The Houston Astros are yet another baseball team to make the playoffs after only winning the Wild Card. Since winning the wild card is so competitive, teams generally have to play extremely tough ball at the end of the season just to make it. As a result, they head into the playoffs with a lot of momentum. The Astros finished the 2005 MLB season with a 19-11 record L30 and 13-7 record L20 games.
Momentum got the Astros to the World Series but also cost them the ring. They ran into the Chicago Whitesox over in the American League that was just steam rolling through the end of their regular season and playoffs. The Astros had a very successful year and they have no reason to hold their head down.
The down point of their season was their hitting. They need bats, big bats, small bats. Really anything to help them get more runs. Roger Clemens posted one of the best ERAs the league has ever seen in 20-30 years and did not even get 20 wins. Did not even get the Cy Young, all thanks to their weak bats.
The Astros began the 2005 MLB season with a 4-14 record against left handed pitching. This correlated to a 1-11 mark on the road versus lefties. This was much to do with why and how they had such a slow start to the season in general. From that point forward, they picked up and to finish on a 21-10 streak versus lefties. They got the job done when it looked like they could not. We do not like to focus too much on season performance against lefties / righties, we much rather look at how they have been doing in their past couple of outings.
Without Roger Clemens expected back in the 2006 season and injury problems plaguing their pitching staff, I see these Astros having a really tough time making the playoffs in 2006. Monitor how they begin the season on the road. I expect to see many poor hitting performances by this Astros ball club on the road.