The Houston Astros fell hard to the basement in the N.L. Central. They finished the season with a 56-106 record, which had them a cool 40 games behind the Brewers! Here is a look at the things that stood out to me about the Astros in 2011:
TEAM MVP & BEST PITCHER: 32-year old lefty starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez pitched his butt off for the lousy Astros in 2011. He gave the team confidence that they could would any game he pitched. He pitched in 30 games (all starts) for the Astros in 2011 and he was 11-11 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.
PLEASANT SURPRISE: 26-year old righty reliever Mark Melancon stepped into the closer’s job when Brandon Lyon went down for the season early in the year due to injury. Melancon pitched in 71 games (0 starts) for the Astros in 2011 and he was 8-4 with 20 saves, a 2.78 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He only gave up 65 hits in 74 1/3 innings while whiffing 66 batters as he was pretty darn impressive for the Astros in 2011.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: The Astros were counting on 28-year old lefty starting pitcher J.A. Happ to be one of their top starters in 2011. Instead, Happ was sent to AAA during the year due to how lousy he was pitching early in the year. Happ finished up by pitching in 28 games (all starts) in which he was 6-15 with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. Happ gave up 157 hits in 156 1/3 innings in 2011 and he whiffed 134 batters, which is pretty impressive……but, he also walked 83 batters and gave up 21 homers which often got him into deep trouble.