The red-hot Phillies roll into Houston for a four game series against the last place Astros with high expectations, and for good reason. This Astros team is terrible. Really, really bad. Historically bad.
There have been worse full season teams in recent memory than the 2012 Astros (45-97, .317 winning percentage), including the 2003 Tigers and the 2004 Diamondbacks, but nothing has approached the levels of suckitude of the Astros in the second half.
Since the All-Star Break, the Houston Astros have gone 12-44, for a .214 winning percentage. They have scored 165 runs in that time, and allowed 297. This is a very, very bad baseball team.
But Fans Like Us know it hasn't always been this way. Quite the opposite.
In the Citizens Bank Park era (2004 - 2012, convenient shorthand for "when the Phillies done got good"), the Phillies have a 22-32 record against the Astros, the only National League team to have a winning record against the Phillies in that time span. And there have been some whoppers, too.
Remember September 7, 2005, when Craig Biggio hit his dramatic three run home run off Billy Wagner, and Harry Kalas' brain melted? Oh, and lest we forget, those same Astros finished exactly one game ahead of the Phillies in the National League Wild Card race, and went on to win the pennant. Or Labor Day Weekend 2009, the four game sweep at Minute Maid Park and the nadir of Brad Lidge's season from hell? And another four game sweep in August 2010? And so on. For the fans, the last nine years against the Houston Astros have been one kick in the butt after another.
So no matter how bad these Astros are, I'm still scared. It's years of conditioning. Imagine the Rottweiler that, after being tormented as a puppy by the Cocker Spaniel next door, still remains afraid of that little dog. Same general idea.
Anyway, four games against one of the worst teams in modern history. Easy, right? Right?