Houston, we have a problem or three


The Houston Astros have reached a new season low and have put to rest any ideas of leaving 2011 with a respectable record. The Astros just finished getting swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates at home and are now 2-11 since getting a series sweep over the Chicago Cubs at the beginning of this month. Lets take a look at what has gone wrong:

There are two big problems with this team, there pitching has been awful and their defense has been even worse. The Astros pitching has been awful to this point. Brett Myers looks lost, J.A. Happ has taken three steps backwards and doesn’t look like the runner up in the National League Rookie of the Year from a few years ago. Nelson Figueroa, Fernando Abad and Brandon Lyon should all be arrested for impersonating a major league pitcher.

Brad Ansberg has lost his job, after getting a ton of praise not even 12 months ago with what he did with this team’s pitching staff. Doug Brocail is now given the impossible job of turning this staff around and it’s team 4.63 ERA. Not all hope is lost though as the team still has Wandy, who had a great start coming off the DL, Bud Norris, who is striking people out at a career pace, and youngster Jordan Lyles who has given up three earned runs or less in three of his four starts.

At the same time, this defense needs to be fixed. I remember the days that the Houston Astros used great defense and great pitching to win games. The team has 57 errors through 70 games, which is dead last in the majors. This doesn’t work in the majors and doesn’t help an already struggling pitching staff. J.R. Towles and Humberto Quintero combined for 8 errors already. Chris Johnson is tied with Angel Sanchez for the team lead at six errors.

It is not even the number of the errors thats the problem, it is when they are happening. The Pirates got two additional runs in the sixth because of a throwing error by Michael Bourn. In theory if this error didn’t happen with two outs in the sixth, the Pirates would not have scored the two runs and the Astros would of won 4-3.

A losing skid like this does not do good things for job security with a new owner coming in in the near future. I still think this team has enough talent to be competitive and we are much better than our 25-45 record. They have a good foundation in players like Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Brett Wallace, Bud Norris, Wandy Rodriguez, Jordan Lyles and Mark Melancon. The team however needs the rest of the players like the million dollar man, Carlos Lee, veteran Brett Myers, and younger prospects like Chris Johnson and J.A. Happ to step up and start helping this team or people’s focus will turn to 2012, if it hasn’t already.