Like most folks in Southeast Texas, Dan P is spending the weekend indoors as an unwelcome weather event named Harvey spins directionless like a kid’s top to the west of us. So, what the heck, might as well toss out some random baseball thoughts to pass the time.
The AL West Can’t Catch the Astros. There have been discussions about the Astros slumping or collapsing or (fill in with your own verb). Back on July 28th the Astros were at their zenith with a 68-34 record and 18 game lead in their division. They have stumbled since then to a 9-16 record and slid to 12.5 games ahead. That sounds like a team plummeting towards disaster. But in reality in the last 12 games the Astros have increased their lead from 12.0 to 12.5 games ahead. The Astros were vulnerable, but as the lame return from the DL, the window is closing. The key is that the other teams in the division have not really played well enough to threaten them. The Angels? They have never been better than 4 games over .500 and after hitting 64-60 have slid back to 65-63 after last night’s game. The Rangers? They were 3 over .500 at 24-21 and have bobbed along to 64-63 heading into Saturday’s games. The Mariner’s? They topped out at 3 over at 59-56 and today are 65-63. The A’s? Not going there.
Did Twitter Controversy Turn Around Alex Bregman‘s Season, Maybe so or maybe not. Bregman had already started to improve a little when he got into a bit of a nasty twitter exchange with a fan, back on July 10th. He was hitting a pretty pedestrian .254 BA/.338 OBP/.756 OPS at the time. Since then he has raised those numbers to a robust .286/.363/.856. In his 37 second half games he has hit a nasty .336/.404/1.046, scored 27 runs, knocked in 24 runs and totaled up an impressive 22 extra base hits. Maybe the tweeting did not turn him around or maybe it was part of the maturing process.
Playoffs – Road or Home? Normally this would be a silly question, but the Astros have been good at home (37-29) and dominant on the road (40-21). But there have been holes cropping up in their road performance as they were 36-13 prior to their recent 4-9 slide on the road. The Astros should want to have that home field advantage at least through the AL side of the playoffs and hopefully their regular season road performance will embolden them on the road in the playoffs.
Baseball is as Weird and Unpredictable as Harvey. The Astros began the season with one week of a hitting huff, but were soon hitting on all cylinders with offense, starting pitching and relief pitching carrying them to new heights. They then had a historic offensive performance in July, while their bullpen (over-worked with the injuries to the rotation) struggled during that month. Then we roll into August and the bullpen is the best in baseball, the rotation is improving and the offense is the biggest problem they are having. Who knows what will be the best and the worst parts of the team heading into the playoffs.
So….any thoughts you want to share today?