Last year this blog invented the acronym YIE (Yes It’s Early) when 18 games into the 2015 season we presciently pointed out that the way the Astros were winning during an 11-7 start might bode well for a full season.
Well after collecting millions on T-shirt and souvenir sales (The YIE lunch boxes brought in $250K on their own) – YIE is returning at a 90 degree angle from last season.
After a 5-11 start that has a lot of 2013 stink to it, the natural thing to say is “YIE, but this does not feel like it will be a special year like last season”. So, what is bothering the loyal fans so much about this season?
- Starting Pitching – Last season, the Astros led the league in ERA as a staff and the starters were 2nd in ERA at 3.71. It is no surprise that they are 14th (next to last in the AL) with a 5.51 ERA this season. They are last in BA against (.301) and OPS against (.849).
- Relief Pitching – Last season they were 4th in the AL with a 3.27 ERA. Right now, they are 13th in ERA at 4.78 and have given up the second most HRs in the league. Last season they gave up 45 HRs in 157 games appeared compared to 11 in 16 games this season.
- Hitting – They were 5th in runs scored in the AL last season and they are 6th in runs scored this season, so no problem. Ha! As we all know they are not only leaving ducks on the pond, they are leaving swans, geese and various aquatic fowl all over the lake these days. The Astros are worst in the AL in strikeout % at 26.9% and they are worst in putting balls in play at 59%. As has been pointed out before they have an AL worst .174 BA and .229 OBP with RISP and this becomes a microscopic .111 BA and .172 OBP with RISP and two outs.
- Fielding – Last season they had the third least errors in the AL, this season they are tied for the 3rd most errors in the AL. Surprisingly, they only show giving up 4 unearned runs this season. That seems low, but a lot of the time errors don’t always result in runs, but in extended innings that sap the pitchers.
- Stupidity – They have been caught stealing 6 times in 21 attempts, including 2 times they were picked off and thrown out trying to make it to the next base. They have been picked off without attempting to advance another 4 times and 5 times they have been thrown out on the bases (trying to stretch a single to double or advancing on a sac fly attempt). One of our loyal readers had pointed out that they were losing a preposterous runner per game.
- No comeback kids – Last season, especially early, they specialized in come from behind wins and owned the late innings. This season 4 of the 5 games they won, they held the lead the whole game. Only in the opener against the Yankees did they trail, scoring a run in the 6th to tie the game and 3 in the 8th to win it.
- The black holes…..
- Jason Castro – In 42 PAs, he is putting up (actually putting down) a .132 BA/.214 OBP / .451 OPS line. Only 1 run scored and 1 RBI and no HRs for Mr. Castro.
- Carlos Gomez – In 55 PAs he is just a tad better with a .189 BA / .218 OBP / .482 OPS line with 3 runs scored, 1 RBI and 0 HRs.
- Luis Valbuena – Compared to Gomez and Castro, he is putting up an almost robust .214 BA/ .283 OBP / .545 OPS with 3 runs scored, 3 RBIs and 0 HRs. So how do you feel about YIE and a harbinger for a bad year after 10% of the season?Can they snap out of this without a big shake up?
- Is this just normal baseball where teams have these types of streaks hit them in different parts of the season?
- This could go on, but it is depressing. On top of this, the guys are not having fun. Was Hank Conger the center of fun for the team last season?