With Opening Day coming up this Friday for the Astros, let’s take a look at the previous decade’s season openers:
2010: San Francisco 5, Houston 2
- Tim Lincecum fans seven in 7 innings of shut out work for the Giants. Going 1-7 with runners in scoring position, the Astros give a preview as to what the season will look like with a lack of clutch hitting coming from the big bats. A late ninth inning rally fails to make a difference in the game for the Astros outside of just getting on the scoreboard. Roy Oswalt pitches his final opening day game for the Astros prior to being traded and finishes 2-4 on season opening games for the Stros.
2009: Chicago Cubs 4, Houston 2
- Two early home runs surrendered by Oswalt seem to be too much for the Astros to overcome as Zambrano leads the Cubs to a win over Houston in his first start since no hitting the Astros a season before. Leaving seven on base for the game, Houston failed to capitalize on many opportunities which … again a sign of the season to come.
2008: Houston 0, San Diego 3
- The only season Houston started away from home in the 2000’s, the Astros run into the buzz saw that is a healthy Jake Peavy. With a WHIP greater than 2 for the game, the Wizard struggled to get into a groove against the Adrian Gonzalez led Padres. Michael Bourn would swipe two bags in his first opening day start of his career which was the only bright spot in an otherwise pitching dominated game by the Padres
2007: Pittsburgh 4, Houston 2 (10)
- 7.2 IP and one run surrendered, Roy O would have another win blown in extra innings as Brad Lidge failed to put the game away in the ninth. You cannot help but wonder how many wins Roy could have had if he had a decent offense or bullpen behind him in his last four years in Houston. Though he led the National League in wins for the first decade of the 2000’s, he would have many stolen away from him due to a lack luster supporting cast. A two run Luke Scott homer provided the only offense for the good guys.
2006: Florida 0, Houston 1
- Oh hey there, win column. In the first game after the World Series in 2005, Roy threw a gem against the electric Dontrelle Willis to start the season off with a W. Preston Wilson goes 0-4 in his debut which should have been an omen for plug in players to come. Josh Johnson would give up the games only run, but clearly his future had a different path.
2005: St. Louis 7, Houston 3
- Maybe I am a Monday morning quarterback, but losing to the Cards to start the season would be nothing when compared to beating them in the NLCS later that season. Chris Carpenter gives up one run in 7 innings to start his Cy Young campaign with a bang, but the 6 surrendered in 6 by Oswalt mimicked more of a whimper. Jim “Astro Killer” Edmonds would have 4 RBIs on the day.
2004: San Francisco 5, Houston 4
- Barry Bonds would rally the Giants past the Astros in the 8th inning with a bomb to right field that I can still vividly remember. Bonds added 2 more doubles on the day, and Dotel would go on to blow the game in the ninth.
2003: Colorado 4, Houston 10
- Jason Jennings gives up 8 runs in four innings… for Colorado. Maybe we discarded that start from the tapes that made us want to trade Willy T for him. Bagwell went deep twice in the game in a season that would lead to 39 homers and his last true Baggy season for the Stros. Roy O wins his first opening day for the Astros, but the run support may have been a tease.
2002: Milwaukee 9, Houston 3
- Geoff Jenkins and Richie Sexson go back to back in the fifth to put the Astros in a 7-1 hole early in the game. Wade Miller’s career would take a turn for the worse after this start, and the Astros failed to make the playoffs after making their first trip to the post season in MMP the season before.
2001: Milwaukee 3, Houston 10
- Scott Elarton, once thought to be the future ace of the club, leads the Astros to a 10-3 win over the Brewers. After a rough inaugural season at MMP to start its tenure, the Astros use this high octane offense to take the Central for the first time since the Dome.
The Astros have a dismal 3-7 record in the past 1o years of Opening Day ballgames. Averaging 4.0 runs a game while allowing 4.5 against, two of the Stros wins provided more than half of the total offense for the decade (21 runs).
Luke Scott’s homerun in 2007 is the last one for the Astros in an Opening Day game. Regardless as to whether or not the Astros play against aces to start the year, this lack of offense and clutch hitting to start the season has been a huge detriment to the team.