At the beginning of the season it felt a little bit like the Houston Astros could only win on get-away days…you know, the day that they were about to leave to head to another city? That seemed to have rectified itself, but this series against the Giants left me thinking that perhaps they haven’t completely bucked that trend.
Yesterday, the Astros beat the San Francisco Giants 6-3 to avoid being swept in the city by the bay. Turns out that my gut feeling about them winning the last game in a series more often than losing the last game in a series was just flat wrong. Ten times this season they won the final game and eleven time this season they lost the final game. There is absolutely nothing special about the last game.
Well, what about if they’re flying away that day. Does that make a difference? Apparently it does. When the Astros are going to board a plane after the game to travel? They’re 5-11. Yep. Another reason for the Astros to just play games at home. I’m not sure if there’s any rhyme or reason for why that is, but my guess is age and maturity of the team.
Over time a ballplayer adapts to a big league schedule and travel demands and pressure. It doesn’t happen overnight and with a 25 man roster that’s average age is currently getting younger, there are going to be some maturity pains and perhaps this is one of those.
So, if I ran the team what would I do about it? Brad Mills has been quoted saying that he thinks the higher number of road losses may have something to do with how much workout time that the team gets before a game, so if that’s the case,I’d structure things a bit different. Give these kids a regimented schedule to follow that is the same on the road and off, getting on plane or in a car or on a bus. A sense of normalcy helps to take location out of the equation. Of course, we’ll always have the road-weary games where they play a night game, travel then play a day game the very next day and you sort of expect the heavy eyelids for those.
I’m not a team insider and I don’t know how the schedule differs at home games, away games and get-away days, but I’d guess that there’s a little something to the impact that the differences have. Do I think this is a major issue and THAT big of a deal? Nope…but it was a little something for me to think about on a delayed flight last night between Chicago and Houston. If I was antsy and tired and just plain worn out from traveling twice in one week….made me consider the prospect of having to play baseball today….and there’s no way I could do it!
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the tortured Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can email her at email@example.com, or follow her ridiculous ramblings on sports, vodka and the weeone on twitter @agirlinthesouth.