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The Houston Astros made an incredible run to finish the 2005 regular season, stealing the Wild Card and defeating conference rival St. Louis in the playoffs on their way to the World Series. Having to win to make the playoffs got the Astros playing great baseball and gave them good momentum heading into the postseason. We saw this same effect with the Steelers this past NFL season when they had to win do or die games for over a month to make the playoffs. While other teams were coasting, such as St. Louis, Houston was playing to win.
Many analysts were saying that the Astros ran out of gas in the World Series. Realistically, they ran out of bats. They struggled to support their elite pitching staff all season long, and I dont see big changes on the offensive end on the horizon. It really hurt this team to lose Beltran and Berkmans numbers suffered slightly because of it as his 2005 stats were below his career averages. They dont have a strong lineup and rely heavily on their pitching staff to pick up wins. Outside of Berkman, Morgan Ensberg is the only guy with any punch, after hitting .283 last season with 36 home runs and 101 RBIs.
The Astros have started slow the past several seasons and have caught fire down the stretch. They have especially struggled early on versus left handed pitching as they started last season winning just 4 of their first 18 against south paws and just 1 of their first 12 on the road versus lefties. It would be wise to take a look at this team in the early going to see if a similar trend develops. The pitching staff has really carried this squad the last two seasons and last year they held opponents to only a .246 opposing batting average, which was the best in the major leagues. Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, and Brandon Backe form a decent top three, but they will be anxiously awaiting to see if Roger Clemens is going to make his way back into an Astros uniform. The bullpen has developed great talent over the years, with Dotel, Wagner, and now Brad Lidge. Lidge struggled in the playoffs but Im expecting him to recover and have an impressive season after picking up 42 saves last season.
The Astros have become a fan favorite and one of those teams that people really enjoy betting on. A lot of that comes from them playing in the same division as the Cardinals and Cubs and getting a lot of quality games against ace pitchers. With that being said, you can really benefit by opening up multiple sportsbook accounts so you can keep track of where the public money is going and hit up advantageous lines. Look at the sponsors at this site and you will never be stuck with a losing sportsbook, just ones that pay when you making winning picks.
This article was written by Jimmy Boyd Pick up his Free MLB Picks here.
Jimmy Boyd is an expert baseball handicapper who releases free MLB picks daily.cf baseball store