Astros: Fans waver on win projections, but numbers don’t lie
August has not been kind to the Houston Astros. Most recently, after opening a seven-game road trip taking two of three in Anaheim, the Astros lost the first three in Kansas City before rallying to take the final game and finish 3-4 on the trip.
Fortunately for Houston, the Oakland A’s tripped up in Arlington and then ran into the White Sox in Chicago, and the lead remains at 2.5 games as the Astros head back to the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park.
Even after a miserable series in Kansas City, the Astros are still in a good position to win the division.
I’ve written two versions of the projected win totals in this space previously, here (includes details about how I get to that number) and here, while both came out with 101 wins for the Astros, with the latest coming on August 1st.
In the midst of a 162-game slog of a major-league season schedule filled with ups, downs and inbetweens, I find comfort in numbers and history, using a method backtested over five seasons rather than a fly off the handle, tweet your frustration, rant of the moment. Those can be fun, too, and to each his or her own, but age and angina have forced me to look at other options.
That said, there’s no doubt the projected win total for the Astros has decreased with the Astros 7-9 record in August and the fans trust in the team has waned as shown in Twitter polls I posted about a week apart. In the first poll taken on August 10th, less than 1 in 25 thought the Astros would win less than 90 games and almost 1 in 9 pegged the Astros at 100 or more.
The second poll August 19, admittedly in the depths of a 4 games losing streak (seemed like 20), showed a shift in fans perceptions.
The percentage of fans who believe the Astros will finish below 90 wins almost tripled in nine days, while the percentage that thinks they win 100 or more has shrunk by more than half. That’s how people feel, in the middle of loss after loss and that makes sense to some degree. But back to those numbers that comfort me. They’re solidly at the highest end of the 95-99 range.
Why? Because it takes into account the entire season and not just the last week or month. It looks back at what the Astros have done and projects ahead to what they are likely to do. It’s not reactionary or emotional. Just the facts. W’s and L’s, runs scored and given up.
Maybe aspirations of 100 wins and the best record in the American League died a slow death in Kansas City in mid-August by a millisecond of Chas McCormick being called out at the plate.