This Weak in Baseball: April 16-22, 2012

At This Weak in Baseball, the spelling of "weak" in the title is intentional.


Tal Smith


Here’s a story to watch. I have it from a reliable anonymous source that former Houston Astros Baseball President Tal Smith is on deck to join the Sugar Land Skeeters as a special administrative advisor to the new independent league ball club. All I can say is that the folks down in Sugar Land are even smarter than anyone could have ever imagined. Tal Smith is not merely the administrative icon of Houston big league baseball history, he is also the perfect link between the Skeeters, the Astros, the fans, and what’s best overall for baseball in the greater Houston area.

Hopefully, the announcement will come soon in a way that particularizes Tal Smith’s assignment and degree of participation  in planning, player evaluation and procurement duties, and his community service, if included, to the goal of bringing about greater union to the goals of MLB and independent league baseball in our region of Southeast Texas.

ASTROS AT A GLANCE: This past week, April 16-22, the Houston Astros won 2 and lost 5 combined in their two series with the Washington Nationals on the road and the Los Angeles Dodgers at home. The ‘Stros were 1-3 against the Nats and 1-2 against the Dodgers. In each instance, Houston had to take the final game of the series to keep from getting swept.

Other scoring patterns were discernible. The Astros hung lose and battled for the most part in the five low scoring games they lost and then exploded in their 11-4 and 12-0 wins over the Nats and Bums respectively. I know they don’t work out of Brooklyn anymore, but there are still a few seedy folks in LA too – even in 2012.

Refocus on the results. A 23-4 run total for the two wins sure boosted the Astros’ run differential for the year. In spite of their 6-10 losing mark, the Astros are double-digits on the plus side of runs scored against their foes for the year at 71-61 through the first 16 games. Six of those games have been decided by one run, with the Astros on the deficit side of a 2 wins and 4 losses margin.

The Fact & Fantasy Division Comparisons: Here’s how the Astros are doing in both the Fact & Fantasy side of things through all games of  April 22nd. It’ simple: One box shows how the 2012 Astros are doing as members of the National League West. The other standings box shows how the Astros would be doing had they already joined the American League West this year instead of next.

2012 NL Central (Fact) W L PCT GB
St. Louis Cardinals 11   5 .688
Cincinnati Reds   7   9 .438 4.0
Milwaukee Brewers   7   9 .438 4.0
Pittsburgh Pirates   6   9 .400 4.5
Houston Astros   6 10 .375 5.0
Chicago Cubs   4 12 .250 7.0


2012 AL West (Fiction) W L PCT GB
Texas Rangers 13    3 .813
Oakland Athletics   8    9 .471 5.5
Seattle Mariners   7  10 .412 6.5
Houston Astros   6  10 .375 7.0
Los Angeles Angels   6  10 .375 7.0

What do the two divisions share in common? Well, most obviously, they are each led in 2012 by the two teams that met and played out a seven-game World Series in 2011, the victorious St. Louis Cardinals of the NL and the combative Texas Rangers of the AL. Next thing up is equally open for view. The Cardinals and Rangers each head up the only two 2012 divisions led by the only team in the joint with with a winning record.

The Astros are five games back of the Cardinals, but they would be seven games down had they already moved to the American League West this year.

Philip Humber of Rice and the Chicago White Sox pitched Perfect Game No. 21 on 21 April in Seattle against the Mariners.

Polar Points of View on Humber’s Perfecto!

In response to my column about Philip Humber’s perfect game …

Darrell Pittman wrote: “Can’t be a “perfect” game… it was inherently flawed with a DH!:

Herb Whalley then wrote: “Actually, the DH makes the feat even more amazing as Humber did not face any poor hitting pitchers.”

To each his own.



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