Results tagged ‘ midpoint ’

Astros at the season’s midpoint

The Astros hit the halfway mark of the season with a 28-53 record, which means they’re on pace to finish with 106 losses. That would easily surpass the franchise records for most losses in a season, which is 97 set in 1965 and matched in 1975 and 1991.

Of course, the Astros were on pace for 100 losses for much of last year before they turned it around in the second half following the trades of Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt. This year’s club could be facing selling off some commodities as well, but it’s hard to envision a strong second half like we saw last year.

Through 81 games, here are stats to consider:

  • The Astros have hit 45 home runs and are on pace to hit 90 for the season. That would be their fewest since hitting 79 in 1991. They hit 249 home runs in 2000 — the first year of Minute Maid Park.
  • The Astros have 300 RBIs, putting them on pace for 600. That would actually surpass their total of 577 of a year ago.
  • With 66 stolen bases, the Astros are on pace for their most since stealing 166 in 1999.
  • The Astros are on pace to set a club record in strikeouts. They’ve struck out 597 times through 81 games, and the club record is 1,138 in 1999. They are on pace to walk just a tad bit more than last year’s 415.
  • Closer Mark Melancon leads the pitching staff with five wins, which means the Astros have a chance of not having a 10-game winner. The team record for fewest wins to lead the club is 10, which was done most recently in 1995 when Doug Drabek, Shane Reynolds and Greg Swindell each had 10 wins. A pitcher has won at least 14 games in each year since.
  • Hunter Pence has nine homers and 53 RBIs in 75 games, so we can loosely assume he’s on pace for 18 homers and 106 RBIs. He’s hit 25 in each of the previous three seasons. The last time the Astros failed to have a player hit 20 home runs was in 1992, when Eric Antony slugged 19.

Finally, here are my midseason Astros awards:

MVP — Hunter Pence. He’s hitting .314 with nine homers and 53 RBIs and has been the Astros’ most consistent hitter all season.

Pitcher of the Year — Wandy Rodriguez. This could have gone to Bud Norris or Mark Melancon, but when healthy Rodriguez has been pretty darn good. He’s 5-4 with a 3.21 ERA in 13 starts.

Rookie of the Year — Jordan Lyles. Lyles is 0-3 with a 4.75 ERA in six starts. Aneury Rodriguez and Francisco Rodriguez are also rookies.

Most Improved — Bud Norris. Not that he was bad last year, but he continues to make strides and has been pretty solid with a 4-6 record and 3.36 ERA.

The Astros at the halfway point

After 81 games — midpoint in their 162-game schedule — the Astros are 32-49, which puts them on pace to go 64-98, which would be their worst record in club history. I once thought the club was a shoo-in to reach 100 losses, but it is 15-15 in its last 30 games and has been playing better for the most part.

Will that continue? A lot of it will depend on what happens by the end of this month and the trade deadline. If the Astros trade Roy Oswalt, who pitched terrific on Friday, for some prospects, and perhaps even Brett Myers, they will be in a full-fledged youth movement and there figures to be some growing pains.

The Astros are already committed to rookies Chris Johnson at third base and Jason Castro at catcher, and it appears 26-year-old Angel Sanchez will get substantial playing time at shortstop until rookie Tommy Manzella returns from his broken finger. If the Astros do get some top-notch prospects for Oswalt, the second half of the season will be worth watching if the future of the club is on display.

This is one of the few seasons in last 20 years the Astros are pretty much out of it at the All-Star break, due in large part because sluggers Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman and Hunter Pence struggled collectively to begin the season. At the end of the season, they could wind up having decent numbers, but their inability to hit — along with Pedro Feliz and Kaz Matsui — early in the year buried the Astros.

Lee is on pace to hit 20 homers and drive in 82 runs, which would way below his career averages, not to mention he’s hitting .238. Berkman is hitting .240 and has seven homers and 35 RBIs at the midpoint, but he did miss the first two weeks of the season. Pence? He’s on pace to hit .257 with 22 homers an 77 RBIs.

On the mound, Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez — the top two pitchers in the Astros’ rotation — are on pace to lose 20 games. That’s a shame for Oswalt, considering he’s delivered 14 quality starts in 17 outings and has a 3.32 ERA. He’s stuck at 142 career wins, leaving him two shy of Joe Niekro for the club’s all-time lead. Whether gets a chance to get it or gets dealt will be one of the biggest story lines for the second half of the season.

Here’s predicting the Astros play better in the second half of the season and avoid 100 losses, whether it’s from the veterans stepping up at the plate or the infusion of youth paying dividends.

Here are my Astros awards at the midpoint:

Astros Player of the Year: Michael Bourn. He’s hitting .264 with one homer and 20 RBIs from the leadoff spot with on on-base percentage of .340, but he’s stolen 25 bases, is among league leaders in outfield assists and is on his way to a second Gold Glove.

Astros Pitcher of the Year: Matt Lindstrom: He’s got 19 saves in 23 chances for a team that has only 32 wins. He’s posted a 2.97 ERA and proven to be a terrific pickup from the Marlins. He’s got a chance to make the All-Star team. A case could certainly be made for Oswalt or Myers.

Astros Rookie of the Year: Wilton Lopez. The durable reliever is 3-0 with a 3.98 ERA in 30 games. At the end of year we may be giving this to Chris Johnson or Jason Castro, but they haven’t been around long enough at this point.