The Astros lost their final 15 games

19 Comments

The Yankees brought half a team to Houston, but that was enough to get a three-game sweep and conclude the Astros’ historic season with 15 straight losses.

They’re the first team since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders to lose their final 15 games.

The Astros ended up 51-111. They’re the 12th team since 1900 ever to lose 111 games. No team lost 110 from 1970-2000, but the 2003 Tigers went 43-119 and the 2004 Diamondbacks, like the Astros, finished 51-111.

The Astros do have a few league leaders. Chris Carter ended up with 212 strikeouts, the third highest total of all-time. He came up 11 short of the record set by Mark Reynolds of the Diamondbacks in 2009.

Jose Altuve led the AL by getting caught stealing 13 times. He also finished second in GIDPs with 24 and and fourth in outs made with 498. The Astros dominated the caught stealing category, with Brandon Barnes finishing tied for second and Jonathan Villar sneaking into a tie for seventh place despite not debuting until July 22.

Right-hander Lucas Harrell led the league in walks with 88 and losses with 16, though he was tied with Seattle’s Joe Saunders there. He reached those marks while making just 22 starts and 13 relief appearances.

The Astros did win something for all of their struggles, though. They’ll pick first overall in the MLB draft for the third straight year next June.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

Getty Images
Leave a comment

To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.