It is hard to wrap your head around this, but 10 games into a 60-game “season” are basically the same as the first month of a six month season. So, this is like the end of April as far as where things lie at this point. Typically, April is a shaking out period. Guys get off to slow starts. Other guys are on fire. But by the end of April, teams and players are starting to reach their water level. Frankly, six weeks in is a better gauge of where everyone is heading. Of course, this season six weeks takes you to the very last few weeks of the season. Weird.
So what are some thoughts here at the 10 game pole?
- The Astros are very lucky to be 6-4 at this point. Their pitching staff has been stripped of so much of their veteran presence. Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Collin McHugh, Will Harris, and Hector Rondon are elsewhere. Jose Urquidy, Brad Peacock, Austin Pruitt, Cionel Perez, and Rogelio Armenteros never made it to the opening bell. Justin Verlander made one start before being shut down. Chris Devenski and Joe Biagini made a few appearances and then went to the IL. Roberto Osuna is apparently done for the season after appearing in four games. Ryan Pressly is battling a thumb injury after one poor appearance. Oh, and arguably their three top hitters, Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman have taken up residence in old man Mendoza’s neighborhood.
- Carlos Correa (.389 BA/ .488 OBP/ 1.127 OPS) and Michael Brantley (.428 BA/ .514 OBP/ 1.170 OPS) are the two hitters who have been almost picture-perfect at the plate so far. They have been using the whole field and hitting the ball with authority nearly every time up.
- The terrific relief appearance by Framber Valdez against the Angels on Sunday (6.1 IP, 5 hits, 1 walk, 8 Ks, 0 ER) brought to mind a terrific spot start by Brad Peacock back in 2017. The Astros had just lost 3 games in a row to Cleveland, and the ship was beginning to wobble. Peacock stepped in for Dallas Keuchel back in late May and pitched 4.1 IP of 1 hit/ 8K ball to give the team a shot in the arm that carried them through a big hot streak.
- The Astros use (and success) with all of these young pitchers has been an absolute revelation. The two absolute standouts have been Cristian Javier and Blake Taylor. Javier has been a terrific substitute for Justin Verlander with two brilliant starts in a row (5.2 IP, 2 hits, 1 run and 6IP, 4 hits, 1 run). Taylor has been steady Eddie in 5 scoreless appearances out of the bullpen giving up only 2 hits and 2 walks in 7.1 innings pitched. All the other newbies have brought something to the table and have helped a decimated bullpen deal with three extra-inning games out of the first 10.
- The Astro catching duo of Martin Maldonado and Dustin Garneau need to be recognized for two things. One, keeping all these young pitchers from flying off the rails and two for putting up some solid at-bats.
So, how do you feel at this point of the season, which is later than it seems…