Sure Dan P is a lot like Nellie from South Pacific. No, I don’t mean I’m from Arkansas like that nurse from the musical, though I did live there for seven years. No, I am most like Nellie Forbush, because we are both cockeyed optimists.
So in alignment with that fact, here are 10 reasons the Astros will play better down the stretch of games between now and the end of the season…
- It’s not a high bar. The Astros were 7-13 in their last 20 games heading into the win on Sunday. They will win more than 35% of the balance of their games.
- Big deadline acquisition. The Astros will add a recent league MVP, who will give them a .330 BA and a .400 OBP. And his name is Jose Altuve. Who else will be adding that quality of a player?
- Upgrade at Catcher. Brian McCann was not hitting very well when he went on the DL, but it would be a good guess that he was hurt well before that point. Substitutions for him have been Tim Federowicz (.206 BA/.523 OPS), Martin Maldonado (before Sunday’s breakout – .143 BA/.515 OPS) and Max Stassi, who has been .178 BA/ .541 OPS since the All-Star break.
- The Real Return of Carlos Correa and George Springer. They returned from their injuries (though George may have been re-injured Sunday) but their bats have not. Correa has not hit a home run since June 17th and is only 3 for 28 since coming off the DL. George is 3 for 13 since his stint and is swinging a lot harder than his results indicate.
- The 200 flu is over. It sure looked like Justin Verlander may have been trying too hard to chalk up that 200th win and now he has it hopefully he can relax.
- Devo can bring his whip back. Chris Devenski is on a minor league rehab and hopefully will return to his early season dominant self.
- The rotation. Even with recent struggles, the Astros still have the best starting rotation ERA in the majors at 3.11.
- The bullpen. Despite a few bumps in the road, the Astros still have the best bullpen ERA in the majors at 3.07.
- The Stare. After a post All Star Home Run Derby and MVP slump, Alex Bregman has been looking more like his old self lately and has the best new home run gimmick – the stare – working for him.
- 2017. They know what they did last year. They know how they came back in Game 4 in Boston, how they came back after being down 3 games to 2 against the Yankees, how they won the most improbable Games 2 and 5 in World Series history and how they won game 7 on the road. There is nothing they can face this season that they did not face and overcome last season.
There are quite a few more reasons to believe in this team. Your turn to share a few.