Astros Can Stop The Whining

added 4/25/2013 by Bob Hulsey

Remember when the Astros were a consistent winner? It is probably repressed somewhere deep in you memory banks but, if you try hard enough, I think you can recall those days. There was always one team in the division that Houston could routinely defeat if not sweep a series from. Seattle, you are our new Pittsburgh.

The 7-14 (.333) Astros are 4-2 against the Mariners by a combined score of 38-27. Against the rest of the American League, Houston is 3-12 by a combined score of 44-67. Fortunately (see the final paragraph), the Astros have only 13 games left against Seattle this season.

But now lowly Houston gets to step into the spotlight and play the only two American League teams that matter to anyone outside their local fiefdoms - the RED SOX and the YANKEES. If you form decisions based on media coverage, there is only the RED SOX and the YANKEES with the other 13 A.L. clubs serving as variations of those stooge Washington Generals competition for the Harlem Globetrotters, there to be defeated on a nightly basis and happy to be getting a paycheck.

This spring we were serenaded to whining from the East Coast, all the way up to Peter Gammons and Buster Olney, about how unfair it was for the RED SOX and the YANKEES to compete in the tough, tough American League East while the American League West teams could feast on the carcass that once was the Astros. Despite adding a second wild card team last year, why, there was just no way for both the RED SOX and the YANKEES to make the postseason when the Angels, Rangers and A's all had 19 games against Houston.

The Astros had ruined the balance of power by being an embarrassment to baseball and destroying the integrity of the sport. Forget for a moment that the media saw no problem dragging the Astros against their will into the American League at a time when they were clearly rebuilding. I guess nobody realized just how deep a crater the Astros would dig for themselves before beginning the rebuild.

Therefore, we should expect the RED SOX and YANKEES to both sweep the Astros in their coming series or, oh my gosh, the baseball media will have to stop whining about the imbalance. If Houston can actually win a few games or, horrors, win a series, what can the whiny media say? What excuse could they offer?

It might be difficult for the RED SOX and YANKEES (and, don't forget, this is all about the RED SOX and YANKEES since they are the American League, not us) to pull off a sweep since neither is having such a great start to the season.

The RED SOX are 14-7 as of Wednesday but they have done it despite numerous injuries and poor performances in the early going. Since their late-August fire sale, the RED SOX have largely depended on the outstanding pitching of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz with help from the gloveless f-bomb-throwing tub of lard that is David Ortiz, the poster boy for everything that is wrong with the American League. Their opening day payroll was estimated to be $154 million.

The YANKEES, meanwhile, are 11-9 with half their stars injured and the other half rumored to be getting PEDs from Florida. No Jeter. No A-Rod. No Teixeira. They are limping along with the best retreads money can buy like Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells, Kevin Youkilis and the .222-hitting Ichiro Suzuki. They still have C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte (yes, THAT Andy Pettitte) and Hiroki Kuroda to anchor the rotation plus Dorian Gray to close out the ninth. The New York payroll on opening day was $228 million.

So, you see, there is simply no way that the Astros and their opening day payroll of $26 million (less than what the Yankees are paying for A-Rod alone) should possibly compete with the RED SOX and the YANKEES, at least at the bank if not the ballpark.

Currently on pace for a 54-108 season and a big league record for most strikeouts in one year (1597), the Astros nonetheless have a chance to shut up the East Coast Media if they can come away with a couple of wins against teams with six and ten times bigger payrolls. The 98-pound weaklings just might be able to get in the final shove even if they won't be walking away with the girl.

Too bad you can't watch these games on television unless you have CSN-H, YES or NESN. The pressure is entirely on the RED SOX and YANKEES to sweep. Otherwise, the East Coast Media template is proven to be fraudulent. How can they whine about the imbalance of the Astros in their league if they can't dominate when it is their turn?

Besides, the only standings the Astros apparently care about is the one for the 2014 June draft which currently has Houston in fourth place behind the 5-16 Marlins, 6-15 Padres and 6-14 Cubs, all teams of the National League. It's a shame we can't be competing against them head-to-head. I guess somebody will just have to write about how unfair that is.