All Things Astros and a whole lot more
A few random thoughts this Sunday as the Astros still struggle to reach pre-season goals for the team many thought would do good to hit .500 or just above.
Is the team just tired?
Several players — including pitchers — have hit career highs in many categories, faced injuries all season or have had inconsistent playing time for one reason or another. Too much, too little or too inconsistent time will certainly present potential draw backs for a player and a team. For example:
That list goes on, but the rotation and even the bullpen have reached a point where they need a second wind to push through the next few weeks and perhaps the next month.
A major league season is a grinder and even Carlos Correa, Preston Tucker and others are playing baseball in a part of the year they haven’t in a long time, if ever.
Those dang lineups!
It’s been a battle for A.J. Hinch all season, one that has plagued previous Astros’ managers as well. The first-year manager has used 141 different batting orders and even started 114 different defensive lineups. That’s what happens when players don’t perform or miss considerable time with injury. Consider.
Not to mention the injuries…
You can argue that some of these aren’t significant losses, but each had been plugged into roles in April and caused Jeff Luhnow and Hinch to alter plans on the fly. It’s just another area that causes an engine to not purr as smoothly as it should.
Yes, every team has its own battles, but Houston has had little chance to get in a groove. Some of it is self-inflicted (e.g. trades, depending on players like Jonathan Villar et al), but part of the success of a playoff team is how well (read: St. Louis) adjusts during the course of a season and stretch run.
And, yes, this season was not won or lost in June or July, it will be won or lost in the next two weeks. Sounds simple, but IP, games played, injuries and lineups will become more critical now.