As the Astros take on the Washington Nationals this week in D.C., I’ve got to wonder what it will be like for this young crop of players to take on the pitching rotation that currently has a combined ERA of 1.99, by far the best in Major League Baseball. It’s a series that I certainly don’t want to miss a moment of, do you?
The thing about a four game series is that you face all but one of the opposing team’s starting rotation. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, but when that rotation includes ERAs of 0.69, 0.90, 1.29, 2.57 and 3.38 I’m not sure there’s anyone that you look forward to hitting against.
Compare those ERAs to the Astros ERAs of 2.38, 3.27, 3.75, 4.15, and 7.20 and you’ll likely guess that this series doesn’t looking like a pitching duel. Nope, not one bit.
But there’s a silver lining to all of this. Houston’s team BA is a bit higher than the Nationals. Could that make the difference? Absolutely. Over on SB Nation Houston today I talked about the problems the Astros are having with hitting when the bases are loaded. That’s a hitting problem that the Astros HAVE to address.
But that scenario aside? The Astros bats have been pretty darn reliable thus far. With a team BA of .255, 5th in the NL, they’ve not been too shabby. Compare that to the Nats who aren’t basement dwellers either, with a .247 that puts them 7th in the NL.
A couple of the Houston Astros have had slow starts at the plate this season. Brian Bogusevic who was a rockstar hitter in the second half of 2011 hasn’t quite found his groove yet this season. Jason Castro has struggled at the plate as well after a pretty nice Spring performance. If either of these guys find a way to turn it back on? And if we can see Matt Downs bring back his clutch hitting prowess of the past off the bench? Watch out, because aside from the #9 pitching spot, the Astros lineup could be a serious threat to any pitcher.
Now, I’ve got a few members of the Aerys Writing Staff poking me in the eye over this series. Taunting me with the Astros of the past. Of course I find it interesting when fans of the Phillies or the Cubs are calling the Astros terrible when, if the numbers don’t lie, the Astros have had better to equal starts compared to either of their clubs.
Am I feeing a bit defensive of the Astros as they seemingly walk into the lion’s den against the Nationals? Absolutely. But remember boys and girls, this is baseball and anything is possible. We’ve seen crazier than splitting a series against the Nats. And frankly, I don’t think that’s crazy…I think it’s likely.
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.