If we played a Family Feud type game where a survey of 100 people were asked to name their least favorite day of the week, a good many would likely say “Monday” or “Tuesday”. It is highly possible you might get some to say “Sunday”, especially if that means you are seeing the end of the weekend. What is likely not to be at the top of the list is “Saturday”. Named for the Roman god of time (Saturn), Saturdays are generally a day of rest/non-work for most of the baseball following world. It is part of the Jewish Sabbath (Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown) and a major day for sporting events (college football, baseball, pro soccer).
However, there is one group of people out there who would answer the Feud question with no hesitation with “Saturday”. That would be the Houston Astros. In particular, the 2022 variant of the team has no love loss for this particular day of the week. On one hand, it could be hard to see why Houston might feel that way. Saturdays are typically one of the best days for fans to come out and see ball games. The game times can vary from day to night. The more fans attend, the greater exposure, the greater revenue streams, and the greater opportunity to put more money in everyone’s bank accounts. Especially if it is a good matchup, more fans can add to the excitement, making for a great game all across the board. That can be quite the fun occurrence.
Not for the Houston Astros. For them, Saturday is a day of mourning. For a team that is all but assured to cross the 100 win plateau for the 4th time in 6 years, Saturdays wouldn’t figure to be any better or worse than any other day of the week. Then one just has to look at the schedule:
Yep, for a team that is winning over 65% of its games, the Houston Astros somehow find a way to lose 66% of its Saturday contests.
Why Saturdays? Is there some common factor/thread as to why the Astros struggle on Saturdays?
- 10 Games against playoff contending teams: 3-7
- 12 Games against division rivals: 5-7
- 12 Road Games: 3-9
- 10 Home Games: 4-6
You can run through the table and extrapolate from the matchups, but no matter how you slice it, the Astros just really don’t seem to play well on Saturdays. Is there a particular reason why Saturdays are back for Houston? None that obviously appear. A number of Saturday games will get primetime/marquee attention from the networks, and there are times when the Astros will struggle in such matchups, but given their post-season successes, the spotlight is not that damaging to the squad. There is a decent mix of playing playoff contenders and also-rans, divisional games, interleague games, night/day games, etc. You name the team, and if they plays the Astros on a Saturday, you would be fine to mark a “W” in Sharpie.
There is one rather significant exception to the struggles on Saturdays. It might be the signature game for the 2022 Astros. We are talking about the Saturday, June 25 matchup against the vaunted New York Yankees, the team which at the time was on pace to be the greatest team of all time. That day saw Houston deliver its 2nd combined no-hitter against the Yankees in team history.
With the regular season winding down, the Astros will finish their 2022 slate well under .500 on Saturdays. Matchups at Baltimore and against Tampa Bay remain in the regular season. Given that both are still fighting for playoff positions/post-season chances, and with the Astros in more of a position to prep for the playoffs vs. regular season achievements, you would not be out of place to bet on the opponents winning (if you are in to that sort of thing).
As for the playoffs, where the Astros will be heading after Monday’s results, there are 4 Saturday games that could involve Houston:
- ALDS Game 4 (If Necessary): Oct 15
- ALCS Game 3: Oct 22
- World Series Game 2: Oct 29
- World Series Game 7 (If Necessary): Nov 5
Anyone else who cheers for Houston a tad uncomfortable about seeing two World Series games on Saturday, should the Astros make it that far?
It could mean nothing, the rather inexplicable reason that the league-leading Astros are bottom-feeders on Saturdays. Maybe they want that to be their day of rest? Maybe other teams are jumping at the chance to play Houston on a Saturday big-matchup? Still, in what has been one of the stronger seasons in Astros’ history, that little footnote about Saturday struggles is quite the outlier. For fans, hopefully it will just remain a strange outlier and signify nothing more.