Five Games In. What to Think?


Even though the Astros have one more game left this afternoon against Oakland, this is a good time to take a look at the first week of Houston’s season.  But do we really want to?

Jason Castro (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

We knew that this would be yet another rebuilding year.  Success is measured not by absolute win/loss records, but rather in the development of the team and their key players.  So far this season, you have been forced to look a bit harder to find some things to be optimistic about.

Of course this is just at the big league level, because after Carlos Correa‘s start to the season, I don’t think it will be too hard to find some excitement throughout the minor league system this year.  The problem is, that does you no good this year, if you chose to live in the present with the big league Astros.

But thanks to Jim Crane, he might have made that decision for you by severely limiting your access to watching games via the Comcast debacle.  For better or worse, that is up for debate as I watch the games (sometimes after they have happened thanks to DVR which makes it worse).  Living in New York I have access to all the games through the wonders of satellite television.

If this was a normal situation, I would say, “Fear not that the Astros are 1-4, it is a long season and it is early.”  However, I have not seen much so far that leads me to believe that this start is an anomaly and will be corrected.  But at the same time, it is early, and it is a long season.  And in reality all this is, is the first five games of a new era.  If Lucas Harrell follows up on his one run, six inning start to the season, then at least at 2-4, things look a little better.  Although, it really has been hard to find some positives in this start to the season.

The important thing here, is not that they got off to a slow start, but how they respond to the adversity.  Granted Brett Wallace was not in the lineup on Saturday, but the Astros only struck out four times.  They got some two out hits by Carlos Pena and Justin Maxwell prior to Jason Castro‘s wind aided home run.  The starting pitching has been pretty good, although it would be helpful for them to pitch deeper into games.

We knew the Astros were going to lose a lot of games, that should not be a surprise.  The problem for me, is how they have been losing.  There has not been too much fight to this ball club early in the year.  This season will not be evaluated on wins and losses, but on how they perform, and the moxie that they show.  Intangibles are important here.

Ultimately the key is Bo Porter.  The term veteran around this team, Bo Norris, Justin Maxwell, Wesley Wright, in a lot of cases can be used loosely.  They are still trying to find their own ways as major leaguers, so they have enough to personally worry about.  That is why players like Carlos Pena, Erik Bedard, and Rick Ankiel were imported this off season, but they are still finding their way in the clubhouse.

So they will get there, but it is very easy for this season to go off course based on how it has started.  Porter needs to be the steadying force.  The Astros need to fight and grind things out.  At least make the games interesting.