It's Official: Astros are done for

After losing 2 of 3 AT HOME, to the MONTREAL EXPOS, my 'Stros have basically walked out to the back 40 and shot themselves.

Five days ago, they had won 4 of 5, and were 1 1/2 games behind San Fran for 3rd in the Wild Card, 4 back of the Cubbies. Going into tonight's game with the Mets, they are in Sixth Place, 6 games back, and have lost 4 straight games. In three of those losses, the winning run was given up by the bullpen after the seventh inning. They are 3rd in the Central, but are 3 games closer to fifth than they are to second. Now Wade Miller is probably done for the season, and Adam Everett is out for at least 5 weeks. I attribute this gigantic choke-job to the following things:

  1. The horrible Bullpen that Gerry Hunsicker constructed. Once the Beltran-for-Dotel trade went through, Houston left themselves with ONE reliable reliever, Brad Lidge. The trouble is, none of the no-talent ass clowns in front of him can hold a lead. As a result, he's 11 for 11 in Save opportunities, but should have had at least 16-18 Save chances. Gallo has been bad, Harville has had flashes of brilliance but struggled overall, Miceli has been horrible, Redding has stunk it up, and I don't even have words to describe what a disaster Weathers has been. Hell, he's blown three leads IN THE LAST WEEK. This was a probable weak spot before the season started, and got worse as the season went on. They got Darren Oliver about a week before the deadline, and he's been good for them, but is hurt now, too. Why they never made a move to shore this up absolutely bufuddles me.

  2. Age. Kent can't run, Bagwell can't throw, Ausmus can't do much of anything, and Biggio's .298 average is a "resurgence".

  3. Sporadic hitting. The only thing consistent about this club's hitting is that they consistently leave a ton of runners stranded in scoring position. That's about it.

I'm not going to bring up injuries, even though they've been a problem, because EVERY team has injuries, and winners find a way to overcome that.

So thank you for the letdown of the century, Houston Astros.

Now, so that I don't sound like a TOTAL sourpuss, here's some recommendations:

1) Re-sign Carlos Beltran. His agent is going to ask for something in the neighborhood of 6 years and 80-90 million. Pay it. Drayton McLane, the owner, is the 6th-richest man in America, so don't give me this "$80 million payroll budget" crap. And while you're at it, sign Oswalt and Berkman to long term extensions, like you should have last winter.

2) Give Brad Lidge a modest raise, lock him up for the next 4 years or so, and shitcan the rest of the bullpen aside from maybe Chad Harville. Get some guys who can pitch at the Major-League level, because you don't have them now. A lefthander who can get a lefthanded hitter out once in a while would be a good start.

3) Decline Jeff Kent's option. He's making way too much to hit .280 and leave runners on base constantly. Chris Burke should be ready for the bigs next year, give him a shot. He's miles ahead of Kent defensively anyhow.

4) Decline Ausmus' option, and get a catcher who can hit above .280 more than once a decade. Double-digit homeruns and 60+ RBI's are what you're looking for here. They had John Buck, who could do all those things, but traded him in the Beltran deal.

5) Get another respectable starter, because they'll need AT LEAST one more. If Clemens doesn't come back, and I don't see why he would, that leaves 2 spots in the rotation around Oswalt, Pettitte, and Miller. Redding is out of chances, but Munro is maybe worth keeping for the #5 spot.

Other inputs are welcome. Sorry these were long, but it's been a frustrating year.

Nice narrative, Deeder. Well constructed and written.

"The Mets went on to win 3-2, and take the series from the Astros.

The Astros have never been the same since."

I don't know about that part though. The next two games, they roughed up Dontrelle Willis and Carl Pavano, winning 9-2 and 10-2, respectively. I think the downhill slide started a week later, with the 4-game sweep on the road by the Reds, a series in which Cincy scored at least 7 runs in each game.

That third Astros-Mets game sucked though, once Piazza made contact I knew it was out.

Well, it was certainly not helpful.

I see that Houston can't hold a lead against the Mets tonight, either. Up 2-0 in the third with the bases loaded and one out------they don't score, of course. Now it's 4-3 Mets, and Tim Redding is in. Ugh.

I disagree. The Astros have made at least 6 journeymen no-namers look like the second coming of Nolan Ryan this year. I'm not holding out much hope for winning both of the next two, even with Glavine out tomorrow :(

lol, sorry dude. Don't worry, now you can look forward to being right in your prediction that the Dodgers trades will eventually hurt them. :)

coulda told ya the astros were done a little after the all-star break

LOL @ this thread.

prays to GOD I don't have to make a similar one in a month!!!

"I'm not going to bring up injuries, even though they've been a problem, because EVERY team has injuries, and winners find a way to overcome that."

This is a Clemens high, tight heater in the face of correct. Well said Cousin Eddie.

BTW - great breakdown Eric. I know that this just kills a great fan like you. Here's my question - Before the season was the writing on the wall or was this collapse a freak occurrence in your opinion?

A little bit of both, IMO.

The writing WAS on the wall, but it read: "This has to be the year, because a lot of these guys won't be around after the '05 season."

I think the results just came a year earlier than most people expected. A lot of these guys are showing their age--Kent, Miceli, Biggio, Ausmus, and Bagwell. I doubt that most people saw the huge production dropoffs coming from almost all of those guys this year. Factor in the subpar play of Ensberg and Hidalgo (while he was here), and there's just too many guys playing poorly at once. That's the part that's a bit of a freak occurance, to me.

hopes he spoke too soon

within 4 games, playing the next 14 against the Reds/Pirates.......

the bullpen experienced the phenomenon known as "addition by subtraction" when the club released Weathers. The bats are heating up, and starters are going a little deeper into games. When Miceli gets off the DL after his pinkeye goes away, he should be rested and back to May/June form.

this could end up being the best crow I ever tasted :)

3 games out, after winning their 13th in 16...........

Wow. I've been waiting for the Cubs to go on a run like that and bury a couple of teams (Astros included). As it stands they're too busy getting shutout by the Expos to win 8 or 10 in a row.

Hawkeyefan, how would they have time to play winning baseball when they are too busy being concerned with what Chip and Stoney say?

14 of 17........

PatK is mucho correcto.

7 straight tonight.......

8 in a row!!! Within two games now (3 back in the loss column)

The Astros still have 6 left against St. Louis