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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bad National League is good news to Astros

Resist the temptation.

Don’t do it.

Just say no.

DO NOT write the Houston Astros off. Not just yet.

Despite a five-game losing streak, which included a three-game sweep in Houston by the Chicago Cubs, the National League Central’s next-to-last-place team, the Astros find themselves squarely in the middle of the NL playoff race.

But so do most of the NL’s 16 teams. Take a look at the wild-card standings.

Astros fans can thank the weak…uh…uh… well-balanced National League for their team’s good fortune. Everybody in the NL (with the possible exception of the Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates) has a shot at baseball’s postseason extravaganza.

Ten of the 12 teams chasing the NL wild card-leading Cincinnati Reds are less than 10 games from the top. And that includes the 53-67 Washington Nationals, who’ve won two straight and are within nine games of the Reds.

How weak is the NL this year?

Only two of the teams in the race for the NL wild card are playing above .500.

So, how, despite their five-game skid, can you dismiss the Astros – with another full month of games remaining?

You can’t. Not now. Not in the National League.

Had the Astros won five straight instead of losing them, they’d be at the top of the NL wild-card standings. And as anyone who’s even vaguely familiar with the Astros knows, these Astros are just as likely to reel off five straight wins as they are to lose five straight.

The same, however, can be said of any other team in the league. It’s too early to write off almost any NL team, especially the Astros, who have one baseball’s top starting rotations.

Anything can happen in the wacky NL, where the Astros have the major league’s longest losing streak and the Cubs (four straight) have the second-longest winning streak.

So, sit back and relax Astros fans. There’s good news: The National League is bad.


Blogger Jason Pugh said...

Sorry Larry, got to disagree this time.

Yes, the Astros have been the best second-half team in the NL the last two seasons, but they have done nothing to prove they'll make it three straight.

Their biggest weapon last season was probably Brad Lidge. When he came in the game was over. Now Lidge should be pitching in long relief and unproven Dan Wheeler will close.

Add in the fact the Astros still can't hit their weight and it adds up to meaningless games in September for the first time since 2002.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Roy Lang III said...

Lidge is done. He has been since Pujols and Podsednik ruined him. The Astros are 4 1/2 back, but behind or tied with 6 teams??? Not gonna happen.
Go Cubs!

12:22 AM  

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