GAME 41 - May 16: Braves 3, Astros 2
GAME 42 - May 17: Braves 3, Astros 1
GAME 43 - May 18: Cardinals 5, Astros 1
GAME 44 - May 19: Cardinals 4, Astros 2
How can a team that's in the cellar sell for $680 million and still be considered a bargain? Well, if you think of a bargain as in bargain basement, the Astros sure fit the bill! Here's what I figure: Jim Crane is probably not a fool. And if he thinks it's worth putting down the big bucks for one of the worst teams in the Major Leagues, with a farm system that's improving but still rated in the bottom third, he must know something special.
To celebrate the sale of their team, the Astros promptly lost all their games this week -- swept in a pair of back-to-back two-game road series in Atlanta and St Louis. The good news, if there is such a thing when you get swept, is that the games were generally close with nice work by the Astros rotation:
Myers on Monday: 6 innings, 2 ER on 8 hits, 3 BB, 6 Ks. Loss went to Abad, who pitched 1/3 inning in the seventh.
Wandy on Tuesday: 8 shutout innings, 5 hits, 2 BB, 6 Ks. Melancon blew the save, and Fulchino lost it in extra innings.
Bud Lite on Wednesday: A rare flub against the Cards, who he usually dominates, due to a 4-run third. Aside from that he only gave up 1 more run in his 5 innings. Bullpen was clean.
Happ on Thursday: 6 innings, 3 ER on 4 hits, 3 BB, 8 Ks. Not a bad start and the bullpen didn't do any damage, just crummy run support.
So that's the good news: It wasn't really terrible pitching that did them in this time.
The bad news: It was only scoring 6 runs in 4 games that led to the double sweep. The only good thing I can really say about that is: NO SHUTOUTS.
The Astros are in Toronto this weekend for the first time ever. They do play the Blue Jays in Spring Training, but they've never been to Canada for inter-league play. Given that the Astros are so bad this year, I barely watch the NL standings, let alone the AL. I had to look up the AL Central to find out what we're up against. Toronto is a little over .500, and won 7 of their last 10 games. So, we're likely to lose. Of course, at this point, we'd be likely to lose against the Pirates (who actually flirted with a winning record for 5 minutes this season).
O, to be at .500! Actually... O, to be at .400!!! By the way, if the Astros lose tonight, they will have the same 15-30 record as the 2005 team that went on to win the NL Pennant. Perhaps that's Jim Crane's big insight -- with this record, we're bound for glory!?
Just maybe not this year.