Astros’ chances to surge above .500?

Keith Cordero Jr.: Charlie Brown’s mom was easier to understand

Having won eight of their last ten games, the Houston Astros are back on track and are far removed from a brutal 0-8 start to the season. Coming off a sweep of the Rockies and a current 5-1 record on a nine game home stand, the Astros could be 11-10 by the end of the month, with three more home games against a mediocre Cincinnati Reds team.

Not so fast my friend. The Astros have won a few games, so what? The reason why Houston won’t go 4-0 in the final four games to end the month is because they just don’t hit well enough, and their pitching is not so hot either. Their big slugger Carlos Lee is crushing the ball, hitting a giant .162 with zero home runs, and your team homerun leader, Jason Michaels, has two home runs and does not even start.

Also despite a nice sweep against the Pirates—who doesn’t sweep the Pirates?—Kaz Matsui is down in the dumps, barely hitting .138, and the golden child, Hunter Pence, is at .208.

When it comes to pitching, yikes. Other than Roy Oswalt (2.42 ERA, 21 K’s) and closer Matt Lindstrom (6-6 on saves), there can’t be any fans of starter Felipe Paulino, can there? Paulino is 0-2, with a sky high 5.94 ERA and a team-high 10 walks.

I say the Astros go 2-2 in the next four games as we hit May on the calendar, and they should play .500 ball the rest of the season.

Patricia Estrada: What you talkin’ about, Keith?

Keith, did you answer the question? I can’t tell with all that rambling. I had to read your response five times and I still don’t know what you are talking about. At first you said they will finish with a winning record, and then you say they won’t. Please make up your mind. Also, stop relying on so many statistics. Can you make a point without them? Because I don’t think you can.

The Astros will not finish with a winning record this month. Yes, they have been playing pretty well these past couple of games, taking the last three series from the Cubs, Marlins and Pirates, but they are playing the Reds in the final three games of the month. And although the Reds have started worse than the Astros so far, every time they come to Minute Maid Park they play the home team hard. This series will be a fun one to watch, and, although I think the ‘Stros will take the series, they won’t sweep the Reds. My prediction is the ‘Stros will take the final two games and finish 10-11, which, after the slow start to the season, is not too bad.

Alan Dennis: Bringin’ the funny

Will the Astros finish the month with a winning record? There hasn’t been a question this easy to answer since the last time someone asked Ben Roethlisberger if he wanted to do a body shot off a 20-year-old.

Both of you are correct in your assessments of the Astros’ chances, but the ways in which you arrived at your answers were flawed. Let me break this down for you calculus-style.

I’m no mathlete, but with the Astros sitting at 8-10 with four games left in the month (three at home against the Reds and one in Atlanta), it would seem to me that the team would need to sweep those games just to finish above .500.

Baseball at its core is a game of managerial matchups — something even general manager Ed Wade can’t quite wrap his inept head around — and against the Reds, the Astros manager Brad Mills will be matched up with Dusty Baker.

In his six sub-par seasons in the National League Central as manager of the Cubs and Reds, Baker is 50-47 against the Astros. While that record isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, history says there’s a good chance Baker will get one of those three games.

And even if they were to sweep the Reds, they’d still screw things up and lose to the Braves.

But now that Lance Berkman has returned from the disabled list, we can all get back to drinking Wade’s delicious Kool-Aid and believing that the team is oh-so-close to contending for a playoff spot. Fantastic.

Ronnie Turner: And bringin’ the hammer

Keith is a perfect example of what the Astros have come to represent. Here’s a guy who trots out the same poor material every time — same as the Astros — and gets the same sorry results — same as the Astros. Like the Astros, he keeps trying to make us believe that he’s improving with each go-round, but at the end of the day, he’s still producing the same mess.

Thus, Keith couldn’t debate his way out of a paper bag, but he thinks he’s about to make a turnaround. The Astros are probably thinking the same thing after sweeping the Pirates over the weekend, but that doesn’t mean this team is suddenly decent.

The Astros swept a Pittsburgh team that now has a run differential of minus-82, the worst in the majors, so they didn’t dethrone a world-beater. Plus, the Astros are tied with Cleveland for the lowest runs scored (60) in the majors. Combine that with a starting rotation that isn’t much to look at outside Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez, and it’s clear to see why the Astros are probably going to fall off Cloud Nine in a few games.

As Allan eloquently pointed out, the Astros would need to sweep their next four games to finish April with a winning record. There’s as much a chance of that happening as there is that Keith will ever gain a grasp of the English language.

Judge Higgs: No mercy

You know, you guys are being awfully hard on Keith. Now, I’m not saying you three need any help to look smart and funny (well, let’s be honest, Patricia could use a little help, but she’s new to this, and she bakes me cakes, so she gets a pass), but he could make a 5-year-old’s writing look brilliant.

Let’s jump to answering the question. There’s no way the Astros finish the month on a seven game win streak, which is what winning the last four games of the season would give them. So they won’t finish April with a winning record. But who cares? After starting the month on an eight-game losing streak, the fact that we’re even having this conversation is a minor miracle. They’ve gone 8-2 since their abysmal start and, in doing so, have managed to appear almost respectable.

Verdict: Alan’s funnies make it hard to pass him up, but, between Ronnie’s eloquence and his stellar tenure as editor-in-chief, he gets the face time.

Facetime: It’s been a good run with Fighting Words during these last five years, but my time here is done. Thanks to everyone for all the memories!


  • I don’t see it as all that important whether the Astros finish April a game over .500 or a game (or two) under.

    I think April has shown the Astros are a middle-of-the-pack .500 team that can sweep the Pirates and get swept by the Cards. Not much of a chance for the playoffs, but they won’t stink up the joint by losing 100 games either.

    Is it 2012 yet?

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