History, you say? But it only happened last year, I hear you roar. If only it was history, and we had banished it to the dusty sporting annals. 56 games left to the season and we seem to be attempting to top that feat, embarking on a diabolical run of games since May 25, when we were 22-23.
So where was I? 2011, of course. But why should you want to relive that nightmare? Well, it can distract you from how angry you are that Jeff Luhnow did not flip Brian Bogusevic for Dylan Bentances, or something similar. Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Jose Altuve, Angel Sanchez, Carlos Corporan and all that. Jordan Lyles made his major league debut, Humberto Quintero managed just six walks all season, Jason Bourgeois stole 31 bases on the bench, while Brett Wallace and Chris Johnson lowered expectations in record time.
So much of that team is now gone, it is hard to believe they started off with Bill Hall at second base, with Jose Altuve starting at A+ Lancaster. J.R. Towles got the starting nod at catcher after another fine spring and a season ending injury for Jason Castro. Sanchez got the nod at shortstop as Clint Barmes started the season on the DL.
He even started the season quite impressively, notching 18 hits in his first 12 games. Of the 47 who made appearances in 2011, at least 13 have been traded away by Ed Wade and Jeff Luhnow. Of the 25 men now on the roster, 14 appeared at some point last season.
More after the jump.
The real disappointment was the rotation. The real strength in the last half of 2010 had been the rotation, and many believed that a quartet of Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ would form a stable and perhaps above average rotation. Myers' performance went due south, Happ was a mess until his September callup and Rodriguez failed to replecate his dazzling last 17 starts of 2010, turning in a creditable season. Only Norris really shone.
Nelson Figueroa lasted five starts, Aneury Rodriguez even less, until Wade called up Lyles in full job saving mode. Henry Sosa had some success after being acquired from the Giants in the Jeff Keppinger deal, but still contributed to a league worst pitching staff (2012's staff has actually performed worse, but has been kept off the bottom by a hilariously awful Colorado).
The back end of the bullpen, with Mark the Shark Melancon and Wilton Lopez did well, but even Melancon dropped some heartbreakers. One in particular stands out in Atlanta, where Rodriguez pitched a dream against Derek Lowe. Melancon came in for the save but left a curveball over the plate to Brian McCann, who sent it into the stands.
The high point , for me, was winning the season series against the Giants, the world series defending champions. We had a ton of close games against them and there seemed to be huge frustration in the Bay that they could not beat such a feeble team in the Astros.
Out of the group of Corporan, Quintero, Hall, Jason Michaels and J.R. Towles who registered the highest and lowest OPS in 2011? I was going to put Joe Inglett in that group, but he was by far the lowest.
Readers: What do you take away, if anything, from last season?