This week’s winner of the Douchebag of the Week Award was really tough to pick. We thought about Andy Roddick because of his lame “it was the Big Mac’s fault” excuse but we gave him a pass. Ruslan Chagaev also got some consideration for backing out of his October heavyweight title unification bout with Sultan Ibragimov, allowing Evander Holyfield to take his place … and possibly die in the ring. But in the end we found only one entity worthy of this lofty award. For the first time we have a group of people taking home the award. So congratulations to this week’s winners, the entire Houston Astros pitching staff.
This award is designed to go to the worst in sports every week, and you can’t get much worse than the Astros hurlers were this week. On Sunday they combined to give up 18 runs (16 earned) in an 18-11 loss to the Padres, who possess one of the worst offenses in baseball. In their next game on Tuesday, they allowed 12 runs (10 earned) in a 12-4 loss to the Braves. Wednesday night they gave up 12 more (all earned) in a 12-3 loss and Thursday night they allowed 11 runs (all earned) in a 12-11 win in 14 innings. That’s a total of 49 earned runs in just 39 innings, good enough for an 11.30 ERA.
Let’s go deeper inside the numbers shall we?
-By giving up 11 runs in just 2/3 of an inning against the Padres, starter Jason Jennings became the first player since 1900 to allow 11 earned runs in a first inning. His ERA for the game was an astounding 148.50, and his season ERA went from 4.74 to 5.99 in just 39 pitches.
-Reliever Matt Albers pitched 4 1/3 innings during the time frame, giving up seven runs, all earned.
-Brad Lidge tossed 2 2/3 innings and gave up five runs, all earned and blew his fourth save of the year.
-The staff combined to throw 185, 189, 157 and 257 pitches in the four games. That’s 788 pitches in 39 innings, or 20.2 pitches per inning.
-In the 39 innings pitched, there were only six where an opposing batter failed to reach base.
-They gave up two or more runs in an inning 13 times or once every three innings.
-The Astros team ERA went from 4.56 to 4.83 over this stretch.
-Here’s the truly shocking statistic, after all of that, they still don’t have the worst ERA in the National League. That distinction goes to the St. Louis Cardinals, who sit at 4.89, while the Astros are at 4.83.
So here’s to you Houston Astros pitching staff, your incompetence makes the rest of the league look damn good. Thanks.