All Things Astros and a whole lot more
No offense. A blown save. And a sweep.
What year is this?
Yet again, the Astros snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. As if losing three straight to the Royals wasn’t bad enough, the losing skid has now hit seven games after a sweep by the A’s. Hey, I’m as excited about George Springer as the next lonely Astros’ fan, but a win or two might be nice.
Yeah, I know, asking for two wins is getting greedy.
So, is there anything going right with this club? Any good news at all? Or should we all just check back around July of 2015 to see if Carlos Correa is on his way?
Well, despite the addition of Mr. Springer, this team still can’t hit. After the sweep by the A’s (why am I stunned?), I’m not sure the team stats are updated on the MLB site. But rest assured, Houston has the dead-last worst batting average in the majors. The number I’m looking at is .192. A team of Mendozas would be better. Getting a little more SABR-metric, the Astros’ OPS is a whopping .603.
OK, still awful, but at least we’re not 30-for-30 in these stats. The 4.68 ERA is only 27th in the majors, and Houston’s team WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) of 1.47 ranks all the way to 26th. Surprisingly, it is the starting rotation that’s holding up the team effort. The starters have the 24th ranked ERA (4.36) and the 20th ranked WHIP (1.33). By contrast, the “much improved” bullpen is trotting out to the tune of a 5.34 ERA (29th) and a 1.67 WHIP (29th). Oh, look, they’re not dead last. See, things have improved. (Rolling my eyes like a teenager.)
Jose Altuve has been batting lead off. This is a sure sign that Bo Porter is either deranged or spent his off-season in Colorado (hint, hint). I’m going with deranged. Of course, this is a more reasonable spot in the lineup for the slap-hitting Altuve than clean up.
For all the good press on “the shift,” Porter has made some bizarre lineup changes, made Matt Dominguez look like an idiot for, well, being an idiot. (But did he have to do it publicly?) And had an on-field spat with Jed Lowrie for no good reason when it seemed like Altuve was taking care of the problem.
Altuve has walked nearly as much as he’s struck out (6 vs. 8). He has 5 steals and hasn’t been caught. I’m guessing he had his seventh Saturday. His .681 OPS is a bit low right now, but it’s bound to go up the way he’s playing. This is a better version of 2012’s Jose Altuve.
Jonathan Villar has played error-free baseball at short. Sure, it’s only a matter of time, but between his surge of power (3 HRs) and his, frankly, amazing defense, I say let Correa incubate for 2014.
So, we’re more than two weeks in.