Blog Entry

September Storyline: Astros try to avoid history

Posted on: August 29, 2011 11:56 am
By Matt Snyder

[Note: Through Thursday, the Eye on Baseball team will be churning out two September Storylines per day]

With the first installment in the September Storyline series, we'll get the bad news out of the way first: The Houston Astros have a good shot at being historically bad. In fact, if you view from the lens of just club history, they quite certainly will make history for futility.

The bare bones are that the Astros are currently 44-90, which is a .328 winning percentage. That means they're on pace to go 53-109.

The good news is this pace will spare the Astros from getting deeply into the realm of major-league history. Dipping below .300 winning percentage would be. Only 21 teams in major-league history have dropped below .300, and it's happened just one time since 1962: The 2003 Tigers. That Tigers team was 43-119. So the Astros' 44th win Sunday already spared them from being that bad.

Still, only 11 teams since 1900 have lost 110 times in a season and the Astros are on pace to approach that number. They're also on pace to be the first team since the 2005 Royals to lose more than 105 games.

In terms of franchise history, the 2011 Astros are pretty easily destined to end up as the worst. The Astros began as the Colt .45's in 1962 and became the Astros in 1965. Only once has a ballclub in this franchise ever dipped below a .400 winning percentage and that was a .398 clip in 1975. That team lost 97 games, just as the 1991 Astros did, which are the most ever in one season for the Astros/Colt .45's. Considering the 2011 installment already has 90 losses with 28 games to play, it's a no-brainer club history is on the way. Sorry, they aren't going 21-7 the rest of the way. So the goal should be to avoid big-league history.

The good news for the Astros is they've been playing better since adjusting to life without outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn. In their last 12 games, the Astros are a modest 6-6. Also, with several young players having been recalled from the minors and some more certainly on the way, it would be shocking to see them give up on the season. It's certainly not scientific to bring this point forward, but it seems that bad veteran teams would be more apt to not give full effort late in a disaster season. The young guys are trying to impress management and living their dream, regardless of record.

At the end of the day, though, effort only carries so much weight and the fact of the matter is the Astros just don't have much developed talent. So it's going to be an uphill battle to avoid making dubious history.

Let's check out the schedule for the remainder of the season to see how rocky the water is.

Games against teams above .500
3 vs. Brewers
3 vs. Phillies
3 vs. Cardinals
3 at Reds

Games against teams below .500
3 vs. Pirates; 3 at Pirates
3 at Nationals
3 at Cubs
4 vs. Rockies

So they have 16 games against teams with a losing record and three in Cincinnati -- and the Reds are only one game over .500. The six games against the two best teams in the NL are definitely rough, but otherwise this appears to be a relatively easy schedule. Of course, every team on here has a drastically better record than Houston. And most of the games against weaker teams are on the road.

If the Astros play well enough to get half the games against teams below .500 and get, let's say, a third against the plus-.500 teams, that gives them an 11-17 mark the rest of the way, which means a 55-107 final record -- the worst in the majors since 2005, but not the dreaded 110 loss mark.

But can they actually win that many? Time will tell. It feels generous to give them those 11 wins, that's for sure. This is definitely a storyline to watch in September.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 11:12 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 6:33 am

September Storyline: Astros try to avoid history

Hey there, possibly will we put up posts rrn your blog ? Convey to me when i say must your often be interested

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: August 30, 2011 1:28 am

September Storyline: Astros try to avoid history

The fact that Brad Mills is the manager speaks volumes about the entire organization.  You win 1/3 of your games, you lose 1/3 of your games.  It's what you do with the other 1/3 that a manager influences.  The Astros don't even win 1/3 of their games.  Their best hitter statistically by OPS is Matt Downs, who has been relegated to pinch hitter status because he's deemed too valuable off the bench.  Even Carlos Lee hasn't been so terrible they couldn't manage to win a few games.  They also have Wandy Rodriguez.  Quintero has been a nice find for them.  Keppinger played great.  Hunter Pence was solid.  Melancon has been better than anyone could have expected.  Brad Mills? Wow, enjoy that legacy Houston, because as long as he's the manager, you have the chance to be the worst all-time.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: August 29, 2011 2:16 pm

September Storyline: Astros try to avoid history

they look a long way away from contending - but some of these young players look decent and they aren't stuck trying to chase down the Yankees and Red Sox or the Phillies and Braves for a division-- it may not be quite as bleak as it looks long term.

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