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AL West Standings
Team W L Pct GB RS RA Diff Home Road East Cent West L10 Streak
x-Arlington9567.586-765757853-2842-3916-1719-1447-295-5L 2
Seattle (E)8676.53197687076144-3742-3919-1316-1838-386-4L 2
Houston (E)8478.519117247012343-3841-4015-1817-1641-353-7L 1
Anaheim (E)7488.45721717727-1040-4134-4713-2117-1535-418-2W 1
Oakland (E)6993.42626653761-10834-4735-4616-1717-1629-473-7W 2

Last Game:
Angels 8
Astros 1




December 6 - This Date in Astros History
December 6 - This Date in Astros History
December 6

1989 - Astros ink pitcher Bill Gullickson and infielder Ken Oberkfell to contracts. Gullickson would spend one year in Houston. Oberkfell would spend two, batting .214 as a reserve.
1975 - Houston deals catcher Milt May and pitchers Jim Crawford and Dave Roberts to Detroit for outfielder Leon Roberts and pitchers Mark Lemongello and Gene Pentz. It is primarily a cost-cutting move for the Astros although both May and Roberts are coming off disappointing seasons. Lemongello would author a 21-29 record over the next three seasons while Pentz would compile an 8-5 mark with seven saves in three years.
1973 - Slugger Jim Wynn is traded to the Dodgers for pitchers Claude Osteen and Dave Culpepper. A holder of many team records, Wynn rebounds to help the Dodgers to the National League title in 1974 while Osteen would own a 9-9 mark before being traded in mid-season.
1945 - Jay Dahl is born in San Bernadino, CA. Signed at age 17 in June of 1963, Dahl starts the "All-Rookie" game for the Colt .45s three months later, allowing seven runs in 2-2/3rds innings. It is to be his only big league game. The lefthander dies on June 20, 1965 in an automobile accident in Salisbury, NC where the Astros have a farm club. His teammate, Gary Marshall, is permanently blinded in the wreck. A female passenger also dies.



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SEPT/OCT CALENDAR

Date      Opp      Result
9/01      off        --
9/02     @TEX     L 10-8
9/03     @TEX*    L 12-4
9/04     @TEX*     W 7-6
9/05     @CLE      W 6-2
9/06     @CLE      W 4-3
9/07     @CLE      L 6-5
9/08     @CLE*    L 10-7
9/09      CHI      L 2-0
9/10      CHI*     W 2-1
9/11      CHI*     L 9-5
9/12      TEX      L 4-3
9/13      TEX      L 3-2
9/14      TEX      W 8-4
9/15      off        --
9/16     @SEA      W 6-0
9/17     @SEA      W 2-1
9/18     @SEA*     L 7-3
9/19     @OAK      W 4-2
9/20     @OAK      W 2-1
9/21     @OAK*     W 6-5
9/22      ANA      L 2-0
9/23      ANA     L 10-6
9/24      ANA     L 10-4
9/25      ANA*     W 4-1
9/26      SEA      L 4-3
9/27      SEA      W 8-4
9/28      SEA*    L 12-4
9/29      off        --
9/30     @ANA      L 7-1
10/1     @ANA      W 3-0
10/2     @ANA      L 8-1
* - day game.

April record:   7-17
May record:    17-12
June record:   18-8
July record:   13-12
August record: 16-13
Sep/Oc record: 13-16
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Houston Astros recap - 11/26/16 - Cubs Did What Astros Promise
Cubs Did What Astros Promise

The Cubs built a champion.
(c) Washington Post
A few years ago, when Astros fans were suffering through a downturn of fortunes, a league change and an ownership change, new Astros owner Jim Crane and new GM Jeff Luhnow opted to tear the franchise down to the A-frame and start over. We were told this was the "smart" way to rebuild because franchises won with high draft choices and to ensure they had top draft choices, the Astros gave their fans three years of embarrassingly bad baseball.

Jose Altuve and Jason Castro remarkably survived but everything else had to go-go-go. Not to worry, fans were told. The Astros were building for a championship and, when the time was right, Crane and his cronies would spend to put the Astros on top.

As the 2017 season approaches, Astros fans are still waiting to win a division. Meanwhile, the woebegone Chicago Cubs, who were the second-worst team in baseball back in 2012 when Crane took over, are celebrating their first world's title since 1908.

