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Saturday Space City Scoop: September 24, 2022

A third attempt at 100 wins.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros
Dark horse for Cy Young voters? Don’t @ me I know it’s Verlander’s to lose.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I advise the Houston Astros fanbase to not do anything rash.

For the second time in the first two games of their four-game set against the Baltimore Orioles, the Astros were shut out on Friday night. Despite that, my advice to Astros fans is to just keep calm. The Orioles are desperate and now only three games behind the Seattle Mariners for the final wildcard spot.

On the other hand, both the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Guardians are getting hot right now, each with five-game winning streaks. Houston’s lead for home-field advantage through the American League half of the postseason has shrunk to six with 10 games left on the schedule for both teams.

It’s statistically negligible that Houston will fail to earn 100 wins this year. Even coin flip odds place that probability at 1-in-2048. When that happens, it’ll be the fifth time that Houston gets to that mark, and the fourth time in the past five full seasons (discounting the Dodgers asterisk-laden 2020 World Series “Championship”).

Astros News

Alex Bregman’s seven-week-old son loves baseball.

Who’s favored to land Justin Verlander next season? (subscription required)

Is applauding together really that hard? Pam Soper had an idea.

50 Cent is slowly taking over Houston.

Could Houston be a contender for another five years?

Around the MLB

So was there really any question that Albert Pujols would reach 700?

The Texas Rangers could be Jacob deGrom’s favored landing spot.

Which players are maybe going to retire after the season?

How old is too old to take a glove into a ballpark?

Is the MLB planning to expand to 32 teams? Raleigh has the inside track.

Random Astros Player

I select a “random” Astros player by randomizing a year from 1962 through 2022, a game number (115-of-153 for the year 1972), and a plate appearance within that game (PA number 36-of-75). I came up with Roger Metzger.

Roger Metzger was a six-foot, 165 lb. shortstop from Fredericksburg, TX. Born on October 10, 1947, Metzger was a first-round pick of the Chicago Cubs (16th overall) in 1969 out of St. Edward’s University. Working his way up through the minors quickly, he made his major league debut with the Cubbies on June 16, 1970, going 0-for-2. He didn’t appear with the Cubs again at the top level. Just after the end of the season, Chicago traded Metzger to Houston for Héctor Torres.

Metzger joined the Astros at the major league level, and did not appear in another minor league game through the rest of his eventual 10-season major league career. Although not a huge hitting threat, Metzger did twice lead the major leagues in triples, with 11 in 1971 and with 14 in 1973. He was also the National League Gold Glove winner at shortstop for his efforts in 1973.

Metzger’s +.300 WPA appearances with Houston

On September 7, 1972, Metzger went four-for-five, including a 13th-inning three-run home run for Houston in an eventual 5-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. On June 3, 1975, trailing 4-3, he led off the eighth inning against the New York Mets with a triple on a two-for-three night. The Astros lost that one by the same margin after stranding Metzger on third.

Here’s the only footage I could find of Metzger, in a 1977 Astros vs. Reds broadcast:

Defensively, Metzger played a total of 8734 1/3 innings at shortstop for Houston, of 10,001 overall. Although he only took home the one Gold Glove, he was in yearly discussions for the honor. On June 15, 1978, in the middle of the season, Metzger was sold to the Giants.

Metzger played in 1,021 games for Houston in total, slashing .229/.291/.291 with five homers and 206 RBI. He drew 317 walks vs. 399 whiffs in 4,100 career plate appearances, and stole 64 bases in 96 attempts. His WAR while with the Astros has him slightly above replacement level, with a career-total of 4.2. He totaled 3.4 overall, but that includes some substandard seasons with the Giants at the end of his career.

Just a reminder, next first-pitch will be at 6:05PM CST, tonight in Baltimore against the Orioles. As always, thanks for reading.