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Know Your Foe #1: The Houston Astros

You may not remember my name, but I might just put a hurtin' on you (it's JD Martinez).
You may not remember my name, but I might just put a hurtin' on you (it's JD Martinez).

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.

Fun facts:

  • 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.

Wandy Rodriguez

#51 / Pitcher / Houston Astros





Jan 18, 1979

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

pitchers # Pos.
Fernando Abad 58 P
David Carpenter 28 P
Rhiner Cruz 73 P
J.A. Happ 30 P
Lucas Harrell 64 P
Wilton Lopez 59 P
Brandon Lyon 37 P
Brett Myers 39 P
Bud Norris 20 P
Wandy Rodriguez 51 P
Kyle Weiland 56 P
Wesley Wright 53 P
catchers # Pos.
Jason Castro 15 C
Chris Snyder 18 C
infielders # Pos.
Jose Altuve 27 2B
Brian Bixler 12 SS
Matt Downs 16 2B
Marwin Gonzalez 70 SS
Chris Johnson 23 3B
Carlos Lee 45 1B
outfielders # Pos.
Brian Bogusevic 19 RF
Travis Buck 6 LF
J.D. Martinez 14 LF
Jordan Schafer 1 CF


Houston Astros Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jed Lowrie thumb 03/29/2012
Sergio Escalona elbow 03/24/2012