Five In A Row

The Astros topped the Mets in Grapefruit League action today to extend their winning streak to five.  It’s probably no coincidence that this all started when our beloved Astros Fan in Exile headed down to Kissimmee.  It’s official, Susan, you can never leave.

As if to highlight the theory that the contracting roster and further conditioning of the veteran starters was the key to the turnaround, it is the continued evolution of those very starters that has provided this turn around.

I took a look at the numbers for the Astros’ projected starting lineup of Ivan Rodriguez, Lance Berkman, Kazuo Matsui, Miguel Tejada, Geoff Blum, Carlos Lee, Michael Bourn, and Hunter Pence.  First, their numbers during the 13-game winless streak between their 7-5 exhibition win over Panama on 03/05 and their 4-2 win over Cincinnati on 03/20.  Then, their numbers over the past five games:

Winless Streak: .173/.240/.259
Unbeaten Streak: .363/.392/.538

It’s no surprise that a team who gets on base at a .392 clip will out-perform one that gets on at a rate of .240.  Neither is it terribly shocking that one who slugs .538 is better than one with a SLG of .259. 

As the veterans – Rodriguez, Berkman, Matsui, Tejada, Blum, and Lee – continue to fall into their comfort zone, and as the starting eight begin to jell, they should continue to get better.  The scary part comes with injuries.  If I had to guess at our bench right now, I’d take Humberto Quintero, Jason Smith, Edwin Maysonet, Darin Erstad, and Jason Michaels.  Neither the most nor the least efficient bench in the majors.

But the deeper we have to go into the organization, once we get past the top tier of Chris Johnson, John Gall, Brian Bogusevic, J.R. Towles, and Tommy Manzella – we will run into trouble, and a lot of it.  This year is going to be topsy-turvy.  Can the current team compete while the younger guys continue to get ready to take over?  It should be fun to find out.

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8 comments

  1. astrosfaninexile

    Argh… I just got home to Maryland. But I don’t think that my abandonment (hey – I gotta be at work tomorrow morning!) will affect the outcome for the reasons you cite. The hitting is picking up, as the regulars are starting to get into their game, and the pitching has been pretty sweet (at least for the guys who are expected to make the team).

    I went by to say hi to Alyson Footer yesterday and I asked her if the winning streak is making the clubhouse a more cheerful place. She basically said,: Same old, same old; the players don’t like Spring Training. I suspect that it’s the veterans that she’s talking about – they know they’ll be on the roster in April and they just want to get on with it. I’d be really surprised if the farmhands who are getting a taste for espresso in Kissimmee are not enjoying it. They looked to me like they were in baseball heaven.

    I have HUNDREDS of photos to format and put on the Astros Fan in Exile website. Since we had to run to the airport right after the game today, I haven’t even had a chance to post a blog on the Mets game. Hope to catch up by the weekend, if I don’t walk into chaos at work tomorrow – whoops! I mean later this morning.

  2. astrosfaninexile

    That would be fun! More practically, I have a big extended family with cousins in just about every place the Astros play. I keep hoping I can spend a summer “visiting relatives” – when the Astros just happen to be in town, of course!

  3. roundrock15

    A who’s who of who used to be close to great? Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, and Ivan Rodriguez? They’re a combined career .295/.355/.496. I’d say Berkman is still great, I-Rod certainly was if he isn’t anymore, and Lee is pretty darned good, though not great. An argument could be made for Tejada, though I wouldn’t personally label him “great” at any point in his career.

    The pitching is getting better, but will never be amazing. We have a very weak rotation, even if Ortiz continues to pitch well through spring. I am extremely glad to see that Backe should end up on the outside looking in, though. Thanks for the comments, gang!

    http://houston.mlblogs.com

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