Manager: Brad Mills (17-30) (93-116)
Current: One of the few teams in baseball with a record the Dodgers won't look on longingly. The Astros are dead last in the NL central with the expectation of being dead last by end of the season. The offense is not as bad as the Dodgers but they are one of the few teams who have hit fewer home runs. Their 26 home runs puts them dead last. Hate to use fielding metrics at this point but I do need to point out that according to fangraphs they are dead last in fielding by a large margin. Pitching has been a problem in both the rotation and bullpen but they are not dead last.
Outlook: Dead Last
Old Friends: Not a one
1st Base: Brett Wallace is one of the few bright spots for the Astros The one time top prospect of the Blue Jays has emerged as a solid offensive 1st baseman in his first full year. His OPS of .850 gives him a 140 OPS+ and puts him around fifth best in the NL, a head of the likes of Pujols and Ryan Howard,
2nd Base: Bill Hall is another player we were lucky enough not to sign this winter. He may not be the worst offensive 2nd baseman in the NL, but he's close to it, throw in his terrible defense and you have the worst regular 2nd baseman in the NL. If Houston is smart as soon as Jeff Keppinger comes off the DL they hand him the job and don't look back.
Rk Player OPS+ G From To Age PA BA OBP SLG OPS 1 Denis Menke 109 634 1968 1974 27-33 2524 .266 .355 .373 .728 2 Dickie Thon 106 566 1981 1987 23-29 2013 .270 .329 .395 .725 3 Miguel Tejada 101 316 2008 2009 34-35 1339 .298 .327 .435 .762 4 Orlando Miller 93 247 1994 1996 25-27 895 .262 .307 .406 .713 5 Andujar Cedeno 92 395 1990 1996 20-26 1458 .250 .309 .389 .698 6 Julio Lugo 81 366 2000 2003 24-27 1483 .268 .332 .391 .723 7 Ricky Gutierrez 81 469 1995 1999 25-29 1617 .266 .337 .340 .677 8 Rafael Ramirez 80 612 1988 1992 30-34 2086 .257 .290 .335 .625 9 Sonny Jackson 80 299 1963 1967 18-22 1288 .264 .313 .307 .620 10 Craig Reynolds 79 1170 1979 1989 26-36 3721 .252 .286 .345 .631 11 Eddie Kasko 72 201 1964 1965 32-33 727 .244 .300 .290 .589 12 Adam Everett 69 649 2001 2007 24-30 2374 .248 .299 .357 .656 13 Roger Metzger 67 1021 1971 1978 23-30 4100 .229 .291 .291 .582 14 Tim Bogar 60 392 1997 2000 30-33 1149 .219 .297 .327 .624 15 Bob Lillis 56 613 1962 1967 32-37 2043 .232 .267 .272 .539
3rd Base: There are some really offensive (as in lousy) 3rd baseman in the NL this year. Chris Johnson is not one of them, but he's not good either. He's in that tier below the very good where it drops right to crappy before heading toward craptastic as in our own Juan Uribe. Johnson had a stellar rookie season but his 3% walk rate has caught up to him. His TSL of .225/270/.394 is not what the doctor ordered for a team in desperate need of offense.
Catcher: Humberto Quintero and JR Towles share this position. Towles can hit a little, Quintero cannot. Hey, remember when Barajas was having a solid offensive season? That 100 OPS+ is headed down down down.
Right Fielder: Hunter Pence is no superstar but ever since 2007 he's been a very solid offensive hitter, and 2011 is no exception. For Houston he's the best they got with his 127 OPS+. That is what a .808 OPS gets you in the offensively challenged world of 2011.
Center Fielder: Michael Bourn gets on base just enough (.340 OB%) to use his superior speed to wreck havoc on the base paths. Stolen 16 bases, been caught only twice. He might steal five bases off of Lilly if he can get on base.
Left Fielder: Carlos Lee (El Caballo) was once a feared offensive hitter, now he's just one of the many players in baseball who have bloated contracts with little production to match. At $19,000,000 in 2011, if he's not the worst deal in baseball it is only because baseball is littered with GMs who did not grasp the significance of aging baseball players in the post PED era.
Bench: Their best bench player is on the DL, Matt Downs is making some hay in limited playing time.
|Game||Pitcher||Triple Stat Line ERA/FIP/xFIP|
|Game One||Bud Norris Versus Clayton Kershaw||3.93 / 3.38 / 2.85|
|Game Two||AJ Happ Versus Chad Billingsley||5.30 / 4.66 / 4.71|
|Game Three||Aneury Rodriguez Versus Ted Lilly||5.31 / 4.78 / 4.95|
Bud Norris is quietly having a very solid season with the sixth best xFIP in the NL. He has a K rate over 10, has reduced his walk below 4, and will give Clayton a battle on Monday.
If we don't bounce around AJ Happ or give Aneury an aneurysm all hope is lost.
Closer: With Brandon Lyon on the DL, Mark Melencon is the new closer and so far he's been up to the task. At one time he could strike out hitters but so far this year his K rate has dropped to 6.23 from the high 9's last year. He's basically a fastball (92) curveball pitcher.
Matchup Notes: This is a series the Dodgers have to win. Clayton needs to shut down the Houston offense because it is likely the Dodgers will have trouble scoring against Bud Norris. On Tuesday / Wednesday, we should score enough to win at least one, if not both. Houston comes into this series having stolen 38 bases in 45 attempts, so expect them to run wild on Barajas's 19% caught stealing rate. Then again the Golden Rod may not play this series so Bourn gets to run wild on Navarro instead.