The Houston Astros ending seasons with a strong run through August and September is as much a staple of late summer sports as Brett Favre unretiring. But I don’t know if it’s in the cards this time. The Stros have now lost 4 straight including a series sweep to the Milwaukee Brewers while giving up 7.5 runs per game. Before the four game skid it looked like maybe the Astros had figured something out, winning 7 straight including 2 out of 3 against the Cardinals. And in a weird turn of events, dealing one of the franchise’s best hitters has seemed to awoken the Astros lineup like something from a zombie movie. Since dealing Lance Berkman, the Astros are averaging 7 runs per game. And 6 of those games came on the road. Any Astros fan has to be encouraged by the offensive output and if the rotation can find some consistency, it’s reasonable to believe Houston could be due for their strongest prolonged run of the season.
Just 37% of Houston’s remaining games are against winnings ballclubs (9 of 22 in August, 11 of 28 in September, 0 of 3 in October)
And if Houston can go .500 the rest of the season (26 wins) they would avoid their worst win total since 2000 when they won 72 games. Also, a two month stretch of .500 play would be great for fans as they look ahead to next year in a weak NL Central. It’s hard to see the Cubs, Brewers, or Pirates getting much better by next year while the Astros have a chance for some good young players to develop. Bud Norris, anyone? Any expectations above that are probably unwarranted optimism.