I've always had a healthy appreciation for teams that have perfected the art of being absolutely horrible at everything they do. With that in mind, I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to the 2012 Houston Astros. Quietly, they have shown the entire world how *not* to play the game of baseball over the last five weeks.
Since June 28, the Astros (35-71) have compiled a not-so-impressive record of 3-28. 3-28!!! During those 31 games, they have been outscored by a total of 94 runs. They have scored three runs or fewer in 22 of those 31 contests. They have been shutout four times -- including twice by the Cubs. They've also allowed 10 runs or more on five occasions.
They've traded away veterans Carlos Lee, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and Chris Johnson -- mostly for prospects. Those deals were actually smart moves by Houston management. Hey, if you're gonna be bad, why not be really bad? Good luck finding much major-league talent on this roster.
The one veteran the Astros acquired was relief pitcher Francisco Cordero. Since joining Houston, Cordero has gone about the business of proving he is the sorriest player in all of baseball. He's appeared in five games. He's 0-3 with a 19.80 ERA. He's pitched five innings, allowing 11 earned runs on 13 hits.
Yep, he's an Astro.
When you think about it, 3-28 is hard to do in baseball. Just by the nature of the game, even the weaker clubs around the league win two out of every five games on average. We all know the Cubs (43-60) stink this year. Their winning percentage (.417) is pretty close to that two-out-of-every-five pace. Ditto for other bad clubs like Kansas City (43-60), Minnesota (44-60) and San Diego (44-63).
Even your worst teams (Colorado, cough, cough) will win between three and four out of every 10 games they play.
But not the Astros. Their winning percentage over this last stretch is a remarkable .097. They literally win less than one out of every 10 games they play. There is no doubt they are going to get the No. 1 overall pick in next June's draft. They are well on their way to the worst record in all of baseball. Not even the Rockies (37-65) are going to keep up with this level of badness.
In fact, the Astros are starting to bring back memories of the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who went 43-119 and were the worst team I've seen in my lifetime. I went back and looked at some of the bad stretches those toothless Tigers had that year. They began the season 3-25. They had a second stretch of 3-25 baseball from July 26 through August 23. Then, they had a "hot streak" where they won six of 11 before reeling off another 16 losses in 17 games.
Those Tigers sucked, but they never went 3-28. They got the bleeding stopped at 3-25. Who knows how long this Astros losing streak will continue? I'm sure it's no fun if you're a Houston fan, beat writer or announcer. But for the rest of us, it has reached the point of fun bad and it's pretty entertaining to follow.