In three hours, the West Coast will be shrouded in April. Can you feel it?
It’s a magical month for baseball fans. The last month full of hope and promise, before the summer lazes before us, full of disappointment for some; celebration for others. The magical march to October has begun.
In less than a week, the Major League Baseball season will be underway. As Spring Training winds down, what do Astros fans have to look forward to?
The Asros are last in the Grapefruit League, owing largely to a massive winless streak. But they seem to be heating up at the right time: 9-2 since March 20th.
During that stretch through the end of March, the actual members of the Astros 25-man roster went .306/.329/.436. That includes new arrival Jeff Keppinger, whose numbers came with the Cincinnati Reds. Without his 2-for-24 line, the numbers are .325/.349/.466 for the 25-man roster.
The pitchers expected to make the 25-man roster have gone 7-1 in 72 IP with a 3.50 ERA, an incredible 1.17 WHIP, and a 3.89 DICE; 39 K to 16 BB. That’s sure to go up with the move to Minute Maid Park, but it’s nice to see that, at the very least, the 25-man roster looks to be heating up at the right time.
And they’re going to need to be hot going into the season. A lot has been made of their difficult second-half schedule, and rightly so.
Looking at their 2009 schedule, and breaking each game down by the opponents’ 2008 record (using home records for home games and road records for road games), this is how the season looks by month:
April: 267-309 (.464)
May: 396-422 (.484)
June: 348-380 (.478)
July: 125-199 (.386)
July (post-All Star Break): 230-175 (.568)
August: 438-371 (.541)
September: 367-372 (.497)
October: 96-66 (.593)
As you can see, prior to the All-Star Break, the Astros’ opponents in every month are less than .500 – after the All-Star Break, with the exception of a brief respite in September (during which, though the opponents are under an aggregate .500, they are still better than during any single month before the All-Star Break), every month features opponents with overall winning percentages.
So clearly, the key to the Astros season is not waiting until August or September to make a run, as they have in the past, but rather to get off to a quick start.
Luckily, they appear poised to do just that.