The Houston Astros close their opening week at the bottom of the entire MLB standings - even the Orioles have one win. With no wins to their credit, the Astros are facing the mighty Cardinals for the next three games, and it appears that pulling out a win against them will be next to impossible. This could potentially bring their losing streak to a dismal 9 game deficit, eight behind current division leader, the Cardinals.
So what is wrong with the Astros? Part of the problem is pitching. So far, all errors committed have been made by the pitching staff. Yesterday, the Astros did see Oswalt pitch competently, shutting down the Phillies offense after the second inning. But this show of force was not enough against Halladay, currently tied with Lincecum as National League strikeout leader. After yesterday's game, the staff is 0 and 6, with an ERA of 6.00, a 1.72 whip, and batters are hitting an average of .326 against them. In 54 innings, they have struck out 39 batters, but allowed 37 runs (36 of those earned runs), they have also walked 23 batters and allowed 70 hits, with 7 home runs. In the series against the Cardinals, Mills has decided to start with with Wandy Rodriguez, who does not have the same command of the ball as Oswalt. Rodriguez will certainly struggle against sluggers like Pujols. There isn't much to work with in the bullpen either, with Lindstrom and Lyon performing below expectations.
On offense, the Astros just can't seem to get any big hits. Jeff Keppinger is doing well, and getting plenty of play. He, Bourne, and Feliz have each had 7 hits, and Pence has hit one of the team's 2 homeruns. But that's it. Matsui and Manzella need more at bats, hopefully this will be something Mills will allow in the coming weeks. Overall, the Astros just do not seem to have much power, though there is a lot of potential.
What is the outlook for the Astros? It is too early to write them off, after all, they are nowhere near '88 Orioles territory. They will likely not be winning any division titles this year, but they have no business at the bottom either. They have potential for another middle of the pack finish, provided they can shake themselves out of their current slump. Granted, they have started out against the division's best, but if their sloppy play continues, so will their abysmal start to the season.
Beck - Loser