URL Weaver: The Astros Affect

"if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

“if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

The Houston Astros are a terrible, terrible team. They already have 100 losses on their ledge for 2013, the third consecutive season in which they hit triple digit defeats. They’re awful! Rebuilding and compiling tonnes of prospect capital is one thing, sending out a which will struggle to win 60 games is another.

Hey, if the Astros want to do this to themselves and their #Brand, who are we to judge? It’s their funeral, right? Not exactly. The Astros don’t get to reach new lows of suciktude in a vacuum. Every game they lose is a game somebody else wins. In September, games against the Astros loom a little larger as contenders come to H-town, licking their chops all the way.

Because of the expanded playoff format, it seems like every day this month sees some team plays for the post-season life against the Astros. The Astros schedule in September doesn’t quite support that claim, though they have wormed their way into the playoff picture.

So far this month, Houston has played some contenders (Oakland, Cincinnati, and now Cleveland) with games against Texas and the Yankees to close out the year. The ‘stros also played the Twins, Mariners, and Angels in the season’s final stanza.

To their credit, the Astros are playing these teams relatively tough, posting their second best winning percentage by month during September. But, because the Astros are 51-102, a .389 winning percentage is what passes for “competitive” in 2013. They’re currently mired in a six-game losing streak, and four of the seven wins to come this month came against the Mariners.

Bad teams often pay lip service about giving teams competing for the playoffs their all (right before they start a banjo hitting middle infielder at DH) and the Astros are no different. To be fair, their entire season has been like a September call-up, so the lineup their trotting out now is not any better or worse than the one that lost 18 or more games four out of the last five months.

Because they’re the Astros, and they are doing their very best, sometimes they get into tight, extra inning games against Wild Card contenders. Then, they push a runner into scoring position in the 10th inning and decide they will but that man to third. Because, dammit, the Astros have pride and they want to win the damn game, you know?

In the end, they’re still the Astros. Which means the batter bunts through the ball and the base runner gets caught too far off second base and the catcher throws behind a pinch runner and he’s out by a mile. A pinch runner, put into the game to run and potentially score the go-ahead run, accomplishes the complete opposite feat.

The Astros are trying, man. They really are. They have a few interesting players, such as Jonathan Villar and Chris Carter, who’s been exactly what they expected and needed as their DH and “left fielder.” But mostly the Astros are a sad bunch. Hopefully not for long. Hopefully they can follow the path set by the Kansas City Royals, who lost 100 games from 2004-2006 and look at them now!

Hello? Is this thing on???

And the rest

The Dodgers are a good team with great pitching. But are they NL West champions without Hanley Ramirez? He’s really good, you see. This bomb is one of four hits yesterday, as the Dodgers clinched and sent a thousand hands clutching a thousand pearls in the aftermath.

Luckily, there is Brandon McCarthy: guy who gets it. Just what is he doing on the Diamondbacks, anyway?

Jedd Gyorko sells out for power. [Padres Public]

Today in “you have to be kidding, just call the balls and strikes” [FSN Wisconsin]

The Giants were in New York for their rookie hazing day.

Whoops. Turns out they aren’t dressing like Andres Torres but the Naked Cowboy from Times Square. That these two could ever be confused makes the joke work on a million levels regardless of Bagg’s misreading.

The math behind trying to stop Billy Hamilton. Good luck, world! [Baseball America]

My Approach: Mike Trout [theScore]

“I was sitting next to a young couple with a baby on the plane and I was making the baby laugh the entire flight. Do you know what babies love? Ethnic jokes.”