Let’s see…Dave Hudgens was here when the offense was not as good. Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran show up and the offense gets better. Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran leave and the offense gets worse. Voila! Dave Hudgens is to blame.
Here is the deal, I doubt the same front office that had no problem with dumping two managers (Brad Mills and Bo Porter), unloading or walking away from tons of poorly performing players (Carlos Pena, Jason Castro, Lucas Harrell, Jonathan Villar, Carlos Gomez, Phillip Humber, Chris Carter, Erik Bedard, Jesus Guzman, Jordan Schafer, Hank Conger, Roberto Hernandez – please stop me I’m feeling sick) would hold on to a hitting coach, who was a useless figurehead. Maybe Hudgens is not doing a good job or maybe the players are not listening to him or….here are some other theories.
Theory 1 -The Black hole returns….
Looking back, prior to 2016, the Astros’ offense was top-heavy with Springer, Altuve, Correa up top and a whole lot of nothing following after that. In 2018, the late return and the slow start of Yuli Gurriel, and the cold as Lord Voldemort’s heart hitting of Evan Gattis, Derek Fisher and especially Jake Marisnick has turned this lineup from one that was 8 or 9 deep to one that could even use Carlos Beltran to help it flip over. This ends up with the top of the lineup trying to force things because they don’t know when they will bat again.
Theory 2 – The Pitchers Have Them Figured Out…
Watching the team in the early going it is obvious that the Astros are often being worked differently than last season. Balls out over the plate or beyond, are breaking balls, change-ups for the most part. Fastballs are hard inside or even brushing back or plunking the good guys. They know the Astros love the hard stuff out where they can reach it.
But….the Astros are making things easier for the pitchers – taking pitches down the middle, expanding the strike zone, pounding the pitcher’s pitch into the ground. Like many young people, if they would only make better choices…
Theory 3 – It is Not Just the Astros
Batting averages and power numbers are down. Strikeouts are up. Speculation is that just like the baseballs changed during the playoffs to up the offense, baseballs have changed during the ensuing regular season to even things out.
But….. why would baseball want less offense when more offense is sexier and sells more tickets.
Theory 4 – That Pine Tar
Well, at least Cleveland Indian Trevor Bauer thinks that pine tar abuse is wide spread. Using pine tar allows pitchers to raise the spin rate and causes the ball to move more and be hitless.
But… if everyone is doing it, why is there still a nice bell curve of performance among pitchers – few great, few putrid and many in the vast area between.
Theory 5 – Cold Weather
We’ve heard it for years. When the weather warms up the bats warm up.
But…. the Astros were hitting a lot better last year at this time.
Theory 6 – Jose Altuve‘s Contract
Jose got paid and has been pressing trying to make himself worth that big paycheck. He is down to a low for him .305 BA / .358 OBP / .760 OPS and dragging down the offense.
But….On May 14 last year he was “only” hitting .286 BA / .357 OBP / .792 OPS after the games of May 14 in the same area as this year.
Theory 7 – It is Dave Hudgens
Just like he was probably not the only reason they were the best offense last season, he is not the only reason they are a little down this season.
Okay, what are your thoughts on what has happened to the offense and what needs to happen with the offense.