The Astros' model was to acquire young cheap talent that would mature together to form the nucleus of a dynasty. The Cubs, to their credit, have done what the Astros have only promised.

Houston took the early lead in that race when they used the 2012 draft to take SS Carlos Correa and P Lance McCullers. Drafting sixth, the Cubs took Albert Almora who has played a marginal role so far. The Cubs also traded for slugger Anthony Rizzo that year.

In 2013, the Cubs traded for current ace Jake Arrieta. The Astros used the first pick overall for P Mark Appel whom they have since traded for closer Ken Giles. With the next pick, the Cubs selected Kris Bryant who won this year's NL MVP award.

In 2014, the Cubs signed Cuban free agent Jorge Soler, traded for SS Addison Russell and drafted outfielder Kyle Schwarber. The Astros drafted and then did not sign P Brady Aiken but followed up with selecting 1B A.J. Reed in the second round.

Before the 2015 season, the Astros and Cubs made a trade. Chicago acquired OF Dexter Fowler. The Astros acquired IF Luis Valbuena and P Dan Straily. Houston made it into the playoffs as an 86-win wild card. The Cubs made it into the playoffs as a 97-win wild card.

The Astros drafted IF Alex Bregman with the compensation pick obtained by not signing Aiken and high-schooler Kyle Tucker with their own selection. These were, hopefully, the last of Houston's high first-round selections for awhile.

The Cubs went all-in for 2016 and signed free agents Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Jon Lester. They were rewarded with the championship the North Side had waited a century for. The Astros added Doug Fister and later signed Cuban free agent Yulieski Gurriel but largely stood pat and missed the playoffs.

So which one built the coveted "young nucleus" to use for future championships? The Cubs have (with ages in parentheses) Russell (23), Schwarber (24), Javier Baez (24), Bryant (25), Soler (25), Rizzo (27) and Heyward (27). Replenishing pitching depth will be critical in future years.

The Astros have a nucleus that includes Correa (22), Bregman (23), McCullers (23), Giles (26), Altuve (27) and Springer (27). The Astros also have a group of first-year players for whom the jury is still out including David Paulino (23), Jandel Gustave (24), Teoscar Hernandez (24), Joe Musgrove (24), Reed (24), Michael Feliz (24), Tony Kemp (25), Brady Rodgers (26), Tyler White (26) and Chris Devenski (26).

Houston just cut loose four free agents - Castro, Fister, Valbuena and Colby Rasmus and quickly replaced them with veterans Nori Aoki, Brian McCann, Charlie Morton and Josh Reddick. Reddick is the youngest, at age 30.

With arbitration cases still to come, the projected Astros payroll for 2017 is currently $98 million. The Cubs are coming off a payroll of $176 million and project so far to be $153 million. Would Crane be willing to spend the additional $50-$70 million to get into the same championship neighborhood as the Cubs? Don't count on it.

The Astros are in dire need of quality starting pitching, hoping to either see a bounceback from Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh or a major step up from the likes of McCullers, Musgrove and more.

The Cubs have a deeper and stronger nucleus without the need of a first overall draft choice while the Astros have a deeper bench of possibilities but fewer certain producers. While Luhnow's plan can't be viewed as a failure, the Cubs have proven that shrewd moves in all areas is the smarter rebuilding plan.

- Bob Hulsey



Breathing Orange Fire: Jose Altuve
(click to order)


Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961
(click to order)


Houston Astros: Deep In The Heart (click to order)

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Goodbye Tal's Hill; Hello Torchy's Tacos, Shake Shack - Houston Chronicle
Astros tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players - Houston Chronicle
Home-field implications in World Series gone, a new incentive for players in All-Star Game - Houston Chronicle
When the Colt .45s became the Astros and the origins of other Houston sports team names - Houston Chronicle
Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal - Astros.com
Astros reach deal with outfielder Aoki for '17 - Astros.com
Starting pitching, bat among Astros' goals - Astros.com
Astros avoid arbitration with Nori Aoki, agree to one-year deal - Houston Chronicle
MLB players, owners reach tentative labor deal - Houston Chronicle
Astros rumored to be nearing deal with Edwin Encarnacion - Call to the Pen
JAWS and the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot: Jeff Bagwell - Sports Illustrated
Astros facing decision to tender Aoki for '17 - Astros.com


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- Bob Hulsey