The Houston Astros and their staff think they'll be much better than they were last season.
They're about the only ones with that opinion.
Prognosticators and pundits across the country don't see any way the Astros can avoid finishing last in the majors for the third straight year.
The odds are stacked against a Houston team that has just five players on the 40-man roster with more than two years of major league experience and the league's lowest payroll. Add to that the move from the NL Central to the powerful AL West and things look even more daunting.
It will be tough, most figure, for this team to avoid becoming the first to lose at least 106 games in three straight seasons since the expansion Mets did it from 1962-65.
First-year manager Bo Porter, the former Nationals third base coach, has worked to instill a winning attitude in the Astros all spring, and has implored them not to listen to the critics.
''Ignore the noise,'' he said he tells...