Fans are humans (we will ignore Oakland fans at this point). Humans by nature are pessimistic. Therefore, as any logic professor will tell you, fans are pessimistic. So, this post is a public service for those who worry deeply about our local 9 (or local 25).
Reason #1 to Worry. The Astros are heading into the playoffs with a giant question mark like the Bat signal hovering over their heads – who will be the #4 starter? A few things have changed since this article came out…..
…..as Wade Miley may have pitched himself off the playoff roster. You can’t have a fourth starter who is as likely to pitch 1 inning or less as he is to pitch 5 innings or longer and that is what he has become. Jose Urquidy has certainly pitched better and mostly longer than Miley and his 6 shutout innings on Friday night will be the last thing that is in the manager’s and front office’s memory as they set the playoff rosters. The Astros needed a #4 starter to win the 2017 WS and the question is in 2019 do they trust the guy who was great for 5 months and putrid for one or the guy who is a lot less experienced, but has gotten better every start out there?
Reason #1 to Not Worry. With Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke the team can afford a 4th starter who is not optimum. The twin Cy Young runs of Verlander and Cole ……
….. mask the fact that Greinke is a half step behind them. Combined his D’Backs and Astro numbers are 18-5, 2.93 ERA, 208.2 IP, 0.982 WHIP and you have one of the best pitchers in all of baseball backing up the two best pitchers in baseball.
Reason #2 to Worry. The Astros offense gets a case of the “sputters” way too often. They are 26th in the majors (5th most) in leaving 3.55 runners in scoring position per game. They get tons of runners on base with their .353 OBP leading all of baseball, but are not very efficient with runners in scoring position.
Reason #2 Not to Worry. Quantity over quality. The Astros are leading the majors in BA (..274), OBP (.352), SLG (.494) and OPS (.847). They have dragged themselves up to #3 in the AL in runs scored (906) behind only the Yanks and Twins after languishing down around 5th or 6th for a chunk of the season. Nobody wants to face their full (real) lineup. Nobody.
Reason #3 to Worry. Are the Astros “ready” to play the best teams in baseball right now? In their last 25 games they’ve only played two teams with winning records – splitting two with the Milwaukee Brewers and getting whacked 3 out of 4 by the Oakland A’s (who they may have to play in the ALDS). They are 50 games over .500, but 17 of those 50 games over came at the expense of the Seattle Mariners only. They are 33-6 against the five last place teams they have played this season.
Reason #3 Not to Worry. The Astros have had a few hiccups along the way, including three one run losses in a row to the Reds on the road and losing six of their last eight games with Oakland after beating them 9 of their first 11 meetings. But overall they have been a consistently successful team winning more than they lost each month (17-9 in April, 20-8 in May, 15-12 in June, 16-8 in July, 19-9 in August and 17-6 so far in September. With their rotation, their lineup and with a bullpen that is performing well down the stretch they will be a handful for any team they face.
It is ok to worry about your team, but it is a lot more fun to sit back and enjoy them.