HOUSTON,TX-JUNE 01: Former Astro pitcher J.R. Richard throws out a ceremonial first pitch before the Houston Astros played the Cincinnati Reds on June 1, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The 70's and 80's pitching was vastly different from today's pitching. Last year the Astros threw two complete games and so far this season have thrown exactly zero. Back in the 80's and 70's it was rare for a team not to have a complete game. A pitcher was expected to finish a game he started. in 1979, Astro pitchers combined completed 55 games, the most for any season in franchise history.
For today's Astros History we'll look at the pitchers who contributed to that number.
Recent Astros Walk of Fame inductee J.R. Richard was the leader of the '79 pitching staff with 19 complete games. For the season he was 18-13 with a 2.71 ERA and a 130 ERA+
Joe Niekro was second on the staff with 11 complete games, but had more shutouts than Richard, five to four. For the season Niekro was 21-11 with a 3.00 ERA and a 117 ERA+.
Ken Forsch was third on the staff with 10 complete games and ended up finishing with a 11-6 record, a 3.04 ERA and a 116 ERA+.
Joaquin Andujar was fourth on the team with eight complete games. He spent time in both the rotation and bullpen posting a 12-12 record with a 3.43 ERA and a 103 ERA+.
Randy Niemann was fifth with three complete game, he too split time between the rotation and bullpen. For the season he posted a 3-2 record with a 3.76 ERA and a 94 ERA+.
Rick William and Vern Ruhle tied for sixth in complete games, both splitting time between the rotation and bullpen. Williams finished with a 4-7 record, a 3.26 ERA and a 108 ERA+. Ruhle finished with a 2-6 record, a 4.07 ERA and a 87 ERA+.
With the way the game is played today it's highly unlikely we'll ever see a season like this again.