Astros Out to Prove Einstein Was Right About Insanity

Categories: Sports

What did Einstein predict about the Astros, and when did he do it?
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The Houston Astros didn't yet exist when he offered up this wisdom, yet it's hard to believe that he didn't have the Astros in mind when he spoke this.

The Astros are giving Erik Bedard another start tomorrow night. This will be his sixth start of the season. He's 0-2 on the season, with a 7.36 ERA (9.98 as a starter). He's yet to pitch more than four innings in any game. And in his 22 innings pitched so far, he's surrendered 26 hits, 14 walks and eight home runs. Yet come Saturday, he's starting again because manager Bo Porter thinks he gives the team the best chance of getting a win.

That to me is the ultimate example of Einstein's definition of insanity. Giving Erik Bedard start after start after start and expecting him to give you a chance at a win.

It's insanity. Nothing but pure insanity.

The Astros are a bad team. And Erik Bedard is not the only reason the team is losing game after game. But one has to question the sanity of giving this guy start after start. Sure, Philip Humber's been no better, but unlike with Bedard, there is the chance, no matter how remote, that Humber can actually toss a quality start whenever he starts a game, and that's just something Bedard's not capable of doing.

Bedard injured himself in spring training. The team admitted this to the press several weeks ago. The team also admitted that they've been letting Bedard pitch himself into shape when he starts games, and they've been treating these games as if the team's still in spring training. So his innings are limited. The number of pitches he throws are limited, and the team knows each and every night he starts that the overtaxed bullpen is going to have to eat lots and lots of innings. Some nights, like on that April 15 start by Bedard against Oakland, the bullpen has to eat 8.2 innings of a nine-inning start.

Bo Porter might say that Bedard gives the Astros the best chance at a win, but it instead appears that the team is willingly conceding defeat each and every time Bedard trots out for the top of the first inning. And if that's the case, then just what kind of message does this send to the rest of the team, or to the fans (of whom the Astros have fewer and fewer each night)? A message like winning's important, but not as important as some veteran working himself back into shape -- when that's the case, winning is secondary.

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Who will start in place of Bedard? Keuchal is already in the rotation, Peacock clearly wasn't ready for the majors and Humber's been worse than Bedard. I like Clemens in the long reliever role and he might be better than Bedard now but his fastball is straight as an arrow and his change up and curve have shown potential but still need refinement. 

Bedard's K rate and Swinging Strike rate are in line w/ his career norms (when he was a good pitcher). His walk rate has jumped up and his groundball rate has fallen which are bad signs but his xFIP is (a bad but not terrible) 4.81, and that's a more predictive stat than ERA. 

There's no reason to throw AAA pitchers like Cosart, Wojciechowski, Clemens or Cisnero* to the wolves when they're not ready.

*Clemens and Cisnero are only on the MLB roster because Alex White and John Ely got injured.

And I don't mind veterans when they're not blocking a prospect who's ready for the majors. When Singleton and Cosart are ready probably sometime in Aug. I don't think Luhnow's going to let Pena or Bedard stand in their way.

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