Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Bleak 50-game stretch of 2012

Facebook's Memories feature is a pretty cool way for me to remember jokes I told on that dumb website that no one thought was funny, or for me to see old pictures of my daughter, or to remind me how much weight I've lost (40-ish pounds in the last four years, if you're counting. I am.) But sometimes they also remind me of how terrible the Astros were during the rebuild.

Patrick and I talked about this on Lima Time Time the other night: we knew that those Astros years would be terrible, which is sort of akin to finding a gold coin in your boxers after you gambled on a fart and lost.

But August 23, 2012 marked the end of one of the worst stretches I had ever seen on a baseball field. It didn't start out that way. 2012, the Astros' final year in the National League, saw them stay remarkably close through the first 25% of the season. Lucas Harrell beat Clayton Kershaw (let that sink in) on May 25 to get the Astros to 22-23, three games out of the division lead. This was the high point of the 2012 season. That win against Kershaw (again: wtf) was the first of a seven-game road trip in which the Astros dropped the next six games by a total of 24 runs.

On May 25 the Astros had 22 wins. They would win 33 games in their next 117. The worst stretch was a 50-game stretch from June 28-August 23. On June 28 the Astros dropped the last of a four-game series to split with the Padres at home.

Then they got swept at Wrigley. Swept at Pittsburgh. Lost a series at Milwaukee. Swept at San Francisco. Lost three of four at San Diego. Swept at Arizona. Swept by Cincinnati. Dropped three of four to Pittsburgh. Swept at Milwaukee. Dropped a series at Atlanta. Swept by Washington. The 2012 Astros got two walkoffs against Milwaukee, and then lost two of three at Wrigley. Swept by Arizona. Finally, in the 48th, 49th, and 50th games of this stretch that ended four years ago last night? Swept at St. Louis.

The final tally: 7-43. From 3.0 GB on May 25 to 9.5 GB on June 28 to 36.5 GB on August 23. 3-26 on the road.

As a team in this 50-game stretch they hit .225/.292/.342 with more GIDPs (40) than home runs (36). More strikeouts (422) than hits (373). Six players got over 100 Plate Appearances in this stretch:

Jose Altuve: .296/.365/.369
Scott Moore: .227/.287/.426
J.D. Martinez: .231/.277/.314
Marwin Gonzalez: .217/.280/.313
Brian Bogusevic: .171/.287/.210
Justin Maxwell: .240/.295/.433

You also had Chris Johnson with a .773 OPS and Jordan Schafer (.157/.263/.229) with over 80 PAs. Other players with a decent amount of playing time? Ben Francisco, Chris Snyder, Brett Wallace, Steve Pearce, Matt Downs.

Well if they couldn't hit, at least they couldn't pitch, either. Starters recorded only five wins, three of them by Lucas Harrell. In this stretch Harrell was 3-3, Bud Norris was 0-7, Jordan Lyles and Dallas Keuchel were 0-6. Wandy Rodriguez and J.A. Happy provided the other two wins. Armando Galarraga was 0-4.

Starters allowed a .282/.351/.459 line in these 50 games. Relievers, not to be outdone, allowed a .297/.378/.467 line.

By the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ my daughter was born towards the beginning of this stretch, so I was largely occupied and/or not sleeping. There was a lot of 3am SportsCenter for me, staring in disbelief at what was unfolding before me. But hey, rebuilds and silver linings and whatnot. It can always be worse. Astros Fever: Catch It!