The Astros win and lead the AL West in spite of themselves
After 13 games the Astros sport a 9-4 record, which is tied for their best start in history. They have a comfortable 3-1/2 game lead over the Angels and M’s and a 4 game lead over the A’s and the Rangers in their division.
With all that positivity, this is all occurring while some folks are not performing up to spec in the first 2 weeks of the season. Consider this:
- Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yulieski Gurriel, Josh Reddick, Carlos Beltran and Evan Gattis have a total of 0 HRs.
- Those 6 regulars, plus Nori Aoki, Carlos Correa and Jake Marisnick have the same amount of HRs as faux slugger Marwin Gonzalez (3) and half as many as true slugger George Springer (6).
- Correa, who is expected to bust out this season, had 1 HR and 2 RBIs in the opener and 0 HR and 1 RBI in the 12 games since. On top of that he is nursing a hand injury after getting plunked on Sunday.
- The team is 12th in doubles in the AL, don’t have a triple and are 9th in HRs.
- Collin McHugh, who has been the Astros 2nd best starter over the last 3 seasons has not thrown a pitch and is likely weeks (or surgery and recovery) away from returning.
- Closer 1A Ken Giles has a very un-closer-like 7.50 ERA.
- Closer 1B Luke Gregerson also has a very un-closer-like 7.36 ERA.
- Lance McCullers Jr. was considered a likely ace coming in to the season, has a below average 4.67 ERA and has struggled to go deep in his outings.
- 5th starter Mike Fiers has a 5.40 ERA and has so impressed the staff that his 3rd start has been pushed back after Sunday’s rainout.
- The team has committed 11 errors which is 14th worse in the AL.
Amazingly the team has room for improvement after a very strong start.
So what has driven the fast start of the team.
- Yeah, except for Springer they are not hitting HRs as a team, but they are hitting. They have put up a .268 BA (2nd in AL), .346 OPS (3rd) and .747 OPS (5th).
- They are 2nd in hits and 5th in runs scored in the AL, and as folks have pointed out they are doing a great job of avoiding the Ks – having only 88 Ks to date (2nd least in the AL).
- The pitchers have picked up the fielders as the 11 errors have only resulted in 3 unearned runs.
- Dallas Keuchel has been insanely good in his three starts to date – his 0.86 ERA and 0.619 WHIP are impressive, but his 3.4 hits / 9 IP number is mind blowing.
- Chris Devenski has been insanely good in four strong appearances – his 0.82 ERA and 0.455 WHIP are impressive, but his 21 Ks against 1 walk in 11 innings is hard to wrap one’s mind around.
- Brad Peacocck, 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and Will Harris, 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA have been basically perfect.
- Luke Gregerson has that awful ERA from one horrendous appearance, but he has had 7 other scoreless appearances.
There are probably items from both lists above that are unsustainable, both bad and good. So, how do you feel about this team?