b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Astros: Hey, Whuddayaknow? 

With last night's 8-9 win, Houston managed to (a) clinch a series win against a team that came in with a better record, and (b) put themselves in position to match their longest winning streak of the season -- four games.

Regarding point A, Houston took two of three from both Cinci and Milwaukee last month. I don't recall exactly, but I think both of them came in slightly ahead of the Stros in the NL Central standings. Houston hasn't upended a clearly better team, though, since the July 4 weekend series against Texas.

The season-long winning streak of four games actually happened twice: April 11-14 and May 4-7. Since then Houston has managed as many as three consecutive wins just twice. Compare that to losing streaks of five games, four game, and three instances where they dropped three in a row.

We'll call that the resume of a very mediocre ballclub.

I'm still convinced that the final turning point that doomed this team to early Octobe vactions came in the most recent Atlanta series. Blowing a 5-1 lead late in the series' rubber match turned a series win and a 10-5 recent stretch into a heartbreaking loss. An obviously defeated squad limped into the following nine games with Montreal and NY, winning just three times. Even a .500 mark during that ten-game stretch (including the final Atlanta game) would have Houston sitting four games out of the Wild Card right now. I dare say, though, that beating ATlanta that game could have impacted those next nine differently. With something to play for, I think the Stros would have taken at least five of the nine.

Now all we have left to play for is the chance to keep the Cubs out of the playoffs. It will be a small consolation, but I'd celebrate it anyway.


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