Welcome to “Down in the Hole: A Season with the Houston Astros”. In today’s installment, we throw a backwards glance at the 2011 season before examining the Astros’ 2012 roster.
In 2011, the Houston Astros fielded what was, quantifiably, the worst team in their 51-year history. They scored 181 fewer runs than they allowed. They lost 106 games. Both marks established new franchise records for futility.
The National League batting average was .253. On-base was .319, slugging was .391 and OPS was .710. The Houston Astros featured only one player who qualified for the batting title and exceeded any of those averages. His name was Carlos Lee (.275/.342/.446), he was 35 years old, and he led the team with 18 home runs. The Astros were one of only four teams that did not carry a 20 home run hitter.
Welcome to the first installment of “Down in the Hole: A Season with the Houston Astros”.
“Baseball is the game of the long season, where small, incremental differences decide who wins and who loses particular games, series, seasons. In baseball, you know going to the ballpark that the chances are you may win, but you also may lose. There’s no certainty, no given. You know when a season starts that the best team is going to get beaten a third of the time, the worst team is going to win a third of the time. The argument, over 162 games: that middle third. So, it’s a game that you can’t like if winning is everything.” -George F. Will
In 1992, Roger Clemens turned in an exceptional season for the Boston Red Sox, leading the American League in WAR (7.9), ERA (2.41), WHIP (1.07), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.35), and shutouts (5). He finished in the top-three in the Cy Young Award voting for the third consecutive year. His performance set the pace for a Red Sox pitching staff that finished third or better in ERA, strikeouts, and home runs allowed.