On The Road Again
I’m guessing the 2012 Astros aren’t huge fans of the Willie Nelson classic. I’d be disappointed if Brett Myers didn’t have a little Willie on his ipod, and I’m sure Jordan Schafer is a huge fan of some of Willie’s other “extracurricular activities”, but the 2012 Astros can definitely wait to be on the road again. We’ve all been singing the praises of the Stros lately and make no mistake about it, they are superior and infinitely more watchable than their 2011 squad, but the final hurdle back toward league respectability just might be an improved road record.
Think about how much the average Cardinals, Cubs, or Rangers fan keeps up with the day to day progress of the Houston Astros. Can you tell me how any of those teams have done over their last 10 games? Their #1 impression of the Astros is probably during head to head matchups, and if they see the Astros come to town and promptly lay a giant goose egg, then they aren’t likely to cease and desist their played out “Lastros” jokes. If we want to once again be viewed as a contender we are going to have to start taking over opposing team’s ballparks and making their fans respect us.
So why have we been so terrible on the road? We are 18-14 at home, but 6-19 on the road! Only 4 teams in MLB have yet to win 10 games on the road, and only the laughable Cubs have fewer wins than your Houston Astros. Well Stephen….maybe these young guys are struggling at the plate away from their comfort zone at MMP? WRONG! The Astros are hitting .254 at home, but .256 on the road. Average only tells part of the story though; as you look deeper you can see that the Astros have hit twice as many HR’s per game at MMP compared to away. Their OPS at home is .727 as opposed to .681 on the road. So despite hitting for a better average, the Astros get on base and hit for power better at MMP.
Now pitching……the Astros ERA on the road is a hefty 5.02 (5th worst in the league) as opposed to 3.62 at MMP (11TH best in the league). Wait a minute; I thought MMP was a pitcher’s nightmare that makes a mockery of the game of baseball? I don’t know maybe the Regulators and staff enjoy pitching in front of their 100 closest friends? Whatever it is the Astros pitching has been light years better at home so far. This is going to have to change if we are to turn around our road struggles. The pitching staff has to keep the opposition at bay long enough for our hitters to manufacture some runs (considering a 3R HR seems to be very unlikely on the road so far).
So here the Astros go, on the road again, for a 9 game series that will conclude in South Oklahoma. As die-hard fans we can easily see that this team is much different than last year. The games are much more fun to watch, and I never feel like this team is out of a game with the fight they have. The Astros have garnered a lot of well-deserved national praise for the recent haul of talent they drafted this week, so now they hit the road in hopes of changing some baseball fans’ notions of just how far away they are right now. Let’s hope the pitching staff can regulate some opposing parks and the hitters can find their power groove away from MMP, if they do we might even be able to get baseball fans to notice enough to get the immortal Jose Altuve higher than 5th among 2nd baseman in ASG voting (NO RESPECT)!