There is little doubt in the minds of Houston Astros’ fans that the team as currently configured may well be the most talented and deepest in their history. There is no doubt in those same minds that this team has not played up to its potential this year. They have been very good, but have blown chances to be transcendent.
Over the years, the city of Houston’s sports teams have opposed the mantra of former Astro manager Leo Durocher: “Nice guys finish last.” (By the way, it is probable that “The Lip” actually said something about his opponents the Giants being “nice guys and nice guys are in seventh place”, but later he claimed the more concise quote for the title of his autobiography).
One of the wonders of the Houston Astros wonderful 2017 offense was the strength up and down the lineup. Even the weak link, DH Carlos Beltran put the ball in play and moved the runners over or hit a sacrifice fly once in a while. The Astros were first in almost everything (Runs, hits, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS) and were a true juggernaut. This season…..not so much.
The Astros have played very good ball up to now in the 2018 season. There have been some ups and downs, bumps here and there, some injuries (Carlos Correa and Brian McCann) and even a few personnel “situations” (Ken Giles). But the Astros are still on pace to win more games than they have ever won in any regular season. However, the next five weeks look especially tough and should give the Astros a true test of where they may be headed this season.
Just some random thoughts/questions on a steaming hot July day.
The trade season moved up to a higher gear with the trades of SS Manny Machado and RP Brad Hand in the last few days. While Machado is more of a concern if there will be an Astros’ World Series rematch with his new team, the Dodgers, Hand was a name that has been linked with the Astros a number of times over the last year. But that does not mean there are not other folks that Jeff Luhnow and the front office may be interested in chasing as the trade deadline approaches.
Coming into 2018, it felt like the Astros MVP this season was likely going to be Carlos Correa or Jose Altuve. Correa has underperformed (against expectations) and has missed injury time during the season. Altuve, while still high in BA and hits is a bit down in clutch hits and power from 2017. The exercise today is to rate the Astros Top 10 so far this season.