and Chicago, the Astros 50-year tradition of being a competitive team in the league is slowly walking back to the locker room.

If Houston is to see anymore playoff exposure within the next decade their starting pitchers need to make it through five innings, and have relievers and closers learn to pitch shut-out innings.

Lucas Harrell leads the Houston starting pitchers with a team best 3.88 ERA. Although the league average ERA is 4.50, Harrell’s numbers are sub-par when compared to the arms in the AL such as Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, and Jered Weaver; all with ERAs below 3.00.

Assumed closer Wilton Lopez, currently with a 2.17 ERA, remains the only positive light in the Astros’ bullpen. With 53 strikeouts on the season in 62.1 innings pitched, Lopez is the stronghold that has secured the few wins Houston has this year. However, against AL teams, Lopez has an ERA surpassing the 4.5 league average: 9.00 ERA against TX, 3.38 against ATL, and 5.40 against the White Sox. 

This season the stros’ were 6-9 against AL opponents. The 2013 season opener against AL West leader Texas Rangers will test the starting rotation after months honing their pitching strength. Houston was 1-6 against the Rangers this year.

Although this is the second year the Astros have ended at the pit of MLB standings, the all-star shortstop will lead Houston back into pennant races if he continues to have season numbers resembling this year’s. Jose Altuve, with an astonishing height of 5’ 5”, heads the ‘Stros batting statistics with an impressive .293 batting average (ranked 17 in the NL). Unless management decides to trade Altuve like similar Houston all-stars Hunter Pence, Michael Bourne and Lance Berkman, Altuve’s bat will lead Houston in the following years to higher standings.

In the last five years Houston’s general management decisions have been questionable, but with the addition of new owner Jim Crane, the Astros have recruited well this season.

Currently with the Corpus Christi Hooks, first baseman Jonathan Singleton is performing well against minor league pitching with a current batting average of .284. After being drafted by Philadelphia in 2009, Singleton was a part of the Hunter Pence deal with the Phillies. According to Singleton has matured well playing double-A in 2012.

Houston has 10 prospect pitchers in their top 20.

With the 2012 season closing on Oct. 3, Houston will end another season with another disappointing performance recorded in the books. Until the pitching rotation matures and new players start to step up to their role as professional ball players, Astros fans will continue to hold their heads in their hands as their team quickly falls down the well and into the bottom pit of MLB standings.

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