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The Astros Season Opening Gauntlet

Updated: Apr 19

Uncover the truth behind the Astros Season Opening Gauntlet. From brutal scheduling to tough competition, discover the challenges they face.




The Astros season is off to a rough start with a record of 6-11. I have tried to be very pinpointed in my analysis to show what is wrong including:

  • Hitting with RISP

  • Pitching terrible luck and possibly tipping pitches


Today, as the Astros complete their opening part of the schedule that I have now call the gauntlet, the schedule gets significantly easier.


Off Days


First, this season opening gauntlet for the Astros has been brutal due to the lack of off days. I posted this on X.



"The only two teams that have played more games than the Astros (17) this season are the Dodgers and the Padres (18).


They started early with the Korea series.


No team has been asked to start the season playing 20 out of 21 days like the Astros will.


Three teams have played only 14, and nine teams have played 15 so far.


The Astros have had as many as 11 of their pitchers on the IL to start the season.


Consider these facts when discussing the quality of the Astros pitching for the rest of the season.


It’s almost like they were doomed to fail."


Folks, this was the genesis of this article. The Astros have been running a scheduling gauntlet that no other MLB has had to, BUT it is not all of the MLB's fault.


Let me illustrate, Atlanta comes into the series today having played only 14 games. They were scheduled to have played 16 by now. They have had two games rained out. Every one of the three teams that have only played 14 games have had at least two rainouts so far.



Link to Astros - Braves Series Preview Later


The Astros will play 13 of the first 20 games in Minute Maid Park where there is a roof. The played four games at Texas where there is also a roof. Houston has only played the three games in Kansas City where weather could have been a factor.


I think the MLB need to build in more off days early to their early season schedule for all teams. No team should start an MLB season playing 20 out of 21 days like the Astros will. The pitching is not fully ramped up and no teams wants to have to ramped up their starters that hard in Spring Training when there in the 162-game marathon ahead. For Houston and Texas (who started a 17-day straight game day stretch on 4/5), I think 4/8/24 SHOULD have been an off day.


MLB, reallocate off days to add one more in the first three weeks in the season.


That is not the worst part of what has made the first 20 games (including the Braves series) so rough. The schedule strength is far worse.


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Schedule Strength


Every Astros fan has probably seen someone mention how difficult the early schedule has been for the Astros. Please allow me to truly quantify this in some numbers you can blow friends away with.

Astros Schedule Groups

I chose to use projected data from a cool website named teamrankings.com. Go check them out here.

First 20 Games

  • The Astros are playing teams that have an average current winning percentage of 0.590 (equivalent of a 95.6-win team.) They have been playing teams that have started of like the top 3 teams in the MLB.

  • The Astros are playing teams that have a PROJECTED average winning percentage of 0.555 (equivalent of a 90-win team). The Astros have started by playing teams on average as talented as the 2023 Astros folks.

  • The Astros have played 85% of their first 20 games playing a team that is projected to be a top 10 team in the MLB. Seventeen of their first twenty vs. Top 10 teams with a depleted pitching staff. This is completely absurd.

Is there any wonder why the Astros have struggled in the first 20 games while having only one day off? It gets better starting Friday.


Next 20 Games

  • The Astros are playing teams that have an average current winning percentage of 0.534 (equivalent of an 86.5-win team.) They will play on average of teams playing like wildcard level teams next.

  • The Astros are playing teams that have a PROJECTED average winning percentage of 0.491 (equivalent of a 79.5-win team). The Astros have average projected teams next on their schedule.

  • The Astros play 30% of their next 20 games playing a team that is projected to be a top 10 team in the MLB. Six of their next twenty vs. Top 10 projected teams with a hopefully recovering pitching staff. This would be a normal level. Through forty games, the Astros will have played 23 of their projected 49 games vs. top 10 projected teams.


The remaining season looks like a joke compared to what the Astros started with.


Final 122 Games

  • The Astros are playing teams that have an average current winning percentage of 0.478 (equivalent of a 79.5-win team.) They will play on average of teams playing like below average level teams next.

  • The Astros are playing teams that have a PROJECTED average winning percentage of 0.481 (equivalent of a 78-win team). The Astros have below average projected teams next on their schedule.

  • The Astros play 21% of their final 122 games playing a team that is projected to be a top 10 team in the MLB. Twenty-six of their next 122 games vs. Top 10 projected teams with a hopefully recovering pitching staff. This is far below average.


If you can only remember one fact about the Astros schedule this year, remember this.


The Astros play almost as many games vs. the best teams in the MLB in the first 40 games as they do for the rest of the season.


Astros Top 10 Graph

Astros fans, I KNOW it is hard to look at a 6-11 team and be confident. I am here to tell you that the opening run in the Astros gauntlet is almost over, and they are going to be fine and likely will win 86 to 94 games.

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