It's been an absolutely frustrating time for anyone in the Houston Astros organization, or even being a fan for the past eight years. It has been just under nine years since the Astros last made the playoffs, a streak that is among one of the leaders of active teams in the MLB as of today.

How bad have the Astros been? To put it in simple terms, abysmal. Since 2006, the Astros have had only two seasons over the .500 mark (neither included a playoff spot), and that also includes a stretch of three years where they lost 100 plus games. The most games lost in one year was in 1899, when the Cleveland Spiders lost 134 games.

The Astros are in a tie for 7th in MLB history with 111 losses in one season (a stat that no one wants).

Why have the Houston Astros been such a bad team? Since 2006, the Astros have not been higher than tenth in the league in batting average, including five out of six years at 24th or worse. As we all know however, offense can only get you so many wins. For example look at the Blue Jays. By far the best offensive team scoring runs wise in baseball, but a .500 record to show for it, because of their pitching. The Astros pitching since 2006 has not been anything to brag about. That year was their last season inside the top five, which should have equalled a playoff spot, however the team was dead last in BA (batting average) at .255. From the years of 2009-2014, the Stros were 24th or lower in five of the six years including 30th in 2013.

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Now we look at the present, 2015 and the Houston Astros have turned it around significantly. As of July 25th, the Astros find themselves in a tie for first with the powerhouse LA Angels in the AL West. Although the Astros hitting has been skeptical this season, their pitching has been tremendous. Dallas Keuchel coming off a 2014 season where he recorded 12 wins with an ERA (earned run average) of just under 3.00 leads the Astros. Keuchel, 27 played his collegiate ball at the University of Arkansas, and even though he was not great in his three years in a Razorback jersey, was drafted in the seventh round by the Astros in 2009.

So far this season, Dallas owns a 12-4 record with a 2.12 ERA which is top 3 in the league. For his efforts, Keuchel started for the American League at the 86th All Star game. The Astros are not only winning on the field, but off the field as well. On July 23rd, the Astros made a deal with the Oakland Athletics that saw the Astros pickup Scott Kazmir before the trade deadline.

In 18 starts with the A's this season, Kazmir had a record of 5-5 with an ERA of 2.38 and comes to the Astros with a lifetime record of 97-84 with an ERA of just under 4.00. Offensively the Astros are led by All Star second basemen Jose Altuve. Altuve is batting .302 with an impressive 28 stolen bases, good enough for third in the league.

It's been years of struggle, embarrassment and bad baseball. But the 2015 Houston Astros show teams everywhere that rebuilding can work and has for the Astros immensely so far in the 2015 season. There is no doubt it will be tough for the Astros to hold on to a playoff spot. But with the pickup of Scott Kazmir who shutout the league leading Kansas City Royals over seven innings on Friday night, if everything continues going right in Houston, perhaps this is a playoff team. If you're an Astros fan, buckle up your seat belts because this is sure to be a great ride as they try to make the postseason for the first time in just under ten years.