Today’s two for Tuesday looks at two topics from the off-season and or early season where the pundits opinion has been proven wrong. This writer was one of them and has been as much a pun as a dit…..
In almost every column, post, tweet, and smoke signal, sent out this off season, one message was clear. The most critical component to the Astros’ 2017 season was the health of their top two starters, Keuchel and LMJ. Now this could still be proven critical to the overall performance of the team, but Lance has just come off the DL and Keuchel is about half way through what looks like a 6 week stint on the DL and the team is still the best team in their division, league and all of baseball.
Truth be told the two pitcher’s performance to date, a combined 16-1 record with the team putting up a 22-3 record in their starts has been the biggest boost to this team’s record. But the team has not melted down with either of these pitchers going on the DL and this was not what was expected coming into the season. They go down and the Astros go down – NOT!
The Astros are 30-22 (the equivalent of a 93 win season) when someone else starts a game. And 15 of those starts (about 30%) have been by a combination of David Paulino, Francis Martes, Dayan Diaz and Brad Peacock, three of whom did not start the year in the majors and none of which was expected to be making critical starts this early in the season. Their combined 6-2 record in those starts is just another symbol of how resilient the team has been.
Yes, the Astros can’t afford to play the rest of the season without their best two pitchers, but they have been able to keep the boat afloat with them missing time despite the conventional wisdom to the contrary.
2) George Springer is not a leadoff hitter
Actually the argument about Springer more revolved around that he was not as good a leadoff hitter as All Star Jose Altuve. But what has happened to date with Springer has a lot of us dits scratching our heads. He does not have as good a batting average as Altuve. He does not get on base as often as Altuve. He doesn’t steal bases like Altuve and in fact to date trails Brian McCann in SBs. But because of the Astros new full top to bottom lineup, he has turned into a huge weapon and the straw that stirs the offensive drink.
Beyond the fact that the Astros are 50-21 in games where he played, look at these mind boggling numbers. When he scores a run they are 32-8, which is an 80% win rate. When he knocks in a run they are 25-5, an even better 83% win rate. He leads the team in runs scored, home runs and is second in RBIs. In previous years, the team went as Altuve went. This year the bellwether is Springer.
So where do you stand on these two items coming into the season?
Are there any other items that have made you go “Dang, I sure missed on that one?”