The Houston Astros are now seven years removed from the franchise’s only World Series appearance, which ended when the Chicago White Sox swept the Astros in four games. Since that 2005 season, Houston has had just two winning seasons and has not returned to the playoffs. The franchise hit rock bottom in 2011, winning only 56 games.
Team Records Since 2007
The Astros were a contender throughout the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. The team made the playoffs six times during a nine-year period. Though the team lost four divisional series during that time, the Astros narrowly lost the NLCS in 2004 before reaching Series in 2005.
On the other end of the spectrum was the 2011 season. The 56 wins were the fewest in franchise history. The team won fewer games in a 162 season than the Astros did during the strike-shortened 1981 season, when Houston went 61-49.
Here are the team’s records from the past five years.
2007: 73-89 (4th in the NL Central)
2008: 86-75 (3rd in the NL Central)
2009: 74-88 (5th in the NL Central)
2010: 76-86 (4th in the NL Central)
2011: 56-106 (6th in the NL Central)
Manager Brad Mills
Brad Mills has been the Astros’ manager since the 2010 season. Despite the team’s poor showing in 2011, new owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow have expressed their support for Mills and said he will return in 2012. Crane said of Mills, “Brad’s a good developer of talent, and that’s what we need. I like Brad, and I had a good time to visit with him and hear his input.”
All-Stars Since 2007
Part of the reason for the team’s struggles in 2010 and 2011 was that the franchise lost top veteran players in Lance Berkman (who played with the Cardinals in 2011) and Roy Oswalt (who now pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies).
The team still has a former All-Star in outfielder Carlos Lee. However, the team traded former All-Stars Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence in midseason in 2011, and the team is now completely in rebuilding mode.
P Roy Oswalt (2007)
OF Carlos Lee (2007)
1B Lance Berkman (2008)
SS Miguel Tejada (2008, 2009)
OF Hunter Pence (2009, 2011)
OF Michael Bourn (2010)
Reason for Excitement
Crane is a businessman who paid $680 million for the franchise in 2011. He replaced Drayton McLane, who was criticized for being too actively involved with the team and who refused to rebuild the club. Part of Crane’s deal was the understanding that the Astros will move to the American League in 2013, and Houston’s primary rival will be the Texas Rangers.