Sorry, But These Are Your Astros
Richard Justice is shocked, shocked, that the Astros are the worst team in the majors. Shocked because there's just no way anybody could have foreseen the Astros being this bad. Bad, yes, but not on track to lose 100 games for the first time in team history. Bad, but not so bad they would actually have the worst record in baseball. Bad, but not so bad that they would have a worse record than the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Astros are so bad...
Guess what? As usual, Richard Justice was wrong about the Astros. And so were any others who thought the Astros might be bad, but not THAT bad. Because the Astros are, indeed, THAT bad. Worst team in the major leagues bad.
They can't pitch. They can't field. They can't hit. When they actually get on base, they have trouble running the bases. That pitching staff that the so-called experts thought would be so solid that the Astros might be semi-decent is awful, so awful that the pitching coach, Brad Arnsberg, a man called a miracle worker last season, was scapegoated and replaced a couple of weeks ago. Not that that's helped, seeing as how J.A. Happ still sucks and Bret Myers is showing why the Phillies were so willing to get rid of him.
It's easy to say that one is shocked by just how bad the Astros are this season. But while it's easy to say, it's the cheap way out because anybody who really studied the Astros during spring, who took time to see the team, to look at the roster and the changes and additions and the injuries could have foreseen the disaster that this Astros team has become.
There's a reason the Phillies were so willing to dump J.A. Happ. Sure, they got Roy Oswalt in the deal -- who is once again on the DL with back problems -- but they were also able to get rid of Happ. And while Happ's probably a nice guy, he's really nothing better than a fifth starter.
And anyone shocked by the season Myers is having is someone who has just never bothered to look at Myers' career stats. He's always been a high-ERA guy who gives up a lot of home runs. There's a reason people kept talking about the career year he was having last year and that's because he'd never in his past had a season like he was having last year. Last season was the exception. This year, he's back to normal.
So maybe it wasn't all Brad's fault
Nelson Figueroa's already gone, and big off-season free acquisition Ryan Rowland-Smith has been awful in the minors and will only make the Astros this season if there's some kind of disaster, like the entire pitching staff, from the major league roster all the way down to the Rookie League, being wiped out and the only remaining member is Rowland-Smith. However, if the disaster is just that the pitching staff is turned into zombies, then the zombies will still pitch instead of Rowland-Smith.
GM Ed Wade decided to make Brandon Lyon the ace of the bullpen. Sure, Lyon has a history of being named the closer then sucking really bad before getting hurt, but since Wade had given him a huge, laughable contract, he was the guy. Of course, as his history shows, he sucked then got hurt. Mark Melancon has been adequate as the closer (not counting yesterday), but then again, it's not like the Astros really have that much use for a closer. And the rest of the bullpen has seemingly been occupied by guys with the last name of Rodriguez -- last week they used three pitchers named Rodriguez in a single game.
The rest of the squad is just as bad now as it was to start the season. Humberto Quintero's been injured, forcing J.R. Towles to get a majority of the starts, until he was hurt, which means that Carlos Corporan has been getting the starts. Not that it really matters, because none of them are really capable of hitting big league pitching on a consistent basis -- is it possible that maybe, just maybe, former UH catcher Chris Wallace, who has been tearing up the minors this season, makes the ultimate leap from A ball, where he started the year, to the majors just because absolutely no other guy at his position has been able to hit the ball?
Chris Johnson has been awful. Clint Barmes has been Barmes, which isn't that great. Bill Hall was cut loose when Jeff Keppinger came off of the DL. Brett Wallace shows promise, but manager Brad Mills continues to sit him against left-handed pitchers. Carlos Lee plays only because Drayton McLane gave him a huge contract; otherwise, there's no legit reason, other than injury, that Jason Bourgeois shouldn't be playing every game.
Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence are having good seasons, and Bud Norris is finally putting together a decent one. Wandy Rodriguez has been Wandy Rodriguez, good some nights, bad others, and Jordan Lyles shows some promise. Otherwise, there's nothing.
Nobody should be surprised at how bad this Astros team is. Ed Wade put together a god-awful roster, and it was evident back in March that Wade has put together a god-awful roster. And while Richard Justice is shocked by how bad this Astros team is, some of us actually saw it coming though I was wrong about one thing: I never, never, never thought the Pittsburgh Pirates would be a decent team.