After finishing 2011 with a league-worst 56-106 record and no real veteran additions or up-and-coming stars to watch, they were an easy pick to repeat the dubious distinction. So it’s no surprise that today, August 7th, the Astros seem to have a commanding and insurmountable lead in the chase for the top draft pick in the 2013 Draft (Interesting side note: Houston-native and Stanford Cardinal P Mark Appel, who was widely considered the favorite to be picked 1st overall by his hometown Astros this June will be available again after failing to sign with the Pirates and electing to pitch his senior season in Palo Alto… Will Houston snub the homegrown kid two years in a row?), but it’s just how the Astros have arrived at this point that is worth looking at, much like how you can’t turn away from a horrific car crash. It’s human nature.
After dropping an extra-inning thriller to the Nationals last night, the Astros have now lost 31 of their last 35 games. That’s almost hard to believe. Of the last 5 games they have won, 3 have come via Lucas Harrell, the former White Sox farmhand who was claimed off waivers by Houston last season. He’s quietly put together an OK season and one wonders where this listless ship would be had the Sox not waived him in the first place.
The Astros are averaging a paltry 3.81 RPG, 4th worst in the National League, and are allowing 5.11 RPG, “officially” the 2nd worst mark in the NL, but come on, the only team they trail is the Rockies. They have a league-worst -143 run differential. It’s all bad and doesn’t appear to be getting much better any time soon as they completely gutted their roster at the non-waiver trade deadline but still have a relatively empty upper level farm system (most of Houston’s better prospects are still several years from the Majors around A-ball).
And, speaking of last night’s loss to Washington, the Nats scored the game-winning run in the 11th when they bunted home a runner from first base with much help from Houston’s comically bad defense. You have to see it to believe it.
Really, all we’re missing here is the Yakkety Sax.