Is this the best starting rotation in Astros franchise history?
2005: Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt, Brandon Backe, Wandy Rodriguez
The Astros reached their first World Series in 2005 after coming oh so close the year before. They were greatly buoyed by a dominant trio of starters in Clemens, Pettitte and Oswalt.
Clemens led the majors in ERA (1.87), ERA+ (226) and hits per nine (6.4). He only finished third in the Cy Young voting thanks to a pedestrian 13-8 record owing to poor run support. Still, he was arguably the game’s best pitcher that year at age 42.
The left-handed Pettitte posted a career-best 2.39 ERA in 2005 to go along with 17 wins and a top-five Cy Young finish. He also largely avoided allowing hard contact, giving up just 7.6 hits per nine innings and 0.7 home runs per nine to go with a career-best 1.7 walks per nine.
Oswalt notched his second straight 20-win season, tossing 241.2 innings of 2.94 ERA ball. He threw four complete games and faced more than 1,000 batters, earning a fourth place finish in the Cy Young voting.
Backe finished with a career-best 10 wins to go with a 4.76 ERA in 25 starts and one relief appearance, spanning 149.1 innings. Most memorable would be his start in Game Four of the World Series in which he simply mowed down White Sox hitters but took a no-decision in the loss.
Rodriguez would go on to have some successful seasons with the Astros, but his rookie season was not one of them. He made 22 starts and three relief appearances, posting a 10-10 record and 5.53 ERA.
In comparing this to 2019’s staff, it’s tough to decide which Big Three is better. Both trios were as good a group as there is in the game. The difference is depth. While the 2005 team’s No. 4 and 5 starters were average or worse, 2019’s group has Miley and Peacock. This gives the current rotation the edge.