Random Tuesday Astros Thoughts

I can't believe there are only six games left on the schedule...six! Then, this 2010 season is over. We'll talk more about the season that was as the playoffs get under way, but I'm not sure I'm ready for this season to be over.

I also can't believe there are now five teams with lower team batting averages than the Astros. When I want to check stats on specific Astros players, I'll often go to FanGraphs. It may not be the easiest way, but to get to Houston's roster, I click on the team tab and it always brings up the standard team batting stats, sorted by average. For almost this entire season, Houston has hovered right around last place (or second-to-last, thanks to the Pirates). Now? The Padres, Blue Jays, Pirates, Mariners and Indians all have worse batting averages. Never thought the Astros would raise up high enough to catch that many teams.

I can't believe the Astros are poised to finish third in the NL Central but are still in line for the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft. It'll bear mentioning over and over this offseason, the Central was a bad division and a big part of the Astros midseason resurgence was a ton of games against their own division.

I also can't believe it's not butter...

It's a good thing the Astros decided not to waste any home runs on the games I wasn't able to watch. In the past week, Houston only hit five and no one hit more than one. If I had to guess, I would have only gotten two of the five homer hitters, too (Chris Johnson, Hunter Pence, Humberto Quintero, Geoff Blum and Jason Michaels. I would have guessed Q and Blum, obviously).

Speaking of Johnson, he's 18 plate appearances shy of equaling Lance Berkman's Astros run this year. Johnson is two homers short of Berkman's 13 and one run short of Lance's 39. He's already collected more RBIs (51) and doubles (22) but also struck out 15 more times (85 to 70) and walked 55 times less (70 to 15). Johnson has played in 88 games and if we just push his counting stats out over 162 games or 650 plate appearances, he'd hit 42 doubles, 21 home runs and be about seven hits shy of 200. Of course, he'd also have 162 strikeouts, which would put him near the top 5 in the National League. We've written a lot about Johnson lately, because those first numbers I gave out are gawdy and exciting. They're also extremely unlikely to be duplicated over an entire season.

I also can't believe Carlos Lee hit .185 over the past week...wait, I mistyped that. I meant to say, I CAN believe that. (It's always a good time for a swipe at El Bufalo)

Brian Bogusevic seemed to acquit himself well, hitting. 375 in sparse duty over six games. After Jason Bourgeois was given a large role and did not hit well and if Bogey keeps this up, it may be a hot competition next spring for that fourth outfielder spot.

Okay, it has to be said...really, Astros? You lost three of four to the Nationals? And then drop two of three to the Pirates? Did someone just tell you earlier in the week that your record determines draft position? Or did you get hypnotized into thinking either of those teams were actually good. Really.

On that same line of thinking...really, Astros? JA Happ pitched 12 shutout innings over two starts, all while striking out 10, and you rewarded him with a no decision and a loss? Really? But, for Brett Myers, you can eke out a win, even if he gives up five runs? Preposterous.

Wins are a meaningless stat, right? I know that, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Myers does now have a shot at setting a career-high for wins in a season. With 14, he matched his total from 2003 and should have one more shot to get that win.

Jason Castro has a positive WAR value. That's shocking to me, but is basically a testament to his defensive skills. Well, he's got a positive WAR on FanGraphs, but a negative one on BBRef. The fact that some system sees him as a replacement-level player is pretty good, though. I'm not sure I thought he'd get to that point this season.

I don't want to keep rambling about things that stick out to me in the stat lines, but I would like to say I appreciate everyone's very gracious words yesterday. I can't believe I've turned into this site's Mitch Albom. Not the "Pulitzer Prize and Red Smith Award" Albom, but the one who's kind of a hack and gets waay too sappy. That's not the writer I want to be, unless someone gives me a lucrative book deal. Then the sap will roll down the streets like a tidal wave...In all seriousness, thanks very much for putting up with me when I write these stories that are less about analysis and more about memory, history and the emotional side of the game. 

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