Last night I labeled the Astros’ lineup a “AAA lineup”. That might be a stretch, but it’s not much more than an expansion lineup. The Astros had one ex-superstar on his last legs (Biggio), a couple of decent young regulars with no star potential (Ensberg and Lane), a couple of young defensive specialists (Taveras and Everett), an old defensive specialist (Ausmus, who really was an expansion player once), and two utility players playing out of position (Lamb and Vizcaino).
Honestly, Biggio, Ensberg, and Lane are the only regular-quality Major Leaguers in the lineup last night, though Taveras might make it someday. It’s very likely that he’s the only player from the bunch that’s going to be around the next time the Astros are competitive.
The team’s marginally impressive offensive stats are solely due to their ballpark. As a team, the Astros have hit .286/.358/.445 at home and .215/.285/.339 on the road. (There’s a reason they’re 1-11 on the road; really, they “should” be 3-9 or something like that.) Some of the splits are remarkably ugly. Biggio has a .701 OPS on the road but a 1.031 at home. Taveras’ are even more dramatic:
HOME: .368 .439 .491
ROAD: .150 .190 .200
Ensberg is the only player hitting better on the road than at home, and it’s close; Lane is the only other regular with an OPS above .721 on the road. Basically, on the road they’re a team of Raul Mondesis. They’re the Rockies plus Roger Clemens. Interestingly, other than the Rockies there are two other teams with splits nearly as dramatic; the second-place Diamondbacks… and the first-place Braves.
Lance Berkman is supposed to play tonight, which gives them one good hitter.