August was a month of, ahem, adjustment for the Houston Astros’ offense. As noted here, July was a historic month offensively for the Astros offense as they led the majors by a large margin with a .323/.380/.948. They were in the bottom half of baseball in August with a .254 BA (17th), .314 OBP (22nd), .726 OPS (21st). They scored an astounding 7.25 runs/game in July and a pedestrian 4.00 runs/game in August. Pairing their below average offense with their average pitching stats, the Astros struggled with a 11-17 record in August and while they still held an insurmountable lead in the AL West, the Cleveland Indians and for a time, the Boston Red Sox were a lot larger in the rear view mirror for the best record in the AL.
So, it was a month the team survived rather than one in which they thrived. Nevertheless there are awards to be handed out for the month.
Everyday Player of the Month. Alex Bregman.
In July, Bregman’s performance would have been lost in the noise of an incredible team month, but in August he stood out. Alex put up a .345 BA/.395 OBP/ .979 OPS slash line that included 15 runs scored, 6 doubles, 3 triples, 5 HRs, 20 RBIs and 5 SBs. He was the most dependable hitter in a month where the team as a whole struggled.
Jose’s “off” months would be welcomed by almost every other hitter in the league. His .304/.345/.865 slash line was paired with 15 runs scored, 6 HRs, 10 RBIs and 7 SBs. It is worth noting that he only drove in 4 runners other than himself for the month. Yuli was very solid with a .323/.368/.853 slash, 13 runs, 8 doubles, 2 HRs and 9 RBIs for August.
Starting Pitcher of the Month. Collin McHugh.
McHugh put up the best numbers for the month while working to build up his innings. His 2.94 ERA and .200 batting average against were very good and he was deserving of a better than 2-2 record.
Runner-up. Charlie Morton.
While his 4.20 ERA was middle of the road, his 1.200 WHIP and his .646 OPS against were the best from the starters by a long shot. Brad Peacock was a bit behind him for the month (4.45 ERA and 1.412 WHIP) and Dallas Keuchel, Mike Fiers and Lance McCullers Jr.? Well that is a discussion for another award…..
Top of the ‘Pen Award. Ken Giles.
Monsieur Giles earned his keep in August with a microscopic 0.64 ERA and 0.857 WHIP in 11 appearances with 5 saves. More than half his outs were strikeouts (14.8 K/ 9 IP) and the slash against him (.174 BAA/.240 OBP/.501 OPS) were top notch. Oh and he was used a number of times for more than one inning in high leverage situations successfully, which had to bring a smile to A.J. Hinch‘s face.
Musgrove gave the bullpen a huge late inning boost with Will Harris out. In August, he put up a shiny 1.17 ERA and 0.848 WHIP in 11 games. His slash against .163 BAA/.268 OBP/ .513 OPS was second only to Giles. Devo was the tight rope walker during the month as he successfully put up a 0.90 ERA in his 10 games, but scared the heck out of the fans while doing it. The .171 Batting average against was very good, while the .326 OBP against was not. He walked a lot of guys during the month as his 1.29 K/ BB ratio and his 1.300 WHIP showed. But he got outs to get out of the jams.
The “Yikes” Award. Evan Gattis.
OK, he only played in 6 games and probably was playing through injury, but his .095/.095/.238 slash along with his 0 Runs, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs and even 0 BBs was a huge bagel in the lineup when he did play.
Carlos continued to sink during the month, his .210/.258/.511 slash and 2 HRs and 8 RBIs not helping the cause in August. Mr. Springer looked like someone who had returned from a DL stint who was trying to quickly be who he was before the injury and failing. His .200/.297/.609 slash matched the eyeball test as did his paltry 2 HRs and 5 RBIs in the 20 games he played.
OK – small samples, but White was sent down after putting up a .417 BA/.417 OBP/1.667 OPS slash with 3 HR and 6 RBIs. Hoyt, who had not pitched as well in July had strong numbers in six appearances in August – 1.50 ERA, 0.833 WHIP and a .182/,217/.536 slash against.
Yeah, they are using Centeno I’m guessing because Max Stassi is injured, but when they were both here Centeno seemed to get a lot of undeserved starts. In 30 ABs in August Centeno showed that his July success was a fluke as he put up 1 run scored and 1 RBI. Liriano has been a disaster whether it is leftys, rightys or switch hitters facing him. His 6.23 ERA, 2.192 WHIP and .364/.500/.985 slash against stink.
“The Guys Who Need to Forget August” Award. Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers (but especially LMJ).
The prayer is that Lance was hurt and won’t repeat his August numbers (0-2, 9.64 ERA, 2.304 WHIP and .386/.480/.950 against) when he returns in September. Keuchel was up and down, but his overall numbers (5.05 ERA, 1.374 WHIP and .250/.318/.718 against) in August were more reminiscent of a bad 2016 than his first few months of 2017.
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