Houston Astros Are a Train Wreck After Opening Week of the Season

Andrew GloverCorrespondent IApril 14, 2009

The Houston Astros are off to another slow start, as they finish the first week of the season 1-5.

The Astros opened the season hosting a three-game series with the defending NL Central Champion Chicago Cubs. The Astros lost the first game 4-2, won the second 3-2 in the 10th, and lost the third 11-6. Houston finished the week with a three-game weekend series at St. Louis. The Astros lost the first game 5-3, lost the second game 11-2, and lost the final game 3-0.

For the Astros, it has been the same problems as usual, lack of offense and slow starts by key players. Roy Oswalt has started the season 0-2, with a 6.23 ERA, walked three, and struck out six. Lance Berkman is batting .200 after six games, with one home run and two RBI. In the last four seasons, the Astros are 8-16 in their first six games.

Here is a recap of the first week and how the team performed.



In the first six games of the season, the Astros have scored 16 runs, a total ranking second to last in the major leagues. The Kansas City Royals are the only team with fewer runs, at 14.

Geoff Blum, Miguel Tejada, and Hunter Pence lead the team with three runs each. The Astros were in the lower half of the major leagues in batting average, ranking 18th and batting .250.

Geoff Blum leads the everyday starters with a .353 batting average. Jeff Keppinger leads the team with a .571 batting average. 

The Astros have walked 17 times, ranking 25th in the major leagues. Berkman leads the team with five. Houston ranks 12th in home runs with seven. Pence leads the team with two.

The Astros have not produced offensively, which has significantly limited their starting pitchers chances of winning.

Overall Grade: D+


Base running

The Astros have stolen one base in three attempts, ranking 25th in the majors. Kazuo Matsui has stolen their only base so far.

The Astros rank 20th in total bases with 80. Pence leads the team with 15.

Houston is third to last in doubles with five. Carlos Lee, Ivan Rodriguez, Berkman, Blum, and Pence each have one.

Houston is tied for second in triples with two. Michael Bourn and Matsui each have one. Houston is struggling in getting runners in scoring position, which also leads to struggles in putting runs on the board.

Overall Grade: D


Starting Pitching

The Astros are among three teams that are yet to have a starting pitcher with a win. The Washington Nationals and the Oakland Athletics are the other two. Currently, the Astros' starters are 0-5 with a 6.54 ERA, which ranks 26th in the majors.

Wandy Rodriguez has the lowest ERA with 3.00 in two starts. Brian Moehler did not last two innings in his first start, leaving the game with a 37.80 ERA.

Houston is 14th in walks allowed with 14. Moehler has the fewest with one.

Houston's starters rank 24th in strikeouts with 20. Wandy Rodriguez leads the team with eight. In years past when the Astros offense has struggled, they have had good starting pitching bail them out. This year, the starting pitching is inconsistent at best.

Overall Grade: D-


Relief Pitching

Doug Brocail is the only Astros pitcher with a win, ranking the team tied for seventh in relief pitcher wins. The Astros’ bullpen has given up 13 runs for an ERA of 5.76, which ranks 23rd in the majors. Tim Byrdak, Chris Sampson, and closer Jose Valverde are yet to allow a run. 

The bullpen has walked 10 batters, ranking 17th in the majors. LaTroy Hawkins, Wesley Wright, Sampson, Byrdak, and Valverde have allowed zero.

Houston ranks third in the majors with 21 strikeouts. Russ Ortiz leads the bullpen with six. Overall, the Astros’ bullpen is good, so if Houston can get a lead past the sixth, they mostly likely will win.

Overall Grade: C+


Next week, the Astros will travel to Pittsburgh for a three game series with the Pirates (3-3), and host the Cincinnati Reds (2-3) for four games.