The Astros have taken on the 2020 season like a drunken sailor walking down the street trying to look sober. They take a few solid steps, followed by uncontrollable stumblebum toddling.
They started the season winning the first 3 out of 4 (from Seattle of course). They then won only 3 out of 11 from the Dodgers, Angels, D’Backs and A’s. They then won 9 out of 10, including 8 in a row from the Giants, Seattle (of course) and the Rockies. They then stumbled through a lost weekend in San Diego, losing all three to an up and flying Padres team.
A few observations as we are just short of the halfway point in the season.
- As several folks have pointed out – the Astros are rotten against winning teams – going a combined 0-8 against the Dodgers, A’s and Padres, while putting up a more respectable 15-5 against the losing teams on their schedule.
- To be fair to the Astros, the Rockies were a surprising 13-8 heading into their 4 game sweep by Houston and have only fallen under .500 after the Astros shoved them down that slippery slope.
- It is hard to figure out who the Astros are at this point because their parts have been scattered to the winds.
- The Houston offense has been up and down. Overall they are third in the AL in runs scored. But they have a tendency to be feast or famine. Thirteen times they have scored six or more runs. Twelve times they have scored three or fewer runs. Three times they have scored 2 runs in extra-inning games. They don’t know if they are a behemoth or a pushover.
- Of course, their offensive identity has been upset by bad starts by Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman, losing Yordan Alvarez after a late start and only two games, and losing Bregman, Micheal Brantley, Aledmys Diaz and Springer to injury.
- Their starting pitching was going to be a question mark, to begin with, but having Justin Verlander for one appearance and Jose Urquidy, Austin Pruitt and Brad Peacock for none was not a good foundation to the season. Then having Josh James being moved to the bullpen after failed starts left the cupboard pretty bare. Zack Greinke has been consistently good. Lance McCullers Jr. has been good except when he hasn’t. Framber Valdez has been arguably their best starter. Cristian Javier and Brandon Bielak were beaten up in their last starts. Can the starters hold it together until the cavalry shows up….if it does?
- And the bullpen has been a patchwork quilt of repair work with Roberto Osuna out for the year, Joe Smith apparently sitting out for the year, Chris Devenski injured almost right away, and Josh James now out after his move to the bullpen. It is Ryan Pressly and the Kid Korps currently holding down the fort. New heroes like Blake Taylor, Andre Scrubb and Enoli Paredes are doing their best to carry the water for the team right now.
You can’t blame the fans if they don’t know who their team is. You can’t blame the fans for not knowing what to expect game to game or series to series. The group itself does not know who will be playing day to day or series to series. They have not had enough time and will not have enough time to really figure out which of their youngsters are the real deal. They will be making this up on the fly, running things up the flagpole and seeing who salutes and whatever other clichés we can cover.
We can just hope that by the time they get to the playoffs, they will have a good handle on who is who and what is what.