Astros AM: Hope Still Exists, But…
By Cody Poage
I’m not saying that the Houston Astros are not going to make the playoffs. However, the team isn’t a lock to make it either.
Looking back at this season, the Houston Astros have been weirdly impressive. Or simply strange? How about fascinating yet maddening to watch? Take your choice.
However, think about this for a moment: the Astros current record is 74-66. That is not a bad record at all. In fact, completely respectable.
But doesn’t feel like that the Astros record should be much worse than this?
Well, if you adhere to the Pythagorean (Expected) Win-Loss record from Baseball Reference then you can clearly see (74-65) that the Astros are exactly where their meant to be entering yesterday. Record wise, at least.
But a respectable performance doesn’t necessarily translate into the best playoff odds. And their play up to this point has roughly translated into a 25.1% chance of making the playoffs if you follow Baseball Prospectus. Or 16.9% chance from Fangraphs. How about 22.4% from MLB.com?
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This team though doesn’t have the appearance or the vibe of a playoff roster at times. Then there are times they do. Like I stated earlier, it is maddening to a certain extent.
Take the starting rotation as an example.
Reigning AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel has been hit-or-miss all season long before his recent shoulder ailment. Collin McHugh has continued his downward trend since his impressive 2014 season. Lance McCullers has been hampered by a barking elbow twice this year. When your best starting pitcher for most of the season was Doug Fister then you shouldn’t be winning many games. And it doesn’t help that two rookies are being depended upon to pitch important games in September.
You could also use the bullpen (see: early season struggles) or the lineup (see: inconsistency) as other examples if the starting rotation doesn’t exactly wet your whistle. And the team’s health, or lack thereof, has become the latest object that has drawn the fans ire. If it isn’t one thing getting the Astros down, then it is another.
Then there is the issue of the schedule, which will see the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers come to town before the Astros get any sort of reprieve. And it doesn’t help that two-fifths of your rotation along with your star shortstop are all on the mend. The odds are not stacked in the Astros favor right now.
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In other words, the conditions also isn’t favorable to see the Astros make a repeat appearance in the postseason unless something changes soon. And by soon, I mean today.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball Reference, and MLB.com**