This is a letter to Drayton McLane, owner of the Astros and his GM, Ed Wade.
Please don’t buy the hype.
The Astros seemingly are within spitting distance of contention, right? I will not resurrect the tired and subjective argument about the quality of the starting pitching rotation. Instead, I would like to point out the Astros’ record.
The Astros are 29-34. Not terrible, but not good either. Insurmountable? No way, you might say. You might even use this as an argument for NOT trying to get good young valuable players for Valverde, Tejada, Oswalt, and (dare I?) Berkman.
Here are the clubs that the Astros have a winning record against:
Take away the teams for which we have a small sample size (anybody can win two or three games from a three game series), and we are left with ARI, COL, and PIT as the only teams that the Astros have had success against and played more than three games this season so far. The combined record of those teams is 91-105. This is equivalent to one team playing 75-87 for the season. Experts agree, that is a terrible team.
Their combined record is 190-194 (a losing record, right?)
WRONG. Again, removing the teams with a small sample size (STL and WAS), that leaves CHC, CIN, MIL, and TEX as the teams the Astros have not had success against.
The combined record of those teams is 137-118. That is the equivalent of an 87-75 team, which should be a playoff team in most divisions.
To add insult to injury, rub salt in your wounds, and pour lemon juice on your papercuts, the Astros are 15-23 against their own division! They have a winning record against ONE team in the division, and that team just sold their most exciting player for minor leaguers because they recognized that they do not have enough talent (particularly pitching, oops I went there) to sustain success.
What does 15-23 mean? If the Astros played 162 games against their own division, which thank God they do not, then they would have a record of 64-98! Thank goodness for the NL West, baseball’s whipping boy.
My point is this: Please do not delude yourself into thinking that the Astros have a chance this season to make the playoffs. Tejada, Valverde, Oswalt, and Berkman will never again in their careers have value as high as they have now. Get what you can for them, the fans will forgive you. Most of us would prefer to see exciting young players struggle in their Rookie and Sophomore years than watch the same tired old veterans continue to fail because they are not what they once were.
–A tired Astros fan.
P.S. I’ll feel like a real jerk if this letter actually reaches Mr. McLane. I am not nearly this blunt in person.