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Houston Astros Midterm Report Cards: The Starters

Matt Albers Stros Bro : C- I give Matt a C- (instead of a < D) basically because he's still young and should probably still be in Triple A (and will probably be back in Triple A once Lidge comes back). Albers has great stuff, he just needs to learn to control it. On the season he's put up a 2-4 record with a 6.16 ERA.
rastronomicals : C- If you saw his performance vs. the Mets in the 17-inning game, you saw a different pitcher from the one which started some games in Jason's absence. Although he had the one outstanding 73-game score game, for the most part, what we saw then was a pitcher who could not harness his stuff, then lost faith in it. Vs. the Mets, he had it all, including unwavering faith in a very wicked changeup. During his first stint in May, Albers was clearly not as good as Woody. If that's still the case, it's not likely to be the case for long.
Jason Jennings Stros Bro : B- Jennings gets a B- due to his inability to stay healthy. He was signed to be our #2 starter and he's spent most of his time with the Astros on the DL. When he has actually been pitching, he's pitched pretty well, posting a 3.69 ERA through July 4th, with a SO/BB ratio of 39/16. Unfortunately for him, the Astros have not supported him and brought him to a 1-3 record. The 2nd half will be a big factor in whether the Astros try to keep Jennings as a player on the roster.
rastronomicals : C The tempation was to give Jason an incomplete and have done, but I suppose ten games is enough for me to give a grade. His numbers are better than Sampson's, but so are the expectations, so I'm giving him a C. But truth be told, I still haven't got a handle on this guy. He's not really the sinkerballer we were told to expect. And he doesn't really have any velocity. But I still expect him to be good. I'm just not sure why. With every other starter--or even pitcher--on the team, I can at least tell you why they'll be getting outs when they're going good. Oswalt pounds the zone with a plus fastball, Chris keeps the ball down, Borks throws strikes. Etc. etc. But I have no idea what Jason is doing. I suspect that if I did, I'd be giving him a higher grade.
Roy Oswalt Stros Bro : A+ The Wizard, like normal, has been the true ace of the staff, posting a respectable (although a little high for Roy) 3.52 ERA and a 7-5 record. He leads all Astros starters in ERA, innings pitched, wins and strikeouts.
rastronomicals : B Getting a B, not because of his 8 - 5, 3.52 line overall, which is down for him, but still very good when you look at the rest of the league. No, it's the 2 - 4 record on the road, with the 5.68 ERA, that you'll need to check out to understand this grade.
Wandy Rodriguez Stros Bro : B+ I have to admit that Wandy has surprised me for the most part of the season. I really wasn't expecting him to be on the roster this late in the year after being sent down early last year and pitching badly in the minors. But Wandy has been decent this year posting a 4.23 ERA and a SO/BB ration of 82/25 (better than Roy-O). One of the downfalls for Wandy is that he's just not going deep into games. He is averaging just under 6 innings a game.
rastronomicals : B Like Roy, needs to work on consistency in his away game. Half his earned runs on the season have come in a quarter of his games, and those games were all on the road. Still, leads the staff in WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio and is a close second in ERA, which is good enough for me to pronounce him legitimately improved, even if it's not for many others assembled here..
Chris Sampson Stros Bro : B+ Chris has been a bright spot on the Astros roster. Making the club out of spring training, very few were expecting Chris to pitch as well as he has. But for the most part of the season, he has pitched like the #2 starter the Astros hoped Jennings would be. Lately his numbers have fallen some, but he's still been a productive pitcher. Sampson has posted a 4.25 ERA and a 6-6 record on the season.
rastronomicals : B- The Astros are extremely fortunate to be getting what they're getting from the number five slot, and from a rookie, to boot. League average ERA is 4.28, and Chris is under that. League average WHIP is 1.37, and Chris is under that, too. We should be ecstatic.
Still, Chris could have been better. They're rookie mistakes that can be corrected, but he loses his concentration at times, gives up walks and homers for reasons other than just getting beat.
Woody Williams Stros Bro : C- Woody has been the Astros least effective starting pitcher this year, posting a lopsided 4-10 record and a 5.47 ERA. Woody just hasn't been good overall this year and has really started showing his age. Makes you wonder why the Astros gave him a 2-year contract. That being said, he has been a good pitcher a few times this year (like his last 2 times out where he went a total of 13 innnings and only gave up 5 runs), but for the most part, he's a #5 pitcher who is supposed to be a #3.
rastronomicals : D I know some of it may be wrong guy in the wrong place, but, man, those home runs. Williams is giving the jacks up at a rate seen only once before in Houston. In team history, only the (in)famous Jose Lima, in that definitely infamous year of 2000, has ever posted HR/IP and HR/PA rates greater than what Woody has this year. Now, there are plenty of successful pitchers in Astros history who gave up a bunch of dingers. Take Shane Reynolds, to name just one who happens to be one of my all-time favorites. What you'll find with Shaner is that he limited his baserunners, limited his walks and his hits. That way when the jack comes, the damage is limited. Woody HAS limited his baserunners to a certain degree--he's got a better walk rate than Oswalt--but it's still only halfass well enough. He's simply not good enough to give up the home runs he does.