New season, new opponents, and it's hard to find an opponent with as many unfamiliar faces as the Houston Astros. Much of their roster remains from late last season, but they're very much in a youth movement right now.
Last season, the Astros compiled an NL-worst 56-106 record. While nobody's thrilled with this, it gave a young team a bit of time to develop into a team that's going to at least make a little bit of noise in a very top-heavy NL Central. Colorado went 5-2 against the Astros in 2011, which was amazing when you consider the fact that Colorado was mostly inhabited by ghosts and cardboard cutouts.
The Astros have some solid players, though. Laugh if you must, and you just might, but Brett Myers gave the 'Stros 216 innings of Kroger-brand baseball, flavored ever so blandly with 4.46 ERA (85 ERA+). The difference between Wandy Rodriguez' 2.7 rWAR (Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement) and Myers' 0.7 rWAR is about a full season of an average baseball player.
Still, it has me thinking about the value of a 200 inning pitcher. Sure, Myers was nothing impressive in the rotation in 2011, but you have to also consider the fact that their bullpen wasn't AS taxed when Myers pitched. Opportunity cost is a hard thing to figure when you consider manager strategies and stuff like that.
- The Astros haven't won on Opening Day since 2006
- Last time the Astros opened against the Rockies, they beat the Rockies 10-4, featuring Jason Jennings getting leveled for 8 runs in 4 innings
- The Astros are celebrating their 50th anniversary, so be prepared for the Colt 45s to take the field at any given moment
- Last season, on 9/24/2011, the Rockies and Astros played MLB's 200,000th game
- Carlos Lee and Chris Johnson are the only remaining players from Houston's 2011 Opening Day lineup. Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton, Dexter Fowler, and Carlos Gonzalez remain from 2011 for Colorado.
Awesome pitchface aside, you might remember just how close the Rockies game to acquiring Rodriguez. The Astros, like many teams out of contention, placed Rodriguez on waivers to see if they could move their veteran southpaw for more prospects. When the asking price was something like "Drew Pomeranz and Wilin Rosario", it became apparent that Rodriguez wasn't as good a fit for Colorado as originally thought. 190+ innings of above-average baseball is hard to turn down, but not when we're talking about Wandy's salary along with losing like what, 20-30 WAR over the next 6 years?
While Myers has been moved to the Closer role for Houston, Wandy remains atop the rotation, Rodriguez, of the career 4.07 ERA, 4.07 FIP, and 3.93 xFIP, qualifies as their most veteran starting pitcher. As we heard from our buddies over at The Crawfish Boxes, Bud Norris may be the best pitcher in their rotation, but Wandy gets the "Veteran/Attaboy" nod for the Astros. This will be his first Opening Day start.
My stupid prediction: Rockies sweep in 1 blowout and 2 tight games. Jamie Moyer baffles some cocksure youngsters with his defrosting heat.
Houston Astros Roster