Saturday Astros’ update: Scattershots, notes and observations
It’s a Saturday with two more games in Arlington to come this weekend. Here are some scattershots and thoughts for you to ponder.
Epidemic in poor hitting.
- Eleven teams — including five in the AL — have batting averages at .203 or below.
- The Cubs and Marlins do not have a home run yet and four teams have hit only one.
- Pittsburgh (45) and San Diego (45) have more strikeouts than Houston (43).
Meanwhile, back on the mound, Houston pitchers in the top five of nearly every team category.
Another Astros’ plan?
- If one thing is becoming clear, it’s that this analytically based organization plans. Do all the plans work out? Of course, not, but they have plans all the same. Is it a coincidence that Brad Peacock (at AAA Fresno) and Asher Wojciechowski (in Houston) are pitching on the same schedule? Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch was quick to point out that Peacock may need only one more start at Fresno before he’ll be ready, which puts Wojo on notice after a poor start on Thursday.
Key points early in the season.
- Astros’ pitchers have walked only eight hitters, three of those by Dallas Keuchel in the season opener. Key reason for a 0.97 team WHIP.
- Keuchel and Collin McHugh showed no regression indications whatsoever in their first appearances. If anything, they solidified their positions.
- Hinch didn’t flinch in making adjustments to his lineup after the first series. Some moves were based on the pitcher on the mound, others the result of performance.
- The bullpen has been a breath of fresh air. While it is not the most worked, it has been among the very most effective in the AL. Here’s the line: 12 1/3 IP, 6 H, .146 BAA, 0.57 WHIP, .167 OBP, 15 K, 1 BB.
Can’t keep a good man down!
- Sooner or later, something will have to give, and the shaking may be heard all the way to Houston. The consensus is that Corpus Christi has a stacked roster. How long can they keep it together? Certainly, not a full season. But, the Fresno roster is not exactly a collection of overweight also rans. If players like Tony Kemp, Carlos Correa, Teoscar Hernandez or Mark Appel move up this summer, someone gets bumped in Fresno. Or perhaps someone gets bumped in Houston.
And, leading off..
- If you’re thinking Jose Altuve hits better outside the leadoff spot, guess again. Over his career, Altuve is a .302 hitter when leading off. In fact, as the first batter in a game, he’s a .307 hitter. Now, you can argue he’s more valuable to the team in the two hole, where he’s produced a .311 average. Another thought: He’s not known for slow starts. April is one of his best months, year in, year out.
Questions for your weekend consideration…
- Has Jonathan Villar become the 2015 version of Marwin Gonzalez?
- If shortstop Jed Lowrie fields a ball in the shift where the second baseman normally positions himself and makes a throw to first for the out, is it still scored a 6-3 put out?
- The Astros’ lineup may be in flux or transition for the next several days. Will this team be more of a small ball type team built around speed and moving runners along or will the ultimate big boppers show up?
- Your preferred lineup for the rest of the weekend?
- How do you see the roster shuffle shaking out next month or into June? In Houston, Fresno and CC?