HOUSTON - JULY 23: Justin Maxwell #44 of the Houston Astros makes a diving catch on a ball hit by Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park on July 23, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Some things to talk about as we live through one of the worst months in team history...
1) Losing 100, winning at home? - So, it's pretty common for teams to have winning records at home. The league average every season is about five games over .500 at home. Going back 30 years, the fewest teams with over .500 records at home has been 16, which means over half the league is at that mark or better every season and the number is usually closer to 18-20 teams.
All that is to say it's not odd that Houston would have a winning record at MMP. It's just going to be pretty rare for them to keep that pace up AND lose 100 games. How rare?
Since the Astros came into existence over 50 years ago, there's only been do it and just two others come within a game of doing it. Lots more have lost 90 games with winning records at home, but it's much rarer to be just a little worse and still good at home.
Who were these teams? The 1977 Braves were the first, losing 100 games with a 40-41 record at home. The 2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays did it next, going 61-101 with a 41-40 record at home. The last was the 2010 Pirates, who went 57-105 with a 40-41 record.
I think the Pirates record is most impressive, as that means they went 17-64 on the road that year. Houston is currently 10-40, so that terrible mark is certainly within reach.
Of course, the way Houston has been playing lately and depending on how the trade deadline goes, the Astros may not maintain that winning record at home for much longer. But, for now? Houston appears headed for some, um, rarified company...
Well, the Marlins appear to be in full-on teardown mode, as they flipped Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers for super prospect Jacob Turner. It's surprising for who made the trade, but not that Detroit was willing to move him. We'd speculated about that possibility before, but I'm not sure the Astros would have ever gotten him in a Wandy trade, so it's not a loss, really.
No, the real loss is taking the Tigers away as a possible suitor for Wandy. Now, with the Marlins and Orioles in talks on the trade front, Miami could take away yet another possible end point for Wandy. If that happens? He may be sticking around for a while.
3) Astros and 2013 FA - Turns out, all those comments the other day about Houston dipping into the free agent market this winter weren't off-base. Jeff Luhnow basically confirmed that to Zachary Levine in this piece. So, assuming that the "deep end" means no Cole Hamels or B.J. Upton. But, might they go after a couple of other guys? Maybe a few Cardinals players who are hitting the market?
The most interesting name coming off the Cards roster (besides Lancelot) is Kyle Lohse. Houston has a ton of young pitchers, but not many established starters. If Lohse can be had for a short deal, he could be a great pickup. Of course, I doubt the Cardinals let him go.
The other name that fits a couple of different categories for Houston is Nick Swisher. His high OBP should appeal to this new front office, though he'll have plenty of suitors. One more name? Mark Reynolds. If he can be had on a two-year deal? Might be a nice addition to this lineup.