The Astros are bad in so many areas and good in so few, it’s hard to isolate which area is in the worst condition. Starting pitching has been a highlight, even a bright light in recent weeks, but that one area hasn’t been enough to improve a poor team, much less carry it.
Obviously, the bullpen is not only horrific, but in need of major revision. Astros’ hitters are among the worst in the majors in average, runs scored and strikeouts. Most of us can recount several base running fiascos during 2013 and the Astros have been caught stealing (42) more than any other team in baseball.
Still, one of the most perplexing areas is defense. The Astros lead the league — in fact, the majors — with 95 errors. It’s quite possible that Matt Dominguez, once projected as a gold glove type, will make more errors than any other season as a pro. Add to that countless errors by four different shortstops and pitchers must be pitching to hitters so they hit to the right side.
Indeed, the bullpen has the worst ERA in the AL (5.20), but it’s also allowed the most unearned runs in the league (31).
If the name of the game is pitching and defense, it’s no secret why the Astros are in trouble. Despite strong outings that portend promising careers, Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer and even Jordan Lyles or Brad Peacock or Dallas Keuchel can change that.
You may arrange these differently, but here are the five worst areas of the 2013 Astros:
- Clutch hitting.
- Fundamentals (base running, bunting, working counts)
- Overall hitting. How many regulars are below .250?
Your thoughts on the worst area(s) for this year’s Astros?
More quick thoughts heading into the weekend:
- In a season that is going nowhere fast, would it surprise you to learn that the Astros are actually one game better than they were at the same point in 2012?
- Don’t look now, but the much-maligned, defensively challenged Jason Castro may be developing into the team’s best hitter. Going into the series against Toronto, Castro (.273) is only a tad behind Jose Altuve (.274). Castro also leads the team in doubles (32), OBP (.345) and slugging percentage (.466).
- Admit it, how many of you “thought” Dickie Thon when DH Max Stassi was hit in the head with that pitch on Wednesday night?
- Has Chris Carter (23) really hit more home runs than any other Astro since 2010 (Hunter Pence 25; Carlos Lee 24)? He could reasonably reach 30 and no players have done that since 2007 (Lance Berkman 34; Lee 32).
- “The owner down there needs to get off his wallet and spend some money for some veteran bullpen guys next season.” Quote from Randy Galloway’s column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- With 36 to play, the Astros have a 7 1/2 game lead on the Marlins for the first pick in the 2014 drafts.