Houston Astros struggling to finish the season once again


Houston Astros (Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports)

Last season, the Houston Astros finished the year on a 15-game losing streak and locked down the most losses in franchise history (51-111). This year, the team is 2-7 in their last nine games, including a disastrous performance against the Rangers, and still have a three-game series vs. the Mets left to play.

Houston could only manage five runs in three games vs. Texas and were swept out of Arlington by a team starting seven rookies. The Astros quickly destroyed the chance of avoiding 90 loses this season and helped the Rangers avoid their worst season in franchise history. Luckily, the Astros will still get to take home the Silver Boot for the first time since 2006 by winning the season series over their in-state and division rivals, 11-8.

Jon Singleton (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

The Astros, who will automatically own the number two overall pick next season after not agreeing to terms with Brady Aiken, currently have the fifth worst record in MLB and the Twins are only a half game back. I doubt the Astros are trying to get two picks in the top five, but it would be a nice compensation prize for all their pain and suffering.

Right now, the only thing the Astros have going for them is the play of Jose Altuve as he continues to make history every time he steps up to the plate. The All-Star second baseman now has 222 hits, 46 doubles, 56 stolen bases, and a .343/.379/.455 line. If he gets 226 hits, Altuve would have the second most hits by a right-handed hitter in the last 40 seasons (Kirby Puckett had 234 in 1988).

Now that Houston has shut down most of it’s starting pitchers, it will be up to Brad Peacock, Sam Deduno, and Nick Tropeano to start in their final three games. Hopefully, the Astros offense will close out the season on a good note. This year, Houston leads the American League in team strikeouts (1418) by nearly 100 with the Chicago White Sox next at 1323. The Astros are also tied with the Red Sox for worst batting average in the AL at .242.

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The good news? Even if the Astros get swept in New York, they already boast an 18-game improvement from last season (69-90). They easily could have avoided 90 loses, but played awful against the Indians and Rangers this last week and blew their chances. This wasn’t the way the Astros wanted to close out the season, but they should have a new manager hired shortly and fans can start looking forward to 2015 soon.